Rapid Response

Thank you for checking in!

We are collecting and organizing information about our Unity ministries in the path of hurricanes and other situations. We will be posting updates here as we receive them. Thank you for your generous support of our spiritual communities!

Ministers/spiritual leaders and ministries, send your updates to Bernadette Swanson at Bernadette@unity.org.

Updates for Irma                General Info

Updates for Harvey      

From Rev Douglas Duerr, UWM Ministry Leadership Coordinator (in Houston, TX):

“At 655 square miles, the City of Houston could contain the cities of New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Miami. Houston, with 2.2 million residents, is the fourth most populous city in the United States, trailing only New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago and that’s just in the city. The storm was so widespread it touched the lives of millions beyond the well-known borders in surrounding rural towns and cities.

“In the greater Houston and surrounding areas of Texas, Hurricane Harvey may have passed, but the efforts of recovery, as with any trauma can be felt for months or even a lifetime. Over 3000 remain in shelters two weeks later, and many remain displaced from where they called home. This is a long healing journey, far beyond the media coverage and attention. The widespread devastation at times can be overwhelming, but the widespread compassion is a breathtaking example of love for one another.

“We are re-building more than properties and homes; we are re-building lives, one step at a time. One thing we know for sure, our unity in Unity is a powerful value. The love, prayers and gifts as God in expression will see us into the next beautiful evolution. On behalf of the affected ministries in the greater Houston and surrounding areas of Texas—we thank you for your prayers and support.”

How You Can Help: Harvey

Unity Worldwide Ministries is partnering with Unity of Houston, Texas, to organize relief efforts after Hurrican Harvey. Donations received on their website will be used for Unity ministries and their congregants in the southeast Texas area.

UWM will be posting updates on those ministries affected by Harvey as we receive them. We have been in touch with all the ministries in southeast Texas and are assigning point persons for each ministry. It is our intention to assist, not overwhelm, them. So many of our ministries who were affected are overwhelmed right now. We realize that email works best for most, not phone calls. That allows them to reply as they are able. Please read Rev Kelly Isola's blog post below (General Info) about how to best volunteer.

Click on the ministry name below (alphabetical by city) to be taken to their specific entry.

Unity Southeast Texas, Beaumont
Unity Spiritual Center of Corpus Christi
Unity Spiritual Center of Greater Houston, Cypress
Unity of Houston
Unity Lake Houston, Kingwood
Unity Bay Area Houston, League City
Unity Church in Rockport
Unity Circle of Light, The Woodlands

Unity Southeast Texas, Beaumont

Sept 12, 2017

“We canceled our services for the last two Sundays due to the heavy flooding in the Beaumont area from Hurricane Harvey. In many cases, members were unable to leave their homes because houses were surrounded by water. All were without public water supply from the city and many without electricity. All highways out of the city were closed and most of our back roads were covered in water. Some larger trucks were able to maneuver the high water while boats were also allowed in to assist with the many rescues. Two services without any income is a big deal for a small congregation such as our church. Many are figuring out their next steps following a storm of this magnitude. Our funds are low and ongoing expenses are great. Everyone here would greatly appreciate your prayers and any financial gifts you are called to provide on behalf of Unity of Southeast Texas. Thank you very kindly.”—Rev Joy Walker

Mailing address: Unity Southeast Texas,1555 South 23rd St, Beaumont TX 77707.

Unity Spiritual Center of Corpus Christi

Sept 12, 2017

"I had tears in my eyes Sunday as I tried to name all of the ministries that had contacted us/me. The center had minor water damage. Most of our congregants left the area during the storm and have now returned. At this point, we have no injuries or deaths and all are accounted for. Many have property damage, and some of our congregants are displaced from their homes. Personally, I was at our home near New Braunfels during the storm. We are safe! While it is easy to claim God the good when times are good, we are challenged to see the ‘good’ when people lose their lives and property. During this weather event, so many offered their prayers and support, that I feel not only blessed but also overwhelmed. The definition of ‘overwhelmed’—‘to overpower or overcome’—resonates with me. Yes, feeling overpowered by the goodness of God that shows up in our fellow human beings. We truly appreciate all the prayers and support. We feel blessed to have our Unity teachings and so few long-term issues. We hold in prayer all our brothers and sisters, especially in South Texas!"—Rev Judy Beach

