Rapid Response

Thank you for checking in!

We are collecting and organizing information about our Unity ministries in the path of hurricanes, wildfires, 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 BSwanson@unity.org.

Before you send donations: Please read Rev Kelly Isola's article about donating after a disaster. Hierarchy of donations: cash, online donations, check. Some disaster locations may not have postal service or recipients can't get to a bank. Do not send stuff! Some donations of items are not helpful if ministries have no place to store supplies. When in doubt, contact the ministry via email first or by phone.

You can also donate to our Help Unity Grow (HUG) Fund. On our Donate page, under Donor Information, select Other from the Donor's Designation dropdown menu, and type HUG Fund in the Other field. Please note that the HUG Fund is designed to help ministries, not individuals.

We are also collecting articles on preparing for emergencies in your spiritual communities. These are also in the Resources section.

 


Please Join Us in Prayer for Those Affected by the Earthquakes in Puerto Rico

We see the presence of God with the people of Puerto Rico as they deal with the effects of the earthquakes throughout their beloved island. We affirm safety for all: people, wildlife, and all of nature. We see resources showing up to lift up, comfort, and renew the people of Puerto Rico. We especially bless those who work to restore services, strengthen buildings, and provide for the safety and security of all the inhabitants of the island. We claim this in the name of Jesus our Wayshower. And so it is. Amen.
 

 

Disaster & Emergency Resources

Jump down to updates for the earthquakes in Puerto Rico

Jump down to updates for California Wildfires  

Jump down to updates for Hurricane Dorian

 


Updates for Australia

November 11, 2019

From Rev. Anne Hickey, Melbourne, Australia
Can you please include Australia in your prayers over the next few days? The drought, along with extreme winds, is creating the most catastrophic fire conditions in 40 years in three of our states. There have been many homes lost and some loss of life in country areas. All prayers are most appreciated.

 


Updates for the Earthquakes in Puerto Rico

January 9, 2020

We received updates on the ministries in Puerto Rico from Rev. Esther O. Mantilla.

 


Updates for California Wildfires

Knowing that God is a love that has no end and a power that knows no bounds, we affirm that divine protection enfolds everyone in the path of the California wildfires. All people, pets, and wildlife are guided to safety as the fires are swiftly contained. We bless all fire fighters and aid workers, seeing them protected, strengthened, and guided. May everyone involved feel the healing peace and love of Spirit. And so it is. Amen.

November 18, 2019

From Rev. Alyzsa Van Til
Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. I still need them. Somehow I don't seem to be getting over this trauma … as quickly as I might have at a younger age. Loving Blessings, Alyzsa

 

November 8, 2019

From Diane Monson, Administrator at Unity of Oroville, California (Rev. Kathy Zavada, Spiritual Leader)
Today we observed a few minutes of silence at 11 a.m. with a circle of loving friends. Here is a very good account of the local situation. Additionally though many people got insurance checks right away, now, a year later, some are suing those insurance companies for failing to reimburse properly for contents lost. Some bought houses in my very good Oroville neighborhood that were 60 years old and in need of every infrastructure (electric, plumbing, French drains, roofs, gutters, tree removal) improvement, all payable in 100k+ cash (we know because we spent it ourselves over the last two years). And now they are paying $4,000/ year in property taxes and larger insurance premiums and they are struggling, sigh. So even the best case scenarios for survivors is not great around here.10,000 people are believed to have left Butte County altogether. By the grace of God we have a prosperous church with no debt and a truly inspired SL [spiritual leader: Kathy Zavada]. Goodness knows how much counseling she has done this past year. We have been able to open the doors of our little church to embrace the many who have walked in, stunned and confused, to seek solace. Our mission is to bring hope and perspective to those affected so deeply. I think we have been successful. Thank you so much for your continued prayer.

One Year After California’s Deadliest Wildfire, Many Still Don’t Have a Place to Call Home


 

November 7, 2019

From Rev. Alyzsa Van Til
I live in Windsor and had to evacuate. The fire was only six blocks from my house. I am blessed to have a son in the area, so no major problem. And, everything is fine at home—no damage. Thanks for your prayers.

 

From John Gallaway, CFO of Unity Spiritual Center in Napa Valley, Napa, California
The congregation at Unity Spiritual Center in Napa Valley was not directly impacted by the Kincade Fire, but members living in the city of Saint Helena were on alert for possible evacuation should the fire have moved further to the southeast. We join you in prayer for those many hundreds of thousands of people in Northern and Southern California who needed to evacuate to safe locations and whose hardships are temporary, or very sadly, permanent. We have asked for prayers for these souls through Silent Unity, as well. As individuals and as a congregation, we are grateful for the blessings that support and nourish us and include this gratitude for your loving email of concern and support. May you be safe and blessed and we know that UWM is a resource that we can turn to for assistance.

 

From Diane Monson, Administrator at Unity of Oroville, California (Rev. Kathy Zavada, Spiritual Leader)
We are fire free in the north state this year...however we are also rain free. We have not even been affected by smoke this year! We have been “blacked out” for a couple of days by PG&E power company once or twice this summer at the church, but they seem to have since decided we are in a safe location and the last few shut downs have not affected our church electricity. Many of our congregants are going without electricity at home for 4-5 days at a time (we have had five long shutdowns in the last several months). We are adaptable and have some clever ways of surviving the outages, but it is of grave concern for the long term. We so appreciate your prayers and we hope to have good news regarding rainfall soon. [They were devastated in 2018 and Rev. Kathy lost her home.]

 

From Sharie Lieberg, Board President at Unity of Ventura, California
Luckily, all of the Unity of Ventura folks are doing well. We had some local scares, but everyone is fine—no loss of homes or property like the last two years. I am not aware of any other local ministries that are suffering damage from the fires. You might check out the Northern California ministries, where fire has had a much bigger impact. Thank you so much for your prayers!  No wonder we felt so protected.

 

From Sue Barton, Chair of the Ministerial Search Team, Unity Center of Davis, California
Thank you for your concern for our state. Many of us lost power which might have been the result of PG&E shutdown or the impact of 50 mph winds and trees knocking out power. Most of us know of family or friends who were in harm’s way and either chose to evacuate because of the smoke or were told to leave. Communities near the fires didn't have power for multiple days. No loss of life but for some loss of everything. The unusually hot weather and winds are a new thing and perhaps the new normal with climate change. We are mindful, awake, and cautious.

 

October 29, 2019

From Karol Ann Scotta, Spiritual Leader, Unity of The Westside, Culver City, California
We are all safe. It is very smoky in the air, but the fires are still north of us. I checked on Rev. Karen [Epps] in Pasadena (Unity of Pasadena) and they are fine too. The prayer of the week out here is “Peace, be still.” Tonight we are told to expect winds. I am expecting a miracle! Thank you for holding us in prayer.

 


Updates for Hurricane Dorian

9/4/19
We were able to contact retired Rev. Karen Barrett about Unity Centre of Light Bahamas in Nassau, Bahamas. They had flooding outside but not inside their center. She suggested donations to the Red Cross and Salvation Army as they have the infrastructure to access and help folks.

 

 


Disaster & Emergency Resources

"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.

Crisis Preparation. Tragedies invite us to be aware and consider how we can best create a space of safety in our ministries. This article from Thom Rainer may help you to think into this.

Protecting Your Congregation. An article from Christianity Today has advice for ministry leaders in protecting your spiritual community from a gunman.