Exploring Our Truths — Virtual Sunday Service, May 31, 2020

Gathering Music (begins at 9:50)

Welcome 

 Announcements 

Centering 

Prelude “Let it Be” (Lennon and McCartney) (Performed by Pat Eaton-Robb)

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words (Wendell Berry)

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Opening Song “Wake Now My Senses” (Thomas Mikelson, traditional Irish Melody) (Josh leads singing)

Wake, now, my senses, and hear the earth call;
feel the deep power of being in all;
keep, with the web of creation your vow,
giving, receiving as love shows us how.

Wake, now, compassion, give heed to the cry;
voices of suffering fill the wide sky;
take as your neighbor both stranger and friend,
praying and striving their hardship to end.

Wake, now, my conscience, with justice thy guide;
join with all people whose rights are denied;
take not for granted a privileged place;
God’s love embraces the whole human race.

Wake, now, my vision of ministry clear;
brighten my pathway with radiance here;
mingle my calling with all who will share;
work toward a planet transformed by our care.

Time with Gina  Be Who You Are (by Todd Parr)

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

 Offering 

Our current community outreach offering is somewhat different than what we normally do. In the coming two weeks we are raising funds for specific workers who have been identified by area labor organizers. Specifically, we are raising funds for a group of workers who lost work at the rest stops on I-95 due to the pandemic. These are non-union workers who were in the middle of a campaign to form a union. Although these rest stops are owned by the state of CT, the workers don’t have the same protections and benefits as regular state employees. And without union membership, they have been treated horribly by their employers. A number of them contracted COVID-19 due to their employers not taking their safety seriously. A few of them have died, leaving their families in dire straits. Our goals is to spread the funds we raise among a group of families who have extreme need right now. More information here.

Offering Music  “Imagine” (by John Lennon) (performed by Teresa Kubiak on cello and Kathy Welch on piano; video collage by Jack Chan)

Homily  “Exploring our Truths” (Beth Hudson-Hankins and Sheila Foran)

Closing Song “Blessed Spirit of My Life” (Shelly Jackson Denham)

Blessed Spirit of my life, give me strength through stress and strife;
help me live with dignity; let me know serenity.
Fill me with a vision, clear my mind of fear and confusion.
When my thoughts flow restlessly, let peace find a home in me.

Spirit of great mystery, hear the still, small voice in me.
Help me live my wordless creed as I comfort those in need.
Fill me with compassion, be the source of my intuition.
Then, when life is done for me, let love be my legacy.

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 for all the days the come.

 Coffee Hour / Chat

On Giving Honor — UUS:E Virtual Worship, May 24, 2020

Watch our May 24th virtual Sunday Service here. 

Bridging / Thoughts on Reopening — UUS:E Virtual Worship, May 17, 2020

Friends: You can watch the video of our May 17th service, including our bridging ceremony,  on the UUS:E Youtube channel.

The test to Rev. Josh Pawelek’s homily is here:

I want to share a few thoughts on what it means for us to get back to normal. By “us” I mean not only those of us in this service – but us as the wider communities of Manchester and Greater Hartford, us as the people of Connecticut, us as a nation.

Earlier we conducted our bridging ceremony. I want to offer congratulations again to John, Sarah, Nate and Mason. And I want to affirm that it’s a very strange and unnerving time to be bridging into young adulthood. The University of California announced this week that it would only be offering online learning for the coming academic year. I suspect each of you will be encountering similar decisions by the schools you are planning to attend this fall. There are many unknowns, and yet one thing we do know is that you will not be launching into young adulthood the way high school graduates always have. Please know that whatever happens, we are here for you. We are committed to supporting you, along with all the other UUS:E young adults who are experiencing disruption at this formative time in their lives.

What about the rest of us? What kind of future are we bridging into?

