UnityCR Minister

Rev. Debra Carter-Williams

Licensed Unity Leaders

UnityCR is blessed to have three Licensed Unity Leaders in Barb Buchanan (left), Susan Liddell (center), and Janith Griffith (right). They are licensed by Unity Worldwide Ministries and the first in UnityCR’s history to achieve this distinction.

Each licensed leader has a specific passion and responsibility.  All licensed leaders serve on our spiritual care ministry team, providing spiritual support for congregants. Janith serves on Unity’s Great Lakes Regional Board and is an Enlightened Living facilitator.  Susan serves on the Cedar Rapids Inter-religious Council, supports our Ministry Team Leaders and is an Enlightened Living Facilitator. Barb leads the EarthCare and Elayne Fisher CommUnity Cupboard teams, and her passion is prayer.

For more information about the Licensed Unity Leader/Teacher program, see Unity Institute.

2021 Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees of Unity Center of Cedar Rapids is dedicated to a consciousness of the highest and best good for UnityCR. Our leaders are deeply invested in sustaining a spiritual community that is dedicated to Principle and to our mission. Our Board of Trustees is about the business of shared leadership. All congregants are welcome to attend monthly board meetings.

Paula Land

Board President

Paula Land

Paula is a 30 year member is Unity Center of Cedar Rapids and has served as the Executive Director of the Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) for almost 9 years. She is passionate about service and believes she lives out her faith by serving the CMC mission and her spiritual community.

She is a lifelong Cedar Rapidian with three adult children, Marie, Megan, and Morgan and four grandchildren, Jack, Lucy, Leona, and Vivian.

Paula is committed to working with others to create an inclusive community where everone feels valued, and empowered to be their best selves. She serves on the board of the Housing Fund for Linn County, the Economic Development Innovation Council at teh Metro Economic Alliance, and is a member of the Leadership for Five Seasons Class of 2020. In her “free” time, Paula is a musical leader and sings bass in the Metro Mix Chorus to which she has belonged for 30 years.

Chris Klostermann


Unity Center of Cedar Rapids has been a tremendous spiritual home for me and my family since 2012.  To say that my time at UCR has been transformative would be an understatement; I’ve grown so much in my overall awareness, my leadership skills, my confidence to contribute something of worth, and most importantly, in my spiritual seeking for my Truth as I know it.   

By way of a short biography of myself, I came into the world at Washoe Medical Center in Sparks, Nevada, in 1974.  My dad was a travelling salesman with Kellogg’s cereal, and they would move him, along with me, my Mom, my sister, to cities in Michigan, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado.  I gained a wide range of experiences, for sure, but have also come to know what it’s like to grow roots in one area as my family and I have been here in Cedar Rapids the past 15 years.  I’m an educator, and after 19 years teaching high school Language Arts, I’m currently a literacy consultant for GWAEA.  Most importantly, I truly enjoy being a “family man”, walking alongside my wife as we raise our twins, and in my spare time I can be found hiking, biking, reading, playing piano/ukulele, and continually seeking to become a better person each day.

Laura Meade

Prosperity Chair

I starting coming to UnityCR in the early 1980’s. I served as the Youth and Family Ministry director for many years as my children grew up. I am starting my 6th year on the board, having served as president and now continuing as treasurer.

I work at a printing and mailing company, where we print and mail Daily Word, among other types of mail. I am honored to be a part of getting these positive messages to the world! I am also a Professional Registered Parliamentarian as a side profession.
My dream for UCR is to be a beacon of hope, empowerment, and love as we show the world how to see the Christ in each other and to express our own Christ nature fully.

Lynda Black-Smith


Unity has been my spiritual home since I entered the door 19 years ago, and I have been active in various positions from the beginning. The last 3 years as a board trustee have been full of inspiring events, frustrating issues, beautiful spiritual moments and some difficult decisions to be made. As a board, we worked diligently through them all to serve our Unity family.

Greg McGaffic


A friend introduced me to Unity in the fall of 1997 saying it was a ‘church of like-minded people’. And he was right, I join Unity CR in the summer of 2001. As a handyman, I volunteer to do interior maintenance work on Unity building. Along the way I became a board member in 2019. I am retired from lifelong working in the electronics field. Started at Kirkwood College then 4 years in the Air Force. I spent 17 years as Engineering Technician for a small company. I end up with 22 years at Rockwell Collins as a Failure Analysis Technician. I like to see Unity CR grow and prosper. Open up the building for various activities, serving food for the homeless, rent out the community room for music, or bingo.

Cindy Thompson


Cindy Photo

I was not raised with any religion and had never attended a church regularly.  I reached a point in my life in 1997 that I wanted to learn more about the spiritual journey that I was on after being in a recovery program for 6 years.  Unity Center was recommended to me and I’ve been attending ever since.  I consider Unity CR my spiritual home and I’m very committed to it.  Presently I serve UCR on the welcome team (leader for a time) and the EFCC. 

Over this last year and now after retiring 4 months ago, I have felt a renewed commitment to Unity and for that reason, I decided it was time for me to step up and run for the board.  I’ve had experience with leading groups through work and other areas.  My strengths are openness, listening, and inclusiveness.  

As for the direction I’d like to see Unity grow in, I’d like to see more outreach programs like the Food Bank.  I believe we have people that would step up and assist with this.  

Thanks so much for this opportunity.

Sally Miller


Cindy Photo

People say I should write a book with all of my life experiences. You could say I have lived my life out loud and I wouldn‘t change much because it helped shape who I am today. Out of all the things I have done so far, with motherhood being the most fulfilling, I‘d have to say a close second would be volunteering. 

When I volunteer I give full commitment to whatever organization it might be. I can’t think of a better way to spend my spare time then to give it to someone else.  Over the years I helped with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Horizon’s meal program, among others in the community.  I have also served on several ministries at Unity, including Welcoming, Sacred Grounds & Books, Marketing & Media  etc.  I loved helping with Garage Sales, Pride fests and Silent Auctions.  Bringing smiles makes my heart full.  

I truly love our Unity Community and volunteering to serve on the board in the past allowed me to serve our congregation in more ways than the ministries.  I enjoy the behind the scenes opportunity to help us grow.  

Qualifications to Serve on the Board of Trustees

(A) Qualifications. Any person elected to the Board of Trustees must be a member of Unity Center of Cedar Rapids. This person will:

  1. Demonstrate leadership qualities and desire to serve on the Board.
  2. Endeavor to live in accord with the Unity Principles.
  3. Further the work of this Ministry through interest, love, and support.
  4. Be a sincere and continuing student of Unity, conversant with its teachings.
  5. Be at least eighteen (18) years of age. 
  6. Be pre-qualified by the nominating ministry team, according to standing ministry team procedures.