At least three Unitarian Universalist congregations on the coast of the Carolinas have been “hit hard” by Hurricane Florence, but not much else was known on Friday, according to Rev. Dawn Skjei Cooley, a member of the Congregational Life staff in the Southern Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The UU Fellowship of Beaufort, South Carolina, the UU Fellowship in New Bern, North Carolina, and the Unitarian Coastal Fellowship in Morehead, North Carolina have been walloped by the Category 1 hurricane, which made landfall today, Cooley said. The extent of the impact on the congregations and their larger communities, and how badly other congregations were hit, won’t be known for several days at least.
The UUA has a disaster relief fund to provide immediate assistance to congregations affected by this hurricane or other disasters. UUs are encouraged to donate to the fund, and congregations in need are encouraged to apply.
In the city of New Bern, North Carolina, first responders had rescued more than 200 people from rising waters by mid-morning Friday, according to CNN. The storm surge had risen to 10 feet and more people are awaiting rescue, CNN reported, adding that forecasters expect 40 inches of rain in some parts of the Carolinas.
In light of the hurricane’s impending arrival, a number of UU congregations along the coast of Virginia and the Carolinas had decided to cancel meetings this week and Sunday services for September 16. Many communities along the coast were under mandatory evacuation orders as the storm approached.