By now you have all received the email announcing the closing of the church, even if you haven’t fully digested all the ramifications of it. Let it be said that March 12th, 2020 was a day for the record books. After over 5 hours of agonizing about whether to close church or not, by the end of the day, it was clearly a no-brainer. As I read and heard about closing after closing, (even my pottery supply store in Kingston is closing its showroom and offices), I had mixed feelings of surprise, concern, a little dread, but mostly relief. As upending as all this is, if it keeps people a bit safer, then there is wisdom in these actions. Most importantly, if withdrawing from social interactions for a time slows the path of the virus, then at least we can hope the result will be less stress on the resources needed for those who do fall seriously ill. I’m also heartened (in a strange way) that where our government is failing in its reaction to this crisis, the people themselves are keeping their heads and doing what they can to keep a crisis from becoming a catastrophe. Something to be said for a free society with a free and responsible press.
It is a fair argument to say that in times like this people need the support of their religious institutions more than ever. The irony is obvious, but the solutions are less so. As I reported in my email, Dan Forbush is spearheading efforts to use Zoom to connect us and give us opportunities to do some kind of sharing and worship. Others are coming on board in various ways to flesh this out. We will not give up our connection to the UUCSS community or our delight in and commitment to ministering to one another. What it will look like is not entirely clear yet, and everyone will be called upon to be patient and forgiving as we stumble forward, but forward we will go, and it may just be that we will discover some useful new ways to stay in connection even after we return to normal. In adversity, there is opportunity…
As schools, libraries, churches, and businesses close, it might be useful to think about those times when snow days kept us all inside. Time to pull out the board games, unearth the unfinished projects, rehydrate our acrylic paints, play our instruments, read to one another and listen, listen, listen to each other in ways our busy lives sometimes mitigate against. I ran into a neighbor at the mailboxes this evening and she was near tears because she could no longer visit her mother in the nursing home. She lives alone and is older than I am. She and I are friendly, but I wouldn’t say friends — but as we contemplate withdrawing from our usual social interactions, it might be that we will call on each other for company. Ministering to one another. The opportunities are everywhere.
And as we are forced to suspend our usual ways of expending our energy in all directions, why not use the opportunity to take that energy deeper, more focused? Who knows what treasure we’ll find. I just read this morning that Isaac Newton did some of his best work while he was holed up during the Black Plague.
My thoughts are with all of you, my beloved community, and I know your thoughts are with each other. This will pass, and we’ll be together again soon enough, hugging away, eating yummy goodies and not feeling like we have to figure out how to sterilize the stones for Joys and Sorrows. (Vodka instead of tap water in the bowl?)
Pam Collins, Board President