Dear Members and Friends the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Easton,
As we face the actual and the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, we have considered how as congregations we can best avoid transmitting the virus. The UUFE Board, working with Rev. Sue, has decided to heed the advice of the medical community on the risk of group gatherings and have made the difficult decision to cancel our Sunday services at UUFE for this Sunday, March 15, and possibly for a few additional services. Decisions on whether to hold services will be made on a week-to-week basis.
UUFE’s Co-President Christina Drostin, M.D., helped us reach this decision. She sees that by cancelling service, we will slow the inevitable spread of the virus on the Eastern Shore. This added time will better allow for the local medical community to prepare with better testing capacity, to better understand the nature of the virus, and to better attend to people who need hospital admission for severe symptoms.
We cancel services with heavy hearts, yet also with value and appreciation for the well-being of one another. We recognize that we depend on this opportunity for weekly connection. We plan to continue to stay connected through our caring and pastoral care resources. If you are in need of support, please reach out to Rev. Sue or to members who focus on caring/pastoral connections. You can reach us through the UUFE Office: 410-822-8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org . We also plan to share spiritual resources by email and through the congregation’s website. Stay tuned for more details.
We plan to resume services as quickly as possible and will consider the many suggestions made to help us be a low – transmission place of gathering, including:
• Sharing best practices on hand washing, not attending if sick or if in a high-risk group, and how to sneeze or cough to keep risk low
• Avoiding handshakes and hugs (possibly moving to Namaste bow)
• Spreading out chairs in sanctuary to be a bit further apart
• Not passing offering baskets, but rather having baskets in back of sanctuary
• Printing hymns rather than using hymnals
• Not offering food after service
• Increasing cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces and toys, having available single use towels, and having adequate cleaning supplies on hand
• Asking those who have traveled to areas of higher risk to self quarantine
• Having recorded versions of the services available online (likely initially only audio, but in time video)
This is a time to model prudent and pragmatic action, while remaining steady and calm. Our children and youth need to see that these are ways we make decisions as a community to stay safe and they need to know that in time the rhythms they know will return. It is a time to reassure one another of the same.
As the next weeks unfold at the local, national, and world levels, there will an onslaught of information. This will be a chance to live out our values and to be aware of how in trying times the most vulnerable bear the brunt of a challenge. Throughout this we will look for those ways we can support one another and the broader community.
Please be in touch so we know of your questions, needs, and ideas as we walk through uncharted territory together.
In love and connection,
Rev. Sue Browning
Emily Cranwell, Co-President UUFE
Dr. Christina Drostin, Co-President UUFE