By: Joanie Cox-Henry Contributing Writer
The lengthy nationwide quest for a new leader for Unity of Delray Beach Church is finally over and a familiar face is back.
Greg Barrette was Senior Minister of Unity of Delray Beach Church from 1989 to 1996 and he has now returned to this position and will also be CEO of Unity School.
“I’m very excited to be back,” said Barrette, who was previously senior minister at Unity Northwest in Des Plains Illinois for the past nine years. “People are spiritually hungry here and Unity of Delray Beach has always been focused on spiritual growth and consciousness, which is the focus of my ministry.”
During the time Barrette was minister of Unity of Delray Beach Church, attendance rose from 275 to 425 and income soared from $850,000 to $2.5 million.
Originally from California, Barrette has 38 years of leadership on his resume as minister and administrator for various Unity churches around the the nation. He was raised in Unity beliefs and for the past two years, he has been a single parent to his 17 year old son and 21 year old daughter.
“Unity’s philosophy is very much aligned with the power of positive thinking,” Barrette said of the non-denominational church that welcomes guests of all faiths. “We’re rooted in Christianity and all about positive and practical spirituality and how it meets people’s day to day needs.”
While growing up in California, Barrette discovered the uplifting music of the Grateful Dead. The band continues to have a powerful impact on his teachings. “I’m very into music,” Barrette said. “I play keyboards and I love classical music and all styles of music, but the Grateful Dead remains one of my all time favorites. There were only 300 people at the first Dead concert I attended.”
When he’s not teaching in support of Unity’s spiritual curriculum, he enjoys taking nature hikes, biking and watching football. He cites Mary Kupferle, who led Unity of Delray Beach Church for 17 years, as one of his biggest inspirations. “She was one of Unity’s best-selling authors and my connection to her is something I will always cherish. We would meet once a month for lunch in Palm Beach. Her vibrancy and spiritual curiosity still inspire me. Even in her eighties, she was still going on retreats. I remember one time when she told me she was learning a new form of yogic meditation and how it was renewing her inner experience of God. I can still feel her energy and presence in this church.”
Barrette has continued his mediation journey with a new mentor, Jane Hart. “She does all of her work online through the Center For Enlightenment,” said Barrette, who has been meditating since he was in high school. “She teaches soul evolution and deep spiritual growth.”
Barrette will lead his first service at the helm of Unity of Delray Beach Church Oct. 6. He will then be teaching most Tuesday nights offering classes such as “Desire In The Soul,” to further connect congregants on their own personal journeys of spiritual awakening.
“We’re here to provide tools for every stage of spiritual development,” said Barrette, who mentioned Unity of Delray Beach Church is also strongly connected to Delray’s expanding recovery community.
UDB’s Board President, Harvey L. Brown, Jr., likened Barrette’s arrival to the church with that of the return of a celebrity.
“We couldn’t be more pleased; Greg has always been a solid friend to us and he’s above and beyond the benchmark of what a minister should be,” Brown, Jr., stated in a press release. “It’s like if we were a high school basketball game and LeBron James came up and asked to play on our team.”
Unity of Delray Beach is located at 101 N.W. 22nd St. For more information, call 561-276-5796 or visit unityofdelraybeach.org.