Final Report and Analysis of the April 2022 Covid-19 Questionnaire

UUS:E Emergency Preparedness Team, May 24, 2022

Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                                      

Section 1 – The 7 situations ranked for levels of comfort:                    

  • Mandatory mask wearing
  • Social distancing
  • Limiting attendance
  • Food and drinks being allowed
  • Leaving windows open
  • The Omicron subvariant BA.2 continuing as cause of surge
  • Overall comfort with restrictions at the time of the survey

Section II – Reporting on several questionnaire Narrative categories:

  • Expectations on different rates of removing restrictions
  • Reporting on 4 categories spontaneously listed:
    1. Having Zoom meetings
    2. The presence of the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron
    3. Concern for the vulnerable – the unvaccinated and immunocompromised.
    4. Offering suggestions for considerations
  • Reporting on 3 categories that won’t affect future decisions:
  1. No comments offered
  2. Miscellaneous comments
  3. Expressions of appreciation

    Introduction

In late February, 2022, the CDC changed the recommendations for groups and agencies to implement mitigation steps.  The new process is now to recommend actions taken by individuals based on hospital admissions and deaths in the counties in which they live.  The primary reason for this change was impatience by the public to follow mandated mask wearing and vaccination recommendations imposed for participation in organizations and agency gatherings.

This new streamlined approach allows people to view Covid-19 as being endemic.  It will never completely go away.  However, scientists expect that these guidelines will result in higher morbidity and mortality than with other endemic diseases like the seasonal flu.  The assessment of risk is now up to the individual.

The UUS:E Policy Board has defined the need to set individual restrictions based on the scientific analysis of the rise and fall of the surges and on the perception of acceptable safety by the congregation.  In this confusing interaction between science, politics and culture, what are the differing perceptions of acceptable safety levels within our church family?  This questionnaire was developed to provide some answers.  The following summarizes the findings:

Report of Findings and Analysis of the April 2022 Questionnaire

The questionnaire is in two parts.  Seven situations were cited and the responders were asked to indicate the degree of comfort they felt with each.  Then, a second section asked for narrative comments.

Section I – Rating of comfort level for different situations:  On the following pages, each situation in Section I of the questionnaire asked the respondent to rank their perception to different actions on a scale of 1 to 5.  For the following analyses, the two levels of scoring at either side were consolidated in the resulting graphs to visually discern the three sides of the issue.  All original data from the responses are displayed.

 

 

 1) – Mandatory Mask Wearing 

“If wearing masks was optional, how comfortable would you be attending these events?”

Discussion: Of all the respondents, (46%) indicated they would be most or more comfortable if they or others were allowed to enter the building unmasked than those (31%) who would be less or least comfortable.  Part of this finding includes many who might prefer not to wear masks.  Another part is those who could feel uncomfortable breathing air that might contain aerosoled varioles exhaled by unmasked others, putting them at risk for infection, even if they were wearing a mask

Analysis: In the future, these respondents would tend to accept changes to lessen restrictions on mandatory face masks more than we have done before.  But the percentage of those who would be less comfortable have to be considered by not moving this way rapidly.  More education is needed on the need for better ventilation as a pre-requisite to lessen mask wearing to make such a move safer.

This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies.

 

2) – Social Distancing

 “If social distancing was not required for events, RE, or Sunday services,
would you feel okay with that?”

 

 Discussion: More respondents (49%) of the respondents would feel greater comfort than the 32% who would feel lesser comfort if they were allowed to sit closer together during Sunday services and other gatherings.  It is now recognized that Covid-19 infections are spread by aerosoled varioles suspended in the air.  Anyone who is infectious can reduce the release of their virus particles into the air by wearing a properly fitted mask.  The ambient air near the infectious person not wearing a mask will have a higher concentration of varioles as they disperse throughout the room. making social distancing important to control the spread.

Analysis: If a future decision is considered to reduce social distancing, the level of mask wearing needs to be examined.  And, again, the percentage of those who would be less comfortable have to be considered by not moving this way too rapidly.

This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies.

 

 3) – Limiting Attendance

“If limits on Sunday services (currently 60) were lifted, would that be of concern to you.”

 (NOTE: Responses indicating greater risk are displayed in the above graph by its equivalent, lesser comfort)

 Discussion:  Fewer people (32%) would have greater comfort with an increase in the attendance at Sunday services and other gatherings than the 49% than would be uncomfortable.

Analysis: If a decision is made to increase the attendance limit, it should be more limited than we are used to making in the past.  But the change should not be seen as precipitous as those with lesser comfort would resist.  The consideration of improved ventilation with the HVS system would be an important factor to consider with such a decision.

This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies.

 

4) – Food and Drinks Being Allowed

 “Would you be comfortable if food and drink were allowed at events, RE or Sunday services?”