To make a donation to Unity Spiritual Center of Corpus Christi Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: You will find e-giving on their website unityofcorpus.com or mail donations to Unity Spiritual Center of Corpus Christi, 4819 Saratoga Blvd, Corpus Christi TX 78413.

Unity Spiritual Center of Greater Houston, Cypress

Sept 12, 2017

The flooding, as a result of Hurricane Harvey was extensive. This spiritual community’s space is completely flooded and unusable. The assessments and the next steps are yet to be determined. Rev Don Seiler and the amazing membership have re-grouped and are meeting in temporary locations. This community honors their mission: “We are an affirming community inspiring spiritual growth through unconditional love and service.” Through the storm and beyond they show up in the most beautiful way.

To give to support their Harvey Recovery, please go to pushpay.com/pay/unitynorthhouston or text unityspirit to 77977.

Unity of Houston*

Sept 12, 2017

“At Unity of Houston we have had some water damage in our youth education building, our main sanctuary and our offices. We feel very fortunate that we have been spared the devastation in our physical campus that so many of our sister churches have experienced. Yet over 60 families and individuals in our church were affected, with new names coming in daily. Some have lost everything. We have mobilized hundreds of volunteers to help our own and others in the city. The needs change constantly and we are seeking to be responsive and prayerful. We are receiving funds from all around the world to aid in the recovery. The distribution of these generous gifts will be focused on Churches, Congregations, and Communities. We will direct the financial support to help with Unity and New Thought churches affected by Harvey, to the members of the congregations of our churches, and to the surrounding communities.”—Rev Michael Gott, Senior Minister

Gifts can be sent to Unity of Houston, 2929 Unity Drive, Houston, TX, 77057 or through our crowdsourcing web page: www.youcaring.com/victimsofhurricaneharvey-920110
 
*On Friday, September 15, at 8 p.m. (CST) in our sanctuary, we will host “Help for Houston—A Benefit Concert.” This will feature our own wonderful musicians and some special guests, including Rickie Byars. The concert will be live-streamed around the world and we hope to raise $100,000 for hurricane relief efforts. Join us here in Houston in our Sanctuary or view us online. Just join us!

Unity Lake Houston, Kingwood

Sept 12, 2017

“Our church was under five feet of water on the second floor, we had to discard almost everything. And yet, our altar stayed intact, with our Christ candle dry and upright and the Daily Word sitting there as if nothing could ever harm it. We continue our services as we meet in various places, accepting the generous offers of congregants and the community to open their homes and places of business. For us, it is a wake-up call, recognizing the cleansing aspect of this experience. And, we are in high spirits.

“Three congregants have lost their homes. Two of them are still unable to access their property. Congregants and volunteers from wherever they may have come (other denominations, convictions, ethnicities, etc.) helped to discard furniture, remove drywall, bleach studs, and engage in true compassionate service. Most of our congregation was locked in for days, including my wife Elaine and I. We lost power, experienced backed-up plumbing, and felt cut off from the rest of the world. Yet, we communicated and reached out, offering support and comfort. Our prayer chaplains and pastoral care team worked overtime to hold the space (bless them). We are safe and grateful.

“Various forms of technology helped us stay connected during the worst and beyond. We recognize Harvey's cleansing factor as we pause and reconsider our purpose. The metaphysics of Noah's story, the awakening to our spiritual nature, is not lost, as we are ready for unexpected transformations. We know that there is much beauty to come. Yet, we are still experiencing the grief and pain. We know in heart and mind that Abundance is alive. And yet, many of us are simply too exhausted to appreciate that truth. Let us be blessed with time and the loving support we receive from those whose hearts expand as they embrace us. We are grateful. Thank you. And so it is. Amen.”—Jean-Marie Schweizer

Hurricane Harvey Fund (unitylakehouston.org/donate): Any unused funds will be shared with other affected churches and charities. With an open heart and much raw emotion, we appreciate anyone's contributions.

