May 20, 2020
This week, congregational leaders received an updated guidance for gathering from UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray. In short, the UUA is recommending that we plan for virtual operations until May of 2021. For me, it was like a sock in the stomach, as we all sit at home, poised to move into a building that we’ve poured our heart and our resources into for the past three years. It comes at the same time as we are opening up public spaces again, and some people are feeling more optimistic. And yet, the recommendation (not mandate) to plan for virtual services for the next year is sound. Our congregations contain many people in vulnerable categories, COVID-19 is highly contagious, and the singing, multi-generational and familial nature of religious gatherings make them high risk events. Please read her full message here.
The UUA recommendation was yet another wake-up call that the virus will be with us for a long time, and it’s time to adapt. If gathering in large groups is out for a long while, we’ll continue to create meaning together in our Sunday Services on ZUUm. (Thanks to Meri Gibb for that!) We’ll also find other ways to meet our social and spiritual needs, following state and local public health orders. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for more small group on-line opportunities.
As a reminder, Colorado continues to be under the “Safer at Home” Order, which allows for groups of 10 or less to meet in person, physically distanced and with face masks for everyone who is under 65 and not an at-risk individual. At-risk individuals and those over 65 should continue to stay at home except for essential needs. The State is waiting until May 25th to collect the adequate data to determine next steps. Once we move to the more open Protect Your Neighbors phase, we do anticipate being able to plan some outdoor, physically distanced, small group events for everyone this summer. And we are looking into safe ways to gather our children and youth over the summer as well.
It remains my hope that we will be able to gather as a whole congregation in our building well before next May. But for our own safety and that of others, we will put public health above our own personal desires. At the same time, we are social beings, and public health and spiritual health are at odds with each other now. Many of us gain great satisfaction and well-being from the practice of service.
This week, I recommend you explore the Tree of Contemplative Practices. While many of these practices are oriented towards gatherings of people, not all of them are. Engaging in new practices can open up new personal insights. If you are an outwardly focused person, you may also consider contacting your favorite organization and find out what you can do during this time of physical isolation.
Isolation can be very challenging. Please feel free to contact me for any sort of spiritual support, or pop into my office hours.
My upcoming office hours are:
- Wednesday, May 27, 7 — 8:30 p.m.
- Thursday, May 28, 12:30 — 2 p.m.
- Thursday, June 4, 9 — 10:30 a.m.
COVID and Our Community
Some Offerings to consider
Back by Popular Demand! BVUUF Talent Show, Take Two! This Saturday evening, May 23, 7 p.m. until we are done! Send your submissions of five minutes or less to Tad Koriath at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday evening, if possible. Live performances welcome as well. Just let Tad know.
Nature Connection Stories with Karen Axe Monday, May 25 from 3 — 4:30 p.m. (Carol, please add the link)
Stretch and Strengthen with Juli Mackenzie — Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Carol, please add the link)
Check out the BVUUF calendar for more!
Impacts on our Building
In the midst of all this required physical distancing, we are trying to get our building completed and move in as best we can. I apologize for any confusion there’s been on what we can and cannot do in this regard. This past week, the COVID-19 Response Team realized we’d relaxed things on our end beyond what the State orders require. That is, we have allowed folks in those vulnerable populations to be in the building working. Even using precautions, Safer at Home asks that vulnerable populations stay at home as much as possible. Everyone, of course, will determine their own propensity for risk, but for the sake of caring and safety for all of us, we will not allow any Fellowship related activities that go against the State order.
So, here’s how we intend to go forward:
- Getting the Certificate of Occupancy and finishing up with the contractors is ‘essential’, and we are moving as quickly as possible to achieve this. Having the contractors out of our building will make it a safer building for a variety of reasons.
- The next step is unloading the storage pods and removing them from our property. This saves us money and allows for the parking lot to be used for outdoor activities. We have developed protocols so that this can largely be done outdoors. Until the Safer at Home orders are lifted, however, we will need people under 65 and with no underlying health conditions to help us with this. Household groupings are encouraged! Please sign up here, and we’ll let you know when we have developed a schedule.
- We next want our staff to be able to move into their offices, so they can choose to work there if they wish. Again, this will be done with protocols and in family groupings.
It has been a year of a lot of change, and a lot of confusion, for all of us. Those of us on the COVID-19 Response Team are doing our best to keep up on the latest science and state and county requirements as we proceed with caring for members of our Fellowship and community.
We are a strong community with all we need to stick together during these difficult times.
May you be well,