Unity of Naples Enjoys Serendipitous RewardsSep 29, 2021 01:00PM ● By Linda Sechrist
Serendipity, or being in the right place at the right time, considered the phenomenon of finding valuable things not sought for, can play a significant part in life’s decision-making process, especially when individuals are connected to spirit, tuned into their inner voice and paying attention to intuition.
Unity of Naples has been blessed with two new gifted ministers, Rev. Denise Schubert and Rev. Claudia Rene Williamson, whose lives have been touched by serendipity. Now sharing collaborative spiritual leadership, the women both studied at the University of Transformation and Spiritual Leadership at Agape, founded by Michael Beckwith.
Schubert, who arrived first, provided administrative support to Rev. Mark Lord prior to his departure. She explains how serendipity, synchronicity and spiritual insights served as literal breadcrumbs that led her out of retirement in North Carolina and back into ministry in Southwest Florida. “After retiring in 2015 and spending three wonderful years exploring the continent of Africa with my camera, I felt ready to transition back into my work of spiritual community development. The morning after I updated my resume, I opened my computer to check emails and found one from an old friend and fellow graduate of the same university who had recently retired from leading a Center for Spiritual Living (CSL) in Cape Coral. I came to Unity in much the same way. Mark and I were friends and knew each other from the university, as well.”
Schubert, also a graduate of the Holmes Institute, is excited to be sharing collaborative spiritual leadership with Williamson. “It’s a ministry model whose time has come for churches with large congregations. I’m quite enthusiastic not only about Claudia and I being able to thrive together in this model, but also how everyone who comes here can thrive with us,” says Schubert.
Williamson, a Holmes Institute graduate, contemplative mystic and a modern day thought leader who formerly served as senior minister and spiritual leader for other Unity and CSLs, arrived in Naples from Nashville. Also a friend of Lord’s, she knew the Unity community and the area from previous visits with Lord and attending services during visits to her sister in Naples. “I wasn’t looking. My husband and I were planning to continue the virtual ministry we started in Nashville during the COVID-19 lockdown. On our last visit to see my sister, I felt called to go to church. It was the first time since COVID that we had physically been in a church. After the service, I was asked if I would be interested in serving as minister since Mark had recently resigned. The members of the church board who asked were in the process of looking for my phone number when they saw me in the church,” enthuses Williamson.
Without hesitating, Williamson said yes. “My husband and I took a long walk on the beach that afternoon and agreed on the move. The lease on the house we were renting in Nashville was nearly up. It all came together perfectly and I was drawn to the vision that was emerging and felt such a strong heart connection,” she says.
The vision and excitement pulling Unity of Naples, a Blue Zones faith-based community, into the future includes beautifully renovated facilities, lush new landscaping and a lovely, new and bigger fish pond. While presently only open on Sundays after services, the new, Higher Grounds Café, which will eventually be open during the day to the Naples community, is meant to entice visitors to have a cup of coffee, enjoy a healthy choice snack, chat a while, get acquainted and take time to appreciate the property’s serene and beautiful essence and walking trail which is presently being cleared by volunteers. “We’re not just looking for the church community to enjoy the café and property, rather we want to be a destination where anyone can come during the day for sense of peace, renewal, a mid-day meditation in the chapel, and a great cup of coffee,” says Schubert.
Schubert and Williamson share the highest vision for their community, which is to enhance the already retreat-like property to host spiritual education, community connection events and ceremonies. Their primary goal is that of individuals having a place to deepen their spiritual connection with one another and nature, and to elevate consciousness. The beautiful, historic and pristine property is lovingly being restored to its original beauty while honoring its rich legacy as a spiritual center for all seeking a deeper, more intimate connection with spirit, nature and community. The positive and inclusive spiritual environment is welcoming to people looking to make friends, join other like-minded people, discover and cultivate a “higher why” for their lives.
“Concerts in the courtyard, classes, workshops, amazing Sunday services with inspiring messages and music, classes and workshops are being enjoyed by the numbers of people that are regularly attending again. Claudia and I can feel the energy building. It’s palpable, and we think everyone else feels it, too," says Schubert.
Unity of Naples is located at 2000 Unity Way, in Naples. For more information call 239- 775-3009 or visit UnityNaples.org. See ad, page 33.
Unity of Naples is a non-denominational spiritual community rooted in radical, loving acceptance of all individuals from all walks of life. We share a common passion for spiritual awakeni... Read More »