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.
We are also collecting articles on preparing for emergencies in your spiritual communities. These are also in the Resources section.
Updates for Hurricane Florence
From Rev. Joanne Burns, Unity Spiritual Center of Panama City, Florida
At Unity Spiritual Center of Panama City the building is standing. No broken windows. Many trees snapped with 2 trees leaning on education wing over kids classroom. A tree went through center of gazebo we just renovated for the garden wedding scheduled for Oct 20. So that's another story. Road sign standing but information gone. Roof leaking and wall edges at floor leaking in various places, wet carpet in my office, main office, hallway, sanctuary, teen room and chapel. Chapel outer wall missing shingles in a patch about 5'x12' so a lot of wet carpet there. A few spots on the building have small damage where something flew into building. That's my first report in visiting home and center. We are attempting to connect with as many congregants as possible but local communication is challenging. The town is a mess with all the power lines and trees down. I'll check in when I can.
From Rev. Catherine Klein, Crystal Coast Unity, Atlantic Beach, NC.
Rev. Catherine Klein reports that their recovery is well under way. They had a lot of congregants with a lot of property losses, but no one hurt. They spent a good deal of time on healing. She reports that Spirits are high and Unity principles are helping people through. They are getting lots of help from the community.
From Rev. Mindy Tucker & Rev. Nickie Golden, Unity of Wilmington, N.C.
Thank you for your prayers of strength and comfort. Unity of Wilmington, North Carolina, was blessed to come through Hurricane Florence with very little damage. The church property was an island unto itself in a neighborhood of devastation. A number of very large broken branches clung to tall trees or fell in such a way that they “kissed” our building. Other than removing that debris and losing the contents of a well-stocked refrigerator, we lost our beloved oven due to numerous power surges.
The greater Wilmington community as a whole is working very hard at recovery. There are places the government hasn’t even gotten into yet. Within our Unity community, two homes were completely destroyed, six severely damaged by fallen trees, and dozens more affected by water damage. We are supporting those folks as best we can.
As a spiritual community, we are grateful for your support, as are our fellow Unity communities of Crystal Coast Unity [in Atlantic Beach], who lost portions of their roof and Unity Center of Peace in Chapel Hill whose downstairs rooms were ruined by flooding. Thank you for standing with us in this time of restoration.
Mindy suggested donating to Crystal Coast or Center of Peace or Red Cross.
From Rev. Victoria Loveland-Coen, Unity Center of Peace, Chapel Hill, NC: We were fine during the hurricane itself, but the ensuing flooding caused some problems in our building. We rent out our downstairs to a preschool and that part of our building was flooded. We were fortunate to get a flood mitigation service in right away and they took care of it, and the preschool was back in operation the following week. Our gravel parking lot suffered some damage as well and we'll have to get it resurfaced. All in all, we fared pretty well. In the end the damage will come to around $5,000. Our prayers go out to those in Wilmington, Myrtle Beach and Crystal Coast—and all living in the coastal areas.
Unity of the Triangle, Raleigh, NC:
All is well.
Aug 30, 2018
From Rev Deb Knowles, Unity of Kona, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii:
The Kona side made it thru the hurricane pretty well. The Hilo side & up north & down south got the most Eleanor & wind. Since the volcano stopped erupting we are having some nice weather again in Kona. Still some VOG but nothing like before!
Dec 7, 2017
From Rev Cathy Norman, Unity Church of Ventura, Calif.:
Hello there, fellow Ministers! My church congregation at Unity Church of Ventura is in need of your prayers. There have been some who have lost their homes and pets to the fires. Many of us had to evacuate our homes and do not know what to expect. However, I ask that you join me in this prayer:
The power and presence of God is everywhere present—therefore, I know those affected by the California fires, their families, friends, homes, pets, jobs, and businesses are being blessed by the all providing power of God.
To the Santa Anna winds and raging fires, I say, in the name and through the power of Jesus Christ, “Peace be still.” I see the full power of God calming the winds and extinguishing the fires—Peace be still, Peace be still! And so it is! It is done! Amen!
Dec 6, 2017
We hold Unity of Ventura, the surrounding county and the Los Angeles area in our prayers. We see all residents, emergency responders and animals safe during this round of wildfires.
Oct 23, 2017
From Margaret Flick: We are grateful that over 18 states sent firefighters to help us out.
Oct 17, 2017
Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center in Vacaville (Rev Dalia Adams) was on evacuation alert but only a few in the congregation had to do that.
Further north, Unity of Santa Rosa was closer to the fire. Most had to evacuate and one congregant lost their house. There were some neighborhoods that were burned down but the fire stopped one block away from the church so the church is still standing. They haven’t been able to get in yet with all the smoke but plan on having a service there this Sunday. The minister, Margaret Flick, will send more information as she knows more.
Oct 16, 2017
Diane Pletcher (UWM Central Office) had contact with Unity Church in Napa Valley, Napa, Calif. They were without power for 2 and a half days and have had a few congregants that have been evacuated. The air quality is poor with lots of smoke, but not too bad if you stay inside. They are in waiting mode and request prayer for calm and no winds.
Oct 11, 2017
We are just starting to get information from California. Revs Sonya and Hal Milton from Napa have reported in as safe. Rev Margaret Flick said Unity of Santa Rosa is okay however some of the congregants have had to evacuate.
"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.