“On Universals and Particulars” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, November 29, 2020

Gathering music (begins at 9:50)

Welcome

Announcements

Centering

Prelude

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”
by J. S. Bach, arr. by C.H. Trevor
performed by Mary Bopp

Lighting the Chalice and Opening Words

“We Give Thanks This Day”
by O. Eugene Pickett
#512 in Singing the Living Tradition
read by Rev. Josh Pawelek

For the expanding grandeur of creation, worlds known and unknown, galaxies beyond galaxies, filling us with awe and challenging our imaginations:
We give thanks this day.

For this fragile planet earth, its times and tides, its sunsets and seasons:
We give thanks this day.

For the joy of human life, its wonders and surprises, its hopes and achievements:
We give thanks this day.

For our human community, our common past and future hope, our oneness transcending all separation, our capacity to work for peace and justice in the midst of hostility and oppression:
We give thanks this day.

For high hopes and noble causes, for faith without fanaticism, for understanding of views not shared:
We give thanks this day.

For all who have labored and suffered for a fairer world, who have lived so that others might live in dignity and freedom:
We give thanks this day.

For human liberty and sacred rites; for opportunities to change and grow, to affirm and choose:
We give thanks this day.

We pray that we may live not by our fears but by our hopes, not by our words but by our deeds.

Opening Hymn

“Comfort, Comfort Ye My People”
Words by Johann Olearius, tr. by Catherine Winkworth, ad. by Josh Pawelek

Comfort, comfort ye my people,
Speak ye peace, thus says our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness
Mourning ‘neath their sorrow’s load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for her;
Speak to her of sins forgiven,
And her path at last will be clear.

For the herald’s voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Bidding all ones to repentance,
Since the kin-dom now draws near.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for love a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet it,
Let the hills bow down to greet it

Make ye whole what long was dischord,
Make the rougher places plain;
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits this loving reign,
O the sacred shining bright,
Now o’er earth is shed abroad;
Everyone shall see the token
That this love is never broken.

Meditation

“Carried Up to Bed”
by Elizabeth Lerner MacLay
read by Rev. Josh Pawelek

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns

Offering: For the month of November we will be dedicating our community outreach offering to Manchester Senior, Adult, and Family Services. This agency works to improve the quality of life and help maintain the independence of Manchester residents by offering information, referral, outreach, advocacy, assessment of needs and individual consultation on human services benefits and programs. They serve adults aged 60 years and older, people with disabilities, and families and individuals 18 years and older needing help connecting with community services.

Offering Music          

“Crowded Table”
by Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hembly
performed by Meeting House

Homily “On Universals and Particulars” (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Closing Hymn

“Sleep My Child”
Words ad. by Alicia Carpenter
#409 in Singing the Living Tradition

Sleep, my child, and peace attend you, all through the night.
I who love you shall be near you, all through the night.
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loving vigil keeping, all through the night.

Mother, I can feel you near me, all through the night.
Father, I know you can hear me, all through the night.
And when I am your age nearly,
still I will remember clearly,
how you sang and held me dearly, all through the night.

While the moon her watch is keeping, all through the night;
while one-half the world is sleeping, all through the night.
Even while the sun comes stealing,
visions of the day revealing,
breathes a pure and holy feeling, all through the night.

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of Earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now and in all the days to come.

Coffee Hour / Chat / Breakout Rooms

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

155. Holiday gatherings revisited

         Q.Family gatherings over the holidays – what’s the latest?

         A:  The COVID-19 pandemic is explosively expanding throughout the US and Connecticut.  The risk of contracting the disease is now greatly increased.  Indoor meetings are especially at risk.  There has been a flood of recent public information cautioning people to limit family gatherings to just people living in their household.

  • Thanksgiving Day and weekend:
    • If you have followed the prolific advice and are having your celebration with just those with whom you daily eat, watch TV, and say goodnight every day, but yet you still feel a bit guilty, remember the adage, “We isolate so that when we gather later, no one will be missing,”
    • If you have decided to take the risk anyway, and are meeting with one or more friends and remote family members, there are a few things to consider to reduce a bit more the risks you are assuming;
      • Wear masks inside except when eating. If you can blow out a candle while wearing your mask, it is not an effective barrier.
      • Open windows and use a fan to exchange air and ventilate indoor space.
      • Eat outdoors if you can.
      • Consider using straws with a mask when socially drinking.
      • Space chairs more than 6 feet apart around a table. This may result in using several extra tables, maybe in different rooms.
    • Make contingency plans in advance so you will know what to do if someone comes down with a fever after they arrive, or tells you they had been in contact with another person who tested positive a few days earlier.
    • Review again the CDC guidelines about celebrating Thanksgiving to pick up other suggestions to reduce your risk.[1]

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html

  • Christmas and New Year’s Eve
    • If you are planning to celebrate with just those in your household, BRAVO!
    • If you are even considering going out to meet or party with others, look over the CDC guidelines given above just one more time, substituting the words “Christmas” or “New Year’s Eve” for the word “Thanksgiving.”.1

 156. Vaccinations are around the corner, but not right away.

          Q: When can we get vaccinated?

