Easter Sunday was the first time in more than two years that we had almost as many people in the sanctuary as we did online. We are moving through COVID times toward whatever will come next.
We’re not done with COVID yet and the virus is not done with us. As more people get vaccinated, fewer people are getting seriously sick and dying. Some are returning to activities they’ve not done for several years, and many are returning to workplaces that have been vacant.
Some are also returning to OUUC for in-person events. We’ve opened the sanctuary for all who wish to come on Sunday morning. Troy and the choir are back in the sanctuary. Julie Rosmond has reopened the kitchen, providing coffee and treats in The Commons after the service. The nursery is open for any young ones who return. Some groups meet in-person. It is glorious and a bit scary at the same time.
Even with many things opening more, we want to remain inclusive of those with health conditions and who can’t get vaccinated, the most vulnerable among us. All of us want to stay healthy and none of us wants to jeopardize the health of someone else. Our values and beliefs are based on relationships–with ourselves as we seek to live lives of integrity, with others as we seek to live lives of interconnection, and with something greater than ourselves as we seek to live lives of service. That’s why we are attentive to how to best help everyone stay as safe as possible. While we can’t guarantee safe, we can help to create safer.
These are the things we are doing to help make OUUC safer as we seek to be as open and inclusive as possible:
- Marie, our Facilities Manager, monitors the air exchanges and CO2 levels in the sanctuary on Sundays. This often means that the fans are on to facilitate air flow even when the heat isn’t on.
- Marie has also placed cleaning supplies and masks throughout the building and at all entrances.
- We’ll continue to ask you to sign in so we can notify anyone of an exposure.
- Windows and doors may be open to help with air flow in the sanctuary and throughout the building. This isn’t as environmentally friendly as we might like, and we think the safety measure takes precedence; these are competing legitimate needs.
- We are asking everyone over age 2 to wear masks in the building.
- We are scheduling all events on the calendar so we can provide enough room for people to spread out and be comfortable.
- We are asking people to eat and drink outside whenever possible.
- We’re designating The Commons as an eating area for large events. That way, everyone can know that people in The Commons will have their masks off for a period of time, so someone who is concerned can avoid this area and protect their health.
- We are committed to providing both onsite and online worship that is interesting, engaging, and inclusive no matter how you join us. (Also known as multi-platform, multi-site, or hybrid worship.)
Over the past two years, the Board-appointed Health & Safety Task Force has been meeting to develop guidance to help keep the OUUC community safer. I am so grateful to the members who accepted this appointment: Brian Coyne, Gerald Dodson, Kerry Dyer, Chris Parke, Tim Ransom, Pat Sonnenstuhl, Polly Taylor, Frank Turner, Marie Arensmeyer.
We met this week to revisit our guidance based on recent changes to the CDC and COVID ActNow risk levels. You can look for new guidance in the next few weeks that will incorporate what I’ve listed above.
Thank you for doing your part to help create a safer OUUC.
Blessings on your week.