Dear FCU Members and Friends:
FCU leadership (the Standing Committee and Deacons, with some Committee on Ministries input as well as staff) has been actively talking about how FCU should respond to the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
I have been in touch with many colleagues about their plans, particularly colleagues in our general area.
Part of our concern is that we have many Sunday attendees who are in high risk groups. Another part of our concern is trying to abide by the declared state of emergency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Finally, the health experts tell us that it is important to practice social distancing to “flatten the curve”; this slows down the spreading of the virus, and helps to make it that we don’t have a spike in cases that makes it hard for healthcare to care for everyone impacted. (Read about flattening the curve: CLICK HERE)
As another consideration, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) just closed the Boston headquarters. They say, “The UUA is also encouraging congregations and groups in areas with COVID-19 outbreaks to suspend in-person gatherings of more than twenty-five people.” (Article: CLICK HERE) Middlesex County has had cases, so I believe this should apply to us.
Therefore, we have made the hard decision that FCU’s spaces will be closed as of the end of the day, Saturday, March 14. If you have a meeting or event between now and Saturday night at FCU, it will still take place (unless you have heard otherwise, such as the Women’s Alliance meeting this Saturday being cancelled). The choir will rehearse tonight, for instance. (Naturally, each person involved can still opt to stay home.) We will remain in this status through March 31, and then we will re-evaluate.
This Sunday’s worship service will be ONLINE only. I am working with staff and tech savvy folks to figure out the best way. There will be a learning curve! Right now, I expect that the service will come to you via Youtube Live; I will send out the information in the next two days when we have figured that out. The title of the service is “Love in the Time of Coronavirus”.
The silver lining here is that it forces us to move a bit faster on offering some things electronically — this is something we wanted to learn to do anyway. Necessity is the mother of invention — and fast learning!
Please reach out to me if you would like emails or phone calls or visits during this time.
There will be listserv updates (such as this one) periodically during this period. Also check our website (https://fculittle.org) and our Facebook pages (https://www.facebook.com/FirstChurchUnitarianLittleton/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/389622298475784/) for updates.
Social distancing protects all of us, and especially those at high risk. But we also know that we need one another. We can continue to be a caring community that is here for each other. And we will continue to work on new ways to stay in touch during this period of social distancing. Meanwhile, call a friend or chat with someone online. As my colleague suggested to me, we can find creative ways to connect while keeping social distance – we can even make a game of it. We can step out of our doors at an agreed upon time and howl at the moon! According to your own abilities, find the creative connections that work for you. In short, you can keep a social distance and still connect! And that is what we will strive to do.
“Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after a pandemic will seem inadequate.” — Michael Levitt, Former Secretary of Health and Human Services (2007)
Rev. Lara Hoke
First Church Unitarian, Littleton