UUS:E Special Message — Coronavirus

Dear UUS:E Members, Friends, and Visitors:

With sadness and an abundance of caution in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, I write to inform you that the UUS:E Policy Board and staff have made the decision to suspend all large-group programming at UUS:E until further notice. This suspension includes Sunday morning services and religious education. For now, we are postponing or canceling any events or meetings with more than ten people, including the Annual Appeal pot luck meals. However, the meeting house will be accessible. If you have a small event or meeting planned at UUS:E and you would still like to hold it, you may do so. Even so, we urge you to consider using online meeting tools like Zoom, Facebook, Skype, etc. We can offer support in setting up online meetings. We have made this decision not out of fear or panic, but out of care, concern, and love for our community.

Given the strong advice from Governor Lamont, state health officials, the Centers for Disease Control, and our own Unitarian Universalist Association, we feel not only that this is the right decision, but that we have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to help reduce avenues for transmission of the coronavirus.

As UUA President, Susan Frederick-Gray, wrote on March 12, “we believe it is our moral obligation to follow the guidance of health professionals who recommend early action even before cases have been confirmed in an area because it is most important to protect public health and the most vulnerable people in our communities. This moment indeed reminds us of the interconnected web of which we are all a part. It also reminds us of our responsibility as religious communities to be mindful of our need to care for our whole community.”

This is a heartbreaking — but necessary — decision. It’s important to remember that it is only for the time being. This crisis will pass and in time we will be together in person in our beloved meeting house on Elm Hill in Manchester, east of the Connecticut River. And we will be proud that we made this decision to care for each other, our families, our neighbors, and our communities.

We are currently exploring how to hold a virtual worship service on Sunday mornings. Our best guess at this time is that we will hold one service at 10:00 a.m. We will use the Eblast to send information about how to login or call into the service.

We are also exploring how to continue offering religious education programming for children online. Families with children can expect to hear more from our Director of Religious Education, Gina Campellone.

Finally, we want to keep you connected to each other as best we can. The UUS:E Pastoral Friends Committee members will be reaching out to many of you in the coming weeks to check-in. We also urge you to reach out to each other. Make calls, send texts and emails, write letters. And if you have ideas for how our congregation can stay connected during this challenging time, we want to hear them. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or (860) 652-8961. And if you are not receiving the weekly eBlast, please click below to sign up.

With love and care,

Rev. Josh

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