June 18, 2020
Greetings Beloved Community.
Grace and Peace to you in this week of great turning. As we in the northern hemisphere approach the longest day of the year we note that the summer solstice is this coming Sunday. It is hard to believe that summer is almost here. And this week we have also witnessed other great turnings, as the Supreme Court has issued rulings that support the rights of LGBTQ+ persons, and has blocked the attempt to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) anti-deportation program. Yet we know there is remains much work to do. Even though we have not gathered together physically for over fifteen weeks, we are still being church together.
Yet in all of the ways our church community has carried on in this new and different time, we still miss being together in the same physical space. That grief is real, and we know that it affects different ones of us in different ways. You are all in our prayers.
We also know, as we hear of limited opening of church buildings in different parts of our country and even locally, that it is helpful for you to hear about what our plans are here at University UCC. Last night our Church Council, in their regular monthly meeting, voted to assemble a COVID-19 Task Force, tasked with assessing how, when and under what circumstances UCUCC would consider re-gathering in person.
We have already identified key values and markers that will guide those decisions. We will gather when we know we are not asking the most vulnerable in our community to risk their health or be left behind in isolation. We will continue to follow the guidelines developed out of the best science available, as we follow CDC guidelines and listen to community health professionals. We will honor the work of our custodians and others who care for our building by keeping them as safe as possible. We will wait for good diagnostic, treatment, and vaccine tools to be available. This new Task Force will prioritize and monitor those markers, and provide us with regular updates.
In light of these values and markers, we do not anticipate regathering in any groups of significant size for the remainder of this year. We know that is hard news. But we also know that it is a faithful response to this global pandemic. Other faithful responses include continuing to care for one another in trials of the spirit and in times of joy. So we shall continue to gather virtually and to reach out to one another in compassion. We will continue to worship on-line in ways that nourish our spirit and strengthen us for the work God calls us to. We will continue to call for and work for love in our midst and justice, the public face of love, in the world. We will continue to trust that God in with us in this journey, comforting, calling and empowering.
And in the midst of all of this we continue our work for racial justice. With gratitude and support for those who have stood for, marched, and worked for justice over the past weeks, we commit to continuing this journey together. Every week we pray for God’s will to be done, right here, right now. May we turn our prayers into work for such a kin-dom, until it is real for all.
If you are wondering what you can do in these times of both action and “stay home, stay safe,” here is a resource called Justice in June recommended by our Racial Justice Action Team, with a calendar to help you spend 10 minutes per day (or 25 minutes, or 45 minutes) working for Racial Justice.
In spite of the title, this is “not just for June.” It is the work that calls us every day, and this is a good place to start.
As always, if you have a need in this time please reach out to one of us. This congregation has resources to help in this time. We are holding you all in our hearts.