What lies ahead for the UUCC? When might we be able to take the initial small steps away from our current situation? When might those first small gatherings happen again in our building? How many more weeks (or is it months?) before we can gather again for services in our sanctuary?
On Wednesday evening, May 6, our new “Transitions Task Group” met by Zoom for the first time. This group is offering guidance and insight as we face just these kinds of questions. Members Claire Lukens, representing our Children and Youth Religious Education Team, Lee Martinec, member of our Building and Grounds Team, Melanie Greely, from our Family Ministry Team, Michael Kelly, Worship Team representative, and Congregational Care representative Sheila Lay along with our minister, Jay Leach, offered their perspectives, concerns and questions.
Among the things shared were:
- We’re all feeling a complex array of emotions: sadness, irritability, gratitude, anger, curiosity, anxiousness and more;
- We’re frustrated by the challenge of continuing to be a community in this way and aware that many of our families with children are finding it particularly difficult when participation for now means even more screen time;
- We’re aware of the immense complexities our building presents in trying to mitigate the risks of these times and know our community has many members who are in the “high risk” categories;
- We’re grateful for what is being offered and recognize that the staff is trying hard to offer programming and to meet the needs of our members;
- We’re deeply saddened when members experience losses and we can’t be there to support them in person and feel deeply the pain when we’re unable to offer a memorial service and reception in the loss of a beloved member;
- We’re paying attention to the governor’s phased plans while also watching the struggle in places like CMS and others and wondering what we can learn from them;
- We’re mostly aware of what we don’t know and can’t predict.
After a time of honest discussion we came to a few understandings:
- It is much too early to begin planning any in-person activities; even if North Carolina’s approach creates possibilities, we need to make our own careful decisions guided by best practices and by our concern for all who may participate;
- We should start with very small gatherings, perhaps beginning outdoors, and phase in the possibility for larger opportunities; the return to in-person services in the sanctuary should be our last step, one we take only when we have confidence in our capacity to mitigate against risk to those in attendance;
- We should admit that we don’t have a clear sense right now of how to proceed and make sure we don’t make promises we can’t keep;
- We would rather reopen too late than too early;
- We should be mindful of and remind others about our privilege as we struggle with our current situation and questions.
Our Transitions Task Group and our professional staff will continue paying attention, talking about possibilities, trying to move forward, and communicating as we are able with the rest of the community.
As we continue on this completely uncharted course, we’ll do so guided as always by our Mission—” Challenged by our liberating faith, we discover deeper spiritual meaning, nurture loving community, cultivate courageous connections, and partner in the work of justice.”
Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions with members of our professional staff or with those representing the community on our Transitions Task Group.