Dear First Unitarian Community,
In a recent social media conversation with some of my colleagues in ministry, one among us suggested that, in fact, the pandemic has been our new normal, that what we must create together now is a “newer normal”. These are complicated and tender times. While we expect joy in gathering, there will also be grief. While we anticipate relief there will also be uncertainty and concern.
After months of distance and caution, we will need to negotiate new boundaries. Is it OK if I hug you? Can we shake hands? Shall I put my mask on while we talk? How do we greet and engage with beloveds both in person and remotely? How can we respect one another’s personal choices, some made out of necessity for the safety of ourselves, of family members? We will find ways – some new, some uncomfortable – to hold the wellbeing of all in this community as this “newer normal” takes shape.
The planning process is creating guidance for this “newer normal.” We’re collaborating with EEC on preparation and cleaning protocols for shared spaces. We’re continuing to explore how the choir can take part in worship without risk to themselves or those seated in the sanctuary. We’re surveying the congregation about your experience of technologies used for sharing worship together. We’re exploring space use, figuring how many people can gather here or there and maintain at least the required distance (currently 3 feet mandated by the state).We’re testing Wi-Fi and other technology capability so gatherings can include remote and in person participants. We’ve concluded that CYRE plans will have indoor and outdoor options.
Planning, experimenting, adjusting and revising continues through July into August. Soon after Rev. Larry arrives August 1, the Executive Team will bring him up to date and involve him in the planning. The state, and possibly the CDC, will issue updated guidance in mid-August prior to the beginning of the school year, including (we hope) information on vaccine availability for those under 12 years old. This guidance will be reviewed and taken into account.
Thanks to the Staff, Executive Team, CYRE Team, Music Covid Committee, AV Team, Covid Task Force, and the Board for all they have done and will do.
My temporary contract ministry with you has come to an end. As your planning continues, when Ingathering arrives, remember that we Unitarian Universalists are people who return to love like a North Star, people who return to the truth that we are greater together than we are alone. Remember that we are committed to one another by covenant and that together we move forward, with one right action and then the next.
Fare well, Tracey