Reverend Joyce Kramer began this church by teaching classes and holding Sunday Worship Service and Sunday School for children in the YWCA facility on Freemason Street in Norfolk, Virginia in 1966. One year later, Unity of Norfolk was formed.
In 1970, 11.2 acres of land were purchased in Virginia Beach. The purchase of this property in Virginia Beach led to the name change from Unity Church of Norfolk to Unity Church of Tidewater. Tidewater is a geographical name that encompasses 5 cities; Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton and Newport News. A small house located on the property was utilized for the Church office and for classes. In 1974 the debt on the property was paid in full and construction of the new Church commenced.
Growth of the congregation led to moving the Sunday worship service, Sunday School and classes to the Sheraton Inn, Military Circle Shopping Center. In the meantime, Phase I of the building was in progress.
Richard J. Fitts, AIA, LEED AP architect, of the Design Collaborative, created a contemporary design of the Church building that combines a feeling of positive action and a sense of harmony with nature. The building is designed to make the maximum use of passive solar energy and takes advantage of natural light, heat and air. It is well integrated into its natural environment and reflects spiritual ideas in its design, colors and furnishings. Expansive skylights and tall windows are graced with stained glass that fill the Sanctuary with filtered light, a natural creation of a peaceful and reverent atmosphere.
The first service in the new building was held on Sunday, December 23, 1979 with the annual Christmas Candlelighting Service being celebrated that evening.
By 1990, the growth of the congregation indicated that construction on Phase 2 of the building began. The new 1000 seat Sanctuary was dedicated to God’s service in May of 1991.