          A:  One vaccine, produced by Pfizer, has applied to the FDA for authority to ship the vaccine to the states to vaccinate people.  Another company, Moderna, is anticipating it will seek similar approval in the near future.  AstraZeneca has also announced it will soon seek approval.  But there are a few remaining steps that must be followed.

  • An independent board of scientists must review the data collected from the Phase 3 clinical trial for each applicant to verify its safety and effectiveness.
  • After the FDA reviews the independent board’s findings and issued its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), the White House has to activate its “Operation Warp Speed” distribution system. Planned to be carried out by the military, doses that are already manufactured will be shipped to a location in each state.  The state will then repackage the number of doses for each local “point of delivery” (“POD”) site where they will continue to be held until they are injected.  The logistics for this process may take some time.
    • For Pfizer, the vaccine must be stored in super-cold storage (minus 94 degrees F).  A continuous resupply of dry ice will be needed to store the vaccine in each of its locations in Connecticut before it is given.
    • There will need to be staffing available to receive, repackage and transport the doses throughout Connecticut.
    • Recordkeeping is needed for timely reminders to be sent out alerting each person to come back to receive their second dose.
    • The transportation and staffing costs for this effort was anticipated to be provided by the federal government. As of last week, there is no money authorized to pay for this.  Further delays can be expected.
  • Priority vaccination of essential health care workers and first responders are expected to take place by January 2021. People at risk due to health conditions or over the age 0f 65 will follow – probably in late winter into spring of next year.  The general public should then expect to begin their vaccinations by next summer into next fall.  Over time, more accurate target dates can be expected.
  • Patience will be required! It has to be remembered that until at least three-quarters of the public receive the vaccination, people will still be contracting COVID-19 disease.  Wearing of masks and social distancing will need to continue by everyone for many months to come.  Even some of those vaccinated will be at risk. If the vaccine is 90% effective, 100 people out every 1,000 receiving the vaccine will not be protected by it.

157.  Eli Lilly’s monoclonal therapeutic is granted an EUA for general use

          Q:  What’s the latest in treatment for COVID-19?

          A: Early in October, president Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to be treated for COVID-19.  While there, he was given an “antiviral cocktail” drug being tested by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.[2]  This was a new medication still undergoing clinical trials.  Initial data showed it had a positive effect in suppressing advancement of the disease if taken early in its progression.  Using this and other approved medications, Trump recovered.  Among other pharmaceutical companies testing similar drugs, Eli Lilly on November 9th was granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approval for its version called “Bamlanivimab,” a monoclonal antibody.

It is now available for people over age 65 or with underlying health conditions.  Monoclonal antibodies are synthetic antibodies that are given intravenously to block the virus from spreading the infection within the body.  It works on patients with mild to moderate symptoms and serves to reduce the risk of later hospitalization.  This creates a dilemma – IV Infusions are usually given in hospitals but eligible patients will not be hospitalized.  The logistics on where people go to receive this medication are being worked out nationally.

It is not for everyone, officials warn.  In addition to the limitations placed on its use by the FDA, the number of initially available doses is quite limited.  Connecticut is now receiving its initial allotment of 1,050 doses.  The federal government has agreed to purchase 300,000 doses which will be delivered to all 50 states during 2021.

Regeneron’s drug that was used to treat president Trump was granted an EUA just last Saturday.  That approval is for a combination (or cocktail) of its two drugs “Casirivimab” and “Imdevimab.”  This approval is for the same treatment protocols as Eli Lilly’s’ Bamlanivimab.

[1] To open this website, copy the entire URL (“https://…..”.) from the text, and copy it into the search window on your web browser and hit enter.

[2] See FAQ #126

“Changing Traditions” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, November 22, 2020

Gathering music (begins at 9:50)

Welcome and Announcements (David Klotz, UUS:E Sunday Services Committee)

Prelude

Bourree #1 and #2
by J. S. Bach
performed by Margeaux Ford, violin

Lighting the Chalice and Opening Words

excerpt from “The Fiddler on the Roof”
by Joseph Stein and Sheldon Harnick
read by David Klotz

A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home… And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word… Tradition. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as… as a fiddler on the roof!

Opening Hymn

“We Sing Now Together”
Words by Edwin T. Buehrer
#67 in Singing the Living Tradition
led by Carol Simpson and Bob Hewey

We sing now together our song of thanksgiving,
rejoicing in goods which the ages have wrought,
for life that enfolds us, and helps and heals and holds us,
and leads beyond the goals which our forebears once sought.

We sing of the prophets, the teachers, the dreamers,
designers, creators, and workers, and seers;
our own lives expanding, our gratitude commanding,
their deeds have made immortal their days and their years.

We sing of community now in the making
in every far continent, region, and land;
with those of all races, all times and names and places,
we pledge ourselves in covenant firmly to stand.
 

