Everything seems disconnected these days, with all of us feeling a bit “left out,” so I thought I’d tell you a little about what has been going on with the UUCA staff this summer. I’ve also added a few other things we want you to know about.
RE for Children & Youth
The RE staff has worked mightily to contact our families by phone and survey to determine what might be useful to our kids during this semester (and probably year) of no in-person gatherings. The result is a plan for the fall that includes online “classes” for four age groups. The “youngers” will meet at 10 every Sunday. The others will meet every other Sunday. We are also focusing on providing resources for Family Ministry on the website, offering “Church in a Box” in partnership with the RE Council, and holding monthly Fun Days (Zoom) with options for safe, physically distanced gatherings (we hope).
Oh no! Not that word! Everyone knows that UUs are way more comfortable talking about sex than money. But YOU are an owner of UUCA so you ought to know what’s going on. I am loath to say this out loud, but we are doing fine financially speaking. Now just because I said that out loud does not mean you can stop donating to us. What it means is that we had a substantial surplus from the 19-20 fiscal year which we have held in our Contingency Fund, AND we applied for and received about $90,000 from the federal Payroll Protection Program. Right now, we are experiencing a loss in income of about 30% per month. But our spending is wildly different than budgeted, too (for example, more money being used for worship service guests, less money for the Wednesday Thing, more money being used for our video editors and Zoom hosts and less for childcare, etc.). So, here’s the message I want to send. If you are able to keep making donations, please do. If you are unable to do that, it’s OK, don’t worry. We’re in this together.
Zoom Can Be Your Friend
Do you remember that Sunday in March when we sent you the link to our first recorded service? Here’s a photo of what we rigged up. A computer on a footstool on the pulpit. A music stand on a table for the script. And the most amazing part of it was we recorded on Saturday and somehow put together a service for Sunday morning with a person who had never used video-editing software before. Sheesh! (Fun (unbelievable) fact: our last in-person service was Celebration Sunday!)
But now we have a rhythm–and better equipment. And it includes a video deadline of Thursday at noon. (How relaxing.) And we’ve also been producing live Zoom services, which we plan to continue once a month. These live services are very different, but we like them because our congregants get to see each other. Which reminds me…..
I am very aware that it is great fun to watch a worship service on Sunday morning in your pajamas. Or while you are eating breakfast. Or while you are puttering around. But one of the great pleasures of these live Zoom services is that you get to see your fellow congregants. This is a comment we get at every live event: “It is SO nice to see everyone again.” So, if it is at all feasible, please let us see you. We think pajamas can be cute. And there’s no shame in eating—we all do it.
Anti-racism and Get Out the Vote Work
It’s been a summer, right? But if you’ve been paying attention at all, you know our congregation is actively doing anti-racism work (book groups, small groups, Justice Ministry Council) which is only just getting started. And we’ve been doing what we can, individually and part of UUCA, to get out the vote and get our favored candidates elected (whoever they may be.)
Adult Spiritual Development and the Wednesday Thing
Unlike previous years, we kept our Wednesday Thing vespers services going all summer. Well, almost all summer. We did take 2 weeks off for the survival of our ministers. But I digress….
Starting in September, most Wednesdays will feature a vespers service AND a program that will last no more than an hour. For the fall, we’ll feature anti-racism work and opportunities to explore our spiritual selves. And the groups that we had going before the “pandemic break” are still meeting, talking, connecting.
As a staff, we believe our biggest challenge is to make sure that you know that you are still a valued part of UUCA, that we haven’t forgotten you, and that your friends haven’t forgotten you either. It’s a big reason we offer live Zoom programs. We’ve also conducted 2 rounds of calling all of our members, and we’ll be starting a third round soon. We’ve sent you all postcards. We’re also interested in coming to see you! Stay tuned for that announcement.
Probably. But this is long enough and you get the idea. Your staff is working hard to help you keep UUCA an important part of your life—even now. Or especially now. If you have any needs that we can help with, please contact me, or Rev. Ward, or Rev. Claudia, or your favorite UUCA staff person, and let us know. We’re here for you!
Linda Topp, Director of Administration