History of Unity in Rockport
Unity Church in Rockport was founded in 1975 by Dean and Helen Davis, the parents of local artist Diane Davis Johnson. In 1976, ordained Unity minister Rev. Karl Reims, who was leading a Unity group in Corpus Christi, came to Unity in Rockport and held evening services in a carpet store. In 1994, after many moves in rented spaces, a building was purchased by the Center of Positive Thought on North Ann Street. At that time, the church added a large kitchen and a Sunday school room for the children who had been meeting in the garden under the trees.
When a neighboring church building became available in December 2015, Unity in Rockport purchased it. The location is the current facility at the corner of North Pearl and Linden Streets. Less than two years later, the building was damaged badly in Hurricane Harvey and required extensive repairs.
Following two years of hard work and generous donations from congregants, many friends, and Unity churches around the country, the sanctuary reopened for services September 1, 2019. The Fellowship Hall, which is a detached building on the adjoining lot, is still awaiting FEMA funds to restore it to usefulness. The Fellowship Hall serves as a community room, a classroom, a gathering place for potlucks, and other social events.
Tribute to Dean and Helen Davis
It is a noteworthy addition to our history to honor and acknowledge founders Dean and Helen Davis and their legacy of founding other Unity churches around the United States.
While living in Independence, Missouri in the 1960s, Dean and Helen discovered Unity church. It was a natural fit for these open-minded souls. Upon moving to Joplin, Missouri in the late 1960s, they discovered no Unity church there. So Dean Davis, a successful businessman, bought a building, formed a board, and hired a minister to start the Joplin Unity Church. That was to be the first of many Unity churches the Davis’s founded. His wife Helen’s self-appointed job in starting these churches was to manage the “Daily Word” telephone line, set up in the basement of their home. Every day she would record the Daily Word on an answering machine, and all the family would wait to count the calls coming in!
When the couple and their family moved to Corpus Christi in the early 1970s, they found no Unity church there, so they started one. In 1975, the Davises moved to Rockport, where they began creating the Rockport Unity Church. Dean recruited a Unity minister to come to Rockport from Australia. And again Helen Davis set about recording the “Daily Word.”
Helen Davis made her transition in 1980, and Dean was lost without her, so he decided to quit being a businessman and go to Unity Village to become an ordained minister. Dean worked with Frank Pounders of the Dallas Unity Church, and together they started other Unity churches in that area. Diane Davis Johnson says she doesn’t remember how many churches her dad started with Frank Pounders, but soon after he married again he started two more Unity churches.
Dean Davis left an amazing legacy with every church he founded — and the founding of even one church requires hard work, large monetary contributions, and untold dedication. We here at Unity in Rockport are forever grateful for the Davis family and their remarkable contributions to the spiritual awakening of so many people around the country.