Monday, January 12, 2009

New Website and News Blog

Thanks for checking up on Unity Christian School's blog. We have recently changed over our website, which you can see by clicking here. Also, that site includes a news blog, which you can check out here. That news blog will be updated as UCS news is made available. And, of course, check out the new blog (link above) often for interesting pieces by and about UCS and its students, parents, faculty and staff members.

Barring any difficulties with the new site and blog, we do not intend to use this blog any longer.

In case the links posted above don't work, they are pasted below. Just copy and paste them into your browser for the new website and blog.

New website:

News blog:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

UCS Receives Approval for Special Use Permit for Proposed New Campus Located at the End of Wilbanks Road.

Last night the Floyd County Commission held a public hearing regarding the Unity Christian School application for a Special Use Permit for the possible new campus location. The UCS application was the fourth and last public hearing on the commission's agenda.

After waiting nearly two-hours through three hearings we were asked to present our case. The UCS application was opposed by two individuals from the Wilbanks Road neighborhood. Speaking on behalf of UCS were headmaster Glenn Getchell; board member, founding pastor, and parent David Harper; board member and parent Joel Holcombe; and current property owner Kelly Hudson.

The evening could best be described as a night of contrasts. Preceding the UCS hearing was a highly contested hearing in reference to a low-level sewer treatment facility operating in the Lindale community. The applicant and those in opposition were at completely different sides of the table. Although everyone remained civil, there were negative accusations from both sides. In the end, the commissioners voted to approve the special use permit with a few stipulations and the local homeowners left quite dissatisfied with the decision.

On the other hand, when it was time for the UCS hearing, County Commission Chairman Dr. Jerry Jennings opened by commending the students who had attended what was labeled by one commissioner as the longest public meeting he could recall. Even though people opposed to the application were in attendance and ready to speak, the atmosphere surrounding the room was light.

Mr. Getchell began the UCS presentation by commenting on the impact UCS has on Floyd County. He was followed by Pastor Harper, who spoke about the impact UCS has had on local churches and his sons, who have attended UCS since the school opened in 1998.

The two residents who spoke in opposition did so not out of disdain for the school desiring to locate in their community, but out of concern regarding the quality of Wilbanks Road and its entrance and exit location onto the Rome Bypass. Following the opposition presentations, Mr. Holcombe and Mr. Hudson provided the rebuttal to the opposition. Throughout the entire process there was an attitude of respect and even a desire to work together to resolve any potential traffic flow issues.

Upon closing the public hearing, the commissioners were led in discussion by Chairman Jennings. He spoke of his desire to see this project move forward and even enlisted the assistance of county manager Kevin Poe. The commission voted unanimously, with an abstention by Commissioner Chad Whitefield. Commissioner Whitefield abstained on the basis that he is the chair of the Building Unity Capital Campaign and his children attend UCS.

The most amazing part of the process was when it was completed and UCS administration, board members, faculty, and parents had the opportunity to join together with their future Wilbanks Road neighbors as a team. This newly formed team will work together with the county in developing a plan for safe ingress and egress onto Wilbanks Road.

To sum up the night, we were able to see God’s hand at work as the UCS board of directors continues to walk through the doors He has opened for them as they pursue this parcel of land. It was wonderful to see how a group of people could begin a meeting with differing opinions about an issue, but end the meeting not only on the same page, but valuing each other as teammates for an important cause. God worked all that out to make the evening end on a better note than had been dreamed of prior to the start of the meeting.

Once again God deserves the glory for all of the good He has done.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saying Goodbye to One of God's Royal Heirs

Honoring Mrs. Angela Thompson
September 29, 2008

What an honor it is to be standing before you today. A day when my emotions have run the gamut from unmistakable joy in knowing that a beloved sister in Christ is rejoicing with her Savior and with unmatched sadness because I will never again have the chance to watch the Mrs. Thompson masterfully mold a group of students into a family of loving, caring and “Royal Heirs.” Hebrews 11 is a wonderful tribute to the “heroes of the faith.” We read of great warriors of God who were used to shape history in one way or another. We also read of great warriors of God who were lesser known or even unknown to most, but not to God. It is said that these warriors of God were battered and bruised, beaten and crushed, all because of their undying devotion to the Lord. The passage concludes that all of these warriors were “commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that together with us they would be made perfect.” That “something better for us” is that we have had the privilege of being called to follow the Risen and One True Messiah, Jesus Christ! And because of Him, Mrs. T will live for eternity with God, but also with us in our hearts and minds. Mrs. Angela Thompson was a warrior for Christ that we would all do well to imitate.

