BOT 2020 for June 1 — “Looking Forward”

By Pam Collins, Board President

As the Board met this past Monday in Zoom World, first and foremost on our minds and Rev. Joe’s was our response as a congregation to the current state of unrest in our nation.  Rev. Joe reported that as Social Justice chair, Lale Davidson plans to gather folks under our banner to participate in local protests.  Eric Lawson is encouraging everyone to support the effort to establish a local Citizens’ Review Board.  However we respond, either as individuals or as a congregation, we agreed that our actions and words should be clearly informed by our UU values.  

We are still in need of a chair for the Stewardship campaign.  I will be making some calls to see if I can interest someone to take on that responsibility for the coming campaign.

Rev. Joe also reported that he intends to convene the RE team to brainstorm on how we can have effective programming without face to face interaction with our families — a difficult task.  At present, the RE team is sparse.  Most particularly, we’d like the input of families, as they know best what would work for them.  We understand, however, that families are struggling on many levels with pandemic reality and have to make careful choices about how much they can take on.

As we look forward to an uncertain future, Rev. Joe and the Board are doing their best to be sure we’re being as proactive as possible.  One very important move in that direction is to establish a “Way Forward Task Force” whose job it will be to consider all aspects of what that would look like and how to do it safely and effectively.  Rev. Joe shared a draft description of the task force which the Board will solidify and hope to see staffed in the very near future.

Another initiative for dealing with our loss of traditional congregational interaction is to offer a variety of virtual groups with the hope that nearly all members of the congregation (far and wide) will be connected with a consistent group.  Our Sunday services are going exceedingly well.  They’re well conceived and executed, and well attended, but it can be a long haul from Sunday to Sunday.  Judging by the cacophony as we Zoom in before the service, and the enthusiasm for the “Breakout Rooms” after the service, as limited as Zoom interaction is, we embrace it as the best we have right now.  And so, we’re developing a program of small groups of three kinds: “Social BUUbbles,”  “Soul Matters,” and “Study Circles.”  These groups are in addition to the programs Rev. Joe puts together and will be lead by members of the congregation.  For the time being, we’re calling them “Web Camps.”  Each session will last three months and groups will meet twice/month.  For now, we’re suspending Small Group Ministry in favor of what we hope will provide offerings for a greater range of tastes and that will be more conducive to the web environment.  Nikki Williams and I will be coordinating this program which we hope to start in July.  No doubt folks have many questions — and we’ll address them soon, so watch Journey Well for a full description.

Now that the shock of the pandemic is easing a bit, I think we’re all, at our own pace, moving to a place of (grudging) acceptance and making the best of things that we can.  We’re also testing the waters here and there, poking our heads out like hungry bears sniffing the springtime air, but still vigilant.  I haven’t seen my granddaughter in over three months and it’s killing me, but I know the love still lives in that quiet space, just as we all know that the affection and care we have for each other as the society of UUCSS does the same.  How we express it has been forced to changed, but the love has not.

And obviously, in the face of recent events, it’s clear that there is a ton of work that love needs to be applied to.  Each of us, in our own ways, needs to be a witness against hatred, gaslighting, ignorance and violence.  UUCSS is the rock we stand on, our UU values our lamp in the darkness.  

Be well people….