 Discussion: More respondents (55%) feel greater comfort with having coffee and snacks or meals in the building than the 28% who would feel uncomfortable.  The immediate cause for this may be the familiarity people have eating in restaurants.  The frequent cause for limiting this variable is that masks cannot be kept on when drinking and eating.  But as restaurants are learning, adequate ventilation and social distancing between patrons can compensate for not wearing masks.

Analysis: Drinking and eating might be considered possible as long as there is adequate ventilation – including improving the HVAC system, and meeting out of doors – and keeping small groups standing or diners sitting less crowded closely together.

This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies

 

5) – Leaving Windows Open 

“If windows were not open during events RE or Sunday services, would that be of concern to you?”

(NOTE: Responses indicating greater risk are displayed in the above graph by its equivalent, lesser comfort)

 Discussion:  Fewer respondents (34%) reported feeling greater comfort than the 46% that would feel lesser comfort if the windows were closed during meetings.  It has been reported that cold air in winter, and humid air in summer makes the rooms uncomfortable.

Analysis: These findings lend urgency to modifying the HVAC system to provide adequate outside air in rooms allowing the windows to remain closed.

 This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies

 

6) – The Omicron Subvariant BA.2 Continuing as Cause of Surge

“To what extent will the new variant BA.2 impact your thinking on safety on attendance at events, RE or Sunday services?”

 (NOTE: Responses indicating greater risk are displayed in the above graph by its equivalent, lesser comfort)

 Discussion: More respondents (46%) reported they are not impacted in making decisions about safety considering the BA.2 subvariant before attending gatherings at the church.  This contrasts with the 35% who said they were influenced.  This balance shows that many respondents are aware of the greater risks presented by this subvariant being more infectious while not resulting in more serious disease.

Analysis: This balanced awareness and concern over the characteristics of different mutations of Covid-19 does not significantly impact the perception of acceptable levels of safety of the various mitigation measures we are considering in the future.

 

7) – Overall Comfort with Restrictions at the Time of The Survey

 “Presently, with precautions in place, how comfortable are you attending events, Religious Education (RE) or Sunday services?”

 

 Discussion: The vast majority of the respondents (74%) expressed their greater confidence in attending events at the church with the precautions that are in place.  This contrasts with 12% who are less than comfortable.  One explanation for this may be the people who are vulnerable – unvaccinated, or unable to gain immunity if vaccinated, because of their immunological condition, and other risk factors.  There is certainly a psychological consideration where many may have lingering concerns or fears about the coronavirus pandemic and its possible impact on one’s health.

Analysis: The response to this variable is reassuring that the general sense of acceptable safety has and continues to be met.  It also stresses the importance of virtual alternatives, e.g. Zoom meetings, to continue to meet the needs of those who feel uncomfortable with attending in-person gatherings.

 

Section II – Categorization of 147 narrative responses.  For each of the questionnaire forms returned, the respondent was asked to make comments.  Entries were made (or not made) of thoughts as they came to mind.  A review of all comments found that all entries fit into one of nine categories.  A tenth category was defined as “no comments.”  It is noted that some of the narratives offered several thoughts that fit more than one category and these were all assigned.  Therefore, the total number of entries in all categories are greater than the 147 responses listed.

 

8)  – Opinions on need for faster or slower movement to return to normal

Description: Of the 147 returns, 51 (35%) offered comments in the narrative portion about the pace of reopening in the face of ever-fluctuating risk in the number of Covid-19 that rise and fall.

Analysis: In the future, these respondents would likely accept changes that would be slightly less restrictive than we have made before.  But that edge is narrow, and dramatic moves to remove or impose restrictions would not be possible.  Those on either side can easily see that not everyone feels the same way that they do.

 This analysis will help us pace the development of future changes to our policies. 

 

Three separate considerations were analyzed.

These three categories are separately discussed:

A. Zoom Meetings: 14 (10%) of the 147 respondents mentioned Zoom meetings in their narrative comments. All were appreciative of having this resource.

B. Reference to BA.2: 10 (7%) of the people completing the narrative made reference to the then current Omicron subvariant causing the upsurge in cases.

C. Protect the Vulnerable: 7 (5%) of the respondents referred to those who are not or cannot be vaccinated. Some of these may be among the vulnerable people.

D. Suggestions Made: For the 21 (14%) who offered suggestions for future activity, a listing follows on the next page:

 Suggestions:

  • It is important to encourage attendance to maintain a sense of community.
  • A slow, measured reopening should happen based on the Covid status.
  • If we raise the limit of attendees to over 60, we must require masks.
  • We must maintain any two strategies: Limited attendance/social distancing OR masks and windows open for services.
  • (3 people commented) Hold outdoor services (perhaps using a tent).
  • (2 people commented) Modify the HVAC system to improve ventilation.
  • What if we required everyone to be boosted?
  • (3 people commented) We should use the new CDC guidelines as the primary tool for church safety.
  • We should require no hugs and no handshakes.
  • Individually packaged snacks outdoors (as is done for RE) is okay.
  • (2 people commented) Food and drink or other activities outside are good.
  • How about requiring vaccinations for those over 12?
  • If BA.2 continues to surge just a bit, we should not change the protocols.
  • “If people don’t feel well, they should stay home” should be stressed.
  • Consider installing UV lights in the air ducts.

