After many conversations among our staff, Board of Trustees, Safer Congregations Committee, event planners, and other volunteers, we have made the difficult decision to shift to online viewing only for our worship service this Sunday, March 15. We are also rescheduling the March 15 organ concert and the April 4 auction to the Fall. Other Sunday morning activities and meetings will also be cancelled, including the Adult Forum on March15.
There is no predicting the magnitude of COVID-19, but our decision to shift to online/virtual worship was made in the interest of erring on the side of caution. In following the events surrounding the New Rochelle, NY synagogue outbreak, and in considering the great many First Unitarian members who are in a high-risk group with this virus, we are making what we understand to be the best decision for our congregation and the wider community by asking folks to stay home on Sunday morning.
If you would like to participate in Sunday morning worship by viewing the streaming service on Sunday, please sign up to receive the link for viewing. Go to https://firstuuwilm.org/remote-worship-streaming-service/ to learn more and to fill out the form at the bottom of the page. We have been testing remote viewing over the past few weeks, however, the COVID-19 outbreak has moved up our timeline and we have had less time to test this new service than we would have liked. If you sign up for the live stream and you experience problems, please email the AV Team at email@example.com to report any problems.
Our 3/15 service mixes a little St. Patrick’s Day levity with a tool for staying centered and wise during times of stress. Please consider sharing this newsletter with anyone who might want to also sign up to receive the link and experience a little levity and centering. Children and Youth Religious Education (CYRE) will be cancelled for Sunday, March 15th. An email with suggestions for chalice lightings you can do at home and other activities your family can do together at home will go out to CYRE families by Saturday afternoon.
Please know that staff and volunteer teams continue to function at full capacity. We will be exploring new ways to connect and engage, and will be working to reschedule events and we will update you as information becomes available. We encourage committee work and other in-person meetings to be moved to phone or online means where possible. We have an account for Zoom (an online video conferencing platform) that can be used to connect small groups, committees, and others. If you are a leader of one of these groups, contact Marina at firstname.lastname@example.org to be assigned a basic user ID so you can set up a Zoom meeting. Our Zoom meeting service has a 40 minute limit on meetings with 3 or more people, so please plan your remote meetings accordingly. During this time please reach out to one another by phone or online, especially those who might especially appreciate the contact.
If you are facing an immediate need as a result of the coronavirus outbreak (for example, loss of income because you can’t work), or facing spiritual/emotional hardship, please be in touch with the Pastoral Care Team. For March contact Nancy Ball at NancyB@firstuuwilm.org and for April contact Lydia Robb at LydiaR@firstuuwilm.org.
First and foremost, please take care of yourselves and lean into self-care practices that help you be strong in mind, body, and spirit, and stay connected with folks even as we practice safe distancing techniques.
Rev. Pamela Wat