Dear Beloved Community,
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed every facet of our lives. All of us can name something we did for the last time in March. All of us know the last time we worshiped together as a community. And we know human beings adapt. Faced with untenable situations, we find a way through. Tree of Life has developed creative ways to move forward. And still, it weighs on all of us that life isn’t back to “normal” yet. We must make appointments to go to the library. The movie theater will likely close. Going to the grocery store requires extra thought: Do I have a mask? What about hand sanitizer? Should I be ordering for pickup instead?
None of us expected this to happen, March 1st we had no idea we’d be here several months later. We are tribal animals, we crave community with one another. Restricting our ability to gather together is spiritually and emotionally painful. We are a part of a worldwide traumatic experience. We are grieving for everything we have lost.
As your minister, I’m just getting to know you. I am discovering how hard so many of you have worked to keep this community going. And I know that the usual pressure taken on by lay leaders of a congregation is magnified by everything else going on in our personal and shared lives.
Over the last few weeks, questions have been brought to the board about how we will operate as we move forward in “COVID time.” When this disease was first declared a pandemic, the board passed policies in consultation with the Unitarian Universalist Association regarding building use and decided to move our services online.
The Board and the COVID Committee are working on updating these policies. Before doing so, they feel it is important to hold a listening session – not to discuss policy specifics but to truly hear the community’s needs. The Town Hall Listening Session will be October 11th at 12:00pm via Zoom.
In this session we will explore three questions together:
1. What has it been like for you during this time? How has your own life been impacted by the pandemic and the changes it has brought?
2. What do you value about and need from your congregation in this time? (connection, stability, love, spiritual perspective…?)
3. When the Board and COVID Committee discuss our updated COVID response policies, what is one need (yours or someone else’s) that you hope they will keep in mind as they strive to balance many competing pressures during this time?
One thing we all need during times of great uncertainty is clarity. Out of respect for congregants’ requests for clarity, until we can come together and practice deep listening this Sunday, we are asking everyone to follow an interim policy of not hosting church-sponsored, in-person activities. The Board will discuss everything that came out of our Town Hall and finalize a policy by Tuesday morning.
If you cannot make the Town Hall on Sunday but want to answer these questions, please feel free to call or email Rev. Jenn or a member of the board. We want to hear as many voices as possible.
In Faith and With Love,
Rev. Jennifer Gracen
The town hall will use the same link as the service. We will not have Inquirers or religious education this Sunday.