May 26, 2020
You may have heard that, given what experts are saying about the coronavirus, the UUA is recommending that we plan on virtual operations through May 2021.
That feels like a really long time. As Susan Frederick-Gray says in the letter containing that recommendation, take a breath.
What it doesn’t mean is that we’ll never be worshiping or gathering in person again.
It also doesn’t mean that we will necessarily be only online, operating virtually until 12 months or more from now.
What it does mean is that we can make more effective plans now. As we are able to begin gathering—which will likely be in small groups at first—it will be much easier to integrate in-person gathering with an existing virtual plan. We’ve already experienced what it’s like to go quickly from an in-person gathering to a digital, online gathering. It is a lot of work! So let’s start planning.
I’ll say it again: Let’s start planning. The first step toward this planning is the formation of a “Way Forward” task force, charged by our Board of Trustees. We will want there to be representation on that task force from the various aspects of congregational life. We also want there to be medical expertise. As of now, members of the Way Forward task force include me, Janice Wold (administrator), Mike Goodwin, Chris Kus. We’ll also be looking for representation from Buildings and Grounds, from Religious Exploration, from the Care Team and the Safety Team, Worship, and possibly more.
As the Way Forward task force comes together, we will be sharing regularly our work so that you are in the know.
The most important thing to realize is that this task force is to discern our way forward. We will not be returning the way we did things pre-COVID-19. We have been learning lots of online skills and we want to keep on learning. And our online worship and other gatherings have made it possible for people who are far away and people for whom leaving the house is difficult to attend our services. Attendees have stretched from Oregon to Germany! And we don’t want those folk all of a sudden again unable to gather as part of our community. So our way forward will be a hybrid way. We will be integrating virtual operations with in-person operations.
The way forward will contain some complexity. It is also certain that it will contain surprising gifts, rewards, and excitement.
I give thanks that we are making our way forward together! This is a time when we need one another more than ever. And the creativity and loving heart of this beloved congregation has already been blossoming during this difficult time. I’m excited at the prospect of our future together!
There is a love holding all of us and all that we love—