Unity Bay Area Houston, League City

Sept 12, 2017

“We are meeting with adjusters for numerous roof leaks but our damage is manageable and facility fully functional as long as we do not have sustained rain and other than loss of income for a Sunday. More fareaching are the financial effects on our ministry from 30% who have lost homes, cars, and belongings but also all those self-employed who have business and income losses which have longer reaching effects in the ministry. I have been blessed that my personal home was surrounded by water but none entered and I maintained power throughout. One staff member had flooding. Disaster equalizes everyone as we unite in shared vulnerability and yet also in shared inspiration. PTSD and ‘survivor's guilt’ is prevalent and powerfully drives the need for safety and connection. Reminding one another that we are Indestructible Christ Consciousness is a valued gift as is human touch and being in one another's presence in action and in prayer.

“Our volunteers served over 30 families from our congregation in home cleanup. Countless others in our congregation have supported their own family members and friends. The urgency of removing toxic waters and mud before mold multiplies is still critical. Another 30+ families have been served as of 9/6/17 with cleaning supplies, gift cards and spiritual support. We have attempted to fill the initial crisis support gap for as many as we can as others arrive from around the country.

“We are now working to find temporary housing and autos to support many through their losses. Thank you to everyone for all of the prayers, love, blessings, and support through this journey."—Rev Kyra Baehr

Support our ministry at www.unityofbayarea.org/donate. If you note a designation of Harvey Hurricane Relief, funds will go directly to those in need. The mailing address is Unity Bay Area Houston, 1911 Hwy 3 S, League City TX 77573

Sept 2, 2017

Harvey Relief and Flood Update from Rev Kyra Baehr, Unity Bay Area Houston, League City, Texas

Unity Church in Rockport

Sept 12, 2017

The Church in Rockport has sustained damage. The full assessment is unavailable at this time. The City remains closed for safety concerns. Many evacuated for safety and have not yet returned to their homes to assess the next steps of recovery.

We hold Rockport and this community in our prayers. Unity Church in Rockport is currently without a minister. We hold the high watch of Divine Order, Strength and Faith for this community that has been in sacred service for more than 35 years. We affirm Divine Love in action as this community begins their healing journey. As their mission statement affirms, “To provide all a gathering place to experience love, acceptance, spiritual growth and their oneness with God” we too hold this mission in the Light with them.

You will find a PayPal link on their website for e-giving.

Unity Circle of Light, The Woodlands

Sept 12, 2017

“Even though Roger and I evacuated by boat because of rising waters, we returned to our home two days later to find that we had no flooding in our home. The ministry property, though, was another story. We have been a church for almost twenty years, and until this July, we have met in temporary locations. We had our first service in our new sanctuary on July 9, 2017. Our new sanctuary and our fellowship house both flooded. Members and friends have stepped up to remove furniture, rip out carpeting, remove sheet rock, and pull up flooring. Our new sanctuary will need sheet rock, paint, new carpet, bathroom repair, a new refrigerator, and many other things to operate the church. Most everything in our fellowship house is gone, including our entire kitchen.

“We had a brief prayer service last Sunday in our foyer. We plan to continue at least that practice in the weeks ahead. We're taking it one day at a time. As a church, we've learned that love and support come from places you've never expected. The light of God shows up in numbers of ways, always as the presence of fellow citizens of our wonderful planet. We have had numbers of volunteers helping us who are fellow members of our local Faiths Together organization. It is a huge blessing to be connected with Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, B'hai, as well as, Christian groups, primarily LDS, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Lutherans. A local mosque brought us lunch on two occasions. We are blessed! We send love and gratitude to all.”—Rev Jerry Roberts

UCL Flood Recovery: www.gofundme.com/unitycircleoflight. Our church mailing address is Unity Circle of Light, PO Box 132225, The Woodlands Texas 77393.
 