Analysis: Many of these suggestions support work behind the scenes to increase safety in the future.  Many ideas are either too complicated or expensive to carry out at this time.  And they might not achieve any improvement in safety.  But each was reviewed and appreciated because they demonstrate that all respondents were thinking and willing to share in the maintenance of a safe environment in our church.

Some of this analysis will be used to suggest future changes to our building infrastructure and our policies.  Others will trigger explanations on the scientifically approved mitigation techniques to make the environment safe.  See upcoming articles in the weekly postings of the Frequently Asked Questions in the E-Blast, posters and by other means.

 

 Findings not influencing future decisions are analyzed:

These three categories are discussed separately:

A. No Comment: The narrative section of the survey was designed so that the space to make comments had to have an entry to be returned. A blank space held the survey form open.  Many wrote in “no comment” or “N/A”.  A few entered just a period “.” 19% of the 147 returned forms contained no comments.

B. Miscellaneous Comments: Of the survey forms returned, 12% stated comments that did not fall into the 10 categories defining the above discussions. Most of these were just verbal restatements of the preferences stated in Section 1, above.  One example, the words that stated: “I feel most comfortable when everyone is wearing a mask.”

C. Appreciation and Thanks: of the 147 people filling out the narratives, 10% took the time to express their gratitude to the members of the task force, for conceiving, conducting and reporting on this survey, and for all their work over two years to keep the UUS:E safe.

In exchange, the members of the Policy Board, the Emergency Preparedness Task Force and the church staff return their appreciation for the help and cooperation everyone provided as we work toward improving safety.

 

 

Opinions on the Pace of Loosening our Covid Protocols

UUS:E Emergency Preparedness Team, Covid-19 Questionnaire Results – Part 1

147 questionnaires were returned offering different opinions of the work undertaken over the past 2 years to make people safe.  The results are still being tallied, but one conclusion based on the written responses has been identified and is ready to share – guidance on the pace we need to follow as we remove restrictions or have to tighten them if there is another surge in the future.

Of the 147 returns, 51 (35%) offered comments in the written portion about the pace of reopening in the face of ever-fluctuating risk in the number of Covid-19 cases that rise and fall.

Analysis: In the future, these respondents would likely accept changes that would be slightly less restrictive than we have made before.  But that edge is narrow, and dramatic moves to remove or impose restrictions are not indicated.  Those on either side can easily see that not everyone feels the same way that they do.

This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies and protocols. 

(There are more analyses yet to be reported.  Stand by!)

Answers to last question on April’s Safety Survey

Please share any additional thoughts on UUS:E gathering safely during these ever-changing Covid times.

Note: Answers are ranked from first respondent to last respondent.