Mrs. T was saved at in her mid-teens and immediately felt called to serve as a teacher in Christian education. At that time she was a student at Tabernacle Christian School. Upon graduating from Tabernacle Christian she attended Hyles/Anderson College where she earned a bachelor of science in elementary education. It was while she attended Hyles/Anderson that she met her husband Todd. In fact, as I understand it Todd and Angie started out as friends. They eventually began spending more time together and were falling in love. However, as most of us men have trouble doing, Todd wasn’t sure exactly how to make his feelings known. So, over one summer as they were apart Todd would write Angie letters and cards. He was always careful to sign them “Your Friend, Todd.” Angie would read those letters and cards and say to her sister Robin, “If he just wants to be friends, then fine, friends we will be.” She would tell Todd stories of guys that were interested in her because, after all, they were just “friends.” Well eventually, Todd would come to realize that Angie was the one the Lord had set out for him and he asked Angie’s dad for permission to marry Angie. It was Todd’s intention to do this at the Valentine’s Formal in a few months, but Mr. Caudle suggested that Todd do it right away. So that night the family got together for dinner and during that dinner in front of her entire family, Todd Thompson got on a knee and proposed to Angie. Not surprisingly, Angie was embarrassed, but she said yes and they were married on June 17, 1989.

Yesterday, I asked Todd to share some thoughts about Mrs. T with me. While listening to him talk a beautiful picture was created. Todd Thompson was head over heals in love with his wife. He supported her passion which was her daughters and her students. Sometimes I think he felt like he was sharing his wife with all of her “Royal Heirs.” Angie would come home and talk for hours about her students. Her haven in the home was her bedroom. She would lie on her bed after a long day of school and tell Todd of all the great things going on in the lives of her students. She would brag on even the littlest sign of improvement. Todd told me of the final moments before Mrs. T went to be with Jesus and the family was gathered around for prayer and reflection. Proverbs 31 was read and what stood out to Todd was verse 26 which states “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is always on her tongue.” Mrs. T was a woman of wisdom. She understood what the scriptures meant when it said that we must “take up our cross daily and follow Christ.” Mrs. T chose her words wisely and was careful not to paint a child in a negative light. She loved the idiosyncrasies in each student. She could find blessings in even the most difficult of student behaviors. In his reflective words to me he stated how he just loved that Angie did not speak unkindly about people. This was a theme throughout all of my conversations with people who were touched by Mrs. T.


With her colleagues and parents alike Mrs. Thompson was found to be a woman of profound words. She would never have described herself that way because she didn’t ever take time to think about herself. But, I believe that one revelation that she received from God was that sometimes it is what you don’t say that is the most powerful. She stated on numerous occasions to several moms that she learned from God that “if you just listened to children, they can tell you what they are thinking, what they need, and where they may be hurting. Sometimes we just want children to fit into our ‘box’ so things will be easy, but every one of these students are smart and can express themselves if we just slow down long enough to listen.” She loved to hear what her students had to say. Then after listening to the student she would determine the best path for instruction for that particular student. And then, on the way home and when she got home, she would use all of her words to share with Todd, Bethany, and Laura all of her experiences that day. Then it was off to sleep to begin the process all over again.

Mrs. T believed in the power of words. Mrs. Mabry tells me that she would even use her words to defend her leaders. She was not afraid to help a sister in Christ remember Who they really represented when they talked about someone. One thing that always amazed me was how this woman who was so humble, even to a fault if that is possible, could talk with any parent about any issue. She never shied away from a hard word. I don’t think she liked to do it, but she would say whatever was necessary if it would help a child achieve his/her potential. I can remember several conversations when she first came to UCS with parents that didn’t want to hear that their child needed some extra help, but she always stayed firm and the result was always best for the child. And as her administrator I was always amazed how someone who seemed so meek could stand so firm.

The following story depicts our sisters understanding of the power of words:

A simple mason jar, with a holiday ribbon tied around the top and a snapshot of my son glued to the lid. Inside on a small piece of paper is the message: Mrs. Thompson's favorite gift is a gift of words. This jar contains words describing you. As you read them, remember how much I love you and I think you're special. So here is my most special gift to you, the words of my heart. Love, Mrs. Thompson

Small tags, tied with holiday ribbons lie inside with Mrs. T’s handwritten adjectives:


The jar sits on his bookshelf and from time to time, he pulls it down and takes them out and reads them. So many other gifts received have broken, been donated to the give away pile or simply thrown away. This jar has remained a treasured possession for almost 3 years...a very long time for someone who is just now only a decade old.