On Thursday the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Safe Congregation Team released guidance on how to safely return to in-person congregational gatherings. While that guidance is not definitive for us, we need to take it seriously. And the bottom line is sobering. They recommend not returning to regular in-person gatherings until May of 2021. In making this recommendation they are asking us to account for the most vulnerable people among us – not only in our congregation, but also in the wider community. That is, if our UUS:E community were to gather too soon and become instrumental in the spread of a new outbreak, it would not only negatively impact our people, which for me is unacceptable; it would negatively impact people in the wider community. That is also unacceptable. The UUA’s guidance is grounded first and foremost in “our abiding care and concern for the most vulnerable, inside and outside our congregations” and the “recognition that we are part of an interdependent web and, as such, our risk-taking and our protective actions affect far more than just ourselves.”[1]

We won’t be re-opening any time soon, which means we’re going to have to be innovative and creative in all the ways we offering programming, and especially in how we keep our congregational community connected. And when we finally do re-open, we will not be the same community. This social distancing time is going to change us. We are not bridging back to our old ‘normal.’ Something new awaits. We will discover this ‘something new’ as a congregation over the coming year.

The UUA’s guidance flies in the face of the widespread impulse to re-open the country. Connecticut begins re-opening on Wednesday. Other states have already begun re-opening, even states where the infection rate is still on the rise. Here’s my question: Are those in charge of re-opening taking the most vulnerable people into account? Are those in charge of re-opening acting out of an “abiding care and concern for the most vulnerable?” Do those pushing the hardest for re-opening recognize “that we are part of an interdependent web and, as such, our risk-taking and our protective actions affect far more than just ourselves?”

Ten days ago I was in a meeting with clergy from the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance. It was so striking to hear urban and suburban faith leaders compare notes on their experience of the pandemic. Case in point: the membership of our largely white, suburban congregation has had very little exposure to the coronavirus, and only a few positive tests. We have had no deaths. Yet my colleagues serving largely black, urban congregations report widespread infection and multiple deaths. One highly community-oriented pastor said he was getting at least a phone call a day to conduct a memorial service for someone who had died of Covid-19. Other pastors reported widespread food insecurity and economic hardship. The pandemic has exposed beyond a shadow of a doubt the many race-based economic, social and health disparities in our nation. The high infection and death rates among people of color aren’t a novelty. They are a clear-as-day symptom of the old normal. On the GHIAA call this pastor, speaking through quiet tears, said “we cannot go back to that.”

Friends: I don’t know what the future holds. None of us does. But as a society we cannot bridge back to the old normal. We cannot go back to being the wealthiest nation in the world without understanding that for that wealth to exist the way it does, tens of millions of low-wage workers, immigrants, undocumented people, Black and Latinx people must live with intolerable insecurity, just a breath away from economic ruin or personal health crisis or both.

We’ve been trying to help, raising money to address food insecurity, to support undocumented people facing ICE proceedings, to support domestic workers who’ve gotten sick, and now to support non-union rest stop workers who’ve lost their jobs. These efforts matter because they help vulnerable people survive the pandemic. But let’s be clear: they don’t change the old normal. Are we ready to be in the fight for a new society?

I hope we are. The old normal was a moral failing on the part of our nation. Now, with the coronavirus, it’s a moral catastrophe unfolding before our eyes. We cannot go back to where we were. In all your conversations about re-opening, and in every interaction you may have with officials who have a role to play in the re-opening, demand two things:

All re-opening decisions must be grounded in a demonstrable and “abiding care and concern for the most vulnerable.”

All re-opening decisions must start from a “recognition that we are part of an interdependent web and, as such, our risk-taking and our protective actions affect far more than just ourselves.”

If these values can be brought to bear in the re-opening phase, we will be on our way to a better future for everyone. In my view, fighting for this future now is a moral imperative. May we find our way into this fight.

Amen and blessed be.

