The Reopening Decision is not simple.
As states loosen their coronavirus restrictions, the UUCH Board is pondering how and when our church will resume in-person worship and other activities while protecting the health of our members and friends.
The Unitarian Universalist Association is strongly recommending that “congregations plan for ongoing virtual gatherings and operations through May 2021…We are guided by science and our deepest values, not politics, when we urge congregations to not resume full in-person operations until concrete public health criteria are met.”1
This does not mean that UUCH buildings will definitely be closed for a year; only that the board must prepare for that possibility by improving and expanding our virtual operations.
The board must also study, plan, and make decisions for the extensive adjustments to facilities and procedures required for safe in-person events. The CDC, UUA and even our church insurance company2 have provided valuable guidelines, but adapting these to UUCH may be very difficult.
The board is responsible for the operation of the church and will make the final decision about reopening our facilities. However, input from members and friends will be helpful in both improving our virtual operations and deciding how and when to reopen. Share your ideas and concerns with a board member. You can also take the short survey here
Members and friends are also encouraged to explore new ways to meet our church’s social and spiritual needs. Perhaps now is the time for a virtual UU youth group, a parents’ discussion group, hobby groups, or a UU game group. (UU trivia, anyone?) What do we miss from our in-person church experiences and how can we provide the essence in safe ways?
While we look forward to returning to our physical church home, we are also recognizing how much we are a church community in spirit. And the techniques and adaptations we’re learning now- can enhance our church connections and activities in our post-epidemic future.
1 UUA guidelines: www.uua.org/safe/pandemics/gathering-guidance
2 Church Insurance company guidelines: https://coronavirus.churchmutual.com/resource/safely-returning-to-worship
So Why Are We Still Closed
November 2020 Update from the UUCH Board President
It feels like a lifetime ago now, those first days of the pandemic when the nation went on lockdown. The amount of information, and changing information, we’ve digested since then is enough to make a person dizzy. With nearly every part of our lives upended, we’ve nonetheless found a way to carry on and even return to some “normal” activities, though with some modifications. Some houses of worship have even resumed in-person services. So why, then, are we still meeting virtually?
It’s a good question. Here are some highlights of the key points the board has considered in deciding to continue our current service format:
- CDC recommendations on group size and physical distancing. A six-foot distance between individuals is still recommended for group activities. With the size of our sanctuary, following these guidelines would mean only 14 people could attend service, including the speaker and our musician.
- Rising Covid-19 numbers and flu season.As of now, the trajectory of new COVID-19 cases is going in the opposite direction of safe. The confluence of COVID-19 with flu season just makes crowded gatherings doubly dangerous.
- Reluctance of our members.Many of our congregants continue to voice reluctance to returning to in person activities, either due to their own health concerns or for those in their family. As we all know, this is an unpredictable disease, but often even fairly well controlled pre-existing conditions can be risk factors for more severe illness. We want to continue to respect each person’s considerations for their own well-being.
- Viable option for online services and connection.Our worship team has done a wonderful job of adapting our in-person service platform to an online one. With the return of some of our favorite guest speakers, the only thing missing is the traffic noise from Cearfoss Pike! Additionally, members are connecting one-on-one or in small groups via social media, email , or their own Zoom meetings.
I think it’s safe to say that we all look forward to the day when we can be together in our church home again, and as soon as it is safe to do so, we will. It feels like an eternity waiting for that time to come, but for now we need to continue to take good care of ourselves and each other. When we are together again, what a party it’ll be!
Share your opinion with the UUCH Board.
Fill out the Google Form Survey to share your feelings regarding the re-opening of UUCH.