Monday, February 19, 2007

Tragedy in a UU congregation

Dear readers,
My colleague Christine Riley, who is the interim minister at a church in Tennessee, is in deep water with her congregation. A fire destroyed their entire RE building with almost all its furnishings and supplies. I'm pasting in parts of her letter to me for your information and if I can figure out how to paste in a photo, that too.

If any of you are able to help, it would be greatly appreciated. Christine is a Pacific Northwesterner doing interim ministry and we in the PNWD will be reaching out as well.

Christine writes:
Hi Kit:

Thank you for taking time to be in touch.
The fire here on Friday totally-totally destroyed our Religious Education Center.
All three classrooms and their contents ... the structure itself...the kitchenette...
all are a total loss...

We are already aware that ...EVEN THOUGH...we have "replacement coverage" for both the building itself and the contents that any settlement will take time...and will
fall FAR short of what is going to be needed for replacement. It's amazing what is allowed to be "deducted" from "replacement value"....

The Thomas Jefferson District advised us to start a "FIRE FUND" here that
we can receive and separate any donations that might come. We have done so.
We get mail ONLY through our PO BOX the church is in a rural area that serves three cities and numerous area smaller towns..there is no on-site mail delivery.

That PO BOX info is:
Holston Valley UU Church
PO BOX 8383
Gray, TN 37615

At this point we are holding RE classes in rooms which we JUST built this fall on
the lower level of the new building expansion...this church IS ALREADY in the last
year of a Cap. Drive!... the rooms were just wall-boarded in and we got heat to them
about a week paint, no floors, no classroom supplies except what folks are bringing form home at this point.

I am attaching a few pics so you can see how things look here...except for the
3 inches of snow and ice that fell over the weekend ...which is now melting into
the open structure...

Your prayers, your thoughts for healing ... are most welcome, Kit...during
this time of grief and loss here.

Lay leaders and I will begin looking forward this week as a BOD Task Force is established. This congregation has already been through so much pain and challenge over the past few years...this just was not what we needed when they are now a point of optimism and are Pre-Candidating.
But is what it is...and we are dealing with it thus far in gentle fellowship.

Thank you for reaching out, Kit.

Rev.Christine Riley
Interim Minister
Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church
Gray, TN


Kinsi said...

Thanks for posting this. I emailed out to a couple of church email lists, asking for people to send them a check if they could.

Shelby Meyerhoff said...

This is terrible news. Thank you for covering it and giving information about donating. I posted this to our blog as well.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Kinsi and Shelby. All your support is really great.