1. nope
2. wear hazmat suits
3. N/A
4. I feel that we should continue to mask and distance to protect our most venerable and give them the option of attending. Without masks or distancing, we are excluding them from attending.
5. If the BA.2 variant gets out of hand many of some of my responses here would change.
6. Please continue hybrid events, both because of COVID issues and because some of us like Zoom better.  Thank you!
7. Appreciate having access on line during the pandemic.
8. .
9. Let’s not be in a hurry.
10. Zoom options have been essential
11. Did attend one Sunday service. Considering how many people may not be bothered by B2, I have to say that Zoom works for me. I dont think i would feel comfortable coming to a full house with no masks. It really is a tough call…
12. The access to fresh air is difficult with hospital mask. Those of us with repiratory issues do need the open windows. I guess I am comfortable with our services and less public events with optional masks. I will wear one for now, so I am protected. I trust our community. Perhaps that’s not smart, but I do feel our group is cognizant of issues and cares about others.
13. x
14. I appreciate the Emergency Preparedness Team’s work on behalf of our congregation.
15. COVID risk has become more personal than societal.  Some people take all the vaccinations possible and take reasonable precautions.  Those cautious people, like myself, now feel more comfortable relaxing around others who we believe to have been vaccinated and cautious.  I would love to have the pleasure of their company; and I would take the modest increased risk that goes with their company.  This rather than live in anxiety and without their company.
Those people who find the cautions not enough should stay away, attend only by Zoom, keep their distance.  I respect their concerns and their cautions.
However, I believe the extent of the cautions at UUSE now appear excessive given all of the circumstances.
I can see continuing to wear masks when we gather.  I can see cracking open the windows when we start a service.  Some things are easy to do.  But to limit attendance, to continue keeping us all apart, to maintain many of the now excessive precautions – No.
16.
17.
18. Your committee is making the best decisions they can with the data at hand.
19. All of my answers could shift depending on the BA.2 variant, increases in hospitalization & death rate, etc.   Currently, although it is very contagious, it does not seem to increase hospitalization rates or be very lethal. If we learn new information that alters this current knowledge, my thoughts could change.
20. Given the high levels of vaccination, the risk is very low. Time to move on.
21. The reason for my conservative view is because 2 of my friends recently contacted COVID.  Although they were not seriously ill, they did feel pretty bad for a few days.  One contacted it when lunching with a friend who “didn’t think she had COVID,” but did have it; the another attended a large memorial service where people did not mask.  Unfortunately, this new variant appears to be very contagious and easily transmittable.
22. I personally am in favor of masks until BA2 peaks and goes down, but would be happy to reduce social distancing so more people can come.
23. It is important to encourage attendance in order to maintain a sense of community.
24. I’m in the middle on this issue and will leave it to UUS:East to formulate ongoing policies. Meantime, I’m quite happy with Zoom.
25. I appreciate UUSE’s conservative approach
26. I prefer to keep masking and ventilation protocols in place until we see what the BA.2 variant brings us. I do not find these requirements to be a burden.
27. I will feel comfortable with a slow, measured continued reopening based on current COVID status.  As one active in the kitchen, I strongly feel that the serving of coffee after services should be delayed for the time being.
28. Wondering how you will assimilate high risk members into congregational life.
29. Answering definitively is difficult given so much that is unknown about the future of Covid.
30. These issues are tough to assess independently. I’m fine with refreshments outside. Two of the churches I visit regularly have done this in good weather for many years. I don’t see how we maintain social distancing if we lift the 60 person max. If doing so is a primary goal, then I believe we must require masks. It’s a matter of prioritizing the inconveniences. I think we need to maintain any two strategies: social distancing/limited attendance OR masks and windows open for services.
31. I mind masks and social distancing LESS than the average church attender and that gives rise to the appearance that my fear of COVID is greater.
32. It seems like everything is back to normal except UUSE. I think people should be smart and not come to service if they don’t feel well. I would imagine most people in our congregation are vaccinated & boostered.
33. I continue to like the zoom services and I would come to selected events in person.
34. I feel comfortable being around UU members as they are responsible,  caring people and therefore mostly vaccinated and reasonably cautious
35. Attendees who have not been vaccinated.
36. Our restrictions have been successful in creating an atmosphere of safety for the community. Now that in person services are available we have not been overwhelmed with large numbers attending. People decide for themselves as to comfort/safety level. Many are still more comfortable doing zoom which is fine, people have choices. I’m good with in person attendance and feel safe doing so.
37. To be honest, my desire to be with the UUS:E family, and my confidence in members getting vaccinated keeps me pretty confident about my safety.
38. I would love to see some outdoor services, weather permitting.  I would be much more comfortable attending in person services outdoors.
39. I feel that we are now living with an endemic disease and have to accept this new reality.
40. I continue to be confused about the real risks involved and am not sure there is enough reliable information available to make these choices with any kind of certainty. I am generally still avoiding large gatherings of unmasked people but also, like most, am very tired of wearing masks so find myself avoiding attending larger gatherings when masks are required so will likely continue to attend SS on Zoom and not attend larger indoor gatherings until there is better, reliable information about the risks, efficacy of vaccines/booster vaccines etc.
41. I am vaxed, boosted, had Omicron in January, and do not have any comorbidities. So I feel pretty protected. That said, I understand that not everyone is coming from the same place. I hope this survey gives us a better idea of where the congregation stands on lifting precautions. Also, research is revealing that ventilation is vitally important in dispersing aerosolized virus droplets. Let’s continue to improve our HVAC systems.
42. I trust that the precautions in place are suitable for the times and that even lifting some restrictions such as masks is fine too.
43. None
