Under the circumstances, we’ve been doing an admirable job of connecting, right? We’ve offered multiple ways to get together…on-line or by phone…and these connections have been invaluable. I’ve heard many wonder about what it would be like to experience a pandemic without Zoom. Terrible, right? But…
WHEN WILL WE GATHER AGAIN? I don’t think we knew how much we treasure the physical presence of others until we had to distance ourselves. And this extended time of stilted and virtual social connection is wearying, so you’re probably feeling some mix of tedium, anxiety and impatience. When will we be able to return to our space and be able to meet in person?
I would love for this to happen. Soon.
But. Picture this. There’s a registration system for determining which fifty people can come on Sunday morning. If you’re chosen, you (masked) are greeted at the door by another UFPer (masked), who stands behind a Plexiglas barrier, and gives you detailed instructions. Don’t hug or even touch anyone else. Don’t touch any surfaces unnecessarily. Don’t pick up a hymnal.
You’re given a number that corresponds with a seat assignment in the sanctuary, and you must go directly there, and not move about. Should you have the need, only one person is allowed in the washroom at a time, and we’ll want to sanitize the room between users.
During the service in a sparsely-seated sanctuary, there’s no singing and no interactive rituals. There are computers/cameras present in order to continue to offer the service virtually. After the service, there’s no coffee hour. You need to leave the building through a designated exit. And then a team will sanitize all surfaces and pews.
And. Picture this. After such a gathering, we learn that one in attendance has tested positive for COVID 19, and then many need to quarantine, and maybe others get sick…
This makes me wonder why we would gather. And yet, we do need to gather again sometime. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. At some point we’ll need to decide that it’s safe enough, and that the benefit outweighs any risk. Your UFP Board is thinking hard about this, but right now, it looks like October will be too soon to re-open. Big sighs.
The reasons we gather are many…to celebrate life, to care for one another, and to recommit ourselves to the interconnected web of all that is. Gathering together grows courage and seeds the possibility of our collective liberation. We gather to learn about how love really works, and how it could work, in our lives and in the world. Simply put, being together nourishes our hearts and lives in countless ways.
So…please! Help us to think about this. How can we continue to support and sustain the UFP community? What do you need right now? What would help you to connect? Do you have ideas about ways we might better show up for one another? How can I show up for you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! We need you to participate in how UFP evolves in a changing world. Email or call me. Talk to one another.
I believe in us, and in our collective creative power to be a beloved community no matter the circumstances. These are tough times when we should not be alone. So let’s figure out how to be together, even when we don’t gather in the usual way, by gathering our spirits and our hearts in love and connection. This is who we are.
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August 5, 2020