Updates for IrmaHurricane Irma Destroys Homes on St John, VI

Photo of St John, Virgin Islands

Sept 18, 2017

From Allison Smith, St John, VI: "Please help me spread the word today to all of Unity that our little island and Unity of St John and Unity of St Croix are in extreme circumstances and need of powerful prayers for protection. In an unprecedented, unbelievable chain of events, our island was devastated by the strongest hurricane in recorded history, Hurricane Irma, less than two weeks ago and now it's predicted that we'll be hit again with Category 3 Hurricane Maria, tomorrow. (Tuesday, 9/19). The majority of homes on St John were destroyed and the remainder are damaged. What's left of our fragile island is extremely vulnerable and our people are traumatized and in emotional shock. They are being evacuated by the Coast Guard at this moment. Every spiritual voice, every thought, every prayer needs to be focused now on the safety of our island, our people, the immediate future, seeing protection surrounding our lives and our island. Considering the Law of Mind Action, I'm calling for powerful visualizations of the storm going well to the south of the Virgin Islands, blowing out in to the Caribbean Sea, away from land. And seeing the property and people surrounded in a bubble of safety, love and protection. Thanks to all my Unity fam who have been so supportive to me during this time. Love you all so much!"

Sept 13, 2017

Rev Daybree Thoms posted on Facebook: "Unity of the Keys [Spiritual Center, Key West, Fla.] website is now set up to accept donations for our Irma restoration fund: at www.unityofthekeys.org. Our church and community are facing a variety of challenges after the impact of Hurricane Irma. We’ve set up a specific recovery fund for those who would like to contribute to our roof repair and grounds restoration projects. Any monies not used will be distributed among other churches, the individual needs of our community members related to the hurricane, and the community-at-large. Thank you and God Bless you for your generosity."

Sept 12, 2017

Rev Carrie Kenyon had contact with Allison Smith, spiritual leader, Unity of St John, Virgin Islands. 50% of the homes are destroyed and most of the boats are destroyed or sunk. The church office with the Daily Word is still standing. To donate: unityofstjohn.org. Or checks can be mailed to: Unity of St John, PO Box 1711, St John VI 00831. Make checks out to Unity of St. John. "I'll be sure 100% of funds are distributed and used to help hurricane relief. We're an all volunteer organization, including me!" (photo of St John, VI)

Lisa, board president, from Unity of Naples, Fla., called and their sanctuary and buildings are completely intact. They have trees down and there is flooding but their church is not. They are going to resume services there on the Sept 24th. Lisa also shared that there were 7 people from Unity Church of Bonita Springs, Fla., who were hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning from a malfunctioning generator and to please hold them in prayer.

Rev Temple Hayes posted on Facebook: "First Unity Spiritual Campus [St Petersburg, Fla.] where I have the good pleasure of being the Spiritual Leader had very little damage. All easy to repair."

Sept 7, 2017

Rev Carrie Kenyon reports, "I have talked with the minister, Rev Daybree Thoms, in Unity of the Keys Spiritual Center, Key West, Fla. The church is shuttered and everyone has been evacuated so all are safe and secure. She said the sun is shining and everything is calm right now. The prayers are appreciated and she sends love to everyone."

Rev Xiomara Malagon reports, "Rev Esther Mantilla from Puerto Rico shared that they are doing well. I am waiting to hear from the ministers in Dominican Republic, but I think they are okay. We continue to hold everyone in our hearts and prayers, specially those in Florida."

General Info

"I Want to Give" Rev Kelly Isola is a Disaster Response/Recovery Chaplain, with lots of education, training and certifications from FEMA. Her blog is on how to donate and volunteer because "so many don't know what to do or how to organize and often people start doing their own thing and forget to connect with the larger network." In our desire to help, we sometimes become part of the problem of overwhelming the recipients.