A PASTORAL MESSAGE ABOUT RE-OPENING

July 8, 2021

Don’t we just want to be together again?

This past Sunday, we did our first trial run at being back in the sanctuary. It was a huge step for several reasons. And it was our first experiment with a dual-platform service with a few in the sanctuary and everyone else at home.  Which means it was the first time most of the dozen (tech helpers) present had been in the building in well over a year, and the first time to be with other UFPers in person. 

It was our first foray into practicing safety protocols to meet public health guidelines. You might not have seen it on camera, but we were masked when not speaking, and were doing our best to maintain safe physical distancing.

On top of that, it was the first of our summer worship services as part of a consortium of five UU congregations in Southern Ontario. 

It was heartwarming. It was exciting. It was a success. And it wasn’t perfect. It was just a baby step, really. 

There were indeed technical glitches. We can probably resolve most of those with the right equipment and training. But there were also safety protocol glitches. In our excitement, some forgot to use sanitizer as/where directed. The online pre-screening tool didn’t work perfectly. And, we hadn’t considered how masks would interfere with headset microphones. We can resolve these things too, but it’s going to take all of us. 

We are exploring the possibilities for some small outdoor gatherings later this summer and into the fall. We are also going to run another test for the August 1 service. But, it will take all of us putting safety first to create conditions that make our shared space and our in-person gatherings as safe as possible for all who want to gather in that way. It can’t be about what works best for the tech equipment, and it can’t be about our individual risk decisions. Everything we do needs to be about keeping those around us safe…in the interest of our beloved community.  

We have a crackerjack team helping us sort through the ever-changing guidelines and advising the Board on what we can do when. I am so grateful to Heather Ballarin (chair), Guy Hanchet, Heather-Lynn Fraser, Steph Wildheart, and Rosana Salvaterra. Kudos!! 

I really really really want us to be able to gather in person again soon. And I believe it’s very important that we continue to offer quality ways for folks to take part from a distance.  For this to happen, it’s going to take all of us, keeping safety first, listening and attending to protocols, before we are able to walk into each other’s arms again.

When that day comes, won’t it feel good!?!?

For now, enjoy the great outdoors!
Rev. Julie