“Breezing Hand-in-Hand Through the Cosmos”
Reverend Lawrence (Larry Schneider) and Partner-in-Ministry Paula Schneider
Told by Paula Schneider
Reverend Larry entered this incarnation on April 4, 1946 and slipped from the veil on January 8, 2023. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, he spent most of his youth in Florida. He often reflected, with great fondness, years of riding his bike on Clearwater Beach, a few blocks from his home. After graduating from Clearwater High School in 1965, he served in Korea as a member of the Air Force for four years and signed back up to serve for two years as a Medic in the Air National Guard in Tennessee.
His love of education and learning quickened in the 1970’s, and before it culminated in an ABD in 1985, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health education and public health administration, respectively. In 1984, we met in Houston at the University of Texas where we enjoyed classes together, and for years afterward, he told people, “I found something I wanted more than degrees, and that was Paula.” This pleased me to no end, as I was in love with this great soul from the first date, which was Thanksgiving Eve, 1984. We joined our lives that night and then officially on May 5, 1987.
Thus began our great love affair and a meaningful life together of teaching, learning, growing, and serving. In the late 1990’s, while members of Unity of Tallahassee, Larry heard the invitation to be a Unity minister. At the same time, he got a job offer from the prestigious George Washington University to be a professor there. He was torn between that opportunity and ministry. There were, of course, advantages to each choice. One day during the decision process, I queried Larry, “Can you teach what you really want to teach at George Washington University?” to which he replied after a few seconds of thought, “No,” and the next leg of the adventure began.
Together, we packed up and moved to Lee’s Summit. Another sacrifice was made—one made by me. I had just been offered an instructor’s teaching position at Florida State University which was inviting, but not compelling enough to give up walking Larry’s new life with him in MEP and then in ministry. I knew then that I would be his support through the program, but I also knew he would be my support. This was just the way we were in our marriage.
After graduating from MEP and being ordained a Unity minister in 2002, we decided to move west, and a position was open at Unity Church of Today in Gardnerville, Nevada. Larry accepted the offer of Minister, and we packed up again and moved to the beautiful Carson Valley, where we fell in love with open spaces, skies, deserts, cows, and mountains. This felt like home. Larry began his ministry and I continued mine which had begun in Kansas City—hospice nursing. But my role expanded beyond hospice--I was now a minister’s wife. I continued to work in hospice for eight years after we moved to Minden, Nevada.
I enjoyed teaching almost as much as Larry did, and together we gave workshops and taught classes for Unity Truth students. Our favorite class was teaching metaphysical Bible interpretation, and this study group continued for 15 years or more, and even beyond Larry’s transition on January 8, 2023, under my guidance. Ever the writer, I assisted Larry with creating class descriptions, syllabi and handouts. I was his very willing sounding board as he developed weekly lessons and classes for church members. I attended almost every Sunday service, sitting right in the front row. I always felt so proud to sit there, to be with him, as his life partner and love. He told me many times how much he loved looking over at me sitting there with and for him. All these things were done with tremendous love and respect for Larry and belief in our joint mission which was to help people understand and experience, for themselves, the beauty of the Unity message and to encourage them to develop their personal relationship with God.
About 10 weeks after Larry made his transition in early January, I was awakened in the middle of the night (by whom or what—you decide) with the idea of transcribing each of Larry’s recorded lessons into the written word. At that time, I had totally forgotten all about the 150 cassette tapes in a closet. There also were many CD’s and DVD’s that would eventually undergo a transformation and be in a volume.
Thus began a project that will probably continue until I join Larry on the other side and could total as many as 10 volumes. Volume I is complete and is available by PDF and hard copy. In working with his lessons, I have discovered dimensions of Larry’s wonderful soul that I did not know existed, and my personal growth and understanding are deepening as this project continues. I have been propelled into a universe of awe and wonder, a cosmos that Larry and I joyfully continue to soar through as we explore, discuss, and serve the Ground of All Being in this marvelous universe.
Hi Friends —
Here is a Unity Love Story—as told by Paula Schneider, hospice nurse, wife and partner in ministry with Rev. Larry Schneider, who transitioned this past January. Paula has kept busy compiling Larry's Sunday lessons and she has completed the first volume, available for us to download.
But it just may be that their greatest legacy is not Larry's lessons, nor her compilation of Larry's lessons, but rather their life together, a partnership of love and ministry. Paula shared with me,
"I absolutely adored Larry. He was my rock, my teacher, my supporter, my only true love. He was my everything... I miss him so much. I think doing 'Larry's Lessons' may have saved my life and my sanity... I know he's here protecting and loving me, as he always did. He has "visited" me in my dream life and I know they are not dreams. They are gifts of love, and ways for him to open the door to me--to invite me to explore that place in consciousness where he now resides and continues the journey."
How should we measure a ministry? I collect lots of artifacts of ministry here on TruthUnity—audio, books, sermons and so forth. They all inspire. But what is truly transformative is what opens our heart. Thanks to Paula and her beloved life partner Larry, that is what we have this morning.
Sunday, August 13, 2023