Meeting several times over the last few weeks, our 2021-22 Covid Safety Team (Dan G., Cathy S., Florence C., DRE Katie Campbell, Rev. Susanne, and Jeanie H.) looked at the numbers, and consulted with both the Board of Trustees and Eric L., the new Chair of the Worship Committee. We considered various options, including outdoor worship. We have decided to go ahead with hybrid worship: continuing on Zoom while welcoming a small group of in-person worshippers and creating additional outdoor events.
Guided by the newest UUA Guidelines for Gathering, we have created this plan for safe and meaningful worship this fall:
Limited capacity (8 family groups) for in-person worship. Here is an online signup sheet for September. People in the Sanctuary will practice social distancing, refrain from singing, and wear well-fitting masks (except for the minister when speaking from the pulpit, which will be more than 15 feet from the nearest congregant). We expect those who can be vaccinated to be vaccinated.
New multi-platform capability. Thanks to a generous gift and serious volunteer effort, we are installing two new Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras in the Sanctuary, plus a new video mixing system, to create worship that invites and includes participation from at-home and in-person audiences as equally as possible.
Conversation Hour (formerly Coffee Hour) will happen on our lawn, masked, without food or drink. All are welcome.
We plan to offer outdoor RE this fall, starting September 26. DRE Katie and the RE committee will be contacting RE families separately.
Choir and Music. In addition to enjoying music via video, we hope to add in at least one live performance per service on our piano or organ.
Water Communion. The September 12 hybrid worship service will include water-themed elements, and, in addition, the whole congregation is also invited to gather at 12:30 at Pine Banks, where Rev. Susanne will lead an interactive Water Ceremony. Bring your water — and a mask! (We hope to hold at least monthly large outdoor gatherings while the weather allows.)
Clearly, there are many moving pieces here. Your leaders are doing their best to create opportunities to meet everyone’s various social and spiritual needs while remaining reasonably safe.
We are interested in your feedback, and we’d like to know more about your needs and wants and comfort levels. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us.
Yours in Faithful Care,