44. I think with windows open, attendance limited, fans going and masks on, we face minimal risk for contagion. We need to pay close attention to the metrics as we have been doing and adjust accordingly.
45. Although I live in Cromwell and cannot attend as often as I like, I am glad you are continuing Sunday services. Whe I lived in Manchester, I was able to attend on a more regular basis. I would be comfortable with the current level of restrictions but look forward to the day when they could be lifted.
46. Windows in Meeting Room should be open with ceiling fans running unless it is so warm that AC is needed or if rain would blow in.
47. N/a
48. I am happy with virtual services.
49. I have been happy with the way the safety committee has been conducting the Covid restrictions for UUSE.
50. I am likely to continue wearing a mask, regardless of UUS:E policy/requirements.
51. I think we have been doing a good job thus far.
52. i am looking forward to more in person events
53. none
54. No additional thoughts
55. I trust that caution will be balanced with a realistic assessment of current covid trends.
56. I am comfortable with anything the board and safety committee decide.
57. I’m mostly concerned with the possible uptick of the new B variant.
58. Vaccination is key.
59. Unless a new variant that will not respond to our present vaccinations and boosters comes along, I would like to get back to normal as much as possible and sooner than later.
60. Much as I would like to be done with all precautions, I still feel there is a need. What if we required everyone to be boosted? That would make me more comfortable.
61. I work in healthcare. We have a substantial outbreak right now
62. I’m high risk so I still have concerns, esp. with BA2. So I plan to continue to wear a mask in any event. I like zoom services so expect to attend via zoom more than in person.
63. Prefer church be open with precautions as necessary rather than only Zoom options.
64. Many folks are not wearing N95 masks which was what I thought was agreed on. I have seen many surgical masks and cloth masks
65. I think it is fairly safe and I plan on attending in person when possible.
66. None at this time.
67. It’s important to keep up to date on progress of new variant and it’s risks.
68. No additional thoughts
69. FYI, I don’t attend services regularly.  … I’d love it services were held outside.  Perhaps under a tent.
70. I hope we’ll continue the online services/events and consistent messaging that people with any symptoms should stay home.  I take care of sick patients so my view may be skewed but it seems like people with mild symptoms explain away those symptoms when there is something fun they don’t want to miss.
71. Good ventilation (not necessarily windows open but air circulation through the heating/cooling system) and masking (especially when numbers are climbing) are most important to me
72. I’ve been visiting my father (93) each Sunday, which is the primary reason that I have yet to physically return to UUSE.
73. Still would prefer social distancing and masking.
74. None
75. I firmly believe that the CDC COVID-19 Community Risk Levels (Green, Yellow, Red) and the guidelines associated with each category should be the primary source for UUSE’s approach going forward. Vaccines and therapeutics are widely available now, and UUSE has invested extensive time and financial resources into building a state of the art technology platform that provides accessibility to those who are not capable or comfortable attending services in person. I no longer believe there’s a need to keep windows open or restrict eating or drinking in the building.
76. I appreciated and fully supported the cautious, conservative safety parameters UUSE initially set, particularly prior to the availability of a vaccine. Given that vaccines are now readily available, and given that we now have the technology to stream services and other events to Zoom, which makes attending more accessible to those who can’t or won’t be vaccinated, I feel like opening up more fully is a reasonable expectation.
77. I feel that it is important to continue to gather in person
78. Again address no hugging unless first asking the other person.  Elbow bumps could work.  Personally, without all wearing masks I would want to have space.
79. I feel we will have to learn to live with this.  If the CDC is lifting mandates, we need to trust their science-based recommendations for coming out of the pandemic as we did for the CDC’s science -based recommendations as it began.
80. UUSE has been a beacon of sanity!!!
81. The church has done a good job with precautions during the pandemic.
82. My feelings would vary depending on the specific events. Having individually packaged snacks in RE with social distancing feels ok for me. People gathering tightly upstairs for coffee hour eating communal food feels very unsafe to me. If masks were optional but we were still social distancing, that feels kind of ok to me, but lifting the attendance limits and having people packed in elbow to elbow, even in masks, feels unsafe to me. The new variant does not concern me specifically, but covid in general still has a significant impact on my involvement in UUSE activities. I am still masking in all social situations unless in very small groups of people very well known to me who are also careful and vaccinated. Thank you for all you are dong to continue to keep our congregation safe!
83.
84. I am proud of your work and of our community’s conservative, considered response to COVID these past years.  I believe now that it is time to take further steps to gather more fully and to share food and drink.
85. It’s time to move out of fear. The new variants are less harmful,  the vaccines are working, let’s move forward.
86. While things are gradually improving, it’s too soon to start eliminating precautions.
87. No concerns
88. I feel comfortable being in the church family because I think  most are vaccinated.
89. For me, personally, wearing a mask is the most important factor when in a social situation
90.
91. I think the above covers most of my concerns
92. I appreciate being back in person for service and RE
93. I believe that UUSE has done a good job of assessing the risk and acting accordingly. I watch the numbers and decide for myself which activities to attend. But knowing that there is a mask mandate and that windows will be open is critical in making my decision. I think food and drink outside is not unreasonable while the weather is good, but as long as transmission is high and variants abound I am not interested in attending events where masks are optional.
94. I have all my shots.  If I felt that I needed to wear a mask, I would.  I just use my own judgement based on how crowded a place is and how long I’ll be there.   If a “variant’ was raging and I went to service and there were a lot of people – I’d probably put a mask on AND if it were nice outside I’d suggest going outdoors to chat so it could be done without a mask.
95. Whatever is decided,  i hope we just keep an eye on numbers and v transition based on that data
96. The masking is most important to me.  If people are wearing masks properly, then I am much more comfortable with attending.  Ventilation is next.  If we can open windows, then I think we should.