Service Introduction   Kristen Dockendorff

Time with Gina

“Giving Thanks – A Native American Good Morning Message”
by Chief Jake Swamp

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns

Offering

For the month of November we will be dedicating our community outreach offering to Manchester Senior, Adult, and Family Services. This agency works to improve the quality of life and help maintain the independence of Manchester residents by offering information, referral, outreach, advocacy, assessment of needs and individual consultation on human services benefits and programs. They serve adults aged 60 years and older, people with disabilities, and families and individuals 18 years and older needing help connecting with community services.

Offering Music

“Take Me Home, Country Roads”
by John Denver
performed by Bob Hewey, guitar, and Carol Simpson, vocals

Reading

excerpts from “Why Traditions are so Important”
by Frank Sonnenberg
read by David Klotz

Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become. Tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends. Tradition reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless. Tradition provides a forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that really matter in life. Tradition offers a chance to say “thank you” for the contribution that someone has made. Tradition serves as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends. Tradition offers an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection.

Reflections

Kristen Morgan and Judevine Morgan-Weintraub

Dottie Reiss

Bonnie, Jeffrey, and Maverick Schlechtweg

Closing Hymn

“When I See You”
by Linda J. Smith Koehler
performed by the Manchester Women’s Sacred Singing Circle

When I see you, my heart is filled with gratitude.
When I see you, my heart is filled with love.
Thank you, thank you for sharing yourself with me.
Thank you, thank you for being who you are.

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of Earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now and in all the days to come. 

Speakers: Kristen Morgan and Judevine Morgan-Weintraub; Dottie Reiss; Bonnie, Jeffrey, and Maverick Schlechtweg

Musicians: Margeaux Ford, violin; The Manchester Women’s Sacred Singing Circle, performers of the closing hymn; Mary Bopp, pianist; and Bob Hewey, guitar, and Carol Simpson, vocals.

Coordinators: Kristen Dockendorff and David Klotz

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

  1. Risk assessment: a functional way to plan for the future – and the holidays…  

          Q. I’m confused matching CDC and state guidelines to actions needed during the current COVID-19 surge. Can someone help?

          A.  If you haven’t recently watched TV or read the newspapers, the number of COVID-19 cases has been dramatically increasing!  Here are some recent Connecticut headlines:

  • “Experts: Surge could last at least another month”1
  • “As surge increases, hospital cases spike”1
  • “UConn places entire Storrs campus under quarantine”[1]
  • “Virus case sends state’s top Dems into isolation”1
  • “Outbreaks stem from dining, worship, homes”1

 

There really is surge in cases, and each day the number of new cases increases exponentially.  Over time, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is rapidly growing.

But what do we do about it?  Guidelines exist from the CDC, and the State of Connecticut:

  • Three basic actions are advised when outside and people other than within your household are present:
    • Keep socially distant – at least 6 feet away from other people.
    • Wear a cloth face covering – a mask.
    • Wash hands frequently for 20 or more seconds or when this isn’t possible, use hand sanitizer.
  • Indoor gatherings have guidelines that limit the number of people present. For example, here are a few: 
    • Commercial venues for meetings, parties, – 25 people.
    • Private residences – 10 people.
    • Religious gatherings – 50% of capacity up to 100 people.
    • Fairs &, festivals – maximum = 25% of previous year.

These guidelines are based on the situations where people gather, and primarily serve to assist sponsors of events and investigating agencies to determine compliance.  But they are conflicting and confusing for individuals trying to remember as they move from location to location.  And they change as each sequential phase is reached.

When someone rationally decides to go to their church service with 90 people present and no one there becomes infected, it is easy to consider going to a banquet hall for a 50th wedding anniversary party with 50 people attending, which guidelines indicate is “unsafe.”  Who can remember what the limits are for each kind of event?

Risk management recognizes that risk is variable.  There is no interaction with another person that is 100% COVID-19 safe.  Likewise, there is no way that one can predict with certainty that they will become infected.  Between these extremes, risk can increase or decrease depending on the actions one takes.

If risk is variable, then risk management should not be based on a memorized list of dozens of different situations.  Instead, safe procedures should be based on a foundation of habitual actions, like always putting on a seat belt when getting into a car.  Then vigilance is needed to adapt to different circumstances.  While driving wearing a seatbelt, one slows down when an erratic driver is spotted ahead, or when the roads are icy.  Regarding coronavirus-19, a person becomes infected when a concentration of virus enters their mouth, nose or eyes.  The three basic measures – social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene – should become habitual whenever one is outside of the home.  Vigilance over the surroundings can then  lead to additional adaptive behavior.  With an upsurge in the number of cases, the chance of contacting someone with the disease increases.  One can then be more vigilant reducing the number of people that are present in various activities.  For upcoming holiday celebrations, limiting the number of friends and families who come will not only consider the increased risk of loved ones becoming infected, it also reduces the possibility that the one person who is infectious without showing symptoms will not be there.  If continued vigilance shows that community surge presents a greater risk, one can take other actions, remembering to always use the three basic habits whenever possible: masks, social distancing and hand hygiene.

