Articles, Reflections, & Announcements
Gatherings at the Church Adversely Impacted by Covid Trends
In our last update on the church reopening plans the Covid Task Force was guardedly optimistic that a return to in-person services was in sight, perhaps by early fall. But because of the surge of Covid-19 cases caused by the more infectious Delta variant, the high positivity rate of those being tested and the record number of hospitalizations that are straining local resources, more stringent restrictions on church social activities have been adopted.
This shows the disturbing trend. In July, the Daily New Cases in Leon County was at 20.7 (per 100k) with a 13.2% Positivity Rate. Now those numbers are 87 and 16% respectively with 251 hospitalized, and that number increases daily. The current course is alarming and cannot be ignored.
Although a significant number of our members have been vaccinated we know from public health experts that a vaccinated person can still carry the virus and spread it to others so it’s necessary to suspend some gatherings at the church that had been approved earlier. Such groups as the Old Guys Lunch Group, Women’s Lunch Bunch and BIPOC will be affected. Making a distinction between social gatherings and essential services, the Task Force has adopted these new restrictions:
- Effective immediately lunch and other social gatherings on the veranda or elsewhere on the church campus will not be approved.
- Requests to rent space at the church will be denied for the time being.
- Gatherings for groups providing services such as church work days, Manna on Meridian, church committee and staff meetings as well as staff conducting church business are deemed essential and will continue under masking and social distancing guidelines.
- DRE Director Helen Rivers Cassara has suspended all in-person children and youth programming.
The newly adopted restrictions are in line with recommendations released this past week by the UUA which encourage using greater caution. For our circumstances the recommendation is “In areas where transmission risk is Very High or Severe (per the COVID Act Now data), suspend all large, in-person (indoor and outdoor) gatherings such as worship, concerts, or fundraisers.” ; Due to the severe risk in Leon County, the Covid Task Force has opted for a more cautious approach at this time. We will continue to reassess and hope that we can reinstate small group gatherings in the near future.
Please be assured that cohesion and connection among the congregation is a top priority right along with safety. To that end, Rev. Holly Brown has presented a proposal to live stream services from the sanctuary that would involve three to seven persons to include Music Director Angel de Armendi, one or two musicians and tech support staff, all properly distanced and adhering to the strictest guidelines. Watch for an announcement about when that is scheduled.
If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to reach out the the Covid Task Force. Members are Phil Kiracofe, chair, Janet Temkin and Steve Urse serving as members, Rev. Holly Brown as an ex officio member, Bonnie Abellera, VP for Management and DRE Helen Rivers Cassara as consultants.
Room L Proposal: Reporting Survey Responses
The link below is to a report that compiles the input received from the congregation about the proposal to consolidate Child and Youth RE (CYRE) to Room L.
Input was sought in the form of feedback, questions, and desire to be directly or passively updated about a meeting to discuss next steps. Input was provided via an online survey with one person emailing their input.
The input has been organized into three sections: the first includes questions and responses; the second gathers the concerns and criticisms while the third presents statements of support or neutrality. The fourth section represents the contributions of one congregant. There really was no way to parse it so we decided to include it as its own section. Any quotes or references to input from other congregants has not been vetted. The promise was that this report would present anonymized input, so we have also not identified or asked the congregant to self-identify.
Recommendation from DRE and VP of RE after survey: We’d like to continue to hear from the congregation about the proposal (and bear in mind this is a proposal, not a plan), so the survey link (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScmRc5aaKO54lPySCfrheM9eCt4EzZR59gN0fIGsJQ09YBi6Q/viewform?usp=sf_link) has been reactivated.
Based on the responses gathered thus far, we believe that postponing the decision until we’re closer to being able to gather in person. At that point, should we move forward, the first step is a plan which will be created in coordination with all the other stakeholders. We believe a 4-6 week trial run when we’re ready to resume in-person services would be a great way to explore how to use our spaces in community for the community. This report was presented to the UUCT Board for review/discussion in the August 26, 2021 meeting.
Ongoing Need for Volunteers!
Kearney Center Meal Service and Preparation Volunteers Needed
By Janet Temkin
If you and your family are looking for a way to give back to our community, the Kearney Center can use your help.
UUCT has signed up to prep and serve lunches on the first, third and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Kearney Center. We will be assisting with dinners on the second Monday of each month. 4-5 volunteers are needed at each mealtime.
Meal prep is a fun way to connect with others and help our vulnerable homeless population at the same time.
You can easily sign up to volunteer using the link below:
Kathryn Schroeder is now our UUCT coordinator. Please email Kathryn at email@example.com for more information.