 

Flower Communion — UUS:E Virtual Sunday Service, May 10, 2020

Gathering Music (begins at 9:50)

Welcome and Announcements

Prelude “The Way Knows” (Lyndsey Scott) (Sung by the Manchester Sacred Women’s Singing Circle)

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words “Like the First Hint of Green” (Jennifer McGlothin) (Spoken by Elliot Garcia)

Opening Song “Meditation on Breathing” (Sara Dan Jones)

When I breathe in, I’ll breath in peace;

When I breathe out, I’ll breathe out love.

Story “The Flower Ceremony, a Plain and Simple Beauty” (adapted from a story by Janeen K. Grohsmeyer in her book Lamp in Every Corner: Our UU Storybook) (Told by Gina Campellone)

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns

Musical Meditation

 Offering

The National Domestic Workers Alliance has established a fund to support domestic workers across the country. As part of this effort, the Brazilian Workers Center’s Connecticut Worker Center, based in Bridgeport, is managing the CT portion of the fund called the “Connecticut Relief Fund for Vulnerable Workers and Families.”  For the first two Sundays in May, we will be taking our community outreach offering for this fund. For homecare workers, nannies, and house cleaners—the vast majority of whom are immigrant women of color—the impact of the coronavirus is especially severe. Many domestic workers already lack access to health insurance, paid time off, and long-term job security. Due to their exclusion from federal and many state labor statutes, they lack safety net protections that most workers take for granted. In the midst of the pandemic many domestic workers have lost employment, and many others are working but lack access to proper protective gear. The money we donate to the Brazilian Workers Center fund provides direct and immediate financial support to domestic workers throughout Connecticut who have been impacted negatively either by the shut-down order or by exposure to the coronavirus or both. Thank you for your generosity. 

Offering Music  “Give Yourself to Love” (Kate Wolf) (Sung by Nancy and Joe Madar)

Homily

Flower Communion (created by Joe Madar)

Closing Song “This Little Light of Mine” (African American spiritual) (Led by Nancy Madar)

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let shine.

Verse 2: I’ve got the light of love, I’m gonna let it shine…. 

Verse 3: I’ve got the light of courage, I’m gonna let it shine….

Verse 4: I’ve light of compassion, I’m gonna let it shine….

Verse 5: I’ve got the light of hope, I’m gonna let it shine….

Verse 6: Wherever I may go, I’m gonna let it shine….

 Final verse: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine….

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 for all the days the come.

 Coffee Hour / Chat

For the Earth Forever Turning — UUS:E Virtual Earth Day Service

Click here to watch the video of UUS:E’s April 19th Earth Day Service.

For the Earth Forever Turning — UUS:E Virtual Earth Day Service, April 19, 2020

 

Worship Preparation: Bring a small branch from a tree or bush into your personal worship space. Hold it up in your video feed during “Time with Gina.”

Gathering Music (Begins at 9:50)

Welcome and Announcements

Prelude “Song for the Birds” (Kristen Dockendorff)

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words  “I Pledge Allegiance to the Earth” (Vern Barnet) (Spoken by Meadow Bornhorst)

I pledge allegiance to the earth and all life,

the fields and streams, the mountains and seas,

the forests and deserts, the air and soil,

all species and reserves, habitats and environments;

one world, one creation, one home, indivisible for all,

affected by pollution anywhere, depleted by any waste,

endangered by greedy consumption, degradation by faithlessness;

preserved by recycling, conservation, and reverence,

the great gift renewed for all generations to come.

protected, preserved by reducing, reusing, recycling.

With conservation and reverence,

the great gift renewed for all generations to come.

 

Opening Song “We Shall Not Be Moved” (African American spiritual, adapted by Anne Vaughan for Earth Day 2020))

We shall not, we shall not be moved.

We shall not, we shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

We’re fighting for our children,

We shall not be moved.

We’re fighting for our children,

We shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

We’re fighting for our earth now,

We shall not be moved.

We’re fighting for our earth now,

We shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

We’re loving all Creation

We shall not be moved.

We’re loving all Creation

We shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

Everyone together

We shall not be moved.

