August 26, 2021
I’m writing with news about plans for worship this fall. The exciting news is that starting on September 12th, UUCT’s worship services will be live-streamed from Holland on 2nd and 4th Sundays. The other Sundays we will continue the rerecorded Baja 4 worship services. This schedule will continue through December.
Now, here is the news that might be harder to digest. For now, only worship leaders will physically in Holland on these Sunday mornings. The service will be broadcast live on YouTube to everyone else.
Take a deep breath, here.
I know that this news is disappointing to some, relieving to others, and a good mix of both emotions for many. Personally, I am sad, angry, and frustrated. Research about the Delta variant has thrown a wrench in our hoped-for return to large group in-person worship this fall. And I personally cannot take the risk of leading in-person worship just yet. But this isn’t just about me. Most of UUCT’s staff and several UUCT worship lay leaders are living with children who cannot yet be vaccinated. For families with children attending in-person school and daycare, our risk of getting and spreading COVID is high. UUCT is a multigenerational community, so we are not out of this pandemic yet. This is why we are not gathering altogether for worship yet.
And still, we are moving forward! Since before the pandemic began, our long-term vision has been to have multi-platform worship. “Multi-platform” is an emerging term used to describe simultaneous in-person and live-streamed events. Soon, we will start down this path. I hope you will join us on 2nd and 4th Sundays this fall and start this journey with us.
As the ever-shifting landscape of this pandemic changes, your Board and I will consider ways to continue moving towards in-person large worship services. The COVID Response Team* met last night to review the UUA’s current guidance
and discuss our reactions to that guidance. I am working with members of that team to update our policies for gathering in-person on our campus. You will hear from the CRT soon about ways to engage in this process and to voice your feedback and emotions.
There’s a gospel song called “I Need You to Survive” by Hezekiah Walker
. These lyrics has been playing on repeat in my head for much of the past 18 months. When I sing "I need you to survive..." at least two meanings of that phrase are true. I need you to survive because I know that everything I do impacts you, and vice versa. In the midst of a viral pandemic, this truth cannot be avoided. And, also, I need you to survive. Because I love you. And I want to gather with you all again.
I look forward to seeing you soon. I am currently working from church on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I am available for 1-on-1 appointments online or in person, for the time being. You can respond directly to this email if you would like to set up a time to chat.
With great love and hope for our shared ministry,
*Your COVID Response Team includes: Gary Luce, Jody Bergedick, Beth Britton, Bert Meek, Jamili Omar, Mary Wiese, and myself