Meeting Outside at UUC

Rev. Beth Chronister

People with Black Lives Matter signs and banners in front of UUC, wearing masks and standing well apart from each other
April 2021 Black Lives vigil at UUC

As the weather gets better and as more folks at UUC are vaccinated, small groups are deciding when and how to return to meeting in-person at UUC. Currently, small groups can schedule their gatherings outside on the grounds of the building, where risks for communal transmission of the virus are much lower than inside the building.

So far, we have had an in-person Beloved Conversations group meet outside of UUC and other groups have begun to plan their return for May. In April, we also restarted our ongoing Black Lives Matter vigils where we remember the names of persons who have been killed by the police and renew our commitments to a more racially equitable and compassionate society. The Care Team, Equity Team, and Immigrant Justice team are all planning on returning to meeting in-person outside on the church grounds in May or June. Religious Education is also hard at work imagining what kinds of in-person gatherings will be available for children, youth, and families this summer.

If your group is imagining a return to gathering the church, here are a few things to consider in your shared conversations…

  • Are people comfortable and ready to begin meeting in-person as a group?
  • Are people vaccinated and agreeable to maintaining social distance and masks while meeting outside? Even as things are beginning to open up, we are erring on the side of caution and following health guidelines as a community to protect those most vulnerable within our community.
  • Would members of your group generally be able to participate in person? We are planning for how people will be able to participate in-person and online at UUC. However managing these technologies outside comes with added challenges. If your group is split on the decision to meet in-person, it might be best to wait. Please also know the staff here to support your group in finding ways to meet both in-person and online when needed.
  • What concerns or accessibility needs do people have if meeting outside? Consider seating, hearing, possible exposure to sun and rain, personal needs around COVID (for example if there are at-risk people in their ‘bubble’).
  • Please know that UUC staff will continue to support meetings on Zoom if your group chooses to continue meeting online through the summer and beyond.

Outdoor gatherings for up to 20 people can be scheduled for available times with the church office. Please email Jessica, our office administrator to get on the church calendar. As with scheduling a room inside the church, please communicate what kind of set up you will need in terms of chairs, tables, and whether you would like a tent set up. There is also a small speaker and microphone available to use for hearing support outside and laptops available for hybrid participation.

After a year of social distancing, there is much anticipation on returning to seeing each other and being within our beautiful shared space. I speak for Jon and myself both when I say we miss being with you and eagerly await worshipping and gathering in-person again!

In covenant,
Rev. Beth