Dear Holy Ones,
I returned from vacation on Tuesday August 18, not so much tanned, but certainly rested and ready. Thank you so much for the time off. I can’t put into words how restorative it has been. I am deeply grateful to all of you.
Due to all the catching up I will need to do in the next few days, if you need me, please phone as it may be hours before I respond to email or texts over the next few days.
If you emailed me while I was away, please email me again because your email was automatically deleted unless you were the covering minister or a member of the board.
Beginning this week, I am starting, not ending, the work week with the Sunday service so that work on it is (ideally) finished by Wednesday night. Due to a big online fundraising concert at UUCM today, Thursday, Aug. 20, I will probably finish this week’s service on Friday, but from now on the goal is to rearrange the work week to get the service done by mid-week.
Both MUUS and UUCM will start the 2020-2021 program year this Sunday, August 23rd with a “Back to School” service online at 10:30 a.m. We will bless students and learners as well as teachers and other educators. In the days following the service, we will mail out a copy of the blessings used in the service to all students and educators. If you want to make sure you receive one or if you know someone in your family or a friend who might light to receive one, just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the pandemic drags on, the frustration, anger, and depression brought on by social distancing and its accompanying isolation is getting to all of us. In the coming weeks, I will be working with congregational leadership to find ways to mitigate the feelings of isolation and disconnection. We will work on protocols for outside worship that respect the best practices of social distancing. We will encourage members and friends to create ways to meet in person outside in small numbers to restore some sense of connection. I (along with some helpers) will continue to schedule social distance protocol home visits – The Mobile Minister rides again!
As we do this, I encourage you to become MORE involved not less involved with church. Every Sunday at 10:30 there is a worship service. Every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. we have joys and concerns (Vespers). Each Wednesday at noon I host an online Lunch with the Minister. We have small groups meeting every two weeks online for reflection and sharing – and we will offer more times/groups this fall – Please sign-up and join us (https://uucentralct.org/soul-circles/ or contact Rev. Tony). By mid-September we will publish a schedule of learning and spiritual practice opportunities for adults as well as families and children. I will host a monthly Minister’s Book Group that will read and discuss novels with spiritual themes, a monthly discussion small group for people with painful religious pasts, and I will offer various other classes and webinars. If you still need help learning how to use Zoom, Facebook, and other aspects of computers and technology, please reach out so we can help you. We will even help find you a computer if that’s what you need to stay more connected to us.
This fall, our social justice committees will be inviting us to continue our activism on behalf of environmental awareness, undocumented neighbors, food security, racial justice, and UU the Vote – there is much to do and your help is desperately needed to make sure our current administration is not re-elected.
I know that some of you are having a difficult time just getting through the day right now. If you need to talk, please call. I know just simply getting involved does not cure depression or magically drive away isolation and frustration, but helping others is one of the best ways to find a life-preserver in difficult times. Remember that asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. This fight against the pandemic is, like the fight for social justice, a STRUGGLE!
Because we are struggling – we need to consciously practice things that help us keep up our strength, keep us connected, and recharge our batteries. Faith is a practice. So is spirituality. The human spirit needs regular work out and conditioning just like the body. Find some way to get outside every day. Pick two or three people and call them once a week. Attend worship and at least one other church even each week. Make use of our spiritual resources online in our social media and on our website. Stop and take three deep breaths at least three times each day. Call your minister! I love you and I know that together we can overcome the struggle we find ourselves engaged in. The only way out of this is through it – together!
I am filled with gratitude to serve to you as your minister. I am looking forward to the coming church year with enthusiasm and joy despite the political situation and the pandemic. I have faith in this thing called Unitarian Universalism and I have faith in you!
Please be in touch ASAP if you need something.