Frequently Asked Questions
We hope to make your first visit to Unity San Diego a joyful and easy celebration of God and life! Here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions from first-time visitors.
Where are Sunday Services held?
Unity San Diego is located at Altadena & Landis. Our Street address is 3770 Altadena Avenue, San Diego, California, 92105. Our historic and beautiful campus sits at the top of a hill in a culturally and wonderfully diverse area of town that is perfect for uniting hearts, minds and souls. Our campus is nestled in between the 15, 94, I-8, and I-805. Find us through Google or click here for directions and map.
All are welcome! Fellowship is held immediately after each service at Wrigley Hall.
Directionally challenged? Not to worry! There is visible signage at every entrance and throughout our halls, making your visit smooth and getting from place to place easily.
We also have an information kiosk to answer any questions you may have.
What are Unity San Diego's Service Times?
Sunday Morning, 10:00 a.m. — Held in our Sanctuary, this one hour service is an experience of quiet contemplation, with a longer period of silent meditation. We sing and we are led in silent meditation. Karla Lightner, Rev, Gretchen or a guest speaker delivers a thought-provoking, soul-stirring lesson based on Unity principles and an interpretation of the Bible or other scripture for these times. The messages are always practical and can be immediately applied to your life and upcoming week.
Where do I park?
Parking is available in one of our three parking lots.
- North Lot (the "lower" lot): The North Lot is located adjacent to the campus. Reserved first-time visitor and pregnant mommy parking is available in this lot.
- West Lot (the "upper" lot): The West Lot is one of the two parking facilities that is adjacent to our campus. The West Lot is designated for Handicap/Elderly. If you or someone you are with is elderly or handicapped, please use our handicap parking with easy access, located on the West Lot.
- Across the Street: There is also dedicated parking just across the street from our campus that is marked "Unity San Diego."
Does the Reverand speak at every service?
Reverand speaks at Sunday Services except when they are away on speaking engagements at Unity conferences. The Reverand selects guest speakers, Unity Ministers, or New Thought affiliates who are renowned in their fields of expertise.
Are there services and programs for children during the adult services?
Yes, every Sunday children’s services are conducted for all ages including teens, as well as a nursery staffed by our volunteers. Children’s programs presently begin at 10:00 a.m. While you enjoy a service designed for you, your children will enjoy an experience designed just for them in the nursery or their classroom. Located in the Education building, you will find:
- Youth classrooms for ages three through the fifth grade that meet at 10am.
- Our Uniteen group meets in the Uniteen area that is located behind the sanctuary
- The high school aged group, Y.O.U., for students 9th-12th meets at 10am.
- A nursery is available for infants and toddlers through age two located at our education building
All parents/guardians are required to sign their children in (ages two through ten) each Sunday and to have a registration form on file. Please arrive at least 10-15 minutes before service starts to allow yourself some extra time to check-in your children, especially if it is your first visit. If you have a child that needs to stay with you during the service, we encourage you to bring them in to the santuary with you!
We have a gift for our first-time visitors
Stop by the welcome ambassador counter in the lobby to pick up your complimentary Unity visitors packet and welcome CD. It's our gift to you! We are excited to have you at Unity San Diego! We hope your first visit is a beautiful experience and that you will come back and make Unity San Diego your church home.
Do I have to be an official member to attend Unity San Diego or to take classes and participate in special events and volunteer?
Unity San Diego does not require formal affiliation and is accessible to all individuals on equal terms.
This applies to all aspects of taking classes, receiving pastoral care services, volunteering in outreach programs, and so on.
The exception applies to those individuals who wish to become a licensed Unity teacher/spiritual counselor or minister and therefore must fulfill the requirements relative to these licensed ecclesiastical positions. Furthermore, membership is required for those wishing to participate in voting and/or serving as an elected member of the Board of Directors.
Is Unity San Diego a church, and do its members follow a mainstream religious teaching based on scripture?
Yes. But Unity San Diego is not only a church. We’re the most loving place on earth. In everyday parlance, “church” is associated with Christian denominations and their houses of worship. Unity San Diego is much more than a traditional church but sees itself as a positive path for spiritual living. We are a local and global trans-denominational spiritual “center”. This terminology best describes the inclusiveness and diversity for which Unity San Diego is known and respected.
Unity San Diego embraces a Reality that the world’s scriptures and sacred texts endeavor to describe, even as they acknowledge the impossibility of such a task. Some call it God, Great Spirit, Yahweh, or Allah, while others simply prefer to leave it nameless. Unity San Diego teaches that this Ultimate Reality is the Source of our life, that we are made in its image and likeness, which makes us co-creative participants in the three-dimensional world in which we live.
Through Unity San Diego’s teaching of the New Thought–Ageless Wisdom tradition of spirituality, individuals are taught the universal principles governing the cosmos and the practices by which one can apply them including meditation, affirmative prayer and sitting in the silence and sacred service. Many of these technologies have been practiced by spiritual seekers for thousands of years, teachings which to this present day are practical in meeting humanity’s challenges of 21st century living. Unity San Diego’s teachings point the way to how an individual may cultivate their own unique relationship with the Ineffable and live from a place of conscious connection with the Essential Self while being a beneficial presence on the planet through selfless service and the giving of their unique gifts.
