The Board of Trustees and Rev. Greg have, like many of you, been monitoring the developments in regard to COVID-19 (a.k.a. “novel coronavirus”). We noted Gov. Carney’s declaration of a State of Emergency in Delaware and being attentive to CDC and DHHS guidance, as well as advice and counsel offered by the Unitarian Universalist Association.
At a meeting Thursday evening, the Board has discerned that we will suspend all gatherings at the church and close the building. Therefore:
- Building: The Mill Creek building is closed effective immediately.
- Sunday Services: All in-person Sunday services programs are suspended effective immediately.
- Meetings and Events: All in-person group meetings and events are suspended. Groups who absolutely need to meet are encouraged to use digital meeting software to connect online. We strongly recommend that no group meetings should be held off-site or in alternate locations.
- Chalice Circles: We recommending Chalice Circles suspend their in-person meetings.
- Religious Education: All Adult, Youth, and Children RE programming is suspended.
- Staff: Our staff may opt to work from home or in the office as they choose and as the situation evolves. Please understand that the staff may have to be in the building, but the doors will remain locked.
- Renters: All rental events are suspended, effective immediately
This suspension of programs and closure of the building will continue until we discern it is safe to reopen.
This weekend, Rev. Greg will be video recording a sermon that will be posted to our website and Facebook. We will also send a link via email. We will work to continue some version of virtual worship as this closure continues.
We are aware that many of us are in relatively low-risk categories with regard to this virus. However, it is critical that we not merely focus on our own health and safety, but the health and safety of the most vulnerable in our congregation and in our communities. We can take what seems to be extraordinary measures to help slow the spread of the virus, avoid overwhelming our healthcare system and help buy time for a vaccine to be developed.
These times are uncertain, and the experts’ recommendations to “socially distance” ourselves will be hard on all of us. Even though we will not be meeting in person for a while, we want to remain a supportive community in each others’ lives. To do that, we will be providing lots of ways of connecting with each other online in the coming weeks and finding new ways to carry out our mission.
In situations like this, it would be easy to get so focused on our own needs, we lose touch with our community. So, please, watch out for each other. Check-in on your neighbors, your elders, and your isolated peers. Find ways to laugh, sing, take walks when you can for the fresh air and the dose of sunshine. This is impacting all of us in very different and complex ways, so let’s be gentle with ourselves and each other.
If you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, isolated, or any of a host of emotions, know that you are not alone. And please reach out. Our Pastoral Care team is ready to listen: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call/text/email Rev. Greg (515)-306-9804, email@example.com.
We are resilient people. In the anxiety and ambiguity of this moment, return your focus to your ministry — orient yourself toward hope and peace and justice and community and Love. In doing so, when this crisis passes, we will have grown stronger, more compassionate, and deeper in our Love.