Everyone together

We shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

First Reading  “Earth Day Prayer” (Vern Barnet) (Spoken by Anne Vaughan)

Musical Meditation “Blue Boat Home” (Peter Mayer, ad. by Mary Bopp)

Second Reading – “Letter from Chief Seattle.” (Spoken by David Klotz)

Musical Meditation “Blue Boat Home” (Peter Mayer, ad. by Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns 

Musical Meditation “Blue Boat Home” (Peter Mayer, ad. by Mary Bopp)

Offering

For the next two Sundays we are taking our community outreach offering for the CT Alliance to End Sexual Violence. UUS:E member and Alliance board member, Lisa Sementilli says: As we know, sexual violence victims often know their assailants.  April is sexual assault awareness month, and there is, unfortunately, no moratorium on sexual violence during a pandemic. All of the Alliance’s support centers are open, and their hotlines are operating 24/7 to provide counseling, advocacy and support to victims and survivors.  However, the Alliance and its member centers are incurring costs associated with the unprecedented need for technology to support survivors  by phone and video during the crisis.  As a board member, I am also very concerned about our state and nation’s uncertain financial future and what that might mean for services moving forward.  The vast majority of the Alliance and its member center’s financial support comes from state and federal grants.  UUSE’s support is critical because it not only helps to fill new gaps created by the pandemic, but provides us with unrestricted dollars that we can use with flexibility to support victims however they need support, and to build the capacity to face potential funding crises. Thank you

 Offering Music “Coaxing the Moon” (Kristen Dockendorff)

 Third Reading “The Story of the Sacred Tree”(Co-authored by Judie Bopp, Michael Bopp, Lee Brown, and Phil Lane, Jr. of the Four Worlds International Institute, an organization of Indigenous elders, spiritual leaders, and community members from across Canada and the US dedicated to holistic human, community, organizational and economic development. ) (Spoken by Mary Lawrence)

 Time with Gina  “Tree Meditation” and “blessing of the branches.” (ad. from the book Forest Bathing Retreat by Hannah Fries)

If you’ve brought a tree branch into your worship space, hold it up in your video feed during this meditation

Closing Song “For the Earth Forever Turning” (Kim Oler)

For the earth forever turning; for the skies, for ev’ry sea;
for our lives, for all we cherish, sing we our joyful song of peace.

For the mountains, hills, and pastures in their silent majesty;
for the stars, for all the heavens, sing we our joyful song of peace.

For the sun, for rain and thunder, for the seasons’ harmony,
for our lives, for all creation, sing we our joyful praise to Thee.

For the world we raise our voices, for the home that gives us birth;
in our joy we sing returning home to our bluegreen hills of earth.

Brief Closing Remarks (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Closing Words “I Pledge Allegiance to the Earth” (Vern Barnet) (Spoken in unison)

I pledge allegiance to the earth and all life,

the fields and streams, the mountains and seas,

the forests and deserts, the air and soil,

all species and reserves, habitats and environments;

one world, one creation, one home, indivisible for all,

affected by pollution anywhere, depleted by any waste,

endangered by greedy consumption, degradation by faithlessness;

preserved by recycling, conservation, and reverence,

the great gift renewed for all generations to come.

protected, preserved by reducing, reusing, recycling.

With conservation and reverence,

the great gift renewed for all generations to come.

 

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

“Hope Is….” — UUS:E Virtual Sunday Service, Easter, April 12, 2020

Friends:

The UUS:E virtual Easter Service, “Hope Is….” can be viewed at here.

Here is the text to Rev. Pawelek’s Easter homily, “Tending to Bodies.”

It is Easter morning. As the story goes, it is now the third day since Jesus has been crucified, his body stashed in a nearby tomb hewn into the rock.

