We Are all in This Together
I know from your messages and emails that this is a stressful time. Children and youth are heading back to school, adults are returning to in-person work (while others are going back home after previously returning to work). And we are trying, as a church community, to both offer support and make good decisions in response to the constantly changing Covid situation. We are all in this together.
Of course, we have a range of comfort levels when it comes to decision-making about Covid, especially the question of in-person versus online activities. Though our worship attendance online is higher than it ever was in-person, there are some who just don’t feel connected via Zoom. Others find the mere mention of gathering in person alarming. The rest of us lie somewhere in between, yearning for a return to whatever “normal” might be, while preferring to play it safe in a climate of rapidly rising Delta cases.
Then there’s the workload. Last spring, with vaccinations available to everyone in our country, our congregation blissfully assumed we were headed toward a “post Covid” world. Thus, the Council made some decisions about projects and initiatives which seemed reasonable at the time:
- We initiated a comprehensive Racial Justice Audit
- We began the process of installing new hybrid worship technology in our 100-year-old sanctuary
- We continued to take advantage of our building closure to complete the basement and begin the upstairs bathroom renovations.
This summer, as Delta numbers rose, we also added some outdoor, in-person social and worship events and began the next Confirmation/Coming of Age Program.
Thus, our workload hasn’t reduced over the past year and a half; it’s increased. We’ve committed to offering both online and in-person programming, while continuing to pursue the justice goals of our church. Our mission remains: To nurture love of God and love of neighbor in the world.
So where do we go from here? On August 15, the Council approved a statement created by the Leadership Team which postpones our September 12 return to in-person worship. We hope to regather for hybrid worship sometime this fall, and the Communications & Technology Committee, Worship & Music Committees, and I are doing the following to make this possible:
- complete the installation of technology in the sanctuary
- increase the ventilation in the sanctuary
- create a set of protocols for those who worship in the sanctuary
Fall Plans: I’m proud of the fact that our congregation has offered all programming online for the past year and a half. We’ve even created some new programs: the Arts & Culture Group, Noon Yoga, Wednesday Morning Meditation, and Quarterly (rather than twice yearly) Spiritual Retreats. The Upcoming Events section highlights this year’s September offerings, which include some outdoor, in-person worship services.
In closing, I share this poem on which our Wednesday Meditation Group recently reflected:
The Whole Array by Danna Faulds
This life isn’t about
slicing off the parts
I don’t like to be
left with those I do.
I choose the whole
Array— night and day,
ease and its opposite,
the squeaky wheel
and the grease gun.
Push any piece of
life away, and a key
that could have
opened a door is
lost, tossed out with
the trash. I pray for
the courage to receive
the full catastrophe,
however it appears
to me, without
needing to push back.
We are all in this together.
With love and blessing,