Our Board of Trustees

Matt Purinton

My name is Matt Purinton and I thank you for taking the time to explore our website!  I am currently Board President here in this vibrant community and have been in that role 7 of the past 8 years.  It has been a privilege serving on the Board and getting to see first hand the caring and commitment of those involved here at Unity Center for Spiritual Growth.  I am from Maine, born and raised on a farm in Bowdoin (Mid Coast area) which I now again live on.  Like many of us, my path to Unity was long and meandering and I first began attending in 2013.  One of the main reasons I have become part of this community is the central Unity tenant of “One God, Many Paths”.   While the basis of this ministry is founded on Unity principles and teachings, there is room, respect and support for wherever you might find yourself on your own path.  I am an ordained minister through All Faiths Seminary International out of New York and am currently working through the Unity Ministerial training program.  Please let me or any of the other Board members know if you have any questions and we would be happy to answer them!

Betti Lu Lewis
Vice President

Hello, my name is Betty K. Lewis, playfully known as “Betti Lu,” and I want to introduce myself as a board member.

I am a native Vermonter who moved to Maine in March 2020.

I am happily married to Jennifer Greaves, and we live in Portland.

I am a retired medical SW and I served in the Vermont Air National Guard for 20 years, where I was a firefighter and served as the 1st sargeant of my squadron for the last six years of my military career.

One of my passions in life is paddling with Dragonheart Vermont, a breast cancer survivor and support organization, which has a huge commitment to making a heart difference by giving back to the community.

Like many others, “I felt like I was home” after my first visit to the Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. I became a member through the Independent Study Program during COVID.

I am presently involved assisting in garden care and the following church groups: Women Empowering Women, Spiritual Exploration. I also serve as a member of the family committee for the Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing.

I look forward to deepening my spiritual growth by being of service to our church community and lovingly holding the vision for our church

Kim Cowperthwaite

When I attended my first Unity service in 1995, I felt a connectedness back to truth and spirit that I had not felt since I was a child. The Unity principles quickly became for me a practical, healing, and dynamic way to live my life. I began attending every Sunday with my young children and soon after directed the Youth Education program. My husband and I attended classes and started learning more about metaphysics, prosperity, and new thought.

As our children grew and we moved a bit farther away, we did not attend regularly on Sundays, though we kept the Unity principles alive in our home. Seven years ago, I returned to Unity Center for Spiritual Growth for “Round Two.” When I walked through the doors again, I found Rev. Pat and Rev LeRoy at the helm, a new paint color on the walls, a few old friends and many new ones. But most of all I found the same familiar energy of love and peace that I believe is deeply rooted in this place.

It is my pleasure to now serve on the Board with such a wonderful and capable bunch! I view my Board position as a precious responsibility to hold the vision of those who came before us and to help carry us forward into a new and even brighter tomorrow.

Michelle Neas

I was introduced to Unity through a friend as I had been searching to find something more in my life while struggling with an ending of my marriage. Upon visiting the church’s website, I reached out immediately to Rev. Pat and she drew me right in with her wisdom and encouragement. Once I made the commitment, this community welcomed me with open arms and filled that void in my life. As I became more involved and more involved, I jumped in and joined some incredible groups to further strengthen the bond as a member of Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. While 2020 has been so challenging for so many of us, I faced the biggest challenge of my life with a cancer diagnosis. Again Rev. Pat and members of this community held me up so I could move through everything with grace and ease. USGC arms me with the tools I need to navigate my life on this Earth. I’m so grateful for UCSG, Rev. Pat and our community.

Sue Vittner
Member at Large

I am a lover of life and adventure. My life is a balance of travel and exploration, inside and out.

I have lived and worked in Antarctica and traveled to India, Bali, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Europe, and extensively throughout the states. I love yoga, meditating, painting, journaling, singing in the car on road trips, being in nature, and philosophizing. I love living in Portland, Maine, “the way life should be!”

My hand analysis says that my soul’s purpose is to be a butterfly and follow my heart, while also being a spiritual teacher. So that’s essentially what I strive to do each day.

During a time living in Texas, I began attending a Unity church where they teach (which was new to me) the concept that we create our own reality. I discovered the teachings of Abraham Hicks and the Law of Attraction, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and many other inspirational thinkers. Then The Secret movie came out. I soaked all of this up and put all of what I learned into practice. My life was totally changing and improving, and I discovered the freedom and power that comes when we live a life with purpose and intention.

