Dear Members and Friends:
As institutions and groups prepare their members for responding to the growing threat of the COVID-19 virus, we wanted to share with you how UUC is preparing for this novel situation. How will UUC respond? Patiently. Responsibly. Prayerfully.
While we learn a little more each day about the nature and spread of the virus and how we ought to cope with each of those aspects, there is still much that we do not know. For example, we do not yet know how widely the virus has spread, and not knowing leaves us in a bit of a waiting game to determine how exactly we should respond to this situation.
So, several times a day we check local, state and national centers of public health and news sources to monitor this situation. We are also keeping watch over our own UUC community for news of folks who may have become infected with the virus. No news on that front yet!
Responding responsibly applies both to individuals and the community. For the former, if you are sick, please stay home and seek appropriate medical attention. Feel that you have permission to choose whether to attend church events, meetings or services.
As a community, we have already started to take precautions about how we should be together.
Our custodians have increased their daily frequency of cleaning bathrooms and common surfaces such as door handles, banisters, counters, and tables.
Beginning this Sunday we will not encourage shaking hands, hugging, or closely greeting others during the beginning of the service nor will the ministers formally greet folks before and after services. In the service we will stop passing the offering plates and use only the lyrics projected on the screen instead of hymnals. Similarly, we will ask that for the order of service you to refer to the big screen or to the online version on your device; we will not hand out printed orders of service. We will also suspend service of beverages and food after each service but keep Nathan Johnson Hall open for visiting.
If we get to the point where we need to suspend services and church school, we are currently exploring how we will make Sunday service and RE content available to members via live webcast and/or podcast. We will share more on this as it becomes necessary.
If your group or committee chooses not to meet due to concerns around the virus, please contact the church office or a staff member so that we can cancel room reservations and track how our programs are functioning. We will amend the church calendar as cancelations may be determined, so please check our calendar on the church website before you travel for a church meeting. We do encourage you to continue meeting through virtual (online) means if you are able – Zoom and Skype are two platforms you might explore. Each has free options for small groups, and are designed to be user friendly.
We have instructed programming staff to work from home as much as possible. You can contact them as usual through email or voicemail.
As of this writing, we are still planning on having the All Church Housewarming Party on Friday, March 20 and the Building Dedication services on Sunday, March 22. However, these events may be postponed with short notice. Watch for further communication from us.
If you need more information on coronavirus and the currently recommended precautions related to exposure, please call your health providers or refer to the King County Department of Public Health.
We are a religious tradition that draws its inspiration and direction from many sources. These sources have wisdom that can help us be as accepting, resilient, hopeful and connected as we need to be in facing the challenges before us. There are lessons here for us to learn how to live within limits, how to grow gently into acceptance, how to deepen lovingkindness for ourselves and others, how to face our fears, and how to live in a way that is hopeful for the future.
It would be unfortunate if we did not use this challenge to deepen ourselves and our community in many of these ways.
We intend to be in active contact with you. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us.
Rev. Jon M. Luopa
For the Executive Team (myself, Rev. Beth Chronister, Byron Krystad, Janine Larsen)