Inception to 2001
Rev. Marjorie Howard was the founding minister of Way of Life Unity Center. It was her dream to start a spiritual center with a truth-seeking congregation, and she achieved this.
Rev. Marje moved to the Emerald Coast from South Florida. She was a member of a Unity church there when she began to be in touch with our sister church in Pensacola. This was the early 1980’s.
Various defining moments in her life led her to Fort Walton Beach where she started a Unity study group. She was ordained in the late 1980’s. It is due to her foresight, determination and will that we have what we have today, our own church.
Meeting sites changed frequently as the number of members rapidly grew between 1985 and 1992. Our current home on Hurlburt Road opened on Easter Sunday, 1993. Rev. Marje remained minister at the Center until her retirement in 1999. Also a writer, painter, and singer, she resided in Maryland with her family until her death December 16, 2013.
A cremation service was held on December 21st, 2013 at Thibadeau Mortuary Service, Gaithersburg, MD.
Rev. Howard requested that her ashes be scattered in the Gulf of Mexico, near Fort Walton Beach. Several members of Unity in Fort Walton Beach, together with her family, participated in fullfilling her wishes. See the photos of that event here.
Our History Under Rev. George Schmidt, Ph.D.
George Schmidt was ordained as a Unity Minister on June 7, 2001.
Rev. Schmidt earned degrees from Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ; New York University, New York, NY; and Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL. In a career covering more than three decades, Rev. George served as professor, counselor, and administrator in higher education in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Additionally, he served in various capacities in Florida state government.
Rev. Schmidt began his service at Unity in Fort Walton Beach in August 2001. He was an on-call chaplain at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and served for two years as Chaplain to the Civil Air Patrol Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base. In addition, he chaired the Education Services Ministry Team while a member of the Licensing and Ordination Ministry Team of the Association of Unity Churches, International. Reverend Schmidt retired after 14 years of dedicate service.
August 1, 2015 through October, 2016
Unity in Fort Walton Beach operated without a senior minister for a little over a year after Rev. Schmidt’s retirement. Visiting speakers provided spiritual content while a search for a minister progressed.
September 1, 2016 through January, 2023
In September of 2016, Rev. Stephen J. Kosmyna became the senior minister of Unity in Fort Walton Beach. Having begun his higher education at Wayne State University, he later gravitated to metaphysical studies which led to his Unity ordination in 2014. He further obtained his Ph.D. in holistic life coaching from the University of Sedona in 2018. In January, 2023, Rev. Kosmyna resigned from Unity in Fort Walton Beach to pursue other personal and professional concerns. Unity in Fort Walton Beach continues its mission to serve congregants in the surrounding area.