It is powerful to know that we can attract whomever and whatever we want into our lives. We are amazing beings. YOU are amazing and perfect and creative.

Do you know how magnificent you are? There are many who doubt this, so it is my intention to help those that doubt see the truth of who they are. I believe that if everyone truly knows how special they are and that we are each here for a purpose, there will be so much love and harmony in the world.

Sue is the author of From Your Vision Board to Your Bedroom: Using the Law of Attraction to Find True Love, an artist, and so much more!

Barbara Kowalska

Unity has been a constant in my life since I joined a meditation group that met in the basement of Unity’s Columbia Road home. Every week Audrey McGinnis greeted me as I passed through her kitchen to go downstairs. She radiated something, and I wanted to know more about it. I started going to Sunday services. I was moved. Inviting Spirit to participate in my life, I was waking up! I became a member, studied at Unity Village, and offered classes and workshops. I served on the board during the selection, purchase and renovation of the River Road property.

In 1994, I answered a request to pioneer a Unity Church in Eaton, NH, under the auspices of Unity of Greater Portland. What a joy! I was ordained as an interfaith minister in that church with my friends, family and congregants joining in the celebration.

In 1997, I moved to California, where I found my next spiritual home at Unity of Cambria, where Margaret Butterworth was the minister. Spirit gave me opportunities to offer classes and become a regular Sunday speaker. My soul flourished.

Becoming a grandmother brought me back to the East Coast in 2005.

In 2013 I returned to Maine and to Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. What a delight to be back with old friends! I joined the Healing Service team, and later, became a Prayer Partner. As a board member, I use my varied skills to support our beloved spiritual community as it grows and serves. Unity has been here for me; I want to contribute to it being here for others.

Janice Murphy

Hello! I first learned of Unity Center for Spiritual Growth in 2013 from a fellow educator. I attended services—not as often as I might have—and in 2017 I knew that I had found my spiritual home when Rev Pat and Rev Leroy led a book study on the book Peaceful Revolution<—how we can create the future needed for humanity’s survival—by Paul Chappell. In those small group discussions I experienced the compassion and wisdom of Pat and Leroy but also found a deeper connection to my spiritual faith, my higher power, and community in action. I had been “trying out” any number of practices and religious dogmas to help me find my spiritual connection to God/spirit for so many years.

As I attended the Sunday services regularly in person and online during Covid I knew that I wanted to make Unity a greater part of my life and as Covid restrictions lifted I volunteered to read the Daily Word and usher once monthly. I began to recognize that the path to my deeper spiritual growth and the comfort it gave me during these tumultuous times, came to me through the teachings of Unity, the community at Unity, and Rev Pat on Sundays. In 2020 I took independent study during Covid to become a member and now most recently served as an alternate board member. I serve as a co-chair of the garden committee and recently helped to craft grants to fund the expansions we hope to make to our gardens and grounds. The five basic principles of UCSG, most especially that prayer and meditation heighten our awareness and thereby transform our lives, are what have guided my life, my connection to spirit, and truly living a fuller, richer life on this journey as a human being.

Jim Staebler

While deployed to Albany, NY, for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2010, I attended my first service at a Unity Church. I was searching for spiritual truth, and I found that and a whole lot more. For in that Unity Church my future partner sat down next to me. When we held hands to sing the Peace Song at the end of the service, I felt strong energy coming from her hand and asked for her phone number. Later that year we relocated to Monterey, CA and six years later that same Unity Minister married Laurie and I in a ceremony at Unity Church in Sedona, AZ.

FEMA deployed me to over 30 disasters in 20 states (and Puerto Rico). At every deployment I found a Unity Church to attend, and those churches provided space and direction for my spiritual growth. Some churches more than others, but they were all important to me as I tried to fulfill my mission for FEMA, to reduce the suffering in this country after catastrophic weather events.

I was very grateful when Laurie and I retired to Maine that the Unity Center for Spiritual Growth community existed within easy driving distance so we could participate in this journey with you all. We have been welcomed here since before we even closed on the purchase of our home in Old Orchard Beach. We persevered through the pandemic with streaming YouTube services and were grateful that the church weathered the storm well, so we had a place to continue attending once we went back to in-person services.

Because I have been the beneficiary of so much, I want to keep it all flowing, and I want to give back. I have been able to give to this church community in various ways–tearing down shacks and digging holes in the backyard. I have also enjoyed being involved with the Fuller Center and with various social activism and ACIM activities. My path attending and serving continues to evolve. I am proud to accept the challenge of serving you as a church board member.

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