Elise first discovered Unity in 1990 when she entered the doors at Unity of Birmingham. Like most folks who were not brought up in New Thought, Elise knew she had found home and a community of like-minded folks. Within a few years Elise began to co-sponsor the YOU by facilitating Sunday School, fund-raising, and attending regional and sub-regional retreats with the teenagers. She taught in this capacity for about 2 ½ years.
Shortly thereafter Elise began attending Native American Sweat lodges in the Lakota tradition. Here, Elise began to understand that although she was praying to the Spirits of the four directions, her prayers were being answered and that the name of Spirit wasn’t as important as her connection to the Source. This group of people created a bond that eventually led the group, of about 20, to vacation together each Spring. It was also the connection that led to her move to Texas in 1999.
Elise moved from Birmingham, Al to Tyler, TX where she found herself immersed in a non-denominational ecumenical community called the Order of Christian Workers whose primary purpose was to help those in need in the larger community while living in community with her peers. She discovered that the best way to her own healing and wholeness was through helping others. She was blessed as a Servant Leader/Nun in 2002 taking the name Sister Elise Marguerite. Although OCW has reduced their community involvement, they still continue to hold their annual Children’s Christmas Party for local kids and their families who fall through the cracks of the system. 2016 is the 24th year and for the last several years they have hosted more than 600 children.
As a Nun, Elise began to be called back to her Unity beliefs. She found herself searching for a way to bring “God is Good and Everywhere Present” into the understanding that sometimes people need to be fed a fish (literally) before being taught how to fish (Spiritually).
She began a 12 ½ year quest to earn first her Associate’s Degree, then her Bachelor’s Degree, and Finally her Master of Divinity from Unity Institute and Seminary. And she has done all that while reaching out in all sorts of embarrassing and encompassing ways to create a world that works for all, one at a time.
In 2012 Elise opened a free hair salon for the homeless searching for employment in Tyler at a day resource facility. The salon was handed over to volunteers when she moved to Unity Village to complete her education.
Elise has also written inspirational articles for the Silent Unity Booklets over the past several years including Advent and Lent. And she is excited to be joining us as our new minister.