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UNITY OF OAK PARK'S  HISTORY

The Unity presence has been in Oak Park since 1957 when a small congregation met in a storefront on South Boulevard.  Rev. Warren Meyer was the minister. 

By 1965 the spirit was strong, as was the desire to have a permanent home.  Rev. Ralph Rhea served as minister for a short time, and in 1967 Rev. Richard Billings entered the picture.  He had a Christian Science background, but became interested in Unity after serving in W.W.II.  He spent two years working in Silent Unity before being ordained. 

He worked with ministers in Santa Monica and Detroit and had his first church by 1963 in East Lansing, Michigan.  He served as sole Minister of Unity of Oak Park until 1993 when he invited Rev. Helice Greene to join him as co-minister.  Rev. Greene had been a licensed Unity teacher here before being ordained in 1982.  She served as the Unity Minister in Fairfax, Virginia, for ten years before returning to Oak Park.  Richard and Helice enjoy a full partnership with each adding their own special gifts to our lives.

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UNITY'S FIVE BASIC PRINCIPLES

1.  God is absolute good, everywhere present.

2.  Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ spirit within.  Their very essence is of God and therefore they are inherently good.

3.  Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking.  Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.

4.  Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good.

5.  Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, is not enough.  A person must also live the Truth that he knows.

For more indepth information regarding Unity's teachings, please visit unity.org.

THE BUILDING'S HISTORY AND DESIGN

Architect George W. Maher designed and built this building in 1912 as a home for Mr. and Mrs. James Hall Taylor and their family.  They paid $30,000.00 for the house and 1 1/2 acre site, a large sum in 1912.  They lived and raised their family here until their deaths in 1951 and 1963 respectively.  Their children sold the house and grounds to Unity Church in 1965 for $84,000.00.                

The style of the house is "Early Modern Rectilinear."  It is broad, monumental, and dignified.  Its Prairie Style characteristics include a hipped roof, pronounced horizontal features and bands of windows under deep eaves.  When entering by the front door, the first thing you see is the beautiful arched window on the first floor landing.  The geometric design on this window is repeated on all of the leaded windows and doors throughout the building.  It is also repeated on the wall sconces and hall ceiling light

 

OUR MINISTERS:

Reverend Helice H. Greene
Reverend Richard Billings

OUR CONTACT INFORMATION

405 N. Euclid Ave.
Oak Park, IL   60302

Our Ministers:
Reverend Helice H. Greene
Reverend Richard Billings

Phone:  708-848-0960
Fax: 708-848-0158

Dial-A-Blessing: 708-383-4655

E-mail: unity@unityoakpark.org
www.unityoakpark.org


THE ARCHITECT

The architect was George Maher.  He was born in 1864 and began architectural training when he was only fourteen in the Chicago office of Joseph Silsbee. 

Frank Lloyd Wright was a colleague in 1887 and 1888 when he also worked for Mr. Silsbee.  They both left Silsbee in 1888.   Maher opened his own office and was very successful designing Patten Gymnasium and Swift Hall at Northwestern University, Sears school in Kenilworth and hundreds of residences on the North Shore.  He designed Pleasant Home, now owned by the Oak Park Park District.

Maher wrote many papers for architectural journals and was President of the Chicago Architects' Association in 1918.  He originated the "motif-rhythm" theory. He put it to use in this house in the art glass windows and fixtures.  The Hasbrouck-Sprague "Survey of Historic Architecture in Oak Park" lists our center to be of national or international significance and states that it "demonstrates a perfection of shape, form and plan which Maher was never to excel."

THE BUILDING'S USE

The RICHARD BILLINGS CHAPEL is the former living room. The built-in bookcases are original.

The MEDITATION ROOM was originally a sitting room.  The high colored glass windows were already in the room when the church added the art glass in the door.

Our BOOK ROOM and SUNROOM
were the dining room and the breakfast  room.

The FOUNTAIN ROOM  was the kitchen and it now connects the original building to the sanctuary.

The SANCTUARY  was designed by Milwaukee architect Eric Canat and was added in 1971.  David Orth designed the podium in 1980.

The ATRIUM was added in 1994.

The SECOND FLOOR  lends itself well to church purposes. 
The master bedroom area now serves as the Board Room,
 Administrative office and Ministers' office.  The other bedrooms are used as a Ministers' office, secretary's office,

Y.O.U. Room and Nursery

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