In the Meantime,
Happenings Mar 1, 2022 – From MI
Something that has not happened to me in Arizona that has often happened in Michigan is power outages. Because of that I know that major outages take time not only to repair but to restart. It has to be done in steps.
This came to mind as we – the nation – are coming back on after the Covid pandemic. On this second anniversary of the pandemic, though not gone, the disease is abating. And like a power outage, returning to status quo ante will happen in steps. Why? Because if we turned off all the prevention at once, the chance of another pandemic surge would be much higher. That’s the last thing we would want.
There are four ways we have employed to stave off the disease: masks, social distance, immunity and ventilation. All four were necessary for some time. In September of 2021 we began allowing limited attendance as the delta variant abated. Then in November we clamped down again because of the omicron variant. That is now abating and, even the CDC is saying some precautions can be lifted safely.
Our Covid team will be reviewing the CDC recommendations and the abundant data from our own area. But their preliminary thoughts allow me to make some changes starting this Sunday, March 6.
We will no longer limit the number of people in the sanctuary. For the time being we will still require masks (as there are unvaccinated children in the building) and wearing wristbands that communicate whether someone is social distancing or not. We will restore the former seating plan in the main part of the room, but also arrange for separated seating on the east side of the sanctuary near the windows for those who need more distance. We strongly recommend that those who are not immunized worship virtually.
What about music? Folks have been singing behind their masks furtively for a time and that seems to be OK. A small choir may be possible in the short run. As conditions continue to improve we can do more.
Coffee? That would have to be outdoors for now, and I would welcome some help getting that organized and under way. Heck, I may even run down to Dunkin Donuts on Chandler and get a few boxes of coffee if that’s what it takes.
What is essential to successfully turning our spiritual power back on completely is kindness. There will be people in the sanctuary who cannot hug and that needs to be honored. There will be those who crave full throated singing and that hunger needs to be honored. In our longing to regain what we lost, let’s not forget what we have gained from this trial as well. There are VUU folks who can worship only virtually and they are a gift. We have brought speakers from far beyond Chandler who could not have been there otherwise, and heard other UU choirs that we might never have heard before. How often have you sung “We Are Building a New Way?” That’s exactly what you are doing. And just as your future includes literally remaking your sanctuary for the future, worship itself is being remade now. Another older hymn, written for the unification of the Unitarians and Universalists, proclaims, “A freedom that reveres the past but trusts the dawning future more, and bids the soul in search of truth, adventure boldly and explore.”