97. I have autoimmune disease and attending any indoor activity is risky without taking precautions while we are still in a pandemic.
98. Agree with the current approach, and tracking covid trends to make changes.
99. My husband had COVID in early March, and 6 more members of my extended family have had it in the last week. It’s not yet time to lift restrictions at services, considering that we are there for over an hour. Thanks for asking for our input.
100. Ever-changing is the key.  For now, I’m pretty comfortable.
101. I am comfortable with easing restrictions.
102. The most vulnerable populations for Covid (plus, children) also pay the highest price for precautions in terms of psychological impacts, isolation, etc. It made sense to try to break the Covid cycle in the outset, but now we know that there are also many negative consequences. Continuing indefinitely with precautions is not sustainable and is in fact harmful. Things like ventilation make sense. Things like requiring everyone to wear a mask no longer do.
103. Honestly don’t know what to think or do.
104. I think if all other mitigation was lifted – distancing, windows open etc, we’d still want to wear our masks. A few weeks ago I had said I was more comfortable but now I am seeing friends get covid for a second time etc.
105. I am comfortable with lifting all COVID restrictions, but understand if others do not feel the same way.
106. I will probably continue to attend services on Zoom.
107. I feel very strongly that wearing masks is the best protection each of us can do to protect others. If I wear a mask, it protects other people more than it protects me.  I’m in favor of everybody keeping their germs to themselves, which is exactly what masks do.
Having said that, I am over 70 and I don’t think that my feelings about the covid policies should necessarily dictate what happens with everybody. As long as I can attend services and some of the other groups on Zoom, I think people who feel more comfortable should be able to do what they want to do. I don’t have to go to everything. And younger people don’t have a lot to worry about, but older folks do. During summer months, of course, a lot of events can take place outside which certainly helps. I appreciate the caution that UUSE has taken so far, and I trust the judgment of the people making the decisions. Thank you for asking.
108. At some point we need to be able to accept some level of risk in order to be together again as a congregation.  Those of us who are in good health and vaccinated should be able to safely gather again.  We should, however,  continue to practice safety measures to protect the most vulnerable among us.
109. It’s uncomfortable to have the windows open. Is there any proof that open windows reduce risk? Just wondering.
110. Certainly I might look at things differently if the new variant becomes a significant issue
111.
112. I have no other comments or suggestions
113. I am vaccinated and double-boosted and looking forward to normalizing services and events at UUSE. I strongly feel that it is time for this.
114. Continued monitoring for the foreseeable future.
115. I am at high risk, as some others may be.  Until we are no longer in pandemic, I will not return to in person service. Once it becomes like flu with yearly shot, then I will return.  This holds true for meetings as well.
116. Personally, I am still being super careful, but I understand that others are less concerned. Its just going to take me a while to readjust my comfort level. I am not attending indoor events at this time. I would not even consider attending indoor events if everyone is unmasked.
117. Although it has been frustrating to have these restrictions, I am grateful that safety had come first.
118. I am not comfortable attending indoor crowded events at this time. Numbers are increasing. More people in my circles have recently gotten sick with covid just as I was starting to feel more safe. The masking and social distancing requirements that we currently have allow me to feel safe attending service. Otherwise, I would likely not attend at this time.
119. Outdoor events might be beneficial.
120. .
121. We had a recent Covid infection in our family. I suspect that our child, who continues to wear a mask to school, was infected by a classmate during lunch, when it’s not possible to wear a mask. Until we have gone several months without an outbreak, I’ll most likely continue to stay home.
122. n/a
123. i do not have any
124. n/a
125. I have appreciated the care & concern UUS:E has shown during this time. I wish we could dispense with masking and all that, but my granddaughter just came down with covid despite being fully vaccinated and being very careful with masking, hand sanitizing, etc. It’s really difficult to know what the best approach is! I prefer to err on the side of caution.
126. None
127. How about requiring proof of vaccination for those over 12?
128. My only concern is singing with no restrictions. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, singing is one of the best things we do, on the other hand it seems like the best way to spread COVID.
129. Members need to be able to see each other, but masks are an EASY protection
130. I am comfortable with distancing, masks and our nearly fully vaccinated community.
131. I would like to continue having Sunday services even if attendance is limited.
132. If not done already, consider installing ultraviolet light sanitizers in the ventilation ducts.
133. As a member who signed the book during the pandemic, I feel robbed of the opportunity to fully embrace the community. Numbers are way down. I think we should come back.
134. I think it’s important to keep underscoring that if people don’t feel well they shouldn’t attend church events
135. I’m glad you are doing this survey.  I think it should have been done at least a year ago to guide Policy Board in making decisions for the whole community, with community input.
136. If we see the BA.2 variant begin to increase I would prefer to keep our current protocol. The question is how much of an increase.
137. You’re doing a good job
138. Members who do not feel comfortable with in person services have the option of attending via Zoom.
139. This is not the time to loosen restrictions.  We are in a pandemic; CT positivity rate is at 7.68% and rising.
140. I feel that people will still mask and distance themselves as they feel appropriate based on their risk tolerance and health.  I feel safe comfortable with ceiling fans running and doors in the sanctuary open to the rest of the building during services and RE events.
141. I think we are still in a pandemic, not an endemic situation. I won’t feel comfortable dropping precautions until at least we see the positivity rate and numbers trending downward for some time.  I am very grateful that Zoom has been a viable option through this time and going forward.  Thank you to all those who have been looking out for our safety!
142. Must wait and see what the BA.2 does, see if it has much impact.
143. None
144. Looking forward to a return to normalcy. As long as we’re following CDC guidance I think we’re okay to move forward.
145. I hope you will continue zoom service.
146. NA
147. Thanks for all you do!

