November 26, 2015

Unity of Greater Portland light tower completed after 24 years - By Elizabeth Richards

Unity of Greater Portland (UGP) recently completed work on a light tower that was part of the original vision for the building when the property was first purchased in 1991. On Saturday, November 22nd, 2015, the light tower was dedicated to the late Rev. Audrey McGinnis, in honor of her service as minister at UGP from 1986-1994. 

The ceremony was held in the sanctuary of UGP at 54 River Road in Windham. Rev. Pat Bessey led the ceremony. “We see the light tower as a beacon of light for the whole Greater Portland area,” she said in her introduction. The ceremony included heartfelt stories and memories of Rev. McGinnis and what she brought to UGP, shared by Bessey and members of the UGP community. 

Bessey was a congregant and member of the board of trustees when the building was purchased in March of 1991. A former dance hall, the building needed a great deal of renovation, and though the light tower was part of the original plans, it was never completed. 

Bessey began attending UGP in 1989. She was looking for a place to create a spiritual family, she said. When she found UGP, she said, “It felt like I came home.” She had found what she had been searching for. Bessey said it was McGinnis’ influence that inspired her to go to seminary. 
In August 2011 Bessey returned to UGP as their minister. It was her vision to see the light tower project finished, she said. “It felt like that was a completion piece that needed to happen.” 

During the ceremony, Bessey said that now that the original plans have been completed, UGP can begin to think about expansion needed for the children’s programming. In addition to the new light tower, the UGP building includes a sanctuary, fellowship hall and kitchen, bookstore, classrooms and offices. On the grounds is a memorial meditation garden and labyrinth.
UGP offers a Sunday service and children’s programs, classes and workshops, and service opportunities in the greater Portland area. It is currently engaged in "A Season of Interfaith-Intercultural Celebration."  More information about UGP can be found at its website at

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