In the New Testament book of Mark we read: “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

These are ancient words, written most likely in the fourth or fifth decade after Jesus’ death. Every year, as I read these words at Easter time, I listen carefully for what they might be saying to us across the millennia. What I notice this morning is that the three women who go to the tomb aren’t looking for a resurrected Jesus. They aren’t hoping beyond hope that somehow he has risen from the dead. No. They are going to the tomb to anoint his body with spices. In the wake of a terrible death—a state-sponsored execution—in the midst of what for them could be nothing less than an unbearable trauma—they are doing something simple, something ritualistic, something cultural, something people in their world normally do when a loved-one dies, something profoundly human: they are going to the tomb to anoint his body with spices. Nothing extraordinary. Nothing heroic. Nothing dramatic. They are tending to their beloved’s body.

As they approach the tomb, wondering who can help them roll away the stone, they find that the stone has already been rolled away; Jesus’ body is gone; a young man in a white robe who is not Jesus—we never learn who he is—tells them Jesus has been raised. Resurrection! New Life! A spring-inspired word! Hope beyond hope!

Next year I might read these words differently, and differently still the year after that. But this year, this Easter, coming in the midst of this coronavirus time, this quarantine time, this lockdown time; coming in the midst of this unnerving, anxiety-producing, sleep-denying, utterly frightening global pandemic, the ancient gospel writer tells us, tend to the body! Tending to the body is a critical prelude to “he has been raised.”

Tend to the body.

Tend to your own body – give it what it needs. Tend to the bodies of your loved-ones—whether they are halfway across the room from you, or halfway across the country from you. Keep social distance, yes, but tend to the bodies of your neighbors. Tend to the bodies of the most vulnerable, those who cannot leave their homes, those who have no home, those who are at high risk if they contract the virus. Keep social distance, yes, but end to the bodies of those who have lost work, or who don’t have enough food and other supplies, or who must work in dangerous situations without sufficient protective gear. Tend to this church body as you are able. Tend to the body of the larger community as you are able. Nothing extraordinary. Nothing heroic. Nothing dramatic. Simply tend to bodies however you can. That is all Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome intended to do in the midst of their trauma. That is what we need to do in this moment. In fact, it may very well be all we can do.

And perhaps an unexpected, awesome and, as the writer says, terrifying revelation is waiting for us too. Some version of “He has been raised!” Life again! A spring-inspired word! Hallelujah!

When we carefully and intentionally tend to bodies at a moment such as this, I believe we touch the spirit at the heart of Easter. We help ourselves and others who have fallen into fear and despair regain grounding. We help ourselves and others who have lost faith in the goodness of humanity know and trust that there is still decency in the world. We help ourselves and others know that we care for one another, that our connections are strong, that it’s OK to ask for help, that we will not abandon anyone if it is in our power to help. For me, this year, this morning, tending to bodies is the message of Easter. That’s how we help bring ourselves and others out of our tombs. That’s how we and others proclaim resurrection! Life again! Life anew!

Tending to the body. That’s what brings hope in a moment such as this!

There are some pictures on our website—some of you may have seen them in the eblast yesterday—of Hartford Hospital workers wearing face masks that UUS:E members made in their homes. The workers gave us permission to share the pictures. The people who made the masks were tending to the workers’ bodies even though they didn’t know for sure who would ultimately wear the masks. The person who delivered the masks to the workers was tending to their bodies. The workers who wore the masks were tending to their own bodies, which in turn enables them tend to the bodies of patients in the hospital.

Those of you who are helping out with food drops are tending to bodies. Those of you who have indicated you are willing to help are tending to bodies. Those of you who are keeping touch with members and friends of our congregation are tending to bodies. Those of you who are sending cards to those who have lost loved-ones to Covid-19—you are tending to bodies. Those of you who have donated to MACC and Hartford Deportation Defense—you are tending to bodies. Every time we do these simple, human things—these unheroic, unexceptional, undramatic things—we tap into the spirit at the heart of Easter. We speak a spring-inspired word. We say “Yes” to life. We say “Life Again!” We say “Life Anew!” Like the three women at the tomb, we may be awe-struck in this moment. Like the three women at the tomb, we may be terrified in this moment. But like the three women at the tomb, in these very simple actions we also find hope when we least expect it.

