Devastated – Please Pray for Union University

Tim Brister —  February 6, 2008 — 7 Comments

UPDATE 3: Steve McCoy has a lengthy video posted from HotNewz.TV where they interview UU students.   Tim Ellsworth shares this thoughts on “the most intense day” of his life.

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:



Mark Inman is a student of UU and is posting pictures of the Union which you can find here. Cam Tracy has also collected photos which can be found here.

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  • I’m a Union alum, graduated in ’93 & ’94, and to your statement about Union being the greatest Christian university in the world, I offer a hearty AMEN! There is no place like Union, and I love it as much now if not more than I did while I was on campus. I still have dear friends on the faculty and my heart breaks for the entire Union community. Seeing those buildings where I spent some of the best years of my life destroyed has left me in tears since last night, but I know that Union will not only survive, she will thrive, and she’ll do what she’s always done — bring glory to Jesus Christ.

    May Union’s light shine brighter than every during these dark hours!

  • Lord we thank you for the many deliverances and testimonies that will come forth from the Union University tornado strikes. Lord I thank you that you spared the lives of many.

    Psalm 91 is even more POIGNANT than ever at times like this. Let us give thanks in all things.
    Trust in the Lord. He will deliver us according to His tender love and mercy. This is a harsh world, where good is called bad and bad is called good, and calamaties occur with more frequency and power, yet God’s Word is eternal. One day all these th ings will be melted away, even to their elements, but “lay up for yourselves riches in heaven which moth nor rust can destroy.” Those are souls saved in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Live in Jesus shelter and f ind rest in Him. He is a mighty fortress and a high tower that no tornado can tear down! He loves you and will rescue you out of whatever calamity is in front of you, even though you are walking through the valley of death. Do not fear beloved, for He, the Most High, is with y ou.

    1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
    2 This I declare about the Lord:
    He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
    3 For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
    4 He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
    5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
    6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
    7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
    8 Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.

    9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
    10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
    11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
    12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
    13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

    14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
    15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
    16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

    David Knoerr

  • Mary Creekmore

    My daughter attends North Greenville University in Greenville, SC but she has a good friend at Union. She was so worried last night after hearing what happened. We thank God everyone will be (physically) okay. God bless you all as you struggle to cope with this tragedy. Our prayers are with you.

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