Detroit Unity Temple

Detroit Unity Temple

Trying to rank places of worship according to which one does a better job of worshipping is really not a good idea. All you need to do is take a quick look at all the different religions, followed by all the different denominations, sects, branches, etc. Followed by all the different actual places of worship.

So…not a good idea.

But one thing that can be said without question is that churches – and other places of worship – can be as different as one individual from another. So when it comes to followers of Christianity, there is pretty unanimous agreement when it comes to the existence of God. That much is a given. But after that, the numerous paths of opinion, belief, and modes of worship begin to diverge a bit.

At Detroit Unity Temple, which celebrates its 100th anniversary next month on Oct. 7, the decision was made at the time of inception that the way many others were choosing to worship and represent Christianity wasn’t necessarily the way they wanted to do things. Detroit Unity Temple is located in the heart of Palmer Park, located just west of Woodward, between McNichols (Six Mile) and Seven Mile Roads.

“Unity has always been an organization that speaks towards encouragement. So instead of me talking about you’re going to hell, I talk about the power of God inside of you,” said Rev. Gregory Guice, who has led the congregation since 2008. “Detroit Unity Temple has been around the Detroit area as a community resource for a number of years. …But for the last 100 years, you will not have us talking about hell and damnation. It’s more about the growth and continuation of Detroit as a community project.”

Rev. Gregory Guice

Rev. Gregory Guice

A former member of the Black Panther Party, Guice has always been one who views community activism and involvement as an essential ingredient of a worthwhile life. Even when that activism may shake up the established order. Especially when it does so.

“Sometimes when you’re an activist it takes you into spirituality,” he said.

According to Unity’s History of Unity Temple 1916-2012, Detroit Unity Temple was formed in 1916 “when a few students gathered around a courageous and deeply spiritual woman, Margaret Wood, in a small office space in the heart of downtown Detroit. …By 1925 hundreds of students were working together in the common goal of ‘Practical Christianity’.”

The Unity movement itself began over 120 years ago in Kansas City Missouri. But once the movement made its way to Detroit, it was only a matter of time before the Motor City exerted its own particular influence on the congregation.

“In 1993, Argentina Glasgow created history when she became the first African American and first woman to be appointed to a senior ministerial position at Detroit Unity Temple. Under her leadership, Detroit Unity Temple continued to grow in spiritual consciousness and service to the community. During her tenure, Argentina led a team of lay ministers who provide support to key volunteer areas such as prayer, visitation, spiritual care and counseling, children’s church, ushers and fellowship. She would become active within the New Thought movement as she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of Unity Churches International in 1997. Argentina became the fourth African American to serve as chair of the Association Board in 114 years.”

Leading up to the grand 100th anniversary celebration on Oct. 7, the Children’s Church will be having their own celebration on Saturday, October 1st at the Karras House from 12pm -4 pm. There will be a DJ, face-painting, and other activities. The following Friday on Oct. 7, there will be a 100th Anniversary Black Tie Gala held in the ballroom of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. The sold out event will feature music from Charles and Gwen Scales, and will highlight Michael Beckwith and Ricky Byers Beckwith as keynote speakers.

“That’s our goal, is to make ourselves a vital resource for our community,” said Guice.

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