 

“Toward Redemption: Responding to Margaret Renkl” — UUS:E Virtual Service, May 1, 2022

Gathering Music (Mary Bopp) (begins at 10:50)

Welcome and Announcements (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Centering

Prelude

“The Beatitudes”
improvisation by Mary Bopp

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words

Excerpts from “An Open Letter to My Fellow White Christians”
by Margaret Renkl

Opening Hymn

“For a World Made Whole”
words by Josh Pawelek
music by Mary Bopp

May we be people, people of faith (hope, love)
May we be people, people of faith (hope, love)
May we be people, people of faith (hope, love)
For a world made whole,
May we be people of faith (hope, love)

Meditation

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Joys, Concerns and Introductions

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Offering
The recipients of our May community outreach offering are MARC, Inc. and MARCH, Inc. Marc, Inc. provides advocacy, employment, residential, respite and retirement services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. March, Inc. provides residential programs and supportive living programs to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

Offering Music

“What Wondrous Love is This?”
Traditional Southern Hymn, Arr. Mary Bopp

Sermon  “Toward Redemption: Responding to Margaret Renkl.”

Closing Hymn

#1007 “There’s a River Flowin’ in My Soul”
By Rose Sanders, aka Faya Ora Rose Touré
arr. Kenny Smith

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…

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.

Postlude (Mary Bopp)

Breakout Rooms

 

 

Proxy designation Form

Proxy Designation Form
Unitarian Universalist Society: East
153 West Vernon Street
Manchester, CT 06042

I, ________________________, hereby designate  __________________________

                                                                                           (print name of proxy voter*)

to vote as my proxy at the UUS:E congregational meeting scheduled for 12 Noon on Sunday, May 15, 2022.

Signature: ___________________________     Date: ____________________________

                   (signature of voting member)

* Proxy voter must be a member of UUS:E

 

A Little Support…

For people dealing with aging parents, either at a distance or at home. Let’s come together to talk about how we negotiate the challenges of our parents’ changing abilities. This can affect other family relationships and our own sense of how we want to age. We will gather by Zoom for some informal conversation facilitated by Beth Hankins, who frequently wonders how to help her parents and mother-in-law. Date: Thursday April 21 at 7:00. Please email [email protected] with A Little Support in the subject line and Beth will send you the link.

2022 Spring Cleanup

Fall clean up

Sponsored by Building & Grounds Committee

Where: UUS:E

When:  Saturday, April 30

Time:   9:00 AM – noon

Celebrate spring, reconnect, prep the grounds for summer. An outdoor, active, sociable, family-friendly event. Bring gloves and garden tools (we also have some to lend).

Snacks provided!

Contact Cory Clark or Jane Osborn with questions.

Covid Protocols for March 2022

At its February, 2022 meeting, the UUS:E Policy Board established updated Covid guidelines.  In summary, starting March 6, 2022, UUS:E will follow these guidelines:

  • Total attendance for each Sunday service is 60 people.
  • People attending will not need to call ahead to pre-register.
  • Once capacity has been reached, a sign will be posted outside the entry door announcing this.
  • Indoor masking is required for everyone except under age two.
  • Masks won’t be required of speakers at the pulpit, and those singing or playing wind instruments.
  • Waivers may be requested to be considered by the Board.
  • Vaccinations and boosters are strongly recommended for all those who wish to come to the meeting house for any reason.
  • All people working directly with children will be required to be fully vaccinated.
  • Refreshments will not be served.

If I Win, Do You Lose? — UUS:E Sunday Service, February 6th, 2022

[Antiracist Resources for Children and Youth listed below]

Below is a list of resources that were used in, referenced in, or had an influence on this worship service.

