Coming Together With Houston »
To support the New Thought communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey, visit UnityHouston.org.
Announcement: Special benefit concert with Rickie Byars and the Unity Houston music team, led by Rev. Dr. Michael Gott, set for Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. CT. It will be broadcast live at UnityHouston.org and Facebook/Unity of Houston.
Gratefully, the Centers for Spiritual Living communities in Texas are stable, including Creative Life Spiritual Center (Rev. Dr. Jesse Jennings), CSL Clear Lake (Yvonne Ryba, RScP) and CSLDallas (Rev. Dr. Petra Weldes and Rev. Karen Fry). Our focus now is providing relief for the larger community of Unity of Houston. All proceeds will benefit the victims in the Houston area, including anyone impacted within Centers for Spiritual Living.
From Dr. Kenn Gordon »
Our prayers and treatments go out to our brothers and sisters in all rain-torn areas on earth, including Bangladesh, Southern Ontario, and especially, of course, the Gulf Coast. I have been in touch with most of our Centers in Texas and expect to hear from the rest sometime today.
As it stands today (August 30, 2017), damage to our Center in Houston is minimal, however, as you’ll be able to see when you read Dr. Jesse Jennings’s update below, it cannot yet be called over.
I want to recognize the positive example set by Yvonne Ryba, RScP, and CSL Clear Lake. After confirming the safety and security of their own community, members, and property, they organized a quick response effort to collect donations and provide immediate support to people in their neighborhood. Thanks to Facebook and other social media, people worldwide have been able to participate directly in these efforts. What a great example of our saying: “Treat, and move your feet!”
CSL Dallas also acted quickly. They are hosting, “Help Through Harmony” on Friday, September 2. It’s a fundraising concert to benefit the people of Houston and will feature a dozen local musicians.
Dr. Jesse is working with Dr. Michael Gott, a Holmes Institute graduate who is now serving at Unity in Houston. They have a three tier program for action:
- Member and Friends Support
- Physical Disaster Relief
Their intention is to focus on all of our New Thought Families in the area, as well as overall community support. With that in mind, Dr. Michael is setting up all of the infrastructures to gather and dispense donations and tithes in the area.
In the future, there will be a need for physical support including helpers, trade workers, and the like. There will be a “Live Stream” benefit hosted at Unity of Houston, tentatively on Friday, September 15th. More information will be posted on Unity of Houston’s Facebook Page or at UnityHouston.org.
Once again, as we have witnessed in other disaster areas, we can see the blessing of this situation in the positive reaction of humanity in times of distress. The coming together of communities and nations is affirming to those of us who believe in the wholeness and loving kindness of humanity. I ask you to please continue praying and treating for the citizens of these areas and to also continue to know the highest and best for all.
Below please find an update that I asked Dr. Jennings, one of our minister on the ground in Houston, to compile for us. I will continue to provide updates and progress. Please know how powerful and appreciated you are.
Dr. Kenn Gordon
Spiritual Leader, Centers for Spiritual Living
From Rev. Dr. Jesse Jennings »
Thank you all so much for your concern and reachings-out. All persons in our Creative Life Family have been accounted for, with the vast majority fine, just exhausted and stunned, because no one has ever been through anything like these last five days of rain. Then the lake dams upstream had to be opened or burst, and what was “catastrophic” became “historic.” No one wants historic.
Our Center campus stands on high ground and is sound. But a few of our families do have ruined and permanently uninhabitable homes, after water intrusion up to the second stories. People and pets were evacuated to safety, and now it’s a task of shoveling out each home’s contents, pulling up the carpet and ripping off wallboard. As soon as we can safely get the vehicles and personnel in, the work will begin. Many streets remain submerged. We have done this sort of work several times before. Along the Gulf Coast, we get wet, just not this wet. Those who come out unscathed, rather than feel guilty or weird, tend to run out to help somebody who didn’t, as folks do everywhere.
Among our local array of New Thought churches and centers, Unity of Houston is the oldest and largest. It is located on Houston’s near west side, which is densely populated and very badly flooded, and it has a congregation drawn also from a long list of other devastated neighborhoods and surrounding towns. While the Unity campus is at last report intact itself, they serve hundreds if not thousands of people who will have endured a loss from Harvey ranging from a week’s pay to a lifetime’s acquired possessions.
Serving at Unity of Houston is Dr. Michael Gott, whom many of you know well. He’s an ordained CSL minister, after graduating from the Holmes Institute where I taught him absolutely everything he knows about New Thought History. We are brothers in this work. Michael instantly consented to the idea that Unity of Houston should serve as the collection and distribution point for financial donations, funneled through New Thought Centers and Churches across Southeast Texas, to aid those who have suffered losses in the floods. Unity of Houston has the staff and the moxie to discharge this huge task crisply and creatively — by which I mean there are unusual things people really need after a disaster, not just sacks of old clothes. Our financial gifts, convertible to useful, everyday items, will make an immediate difference — that the inhabitants of this green, proud, diverse, bluesy, positively electric city we adore may get up, dry off and stand tall again.”
Jesse Jennings, D.D., Founding Minister
Creative Life Spiritual Center, Spring, Texas