In Unity San Diego’s services and classes, we refer to the world’s scriptures and sacred texts, as well as the writings of ancient and contemporary mystics, teachers, sages, philosophers, pundits, scientists.
What kind of prayer do you have during the service?
During each service there will be a guided meditation and prayer, with an extended period of silence to go within, and commune with, the divine. This may seem unusual to first-time visitors who aren’t used to this type of prayer, but we have found that this quiet stillness becomes a favorite part of the service for many people.
Is Unity San Diego Christian? And what about the Bible and Jesus?
Yes, we consider Unity to be a Christian denomination, but we do acknowledge that we don’t conform to some of the more conservative interpretations of some Christian denominations.
Yes, we are Christian if you mean do we follow the example and teachings of Jesus-the-Christ. Yes, if you mean do we love God with all our minds, hearts, souls, and strength, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Yes, if you mean that we lead lives of devoted service, seeking to compassionately care for those who may be marginalized, and in need of grace. Yes, if you mean do we stand up in the public square for justice and fairness as did Jesus.
Unity does not teach the acceptance of Jesus as the only savior and Christianity as the only path to God and eternal salvation. We do not subscribe to the religion created about Jesus that is often exclusive, laced with highly restrictive dogma, frequently overlooks Jesus, and emphasizes “doctrine”, which for many has been the source of tremendous confusion and pain.
Unity San Diego teaches that Jesus was not the great exception, but rather the great example. Classically, Unity and those in the New Thought–Ageless Wisdom tradition of spirituality regard Jesus an enlightened being, one who attained Christ, or liberation from a sense of separation from the Source of all that is. Jesus, like Gautama The Buddha, is revered as a way-shower, as an exemplar of unconditional love, selfless service, and self-mastery.
The Bible is the source and chief reference-point for Unity San Diego's services and classes, and it remains the cornerstone of the Unity teachings. We apply a metaphysical interpretation to the Bible, not a literal interpretation. To that end, we seek to find the practical inner-meaning of the Bible, as well as other ancient sacred writings and texts that have been handed down through the ages. Like our co-founder Charles Fillmore, we are always in search for the universal spiritual principles found in the ancient wisdom of the Bible and other holy texts. The Bible that is primarily used by our Reverands is the New Revised Standard version. We also reference the Gnostic-inspired edition translated and interpreted from the original Aramaic, rather than the Greek translation used in traditional Christian churches such as the King James version or the Saint Gregory version used by the Catholic church.
Can I still practice my Judaism/Christianity/Islam and become a member of Unity San Diego?
Many within the Unity San Diego community maintain their Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist faith, while others continue to practice the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, or other spiritual master teachers of past or present generations. As a result, mixed-tradition couples and families often find common ground at Unity San Diego without compromising other loyalties.
We believe that you do not have to abandon the faith tradition or belief system that has served you up to this point. However, we encourage you to integrate the Unity principles into your life and we believe in so doing, you will naturally release any beliefs, habits, or traditions that no longer serve you at this point on your spiritual path.
How do I become Unity San Diego member?
To inquire about membership, you may talk to Cathie Robertson our Board President after any Sunday service, or keep an eye out for new member classes which are held several times each year.
Please also see New to Unity San Diego for more detail.
Is there a special protocol or etiquette I would be expected to follow during services? Is there a dress code?
Although Unity San Diego has no religious icons in its sanctuary, the space itself is considered sacred and the vibration within it holy. As with all temples, mosques, synagogues and churches, Unity San Diego expects that those attending services present themselves and conduct themselves with respect and reverence for the total environment and other individuals within the space.
No food or beverages are permitted in the sanctuary, but water is fine.
While there is no formal dress code, we encourage respect and reverence to inform individuals about what is appropriate. Attire varies from jeans to business wear.
Does Unity San Diego receive collections during services, and how does it support its administration?
During services, mention is made of “Prayer Chaplains” who pray on behalf of the congregation. What is a Prayer Chaplain?
Prayer Chaplains are individuals who are trained and commissioned in the sacred practice of prayer. They have taken specific classes to practice a form of prayer that is in alignment with Unity principles and the universal spiritual laws governing the cosmos.
Prayer Chaplains are available for prayer at the end of each Sunday service.
Are there any Unity communities outside of San Diego, California?
Yes there are nearly one thousand Unity Centers, churches, study groups and satellites worldwide. Please visit www.unity.org for more details and to find a Center in your area.
Does Unity San Diego proselytize, and are members expected to proselytize?
Unity recognizes that there are many paths to God and honors those who choose to worship in other ways. We make no effort to convince others that they are wrong, but offer opportunities to explore spiritual teachings in a new way so that the spiritual seeker can discover which path is best for them.
Because of this belief, Unity does not proselytize, but members are more than welcome to share their faith with others who they think might benefit from it.
Unity Headquarters General FAQs (unity.org)
Unity World Headquarters and Unity Worldwide Ministries have useful FAQs that apply to all Unity ministries.
To open a new page with Unity's FAQs : CLICK HERE