UPDATE 2: UUEmergency has been set up by UU for immediate communication with the UU family. Dr. Dockery has provided an update, and you can get all the up-to-date information include images from this temporary site.
UPDATE: Watch CNN video coverage of Union University (more videos are at the bottom of the CNN page). Listen to Tim Ellsworth in an interview with WKRN. Associated Press report, “University Dorms Smashed at Tenn. School“. Denny Burk has an NBC video where Dr. Dockery was interviewed early in the morning. Baptist Press is using their old blog as their center for Union updates.
Like many of you, my wife and I were hunkered down with baby Nolan last night in the bathroom with our weather radio and pillows as the tornado sirens went off. As the storm passed, I quickly came to hear the news that Jackson, Tennessee was severely hit with tornadoes. I was greatly concerned because some of the dearest people in my life, and the greatest Christian college in the United States–Union University, dwell there.
According to reports and from talking with people on the ground, UU is devastated. Over 50 students were injured, 8 with serious injuries, while 12 other students were trapped in the debris for hours. None of the injuries appear life-threatening, and there has been no loss of life. The men’s and women’s dormitories have all been destroyed, and it is already estimated that the damage is around $50 million. Dr. Dockery was interviewed by CNN earlier this morning, noting that of the 1100 cars on campus, only 100 did not receive any damage. Tim Ellsworth, a fellow blogger and UU public relations director, is disseminating information through alternative outlets since the UU website is down.
Please pray for Union and the people of Jackson. This school exists for the glory of God and to train young men and women to develop a Christian worldview bigger than any storm they could ever experience. Perhaps there will never be a greater time to apply what they have been taught than the day after their world is turned upside down. I personally do not know of another group of people better spiritually prepared to handle a crisis like this than David Dockery (president), Greg Thornbury (dean), and the entire administration of UU.
And yet selfishly my heart is heavy. Dr. Dockery has become a father to me in recent years, and he has dedicated his life to making Union the best Christian college in the world. His son Ben, and his wife Julie, are dear friends, and they recently left Louisville to work as campus ministers at Union. Please pray that God will give them wisdom, comfort, strength, and perseverance as they seek to minister to students and their families during this time.
Below are some news articles on Union and the events that have occurred since the tornado:
- Union needs help to cleanup (Jackson Sun)
- Students freed by midnight (Jackson Sun)
- Tornado Strikes Union University (Baptist Press)
- Students Trapped at Union (Jackson Sun)
- Storms Tear Through Union University, Jackson (WKRN)
- David Dockery says damage is 10x worse than the last… from Thoughts and Adventures
- Pray for Union University & Jackson, TN from Reformissionary
- Baptist Press: “Tornado Strikes Union University” from Thoughts and Adventures
- Tornado Hits Union University; Students Trapped from Denny Burk