Unity Worldwide Ministries congratulates Unity of Joplin, Mo., for modeling how a ministry can recover from tragedy and emerge on the other side vibrant and renewed. We also celebrate all of the loving financial support provided to Unity of Joplin by our Unity leaders and ministries.
On May 22, 2011, at 5:38 p.m., Joplin, Missouri was hit by an F5 tornado. Out of the destruction, devastation and rubble, Unity of Joplin showed its heart and conviction for the Unity principles and teachings. The building was leveled on a Sunday evening, but by the following Sunday, the spiritual community met in a local trade school, where they continued to meet until they bought their new building. The new sign is a monument of this spiritual community’s successful walk from its past to its bright future.
Gordon Keyler, LUT and current spiritual leader, shares, “A beautiful stain glass window was commissioned by Janet Garvin in honor of her mother, Virginia Diles, a long-standing member in the community. It was installed on May 21, 2011. The next day the building was destroyed in the tornado. The pattern of the window was one of the few things the community had left. The community remade [the window] and included it in its new sign. The spirit of this community, represented by this glass, inspired me to come to Joplin. To me it is the knowledge that though an event may appear tragic and overwhelming, the beauty that is life, the spirit of love that is God, and the strength of our people can never be lost or destroyed.”
Under the courageous guidance of Rev Kelly Isola, interim minister from June 2011 to July 2014, Unity of Joplin came back to life like the phoenix from the fire. Click here to see a video montage of their renewal. The creation of the new sign was Kelly’s last project of service to the community before she departed.
Although pictures are worth a thousand words, music takes us to a personal experience of this amazing journey. Janell Sitton-Coats, a musician and member of the ministry, shared a song she wrote, “We Were Never a Building,” at the Sound Connections Music Conference 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri.
For more information, visit Unity of Joplin’s newly created website at www.UnityofJoplin.org.
Identifying with the Unity Movement
In February of 2013 the ministry decided to join the Unity Identity Program and display its new logo and look in the new sign gracing its front yard. The Unity Identity Program continues to grow, now including: 3 international organizations, all 7 continental regions, 1 sub-region, 201 US ministries, 10 Canadian ministries and 3 alternative ministries. For information how your ministry can join the Unity Identity Program, go to www.unity.org/branding or connect with Debbie Allen at 816.434.6831, or email [email protected].