  • Provide for air exchange allowing outside air to flow in:
    • Open windows and use fans to exchange air
    • Use a tent with side flaps open enough to allow air exchange
  • Using Plexiglas shields where people are required to be less than 6 feet apart
    • Serving food or tending a bar
  • Purchasing an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
    • Must have a High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing (HEPA) filter
    • Ultraviolet light systems are not deemed as effective
    • Different levels of room sizes are available
    • Check for the frequency of complete room air exchange over time
  • Limiting attendance to members of the household living at the site

Perhaps we’re not really having “pandemic fatigue,” but rather “vigilance fatigue.”

  1. WREN Laboratory based in Branford Connecticut has a new saliva-based test.

          Q: Is there a COVID-19 test that I can use at home?

          A:  WREN Laboratory has just received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its self-administered PCR diagnostic saliva test. This is the first approved test of its kind that provides a collection system, a color coding indicating the collection has been completed and stabilized, and then does the actual analysis.  It takes about a teaspoonful equivalent of saliva spit into a tube.  This does not require medical worker assistance.   It is being marketed to schools, sports teams and other groups that need continuous testing.  It has a reported accuracy of 99%, and is designed to stay “on a shelf” for up to 12 months.  The test results are usually available electronically within 24 hours.  The cost is reported to be $150 per test.  Further information is available at https://www.wrenlaboratories.com

154. Commercial mink farms are hit hard because COVID-19 infects this animal.

          Q:  Is there any more information about pets and other animals contracting COVID-19?

          A: There are about a dozen mink farms in the US, mostly in Utah, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Approximately 15,000 of the furry creatures have been killed by COVID-19, including 10,700 mink at just 9 American farms.  Research has shown that the mink probably had been infected initially by a human being.  Mink are raised in farms where the animals are in very close contact with each other causing the disease to spread rapidly.  Workers have then become infected by contact with the animals.  The problem is not limited to the U.S.  A study conducted in the Netherlands showed that 68% of the workers and their close associates on mink farms became infected.  Fear had been expressed over the possibility of mutations of the virus in the mink population and that this may have caused a surge in the number of human cases. However, it was later found that the disease has not yet spread this way.  Large scale mink farming also exists in Denmark.  The Danish government had announced it would kill all of its 17 million animals to help curtail a potential surge in human COVID-19 cases. The economic impact of this led to a very strong reaction.  Denmark later retracted this idea and research continues.

+++++++++++++++

 Ideas for future bumper stickers:

“We isolate now so when we gather again, no one will be missing.” 

“If vigilance becomes a habit, it will be easy to remember good actions.”

“It is better to be patient than to be a patient.”

 

[1] Hartford Courant, November 11-15, 2020

“Where Do We Go From Here?” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, November 15, 2020

Gathering Music (begins at 9:50)

Welcome

Announcements

Centering

Prelude

“Get Together”
by the Youngbloods
performed by Pat Eaton-Robb

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words

“Your Broken Heart…”
by the Rev. Angela Herrera
Spoken by Anya Stolzman

Don’t leave your broken heart at the door;
Bring it to the altar of life. Don’t leave your anger behind;
it has high standards
and the world needs vision.
Bring them with you, and your joy
And your passion. Bring your loving,
And your courage and your conviction.
Bring your need for healing,
And your powers to heal.
There is work to do
And you have all that you need to do it right here in this room.

Opening Hymn

“Though I May Speak With Bravest Fire”
words by Hal Hopson, traditional English melody
#34 in Singing the Living Tradition
led by Sandy Johnson

Though I may speak with bravest fire, and have the gift to all inspire,
and have not love, my words are vain as sounding brass and hopeless gain.
Though I may give all I possess, and striving so my love profess,

but not be given by love within, the profit soon turns strangely thin.
Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control, our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide every deed; by this we worship, and are freed.

Poem/Prayer

“Love. Because….”
Written and spoken by Molly Vigeant

I made my daughter in the stock of my bones,
How dare I call myself anything less than a miracle
Bringer of life,
Lover,
Giver,
Sinner,
Believer in the inherent worth and dignity of Every single person.
Respect for the interconnected web of all existence,
of which, so undeniably, both You, and I, are a part.
Love.
Because…
All lives Can’t matter,
until black lives do
All lives Can’t matter,
until women control their bodies
All lives Can’t matter,
until our neighbors are set Free
All lives Will matter,
when Humanity becomes Human once more
Please, never forget that you are stardust,
You are the stew of your ancestor’s bones,
You are nothing less than miraculous,
You are rare as perfect circumstance.
You have always been lovable,
You have always been more than good enough.

Right now,
Yes,
Right now you are worthy Right Now.
Not when you get a new job,
not when you lose weight,
or gain weight,
not when you move,
not when you do better,
not when you have more money,
not when things change.
Now.
I promise.
You have been worthy now,
miraculous now,
interconnected now,
inherently needed to feed the souls of our planet.
Our energies are so entwined,
I’m sure you have felt the ripples in our web
when people go,
wherever they go…
The milky way has held you,
Mother earth raised you,
Womb crafted,
Big Bang Blasted,
don’t you dare
ever,
call yourself less
than Miraculous.