My message to you this Easter morning: Be like the women at the tomb. Tend to bodies. That is what we must do now. That is our path out of our own tombs. That is our path to new life. That is our path to hope.

Amen and blessed be.

“Hope Is….” — UUS:E Virtual Sunday Service, Easter, April 12, 2020

Gathering Music (begins at 9:50 am)

Welcome and Announcements

Prelude  “You’ve Got a Friend” (Carol King, performed by Sandy Johnson)

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words “Rolling Away the Stone” (Sarah Moores Campbell)

In the tomb of the soul, we carry secret yearnings, pains, frustrations, loneliness, fears, regrets, worries.

In the tomb of the soul, we take refuge from the world and its heaviness.

In the tomb of the soul, we wrap ourselves in the security of darkness.

Sometimes this is a comfort. Sometimes it is an escape.

Sometimes it prepares us for experience. Sometimes it insulates us from life.

Sometimes this tomb-life gives us time to feel the pain of the world and reach out to heal others.

Sometimes it numbs us and locks us up with our own concerns.

In this season where light and dark balance the day, we seek balance for ourselves.

Grateful for the darkness that has nourished us, we push away the stone

and invite the light to awaken the possibilities within us and among us—possibilities for new life in ourselves and in the world.

Opening Hymn “Lo, the Earth Awakes Again”

Lo, the earth awakes again — Alleluia!
From the winter’s bond and pain.
Alleluia! Bring we leaf and flower and spray — Alleluia!
to adorn this happy day. Alleluia!

Once again the word comes true,
Alleluia! All the earth shall be made new. Alleluia!
Now the dark, cold days are o’er, Alleluia!
Spring and gladness are before. Alleluia!

Change, then, mourning into praise, Alleluia!
And, for dirges, anthems raise. Alleluia!
How our spirits soar and sing, Alleluia!
How our hearts leap with the spring! Alleluia!

Time with Gina  “Hope Is….”

Music “Crowded Table” (The Highwomen, performed by the UUS:E Children’s Choir)

Joys and Concerns

Musical Meditation

Offering

This morning and throughout the week we’re dedicating our offering to Hartford Deportation Defense’s Greater Hartford Immigration Fund. Hartford Deportation Defense (HDD) is a group of Hartford-area neighbors who work to support families directly impacted by the US Government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation operations. HDD is led by immigrants and their allies, seeking to dismantle the deportation machine and resisting the mass criminalization of black and brown people. The Greater Hartford Immigration Fund, which supports families impacted by deportation proceedings by helping to pay their legal fees, is also being used during the Covid19 pandemic to secure food for impacted families in the greater Hartford region, as well as to fund a network of impacted people who are producing facemasks to share within the community.

First Offering Piece “Psalm 19″ (Music by Elana Arian, performed by Sharon Gunderson)

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
be acceptable to you,
Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(Yih’-yu l’-ra-tzon im-rei fi,
V’-heg-yon li-bi l’-fa-ne-cha
A-do-nai, tzu-ri, v’-go-a-li)
Second Offering Piece  “Gigue” from  Partita in E for Violin Solo (J.S. Bach, performed by Sharon Gunderson)

Homily “Hope Is….” (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Music “What Does the World Require of You?” (Jim Strathdee, adapted by Pawel Jura)

Closing Hymn “O Day of Light and Gladness”

O day of light and gladness, of prophecy and song,
what thoughts within us waken, what hallowed mem’ries throng!
The soul’s horizon widens, past, present, future blend;
and rises on our vision the life that has no end.

Earth feels the season’s joyance; from mountain range to sea
the tides of life are flowing, fresh, manifold, and free.
In valley and on upland, by forest pathways dim,
all nature lifts in chorus the resurrection hymn.

