Hello, UUCMC. I return from vacation time newly charged for the year ahead, and ready to live into our monthly theme of “Embracing Possibilities.” And I want to lead with optimism and amazement. On August 22nd, in the middle of a hurricane that impeded my car from reaching the meetinghouse, we embraced the future by livestreaming our very first worship service from the Earth Room, my face beaming out on the video screens. If you didn’t get a chance to see the service, you may view it at your leisure in our YouTube video library. It was exciting to have participants on the dais, at the pulpit, and at the piano, and thrilling to know that our congregation was watching live, via YouTube stream, available right on the homepage of our website. We embodied our September theme a bit early by Embracing Possibility.
That said, part of embracing possibility is seeing opportunity within the options available at any given time. It can be easy, when things are hard, only to see what is broken. Yet, as in the Warman quote above, out of things falling apart, growth emerges. We seem to keep having to learn this lesson again and again. So, some news I know will be disappointing: the decision has been made by the Covid Task Force, in consultation with the staff, that all in-person worship services will be suspended for the month of September. We do this with heavy hearts, but in doing so, we join with members of UU congregations across the country and, in particular, here in NJ, who have watched the number of Covid cases growing in this new era of virulent Delta strains of the virus, now among the most contagious airborne diseases seen in human history.
The Unitarian Universalist Association, of which we are a part, issued guidelines for moving forward in Delta times, in particular in areas, like Monmouth and Ocean counties with “Very High” transmission risk: “In areas where transmission risk is Very High or Severe (per COVID Act Now data), suspend all large, in-person (indoor and outdoor) gatherings such as worship, concerts, or fundraisers.”
Believe me, I share your frustration at the disruptions Covid has made in our lives. But as I said in my sermon on August 22nd, what we have done over the past seventeen months is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and I have only optimism that we will again find possibility in our shared community.
Worship services will continue to be livestreamed from the Earth Room with 10 or fewer masked participants present. All services will continue to be video archived and made available on our YouTube channel. And, immediately following the services, we will continue to join together for an abbreviated Community Hour on Zoom, as has become one of our newer beloved practices; there, we will join breakout rooms and share from our hearts on a range of topics.
Together, as we move forward, we will see what works, what suits us, what we like, what helps us live into an 8th Principle mentality that would open doors to developing the diversities already among us while welcoming the new. When we work together, possibilities abound. Let us embrace the possibilities available to us— right now, and in the days ahead.
In gratitude for shared patience, resilience, and innovation,
Summer Staff Schedule
We really appreciate the opportunity to recover from an especially challenging year!
Study leave: July 28–August 4
Study leave: August 27–September 6
Out of the office: Aug. 27–Sept. 6 or 7
Vacation: September 23-October 3