Hymn

“The Lone, Wild Bird”
Words by H. R. MacFayden,
music from William Walker’s Southern Harmony
#15 in Singing the Living Tradition
led by Sandy Johnson

The lone, wild bird in lofty flight
is still with thee, nor leaves thy sight.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great spirit come and rest in me.

The ends of earth are in thy hand,
the sea’s dark deep and far-off land.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great spirit come and rest in me.

Joys and Concerns

Musical Meditation

Offering
For the month of November we will be dedicating our community outreach offering to
Manchester Senior, Adult, and Family Services. This agency works to improve the quality of life
and help maintain the independence of Manchester residents by offering information, referral,
outreach, advocacy, assessment of needs and individual consultation on human services benefits
and programs. They serve adults aged 60 years and older, people with disabilities, and families
and individuals 18 years and older needing help connecting with community services.

Offering Music

“Where Do We Go From Here?”
by Joss Whedon (made famous by Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
performed by Jenn Richard and Dan Thompson

Homily “Where Do We Go From Here?” (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Closing Hymn

“There is More Love Somewhere”
African American Hymn
#95 in Singing the Living Tradition
led by Sandy Johnson

There is more love somewhere.
There is more love somewhere.
I’m gonna keep on ‘til I find it.
There is more love somewhere.

There is more hope somewhere…

There is more peace somewhere..

There is more joy somewhere…

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

“Coffee Hour” / Chat / Breakout Groups

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

 

  1. Connecticut children to continue to wear masks in school.  

          Q. How did that court case come out to prevent school children from wearing masks? 

          A:  As previously discussed in this column[1] Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher of the Hartford District Court in Connecticut promised to rule on a recent case.  This was a request for an injunction on the state requirement requiring children in schools to wear masks.  The claim had been made that children wearing face masks are harmed both mentally and physically.   A hearing was held.  Judge Moukawsher has now issued an 11-page ruling denying the requested injunction.  He stated that the plaintiffs had not proven their claim that masks cause mental and physical harm to children.  He also cited that of the 118 school districts in Connecticut, some 200 exemptions under the existing policy had already been given.  His findings concluded there is no emergency caused by the requirement that children must wear masks when attending school.

  1. Using the science of epidemiology, Australia has nearly eliminated COVID-19.

          Q: Is there any hope we can return to normal activities in the future?

          A:  The Washington Post on November 5 reported that Australia, a nation of 26 million is close to eliminating the COVID-19 pandemic just as infections surge again in Europe and the United States.  In Australia, recent travelers are being quarantined in hotel rooms.  Other than those in quarantine, only seven cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the past 5 days.  In Melbourne, the last reported case was on October 30.   The Sidney Opera House has reopened, and an estimated 40,000 spectators attended the rugby finals.

Among the reasons for this success were the decision taken to quickly close and seal the nation’s border, and expanding the staffing to track and isolate any new cases.  “The lack of partisan rancor” is also cited as a factor that allowed voluntary cooperation with these guidelines.  This has allowed for the nearly complete re-opening of Australia’s economy.

  1. Pfizer announces its test vaccine effective rate is 90%

          Q: How long will it be before there is an effective vaccine?

          A: On November 9, Dr. Albert Bouria. Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Inc. released data on that company’s clinical phase 3 trails of the COVID-19 vaccine it had developed.  In this release it was determined the trial vaccine has an effective rate of 90%.  For every 100 people who received it, 90 were protected from becoming infected.  More data is being developed now to document the safety of the product.  In a few weeks, the company will submit the data to the FDA for review.  The review of all this data will be done by an established board of experts, none of whom have any financial or political interest.  If an emergency use authorization (EUA) is granted, the activation of the logistics of distribution – part of the administration’s “warp speed” project that is being operated by the US military – will then be invoked.  Connecticut has written a 77-page COVID-19 distribution plan, and will be ready to receive and set up the required vaccination centers.  One important consideration is the need for “super-cold” storage up to the point of patients receiving each injection.  This storage must be minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit!   Few hospitals and clinics and doctors’ offices can provide this – even the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota does not have this capability.   Kavita Patel, MD had previously served in the Obama Administration, and is now a primary care physician who has studied the issues of coronavirus-19.  She has predicted that the Pfizer vaccine won’t be taken by enough people to provide substantial public protection until the summer or fall of 2021.  But it is reassuring to know that an effective vaccine is able to be developed.

 151.  The CDC has revised its definition of “close contact” used in tracking program.

          Q:  We are told when outdoors to avoid close contact with others without wearing a mask.  What does this mean?

          A:  The CDC has revised its definition of “close contact.”  Previously, it was defined as a total of 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of an infected patient.  The new guidance, which health departments rely on to conduct contact tracing, now defines it as “Someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”

In summary, this revision is a reflection on the basic consideration that a person is at greater risk of becoming infected if the concentration of virons reaches a critical level for entering the mouth, nose and eyes of a healthy person (distance and time) within a 24-hour period.  This now means that three separate 5-minute contacts in a day now add up to a total of 15 minutes and would be considered a close contact.