Other videos and readings that influenced:

“Living in the Interval” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, January 9, 2022

Gathering Music (begins at 9:50)

Welcome and Introductions (Martha Larson, co-chair of Sunday Services Committee)

Announcements (Sande Hartdagen, member Sunday Services Committee)

Centering (Martha)

Prelude

“We Three Kings”
arranged and performed by Anya Stolzman

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words
#434 in Singing the Living Tradition 

May we be reminded here of our highest aspirations,
and inspired to bring our gifts of love and service to the altar of humanity.
May we know once again that we are not isolated beings
but connected in mystery and miracle, to the universe,
to this community, and to each other.
Anonymous

Opening Hymn

“Dark of Winter”
Words and music by Shelley Jackson Denham
#55 in Singing the Living Tradition
Led by Martha Larson

Dark of winter, soft and still, your quiet calm surrounds me.
Let my thoughts go where they will; ease my mind profoundly.
And then my soul will sing a song, a blessed song of love eternal.
Gentle darkness, soft and still, bring your quiet to me.

Darkness, soothe my weary eyes, that I may see more clearly.
When my heart with sorrow cries, comfort and caress me.
And then my soul may hear a voice, a still small voice of love eternal.
Darkness when my fears arise, let your peace flow through me.

Joys and Concerns

Musical Interlude

Prayer
Written by Rev. Joshua Pawelek
Read by Martha Larson

A Prayer for Healing

Spirit of Life, source of love and comfort:
We pray for the wounded, those who’ve experienced the pain and trauma of domestic violence. We pray that they may find:
The respite of safe haven, and a loving, supportive community,
The capacity to name what has happened,
The patience to remain on the long path of healing,
The courage to do what is necessary to ensure a safe future
for themselves and their children.

We pray for those who would perpetrate violence. We pray that they may find:
Support for making positive life changes,
A willingness to take responsibility for their past and future actions,
The resolve to atone,
The wisdom to meet frustrations and fears not with anger
but with calm, tender acceptance.

We pray for our wider community. We pray that all may find:
Agreement that domestic violence is unacceptable,
Commitment to marshaling public and private resources to address the root
causes of such violence,
Compassion for all those caught in the cycle of violence,
Love, to sustain us all in building a safer, more just, more
caring world.

Musical Meditation   

Offering

The recipient of our January Community Outreach Offering is the Connecticut Domestic Worker Justice Campaign. Domestic workers (house cleaners, personal care attendants, nannies, etc.) remain one of the most exploited and exploitable classes of workers in the country. Connecticut’s Domestic Worker Justice Campaign advocates for labor rights, workplace protections, and training for domestic workers. The campaign’s long-term goal is to pass an enforceable Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in our state. Organizations who participate in the campaign include the CT Workers Center, Unidad Latina en Accion, the Naugatuck Valley Project, United Action of Southeastern CT, Comunidades Sin Fronteras, the Hartford Catholic Archdiocese Office for Social Justice, and a number of congregations, including UUS:E.

Offering Music

“What Wondrous Love is This?’
Southern folk hymn, arr. by Mary Bopp

Reading

“Survivorship”
By Rev. Theresa Inez Soto

Message by Mary-Jane Foster,  CEO and President of Interval House

Closing Hymn

“Comfort Me”
Words and music by Mimi Bornstein-Doble
#1002 in Singing the Journey

Comfort me, comfort me, comfort me, oh my soul.
Comfort me, comfort me, comfort me, oh my soul

Sing with me, sing with me, sing with me, oh my soul.
Sing with me, sing with me, sing with me, oh my soul.

Speak for me…..

Dance with me….

Comfort me……

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.

Postlude

Breakout Rooms

Our guest speaker, Mary-Jane Foster, became the CEO and President of Hartford’s Interval House in January of 2017. Interval House is Connecticut’s largest domestic violence agency and in 2021 celebrates 44 years of service.  Foster is just the second CEO of the agency.  She served as Vice-President of University Relations at the University of Bridgeport, from May 2009 until June of 2016.  She is an attorney admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York.  She is a co-founder and former co-owner and CEO of the Bridgeport Bluefish Professional Baseball Club and Westchester Baseball, LLC.  Ms. Foster was a candidate for mayor of Bridgeport in the 2011 Democratic primary and the 2015 general election.

Prior to the founding of the Bridgeport Bluefish, Ms. Foster attended Quinnipiac College School of Law.  She was awarded a Juris Doctor degree with honors in May 1995.  Her Juris Doctor degree was a logical extension of her several years of volunteer work within the regional Bridgeport community.  Her field of practice was family law.

Before attending law school, Ms. Foster was an actress in New York.  She has performed on stage, film, television, and radio and has appeared in over two hundred television and radio commercials.