Dear UCCM siblings in Christ,
The UCCM Re-Entry team is committed to keeping you informed about our discussions and decisions regarding ministry in the age of COVID. Our first and biggest priority remains the health and safety of every member of our community. At the same time, we know that spiritual well-being is a vital part of our overall wellness as people and as people of faith. The Re-Entry team takes seriously the responsibility to meet people’s spiritual needs, while also considering safety concerns such as cleaning, ventilation, time for aerosols to settle, physical distance, contact tracing, masks, handwashing, and so on.
The Re-Entry team therefore shares these updates to our current policies:
Worship – Worship at UCCM will continue to be offered virtually, with access available online through Facebook and Zoom, over conference call or speakerphone with a friend, and through written summary (currently available in the newspaper). Gatherings of any size or configuration in the sanctuary for worship remain suspended at this time, because we cannot meet all the safety criteria. We will continue to increase the ways in which worship is accessible, so that no one is excluded from the worship life of UCCM.
Spiritual Care – Relatedly, we know that not being able to worship in person or at the church is a painful loss, and means that for many it feels like spiritual care and connection to God are diminished. We also know that people’s needs and access vary, and we need to hear from each person in the UCCM family how we could best nurture your spiritual life. The Spiritual Life team is looking for volunteers to help contact each member of our congregation. If you enjoy chatting on the phone or you are passionate about making sure everyone is connected to church, would you please volunteer to help us contact folks?
Feeding Ministries – Our feeding ministries are some of our most beloved ways UCCM serves our community. We have already resumed a modified version of the community dinner, offering take-out only. In mid-August, our Breakfast on Us volunteers also hope to resume Breakfast on Us as a take-out only meal, with limited options, available for pick up outside the building. In both cases, UCCM will remain open to the volunteers and kitchen crew, but closed to visitors and diners. The Re-Entry team talked extensively about offering space, inside or outside the building, for guests to linger and eat together. We feel that we are not yet able to fulfill the safety requirements to do so. Unfortunately, therefore, we will not offer places to sit and eat together at this time.
Small groups and meetings – Out of an abundance of caution, the Re-Entry team encourages small groups and church teams/committees to meet by zoom or outside as weather allows. However, groups of 10 or fewer people may meet within the church building, provided they abide by safety guidelines including: wear masks, wash hands upon entering and leaving the building, maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance, sanitize the space (the dining room is recommended for ease) before and after use, and are on the calendar/given permission so that the church staff and janitor know precisely which spaces need to be cleaned, and contact tracing is possible.
The Re-Entry team knows that such a slow, phased plan for re-launching our full ministries is frustrating and painful. I am reminded of something posted in a church where a friend of mine pastors: We keep apart right now, so that when we gather together again, none of us are missing. Friends, this is our ultimate commitment.
God is still calling us to serve one another and our community, and will equip us to do so. We will continue to be creative, courageous, and careful as we answer this call.
Blessings and strength, partners in ministry,
On behalf of the Re-Entry team: Becca G, Heidi K, Claudia N, Carol O, Dot R, Duane S, Jane S, Judy S, Mary Ann W