My second child has a similar jar sitting on her bedside table, and reads through her list of tags more often, sometimes asking me to explain what the words mean. "Mommy, why does Mrs. T say I'm DEEP? I'm not a swimming pool!" And so I begin to try to explain perhaps what her teacher meant...

I'm only saddened my youngest child, who is in Mrs. Thompson's current class, won't get her own JOLLY JAR to treasure as her siblings have. But it reminds me to be in wonder and in awe of the incredible power of words. Words that build others up are so easy to leave OUT in our day to day lives because it takes energy and time and humility to produce them. But words that tear people down are so frequently and easily substituted.


Since Mrs. T went into the hospital and the reports were not coming back like we would have preferred the word “legacy” has been on the forefront of my mind. I love legacies. I love thinking about what mark a person has left on this earth. What was it that God specifically called someone into existence for? As I have considered this, I realized building a legacy is not something that many set out to do. In fact, it is often after a long career or upon the completion of a long life that people even talk about ones legacy. I know that we would all agree that less than a month ago we never would have thought that today we would be saying our earthly farewell’s to Mrs. T a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher to so many. Throughout this brief illness, a dear woman’s “legacy” has been revealed. Just an example of the impact Mrs. T has had on so many people can be clearly evidenced by the outpouring of love as shown on the Caring Bridge website honoring Mrs. T. There were over 3200 hits and 159 messages left on the site. This is evidence of a life lived in its totality for Jesus Christ. This is evidence of a life that was not lived to fulfill self interests, but rather the interests of others. This is evidence of a life lived to point people directly to the cross of Jesus Christ which is where Mrs. T’s hope came from. This was evidence of a life that impacted people in every community in which she ever resided. It was evidence that she was a difference maker in her family, church, and profession.

Mrs. T left a legacy in the life of students at Unity Christian School for the past 4 years and two weeks. Perhaps the biggest impact came in the time she spent caring for her students outside the classroom and not in it. I have talked with parents who relayed stories to me of a teacher who showed love before she ever spent one minute “teaching” a child. One parent talked of how all summer Mrs. T would call to check on her son and to reassure the mom that her son would be safe in Mrs. T’s class. Yet another parent talked of how when times were tough one weekend last school year and her daughter could not be consoled, late in the evening the mom turned to Mrs. T for advice. Mrs. T got in her car and went to the child’s home and ended up letting the young girl spend the night with Mrs. T. In fact this same family had never had the chance to spend a night away from their children and Mrs. T seeing a need offered to watch this student for the week so the mom and dad could get away for some rest. Perhaps another story of legacy is the way Mrs. T would recognize that a child needed his classmates prayers. In the middle of class she would stop whatever was going on and like a family, gather around a student that needed prayer. This was so impactful that one child went home and prayed for a fellow student and when the little boy returned to school the next day and told his friend that he had prayed for him last night the boy started to cry and said that “no one had ever told him that they were praying for him before.” Another story of legacy is the fact that as one mom put it “Mrs. Thompson did not always have to see things in black and white. She would bring things into the color world if she thought it would help a child recognize his/her full potential for Christ.” Similarly another mom shares that her extremely fidgety son would be better served chewing gum than fingers, pencils, pens, or rulers. Although gum is against the rules, Mrs. T saw that chewing gum reduced this boy’s anxiety level and allowed him to chew gum when she saw it was necessary. To that mom Mrs. T provided comfort of knowing that her child was not just a student, but truly a “Royal Heir” in the eyes of Mrs. T.

As we know, each student comes to a teacher with a specific set of challenges. For some that challenge may not take as much time to figure out and for others it is a daily affair that requires much time in prayer and courage to try new techniques. Because Mrs. T was for the student, the bigger the challenge the more she thrived. As I observed and have had confirmed through my conversations over and over again is that Mrs. T was “knit together in her mother’s womb” to meet the needs of these special students. One teacher mentioned there was “no way she could hang with Angie” when it came to creatively meeting the needs of this type of student. When it came to student with special learning needs, Mrs. T was a champion.

In talking about Mrs. T’s legacy, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the legacy she left with her two daughters, Bethany and Laura. Of course a daughter never wants to have to consider such a thing at such a young age, but God knew that in a short time Mrs. T was going to have to do a lot of living to propel her girls from this point forward. Her passion for her daughters was not unnoticed. When asked about the legacy that their mom left for them:

Bethany said “my mother left me a legacy of how to take care of others, to be selfless, and to love people who are unlovable.”

