Informed by feedback we received from many of you, recommendations by UU leaders, and yesterday’s announcement from the City of Tucson, we will be moving our Sunday morning worship services online starting this Sunday, March 15th until further notice. The Moving Forward Together workshop, scheduled for March 21st, will be postponed.
The decision to pause our large in-person gatherings was not an easy one to make. But ultimately it came down to this: we care about you, our community, and we know that many of our members are at high-risk of getting ill from COVID-19.
Notice how we didn’t write “cancelled.” Because, we believe, this is not a time to cancel community. This is a time to remember who we are and why we exist. This is a time to dig deeper into the belief that no one is alone. You are not alone. You are never alone. We’re here for you always.
For the time being, our church office will be closed. Your staff will continue to work while the physical office is closed, with the option to telecommute as they need to. Staff can be contacted via phone or email. Hourly staff will be compensated for the hours they would have worked, whether or not they can complete their duties as assigned.
For now, small groups within the congregation may continue to meet at their discretion, keeping in mind the CDC’s recommendations about social distancing for high-risk populations. These groups will need to arrange with Mary or Rev. Bethany in advance if someone in the group does not have a key to open the meeting space.
Many epidemiologists agree that “social distancing” (or “physical distancing”) is the most effective way to slow the spread of a pandemic. Please consider how social/physical distancing might help protect those you love, and yourself.
In the days to come, your staff and volunteers will frequently use the video conferencing service Zoom to help us gather and connect virtually. You can download Zoom to your computer, mobile device, or tablet here: https://zoom.us/download.
In the next 24 hours, we will send you more information about how to gather online with us for worship this coming Sunday, March 15th and beyond. And know that plans are underway for us to connect in many other ways! We will continue to learn together, worship together, talk together, sing together, and work for a better world together. Stay tuned and stay connected.
With great love and care,
Your Board of Trustees and Rev. Bethany Russell-Lowe
In case you are in need of poetry, here are some recent poems penned by UU authors:
Pandemic by Rev. Lynn Ungar
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
on a day of social distancing by Rev. Theresa Ines Soto
she wanted to know if
I understood how important
the event was.
and I looked at my hands, palms up,
for a second.
I thought about the saliva pooling
behind my bottom teeth.
and rulers—three feet, six feet.
six is the radius of transmission.
I want you to be the number of feet away
that keeps us alive
as many of us as possible.
last week, I sat in the doorway and
squirted people’s hands with sanitizer
as they dispersed. reflections of the divine
next week, all the sanitizer may be gone.
your friends getting treated in a hospital hallway.
doctors wearing diapers, collapsing, sometimes dying.
When I ask you to stay home
to stop the social spread of COVID-19,
I still know that you are strong and
beautiful and brave.
I know that you have taught yourself to
understand that love is an action.
but, today, beloved, today, love is an
inaction—of stopping, of staying, of
holding, not hands, but hearts.
of holding the space between us, not only
as a buffer, but also as holy.
there is so much we don’t know about
the tiny parasite taking over cells,
reproducing at an alarmingly rapid rate.
I know more about you; that your insistence
on business as usual maybe be tinged with
other things, but is mostly dedication.
you must now dedicate yourself to the survival
of this community in the painstaking way of
an artist painting on a grain of rice.
I do know how important
your life is, thrown together
we are a fragile masterpiece.
(the vulnerable age was
lowered to 50 yesterday.)
please stay home.
untitled by Lee Allison Paczulla
blessed are the elderly, and the immunosuppressed
blessed are the fearful, the anxious and irritable
blessed are the ones who use humor to get by
the ones who could use a vacation anyway
the ones who fear for their life
blessed are the ones who are sick of it:
all the flawed logic, the security theater
blessed are the ones who cry out “this is why we need a safety net! a kinder society! a new world!”
blessed are the health care workers, the administrators catching heat for every decision, the messengers with no power over the message
blessed are the sad, and the lonely
blessed are the healthy and the sick,
the well and the unwell
blessed are all of us just trying to do our best
blessed are those who stay kind and clear, who keep our eyes open to each other
blessed is our neighbor
blessed are we all
blessed are we all
blessed are we all.