The COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic is catching up with us in Wisconsin, and here at UUCW we are making decisions about how to take the best possible care of our adults, teens and children. We’re very grateful to have good advice to follow from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
As we make decisions, the UUCW staff, Exec Team, and I have you in our hearts and minds. This virus-crisis can bring up intense emotions. You may feel overwhelmed, or like you want to shut down and deny that there’s anything wrong! Please know these feelings are normal and understandable. Please also know that you are not alone! UUCW and I are here to accompany you — we are your companions on the path through this challenging time. Watch for extra spiritual support and caring connection resources we will offer in the days and weeks ahead…
Today, the UUA issued a strong recommendation that UU congregations avoid gatherings of more than 25 people, including worship and religious education. In a message to UU leaders, our UUA President, the Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, said, “We believe it is our moral obligation to follow the guidance of health professionals who recommend early action… This moment … reminds us of our responsibility as religious communities to be mindful of our need to care for our whole community… The most important thing the public can do is to help flatten the curve of transmission so there will be hospital capacity for those who need that level of care.”
In keeping with the UUA’s recommendation, UUCW will suspend in-person worship and Sunday religious education immediately. Beginning Sunday, March 22, UUCW Sunday worship will be broadcast on our Facebook page, and a link to the live broadcast will be on our website www.uucw.org We’ll send instructions on how to access the broadcast, how to send in a joy or concern, and more next week. Note that we are planning to offer creative at-home or online religious education and spiritual practice offerings, too.
How long will worship and religious education be “virtual” and not in-person? We expect that it will be for at least three weeks. We will closely follow the COVID-19 pandemic in our area, and the guidance of the CDC and keep you up to date via the UUCW eNews, Facebook page and our website.
Smaller Meetings at UUCW Can Proceed for Now
Meetings of committees, teams and groups of 25 people or fewer that are scheduled for the week beginning March 16 can proceed as usual — and it may be that our building remains open for these meetings on an ongoing basis. Again, we will keep you up to date on any changes in our policies via the eNews, Facebook and our website. For groups that would prefer to meet on-line, we encourage you to use of Zoom or Skype, (both are available for free) and we will strive to make on-line meeting capability available through UUCW (though this may be limited).
Let’s Stay Connected
Right now, cancelling events and larger gatherings helps reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean we can’t connect! The practice of “social distancing” protects all of us – especially those high at risk – but we also need one another. We encourage you to call a friend, chat with someone or play a game with them online, say hello to your neighbors from across your yard or porch. I’m looking forward to creating opportunities to connect online with you during this time of “suspended worship” — maybe a Soul Circle via zoom? Singing meditations? Dial-a-UU joke? I’d love to hear your suggestions. We can nurture one another and get through this pandemic — I know we can!
Sending love to you all,
Rev. Suzelle Lynch