Laura said “my mother’s legacy is her kids that grow up and have been with her, both her students and daughters. She poured her heart into the kids and her girls.”

When asked what they would take from their mom and hope to give to their children one day they said:

Bethany: “Her hugs and her backrubs”

Laura: “Forgiveness and understanding spirit, she could move on from tough situations, and she never condemned”

It was revealed to me from a very close friend of Mrs. T’s that this past summer was the most relaxing and fun summer she had ever had. She commented several times how this summer she was able to relax and just enjoy life. She had a wonderful time with her family in North Carolina, built a very close relationship with Kim and her family, and she even went river rafting this summer. I know that that comes as a surprise, but when pushed, she would get out of her comfort zone.

In closing a word that Todd used to describe Angie comes to mind. The word is “cheerleader”.

As penned by my wife:

Anybody who was ever around Mrs. T couldn't help but feel encouraged. If you were a family member she would not allow you to get down. If you were a co-worker she would challenge you. If you were a student she would push you to your potential. If you were a parent she made you feel like your child was her favorite. If you were her friend, she made you feel like you were her best one. No matter who you were, she was your biggest cheerleader. I think we can take comfort in knowing that even though we will greatly miss seeing the captain of our cheerleading squad at all of life's games, we can take great comfort in knowing that she will always be there to cheer us on every step of the way.

Glenn A. Getchell

Friday, September 19, 2008

Praying for the Thompsons, Feeling God's Spirit, Looking Forward With Hope

Wow! Talk about an anointed prayer meeting! The prayer vigil held at Floyd Medical Center last night for the Thompson family was amazing. I honestly left feeling guilty for the phenomenal blessing that I received. So much for me going to pray for and support the Thompsons!

Todd Thompson (aka Johnny Appleseed) may as well have stood up and preached a sermon. He spoke honestly and freely, sharing their struggles, yet boldly speaking forth the promises of God. His voice was full of life, love, and victory. His confidence in the goodness of the God we serve was truly inspiring. He sang a song of praise and worship to the Father, inviting us all to join with him in glorifying God. I could have stayed all night listening to Todd sing the same refrain over and over.

We broke into small groups and prayed, and then all gathered around Bethany, Laura, and Todd to intercede corporately. Mr. Getchell began, loudly and boldly calling forth God’s word, which does not return to Him void. Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the house.

I am certainly counting my blessings this morning; one of which is being a part of the UCS body. What an awesome God we serve, and what an honor to partner with and stand alongside families like the Thompsons. I am so blessed that my family’s life has been touched and changed for all eternity by the Spirit of the Living God that is indeed alive and moving in Mrs. Thompson. How I desire for her to touch the lives of hundreds more 1st graders and their families.

My family began our relationship with Unity with my oldest in Mrs. T’s first grade class. Hannah and I both cried a lot that year – the adjustment was hard on both of us. If it hadn’t been for Mrs. Thompson’s sweet spirit loving Hannah (and her mom!), we may not still be here. And then I think about how much Hannah has grown over the past three years, how that seed of love and encouragement that Mrs.T planted has blossomed! And that’s just one story! (Check out to hear the more stories of the many lives touched)

I think I know who I will have as our speaker for next year’s benefit dinner – our very own miraculously healed Mrs. Angie Thompson!
Jennifer Eddins
Special Events Coordinator

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Angela Thompson's Blog

If you would like to keep up-to-date on Mrs. Thompson's condition, please click the link below to read posts from the family. You can also leave an encouraging word for the family or make a donation. Please continue to keep Mrs. Thompson and her entire family in your prayers.

Page Thomas
Communications Coordinator

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Powerful First PTSO Meeting

I stayed late at work today to attend the first PTSO meeting of the year. The highlight of the evening was going to be the Chili Cook Off supper prior to the meting. I was looking forward to the opportunity to visit and fellowship with the faculty and families. It was to be the single bright spot in my “business as usual” day.

Well, nothing could have been further from the truth. Yes, the chili cook of was a smashing success and tons of people came to enjoy one another’s company. But the story does not end there! Throughout the entire evening, the Lord presented me with precious snapshots of what makes Unity Christian School a diamond in the rough, a gleaming testament of the power of Christ’s love in action.

The PTSO leaders gave sacrificially of their time to make sure that everything was ready for the meal and when it was over, they quietly remained behind to help make sure that the room was left better than it was found. Their positions are entirely voluntary and still they serve because they want to do whatever they can in supporting the faculty in their ministry of teaching – and is it ever a ministry!