One can use this for guidance to manage risk.  Actions taken to minimize exposure each day to be below “close contact” is a good rule to follow.  Avoiding multiple short errands in several stores in a 24-hour period is to reduce risks.  Social distancing is already identified as a good practice, but avoiding many intermittent shorter distances that can add up to become a “close contact” will help.  The new Connecticut Phase 2.1 gives guidance for different agencies.  For restaurants, “up to 8 people at a table,” for private social and recreational gatherings “capacity of 10 people,” and for religious gatherings “up to 50% capacity with masks and social distancing required.”  Each of these situational examples require detailed analysis.  Using this revised CDC guidance, we can base our separate decisions on the science of prevention rather than “following the rules.”

[1] See FAQ #147

“Relief, Ambivalence, Fear and Resolve – UUS:E Virtual Worship, November 8, 2020

View our November 8, 2020 service on our YouTube channel;

Relief, Ambivalence, Fear and Resolve
Rev. Josh Pawelek
Unitarian Universalist Society: East
Manchester, CT
November 8, 2020

News outlets across the country have declared Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. and Kamala Devi Harris president and vice president of the United States. I want to talk about feelings. Mindful that we as a congregation, we as residents of the greater Manchester and Hartford communities, we as Americans were already on edge, already emotionally raw, already feeling depleted and drained from the pandemic, from the sputtering economy, from the nationwide racial reckoning, from the bitter campaign season, it seems really important to me to name the various emotional responses that have crystallized since election day. I want to get my feelings out. I want you to get your feelings out if you aren’t doing so already. I don’t want unnamed and unexpressed feelings to weigh us down, mute us, make us sick, as they can and often do. I want us to have our feelings, not to be had by them. I want our feelings to be of service to us as we enter into the next chapter of life in the United States.

First and foremost, in response to the Biden-Harris victory, I feel immense relief. The Trump presidency has been divisive, chaotic, and destructive. It has destroyed—or attempted to destroy—cherished American values, critical environmental and business regulations, and public trust in essential institutions and journalism.  It has destroyed or attempted to destroy our longstanding international relationships. It has destroyed, or attempted to destroy, our faith in each other. It has been heart-breaking, painful and, for many, traumatic. More than relief, knowing this divisive, chaotic, destructive person will be leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a source of excitement, enthusiasm and joy.

This election easily could have gone the other way. The margins were incredibly close. I’m mindful that the Unitarian Universalist Association’s nonpartisan voter turnout campaign, UU the Vote, reached over 2 million voters in battleground states. Members of our congregation participated and reached over 5,000 of those voters. Thank you to everyone who participated in that effort. I am proud of you. I am proud of our denomination. Those efforts are a testament to the power of our fifth principle, “the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” I am proud.

I feel relieved, joyful, proud. I also feel ambivalent. Frankly, I feel ambivalent about what Biden and Harris can actually accomplish. I’ve been struggling to put into words what the Biden / Harris victory means. I am grateful to UUS:E member Jeannette LeSure who sent me a message yesterday to remind me what it means. I have her permission to adapt her words and share them with you. She said this victory brings a president

  • who has translated life-threatening illness and overwhelming loss into tremendous compassion and a genuine desire to help people;
  • who knows how to listen;
  • who understands unifying our fragmented, divided country is a top priority;
  • who will rebuild longstanding international alliances;
  • who will bring knowledgeable, committed people back into government;
  • who will work to find bipartisan solutions to our most pressing problems;
  • who will put addressing the horrors of the pandemic front and center.
  • Who knows how to apologize when he makes a mistake.

This victory also brings a vice president

  • who gives ALL daughters the knowledge that every woman—white, Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latinx—daughters of immigrants, daughters from poverty—can imagine themselves at the height of power in United States society;
  • who has tremendous legal and government experience;
  • who joins her compassion with strength;
  • who is the daughter of immigrants;
  • who is healthy and young and ready to lead if circumstance require it;
  • who has a sense of humor.

Jeannette concludes: they will be a true team. And we will not have to feel shame and fear about their behavior all the time, all day long, hour upon hour.

Nevertheless, I cannot escape ambivalence. For example, I trust Biden is committed to the flourishing of a multiracial, multicultural, pluralistic United States, but I don’t experience him as the leader who can fully, effectively cultivate that flourishing. I hope I am wrong. I trust he’s committed to worker rights, to rebuilding the middle class, to limiting corporate excess and rising income inequality, to strengthening the Affordable Care Act, to protecting women’s full reproductive rights, to rebalancing the tax code, but I don’t see him in a position to overcome the challenges of a painfully, polarized nation. I hope he can meet those challenges—I hope, I yearn, I pray—but I remain ambivalent.

