UMMAS History

In 1985, the ministers in North and South Carolina began meeting together regularly as “Carolina Unity Ministers” for the purpose of support and fellowship. We were spread out geographically, and further yet from South East colleagues who were mostly in Florida.

Founders: Mary Ann, Jervais, Marie, Rene, Lyte, Chad (2011)

We decided to meet quarterly, staying over 1-2 nights because of the travel time and to have time to get to know each other at a deeper level and to “play” a bit.  We alternated the location of our meetings so we could visit each other’s churches and cities.

Founding members included:

  • Rev. Rene & Marie Pare (Wilmington NC)
  • Rev. Chad O’Shea & Lytingale (Arden/Mills River NC)
  • Rev. Mary Ann Finch (Charleston SC)
  • Rev. Jervais Phillips (Charlotte NC)
  • Elizabeth Thompson (Charlotte NC)
  • Rev. Don Allen

Some other early members included:

  • Jack Graf (1991)
  • Victor Williams (1991)
  • Randolph Wilkinson (1992)
  • RuthAnn & Ed LeBlanc (1993)
  • Lisa Thorpe (1993)
  • Carole O’Connell & Don Discenza (1993)
  • Margee Grounds (1994)
  • Steve & Mary Bolen (1994)

Sitting in a circle, we shared our challenges, our successes, ideas that worked in our churches, news about our families and personal lives… and this came to be called our “Heartcheck.” After Heartcheck, we all dined together at a local restaurant.

Membership was open to Unity ministers and their spouses (as full voting members) and to those officially leading a ministry in our geographical area.  It was not open to Unity Licensed Teachers (unless leading a church) or church staff or Board members because we wanted the freedom and confidentiality to discuss any kind of relationship challenges. We also felt that this was our special place to discuss the unique experience of leading a church or of being a minister’s spouse.

In Memoriam

We hold these UMMAS colleagues in loving memory…

  • Rev. Randolph Wilkinson (Charlotte NC) (2003)
  • Rev. Victor Williams
  • Rev. Don Allen
  • Rev. Jack Graf (Raleigh NC) (2004)
  • David Craig (Greenville SC) (2003)
  • Rev. Ed LeBlanc (Franklin NC) (2006)
  • Rev. Ted Lane (Myrtle Beach SC) (2010)
  • Rev. Chad O’Shea (Mills River NC) (2014)
  • Rev. Richard Levy (Wilmington NC) (2014)
  • Don Discenza (2016)

Presidents of UMMAS have included:

  • Rene Pare
  • Chad O’Shea
  • Marie Pare
  • Jervais Phillips
  • Steve Bolen
  • Joel Blackford
  • Doug Werth
  • Ed Kosak
  • James King
  • Dale Worley (current)

Kanuga Memories:

The 2004 Retreat became legendary when a hurricane blew through the region.The power went out at Kanuga shortly after vespers on Thursday night… We spent a night with candles and pajama parties, and we heard a couple giant trees come down… magically falling right between buildings!  The Kanuga staff managed to create a breakfast for us, and we headed home with many detours around downed trees and power-lines.

Musical guests at Retreat have included David Roth, Richard Shulman, Sky St. John, Lytingale, The Unitic Band, Dale Worley, Phillip Pennington, Don Discenza, Picante, Walt & Connie Wurster, David Ezell, Trilogy, The Transcenders, and music teams from Savannah, Greenville, Wilmington, Mills River, and Columbia. Rev. Jack Graf often played ragtime piano for us at early Retreats.

Retreat Keynote speakers have included:

  • Ed Shear
  • Rev. Sig & Jane Paulson; Walter Starcke (1991)
  • Rev. Jim Rosemergy; David Roth (1992)
  • Dr. Rocco Errico (1993)
  • Bo Lozoff; Dr. Glen Walter (1994)
  • Father Leo Booth; Rev. Sky St. John (1995)
  • Rev. Dr. Barbara King (1996)
  • Diadra & John Price (1997)
  • Terry Braverman (1998)
  • Rev. Ed Townley (1999)
  • Terry McBride (2000)
  • Colin Tipping (2001)
  • Rhonda Britten (2002)
  • Michelle Longo O’Donnell (2003)
  • Alan Cohen (2004)
  • Joan Borysenko (2005)
  • Lee Coit (2006)
  • Dr. Terry Cole-Whittaker (2007)
  • Rev. Bishop John Shelby Spong (2008)
  • Mark Nepo; Rev. Sky St. John (2009)
  • Mary Manin Morrissey (2010)
  • Bishop Carlton Pearson; Rev. Thomas Shepherd; Rev. Charlotte Shelton (2011)
  • Rev. Sky St. John; Rev. Richard Levy (2012)
  • Barry Dennis; Karl Anthony (2013)
  • Rev. Jim Lee; Barry Dennis (2014)
  • Bishop Carlton Pearson; Spirit I Am Band (2015)
  • Rev Jack Bomar; Eddie Watkins, Jr. (2016)
  • Christy Snow (2017 & 2018))