O Dawn of life eternal, to thee our hearts up-raise
the Easter song of gladness, the Passover of praise.
Thine are the many mansions, the dead die not to thee,
who fillest from thy fullness time and eternity.

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.

Virtual Coffee Hour / Zoom Chat

Covid-19 — More Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

01      Q: How can I protect myself if someone else gets groceries for me?

A: When you or others bring groceries to your home, leave them outside until you are ready to safely disinfect the items.  Remove each product from shopping bags and using a standard disinfectant, wipe or spray the outer surfaces of each plastic, metal or glass product container, leaving the surface appearing “wet” for at least 10 seconds.  Place on a clean disinfected surface.   Pour or dump items such as bread, cereal and crackers in properly cleaned storage containers, safely placing the wrappers and coverings aside.  Thoroughly wash all fruit and vegetables with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  Valuable suggestions and methods to carry out these important procedures are discussed and demonstrated in this 13-minute video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=sjDuwc9KBps&feature=emb_logJPhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=sjDuwc9KBps&feature=emb_logo

 02      Q: I sent my family and friends the 13-minute video on safely unpacking groceries.  My son tells me not to do this – it has been debunked.  He sent me back an Internet article saying the CDC does not recommend sanitizing groceries nor does the World Health Organization.  The FDA stated there is no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus.  Is this true?

A: It is true that neither the CDC nor the WHO specify groceries in its recommendations for sanitizing.  But that doesn’t mean they recommend not doing it!  They also haven’t specified sanitizing automobile steering wheels, computer keyboards, and tray tables.  But all of these are covered under the broad guideline defining the need to disinfect “surfaces.”  It is also true that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not reported any studies of virus contamination of food.  But the absence of such studies doesn’t prove that food can’t be contaminated.

Following these conclusions that protective actions are not necessary can be quite dangerous.  Consider the following.  A cereal package was handled by a stocking clerk loading store shelves while coughing.  If we believe the scientific fact that this virus remains viable – can infect others – on cardboard for up to 24 hours, why would anyone assume that handling that carton a few hours later at home was safe?  Until proven otherwise, we have to assume that all surfaces can be contaminated by coronavirus-19.

03  Q: How long does coronavirus-19 remain infectious on different surfaces?

A: Many early reports answered this question with widely differing time intervals.  To clarify this scientifically, the National Institute of Health in March 2020 published the definitive answer:

  • “In aerosols for up to 3 hours”; (this refers to airborne particles)
  • “On copper for up to 4 hours”;
  • “On cardboard for up to 24 hours”;
  • “On plastic and stainless steel for up to up to 3 days.”
    • Per previous guidance – all “hard surfaces” are in this above group.)
  • In a related earlier study, similar coronavirus particles remained infectious for 2 years or more when frozen.

These data guides us in how best to schedule disinfecting surfaces.

04  Q: If you send out for prepared meals, should we worry that the delivered food may be contaminated with coronavirus-19 particles?

          A: The safest prepared food to order from others is likely cooked and “served hot” meals.  Have these delivered and left outside with no personal contact.  Remove cardboard or paper containers placing the meals on clean dishes and bring inside.  Wash hands or use hand sanitizer.  Using a microwave, reheat the food until steam is visible.  Heat destroys virus particles.  Cold meals including salads cannot be microwaved, washed with soap and water, or have disinfectant chemicals put on them.  Existing research doesn’t yet provide a definitive answer, but indications are the risk is probably quite low.

05  Q: How did authorities come up with 6 feet as the distance for “social- separation?”

A: We are asked to follow many guidelines, but are given minimal information why these rules were developed.  One leading way infection occurs is by hand contact with the virus on surfaces, then touching the face.  The other common way of transmission is direct contact with the virus suspended in the air.  There is a greater risk of infection when the virus particles are in greater concentration.  We hear that an infected person releases the virus when they exhale the virus “droplets” that come in contact with a healthy person’s mouth or nose.  The term “droplets” can be misleading – it implies visible specks of water that quickly drop to the ground.  A more accurate term is often used: “aerosol” transmission.  Breathe on a mirror, and the invisible aerosol mist appears as a visible patch of condensed moisture.

