“The goodness of life is ours if we look deeply for it and give thanks for what we have and who we have it with.” Daniel C. Kanter, “The Birds Will Sing’” in Shelter in This Place: Meditations on 2020 

With heavy hearts, we once again took the Thanksgiving Potluck off the OUUC calendar. This Summer the planners were hopeful–we all were hopeful–that the Fall would bring more opportunity for gathering in larger groups. We know that hasn’t happened and have some idea of why. Some of us are angry and frustrated, past languishing. I hope many of us are finding ways to connect as we can.  

The good news is that the vaccine has been approved for young ones and boosters are available for some adults. Travel and gathering in person has resumed in some ways. We’re not through this yet, and there are signs of progress.  

This week we celebrated as the risk phase in Thurston County changed from Very High to High. No, we’re not done yet, but we’re making progress. Being in this phase means that we can invite more people into the Sanctuary, among other things. It won’t be crowded; some can gather by reservation. The HVAC work is substantially done with just a few small things to finish up. There’s new live streaming equipment in the sanctuary that we’ll test this week. We’re getting there. Look for information about next steps in the Tuesday update. 

As we move into a new phase of this pandemic, we will continue to prioritize health and safety, and that includes mental health. More than ever, we know that we need each other and that caring for ourselves means caring for each other. We will continue to offer as many ways as we can for people to gather in all the ways we can, including by Zoom.  

You can track our phase and the OUUC protocols for each phase on the website. What we are doing is too fast for some of you and not fast enough for others. We continue to prioritize protection for the most vulnerable among us and our connection as a community as we care for each other.  

So, we won’t have a Thanksgiving potluck this year, but you can cook a meal for someone else or have a meal delivered to you. We will gather by Zoom for a prayer on that day. On November 21 we’ll collect food and hygiene supplies for the most vulnerable in our larger community. And the Sanctuary and Commons will be decorated for the holidays thanks to some committed volunteers.  

In this week ahead, I invite you to consider how you are living with COVID, because you are. Many have died of this disease, way too many, and some of us have lost loved ones, friends, co-workers and neighbors. We are still here, still living, still have the opportunity for life and love. Let us give thanks for what we have and who we have it with.  

Blessings on your week.  

Rev. Mary