Parents are such an incalculable asset at UCS because of the extra mile they will go to provide their children with a loving, Christ-centered learning environment. It struck me tonight when one of the officers encouraged other parents to pray about how they might be part of the plan to fulfill the improvements and hopes they have for the school. Anyone can want things to be better or different, but it’s a devoted few that will take those desires and turn them into an action plan for completion.

God has blessed Unity with its first middle school football team this year and it has generated a feeling of excitement and anticipation amongst the students and families unlike anything I’ve seen while I’ve been at UCS. But beyond the thrill of new uniforms and new cheers emanates a growing school spirit that is anchored in the Christ-honoring leadership provided by godly coaches. As we watched the team’s video and listened to Casting Crown’s “All Because of Jesus” soundtrack playing in the background, I was reminded of what a beautiful and radically different message is being lived out in every facet of Unity Christian. Where else in our community are children going to truly learn that their efforts in the classroom and actions on the field can glorify our Savior just as boldly as the praise they sing on Sunday? Amidst the spiritual warfare that is being waged against our youth, I cannot imagine trying to raise a child without such Christian brothers and sisters as my partners!

As the meeting continued so did God’s work to soften my heart to hear Him. After winning a prize drawing, one staff member refused to accept it and asked that another name be drawn so that one of the teachers could receive what was (in this individual’s mind) more rightful theirs. How blessed I am to work in such a selfless and supportive environment. As one teacher put it following the meeting, whatever decreases an employee of UCS may have to take in financial compensation he gets back many times over through the professional support and personal affirmation given so freely and liberally here at Unity. We are a tight-knit family of faith and it impacts the way we do our jobs and the attitude with which we do it.

The best example of what I saw tonight comes not surprisingly and perhaps most fittingly from one of Unity’s first graders. He had been downstairs with the other children but was missing mom so one of the workers brought him to her. After some brief consoling, he began to recover and dry his eyes. It’s what happens next that made a big impression on me. Turning around to survey the room, he caught a glimpse of his Kindergarten teacher and with a spark of excitement in his eye immediately began making his way to greet her. The two hugged and shared a private exchange of whispers with smiles all around. Whatever had been upsetting before was completely washed away by the familiar loving kindness of his former teacher. Later in the evening when it was time to go home, he and his mom walked passed his new first grade teacher who had won a drawing prize earlier. As the pupil approached his new teacher of ten days, he exclaimed with joy in his voice, “I’m so glad YOU won the prize!” I wish each of you could have heard the pride and happiness in that small voice. What a testament to the powerful bond that teachers and students share at UCS!

I came away tonight with so much more than I had anticipated! You might think that after working at UCS for over three years that I’d be used to the wonderful and unexpected ways God continues to work in the school and its family, but it’s not so. I must constantly remind myself that the Holy Spirit is and will continue to be as creative with the hearts and souls of others as he is with my own. As Mr. Getchell always says, “We might not know how the Lord will provide but we can know that He will provide.”

Page Thomas
Communications Coordinator

Monday, May 5, 2008

National Day of Prayer

One of the great things about Unity Christian School is that a very detailed operating constitution has been established. The operating constitution includes the school mission and vision statements, Christian education philosophy, core values and operating principles. You may be asking how the UCS operating constitution relates to an essay on the National Day of Prayer. The reason is at UCS, prayer is a core value.

When the National Day of Prayer comes around each year it gives us a reason to celebrate school-wide prayer during a school day that is already marked with prayers of students, teachers, administrators, parents, and countless other UCS prayer warriors. Each and every day is opened with prayer and devotion in home room. Additionally, faculty and staff have daily prayer and devotion and the administrative team has devotion and prayer every Thursday morning from 8:30-9:30. In fact, UCS would not be what it was today if it wasn’t for the fervent prayers of all those who love and support the school.

During the National Day of Prayer students, faculty, and administration led the school in a moment of prayer at the beginning of each hour of the school day. The following schedule outlines the specific area of prayer each hour:

8:00am - Praise to the Lord for His Blessings and Goodness
9:00am - Prayer for classmates and all schools located in Rome/Floyd County
10:00am - Prayer for faculty, staff, and administration
11:00am - Prayer for state/local officials, safety personnel (Sheriff, Police, EMS, Firemen)
12:00pm - Prayer for President Bush, Congress and Federal Employees
1:00pm - Prayer for leaders of other countries
2:00pm - Prayer for missionaries in the USA and foreign countries
3:00pm - Prayer for military personnel

What a blessing it is to live in a country where the open prayer to God is a freedom enjoyed by all.

Glenn Getchell,