When anyone infected coughs or sneezes, a denser aerosol spray of microscopic virus particles is discharged over greater distance than when breathing normally.  They float in the air, and drift away becoming increasingly less concentrated over time and distance.  Consider this “thought experiment” (you don’t need to actually do this while shopping!)  Using a spray can of room air freshener, point it away from you and release a short split-second puff of spray.  Imaging walking forward and note how long you can go before you can’t smell the resulting spray.  Next, imagine spraying another short puff into your bent elbow.  Note how closer to you the scent remains – how aerosol particles are more confined in their density and spread.   Imagine that the distance you can smell the aerosol odor as the same distance that coronavirus-19 particles are spread in concentrations that enable them to infect you.

Many situations influence the concentration and spread of this aerosol.  Outdoors, especially when there is a breeze, these distances are nearer the source.  In a living room with the windows closed, they concentration may be farther away.  Rather than asking us to remember and calculate for each situation we may be in, authorities have agreed upon the distance of 6 feet separation as being uniformly safe for different situations.

 

 

Deepening Connections — Virtual Worship, March 22, 2020

Dear ones: You can view the March 22 virtual service here.

For those who are interested, the story Gina read, Tom Percival’s Ruby Finds a Worry,” can by viewed here.

I mentioned a March 12th New Yorker article by Robin Wright which you can find here. (Thanks to Nancy Pappas for suggesting this article.)

I shared some suggestions for conversation questions from New York Times Style section  columnist Daniel Jones’ 2015 piece, “36 Questions that Lead to Love.” You can read that article here.  (Thanks to Beth Hudson-Hankins for suggesting this article.)

And here are the words to my prayer:

This is so hard. We are praying. We are praying that our prayers may do some good.

We are praying for health care workers. We are praying prayers of profound gratitude for their heroic efforts not only to address Covid19, but to respond to all the other health concerns that don’t go away simply because we’re living with a pandemic. We know they are already overworked, stretched thin, carrying their own fears and anxieties. We pray that they may stay strong, stay healthy, get the resources and rest they need to continue in their incredible, life-saving work.

We are praying for first responders. We are praying prayers of profound gratitude for their heroic efforts to respond to emergencies in the midst of a pandemic. We know they are already overworked, stretched thin, carrying their own fears and anxieties. We pray that they may stay strong, stay healthy, get the resources and rest they need to continue in their incredible, life-saving work.

We are praying for everyone whose work supports food production and food distribution, but most importantly we are praying for grocery store workers at Stop and Shop, Big Y, Shopright, Priceright, Highland Park Market, Whole Foods, Aldi, C-Town Supermarkets, IGA, Shaws, Price Chopper, BJ’s, Costco and all the rest. We have such gratitude for those workers keeping shelves stocked as best they can, cleaning, helping. We pray that they may stay strong, stay healthy, get the resources and rest they need to continue in their incredible, life-saving work.

We pray for all those who have lost jobs, who have had to close down businesses, who have had to lay off staff, who have lost regular income. We are praying for all those who are trying to figure out childcare now that their children are home from school. We pray that they may stay strong, stay healthy, get the resources and rest they need to continue making their way, day-to-day, finding solutions to perplexing problems.

We are praying for all those who are and will be sick with Covid19. We are praying for the families of those who have died.

We pray that our efforts at social distancing will help, will help limit community spread, will help “flatten the curve,” will help save lives.

We don’t know what impact our prayers may have, but we know that as we pray, we orient ourselves toward doing what we need to do for ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, for the most vulnerable in our region. May our prayers center us, ground us, calm us, and enable us to endure this crisis with grace, dignity and love.

Amen and blessed be.