 

All these feelings so far are on the surface. When I peer beneath the surface, I realize I am grieving. The Biden / Harris victory doesn’t erase a profound sense of loss: loss of civility in public life; loss of relationships across political and ideological lines; loss of trust that our leaders can accomplish bold, people-centered, earth-centered initiatives; loss of agreement about what is true; loss of confidence in the future nation and planet we bequeath to coming generations. The pandemic is still raging across the country, bringing a tidal wave of loss – loss of our regular ways of being and relating and interacting in the world; loss of in-person family connections; loss of life; loss of Sunday morning; loss of the choir and the song circle singing together; loss of in-person religious education for our kids; loss of touch and hugs and looking into each other’s eyes, supporting, loving each other in person.

 

At our post-election vigil on Thursday I read from the writer, organizer and progressive, antiracist American thought leader Adrienne Maree Brown’s book Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds.  I’ve been clinging to her words in order to engage with my own grief. She says “You are water. Of course you leave salt trails. Of course you are crying…. If there happens to be a multitude of griefs upon you, individual and collective … or small and large, add equal parts of these considerations: that the broken heart can cover more territory. that perhaps love can only be as large as grief demands. that grief is the growing up of the heart that bursts boundaries like an old skin or a finished life. that grief is gratitude…. that even your tears seek the recognition of community. that the heart is a front line and the fight is to feel in a world of distraction…. that your grief is a worthwhile use of your time. that your body will feel only as much as it is able to. that the ones you grieve may be grieving you.” There is no quick-fix answer to our grief. There is only the grieving process. In the very least, let’s grieve our losses together, openly and honestly, trusting that “the heart is a front line and the fight is to feel in a world of distraction.”

Accompanying my grief is fear. I tread cautiously into my own fear. As a person with significant race, class and gender privilege I question whether it is reasonable to feel fear. Yet I feel it. President Trump has created space for the flourishing of very specific vision of the United States and, more fundamentally, a very specific vision of what makes for a good person. His vision is racist. His vision is patriarchal. His vision is grounded in White Christian Nationalism which is anti-woman, anti-queer, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and which—it must be said—is not the same thing as Christianity. His governing preference is for autocracy rather than democracy. His idea of a good person is one who wins at all costs, one who believes respect for the opposition is weakness. His good person is arrogant and selfish, suspicious and paranoid, demanding loyalty rather than healthy, constructive criticism. His good person uses chaos, lies and personal insults. His good person is super-wealthy. His good person amasses power in order to punish enemies. 70 million people voted for him. Even if those voters reject Trump’s behavior, those 70 million votes, in the very least, signal a high level of American comfort with his vision and his conception of what a good person is. So yes, I feel fear. I am fearful because white supremacists are “standing by.” I am fearful because the Supreme Court now has a hard right conservative majority with the power to eviscerate a host of health care, voting, reproductive, labor, and civil rights, along with environmental protections that have been the norm for 50 years. I am fearful because there are United States citizens who felt moved this week to gather at polling sites and demand that the vote counters stop counting. How is that not a demand for an end to our democracy? I feel fear.

But please know this: deeper by far than grief and fear are feelings of resolve and hope.

The choir sang: “What does the world require of you? To seek justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly in the world.” I come back to these words, adapted from Micah 6:8, again and again in the wake of national tragedies—those large events, those collective experiences that breed anxiety and fear, that unnerve us, unground us, disorient and disrupt us. In response to all of it I come back to justice, kindness, humility. I add love to the list. Love heals. Love saves. Love endures. Love prevails. Love wins.

Whatever may come, I know we have a solid moral compass grounded in justice, kindness, humility, and love. Whatever may come, I have faith in you, as human beings, as Unitarian Universalists, as citizens and residents of the United States. I know you are patriots who understand the union is not perfect but that it can be made more perfect, more inclusive, more fair, more just through our collective, liberatory actions. In the midst of grief and fear, this knowledge fills me with resolve to continue as your spiritual leader, to continue proclaiming our values from the pulpit and in the public square, to continue organizing, to continue nurturing relationships and connections, to continue building the beloved community.

After coming through this week, through these pandemic months with many more to come, through these last four years, I am grieving and fearful, but I am not trapped in those feelings. I have them. But they serve me. Not the other way around. And because they serve me, I feel a sense of resolve. And with resolve comes hope.

My prayer for each of us is that we can have all our feelings, and in doing so, arrive at resolve and hope.

May we be resolved. May we be hopeful.

Amen and blessed be.

 

 

 

Taking Stock, Part I — UUS:E Virtual Worship, November 8, 2020

 

Gathering Music (begins at 9:50)

Welcome

Announcements

Centering

Prelude

“Resilient”
By Rising Appalachia
Performed by Jeannine Westbrook and Jenn Richard

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words  

“To the people who have mistaken freedom for liberation”
by Theresa Inez Soto
Led by Rev. Josh Pawelek

To be free, you must embrace
The breadth of your own existence
Without apology, even if they try to take
It from you. You must know, not that you
can do whatever you want; you are not
a kudzu vine, eating entire hillsides for
the purpose of feeding your own lush life. You
must know instead, that inside you are entire
Universes–milky blue, magenta, and gold–
Expanding. But to actually be free, you must
Know and you must fight for the entire
Universes inside of everyone else.
Being free is not a license, but
A promise. 
 

Opening Song

“There’s a River Flowin’ in My Soul”
By Faya Ora Rose Touré
Led by Jeannine Westbrook

There’s a river flowin’ in my soul.
There’s a river flowin’ in my soul.
And it’s tellin’ me that I’m somebody.
There’s a river flowin’ in my soul.

There’s a river flowin’ in my heart….

There’s a river flowin’ in my mind….

Time with Gina

“Most People”
by Michael Leannah with Illustrations by Jennifer E. Morris

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns

That peace, love and light may infuse all living beings with the knowledge we are one.

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Offering

For the month of November we will be dedicating our community outreach offering to Manchester Senior, Adult, and Family Services. This agency works to improve the quality of life and help maintain the independence of Manchester residents by offering information, referral, outreach, advocacy, assessment of needs and individual consultation on human services benefits and programs. They serve adults aged 60 years and older, people with disabilities, and families and individuals 18 years and older needing help connecting with community services.

Offering Music

“What Does the World Require of You”
by Jim Strathdee, adapted by Pawel Jura
Performed by the UUS:E Choir

Homily (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Closing Hymn

“Keep On Moving Forward”
By Emma’s Revolution
Led by Jeannine Westbrook and Jenn Richard

Gonna keep on moving forward
Keep on moving forward
Keep on moving forward
Never turning back
Never turning back

Gonna keep on moving proudly….

Gonna keep on singing loudly….

Gonna keep on loving boldly….

Gonna reach across our borders….

Gonna end the occupations….

Gonna keep on moving forward….

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come. 
 

Coffee Hour / Chat / Breakout Rooms

 

Post Election Vigil

Friends:

Please view our post-election vigil on our YouTube channel.

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.

Note: with the elections Tuesday and the expected delay in learning the actual results, it is expected everyone’s focus will be on the political aspects of the pandemic.  As a result, this column has been limited to a single issue – the wearing of cloth facial coverings – masks.

 

146. Wearing masks protects the public from contracting COVID-19.

          Q:  My neighbor refuses to wear a mask when we meet outside. Do masks really affect the spread of this disease? 

          A:  Vanderbilt University researchers observed that several counties in Tennessee had different regulations concerning wearing of masks when in public.  The University conducted a study to take advantage of this circumstance.  On October 28, they reported their findings.  Melissa McPheeters, PhD, a research professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center stated, “All of Tennessee has experienced an upsurge and an increase in those hospitalizations, but it’s hitting the hardest those hospitals that are drawing their patients from non-masked mandated counties.”

The growth in hospitalizations based on the percentage of patients they treated from counties with mask requirements between July 1 and October 20. 2020.

Hospitals with 1% – 25%           Hospitals with 26% – 50%
of patients from counties            of patients from counties
with mask requirements             with mask requirements

Growth in hospitalizations
relative to July 1, 2020

 

Hospitals with 51% – 75%              Hospitals with >75%
      of patients from counties                of patients from counties
with mask requirement                   with mask requirements

 

Growth in hospitalizations
relative to July 1, 2020

 

The study found that in Tennessee, hospitals where less than 25% of patients came from counties with a mask mandate, hospitalizations rose more than 200% between July 1 and October 20.

Hospitals in which 26%-59% of the patients were from counties with mask mandates saw hospitalizations rise by about 100% from July 1.

In hospitals where patients came from more than 75% of patients were under mask mandates, there were virtually no change in level of hospitalizations in the study period.

The conclusion:  Masks significantly contribute to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19.

147.  In Hartford, a judge will rule this week on a request to block the decision to require school children to wear masks

          Q: I read that Connecticut is in court defending the decision to require students attending school to wear masks.  Is this true?

          A:  On October 31, the Hartford Courant reported that a day-long hearing had just been conducted before the Hartford District Court in Connecticut.  Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher heard testimony to determine if masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Weeks before, a group of parents and the Connecticut Freedom Alliance had sued the Connecticut Education Department asking that the requirement that children attending classes in schools wear a face mask.  The claim was made that children wearing face masks are harmed both mentally and physically.  The plaintiffs called on a Los Angeles psychiatrist who said masks can inhibit development, cause stress and lead to other complications for children.  Also cited was the risk of oxygen depravation that can lead to permanent neurological damage in children.  The state presented the conclusion of the CDC that masks provide “source control,” reducing the chance that the wearer can spread the disease to others.  Also cited in the hearing was that not wearing masks is a strategy of “herd immunity,” where everyone is encouraged to become infected to gain immunity – a discredited program that Connecticut is not following.  The state also stated they have issued individual waivers of this rule when parents have made requests; therefore, an injunction is not required.

Judge Moukawsher stated that by early this week, he would announce if he made the decision to issue an injunction to stop the requirement for children wearing masks in schools.