COVID-19 Update 3/19/20

Dear Beloved Community
of the Unitarian Church of Sharon,

How is it with your spirit? These are unprecedented times for us as a church community, as a society, and as humans in the world. Our Minister, Rev. Jolie Olivetti and our Board of Trustees wish to offer you updated information about our church building closure, and how to stay connected and cared for in this time. Contained in this message you will find:  Physical UCS closure update from our UCS Board of Trustees: extended to April 6. Remote worship information for 3/22. Zoom link https://zoom.us/j/844209422 (more info below) Opportunities to connect and nourish our spirits Social Justice Committee Update: Supporting our wider community during this time Pledge campaign reminder PHYSICAL CLOSURE UPDATE
From the UCS Board of Trustees: The Board met on March 18th (via Zoom) to discuss our response to COVID-19 and to determine next steps. We are acutely aware of the changes social distancing has wrought in our congregation and community. We are also grateful for the efforts being made by our minister and staff to find ways to stay connected.
The Board has decided to remain in a virtual mode, meaning no in person worship, RE or meetings until April 6. The Board will meet again on April 1st to review the situation, CDC and State recommendations to determine next steps.

REMOTE WORSHIP INFORMATION FOR 3/22
Please join us this Sunday at 10:15 AM on Zoom, for our Senior Youth Group service.
(stay online after the service for our Special Congregational Meeting about funding steeple repair)

Joining a virtual worship service from your home is so different than being in our sanctuary. There are some fun treats: we get to see each other’s pets, little glimpses into each other’s homes. And there are some things that may make it more difficult. We miss being together. And there may be distractions: the phone might ring, the kids might get tired of watching and prefer to go play, you might see that pile of dishes and wonder if you ought to go wash them. Please know it is OK to be distracted. Our virtual services are a big experiment for all of us! And our prayer is that our virtual services will allow us to be present for worship together as best as we can in these very unusual circumstances.
And: have a candle or chalice nearby if possible so you can light your own flame at home!

The order of service will be available on our website: www.uusharon.org/oos
And those joining us with video will be able to see the order of service displayed on slides as we go.

Here is the Zoom link and call-in info to join this Sunday:
https://zoom.us/j/844209422

Meeting ID: 844 209 422

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OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT AND NOURISH OUR SPIRITS RE Families will continue to receive information from our DRE, Louise Marcoux, about engaging in faith formation during physical church closure. Zoom Chats with the Minister: Rev. Jolie will host regular all-church Zoom chats, when anyone is invited to call in, check in, and connect with each other. The first will be tomorrow, Friday, March 20, at 10:00 AM. Subsequent calls will be Tuesday, March 24 at noon (bring your lunch!), Thursday, March 26 at 8:00 PM, and Friday, March 27 at 10:00 AM. A separate email will go out with all the Zoom call-in information for this. Caring Circles: Rev. Jolie is finding facilitators from our UCS community to convene weekly virtual check-ins. No agenda other than saying hi, getting to know each other, and staying in touch. Every member and friend who has shared an email address with us will be assigned randomly to a group. Facilitators will reach out to their groups to find out if you wish to participate. Be in touch if you wish to learn more about this effort: minister@uusharon.org Let’s take care of each other! Please consider donating to our Ministers Discretionary Fund to help out members of our church community who need some extra assistance due to lost work. Checks can be made out to Ministers Discretionary Fund and mailed to the church. Interested in meditation as a way to find some stillness during this difficult time? Contact Ray Wallace to participate the Tuesday meditation group (which has moved to Zoom): wallace.dl@gmail.com. Brad Larson and Glenn Rivard are also developing additional meditation opportunities, contact either of them to participate: glennrivard@hotmail.com, brad@bradlarson.com. SOCIAL JUSTICE UPDATE 
1) CommUnity Closet donations – please hold at home your clothing donations for now, as the CC in Brockton is closed to the public. We will be notified when operations will resume, and hence when our collection of items can start again.
 
2) Sharon-Stoughton food pantry collections – please set aside items at your home for now, until we can coordinate a collection plan. The food pantry remains open with modified policies for those who need to obtain help, so we do want to support them, but drop-offs at church are not allowed for now. 
 
3) Grocery Cards for Food Pantries Over the weekend we collected over $4000 in donated funds to help all 5 of our local food pantries via our Shopping for Justice grocery card program. To help out, make checks out to the church, memo line “groc cards for pantries”, and mail them to the church. We will convert them into cards to be donated to the food pantries. This will be a long term need, so consider a donation now and again in the future as a means to help our neighbors remain whole while staying at home ourselves. Donations in any amount are welcome.
 
4) Transgender Inclusion Online Series – our offering of meetings is in transition at this time, and since we cannot offer in-person meetings for the foreseeable future, we will provide virtual Zoom gatherings instead.  Be sure to check this Sunday’s Order of Service as well as the April Chalice for more information.  Also, note that our 29 March service and workshop with Alex Kapitan of the Transforming Hearts Collaborative has been rescheduled for 7 June, Rainbow Sunday!

PLEDGE CAMPAIGN REMINDER Please return your pledge sheets by this Sunday, March 22 or by mail at 4 North Main St, Sharon, MA 02067 or online at www.uusharon.org/pledge . Our stewardship campaign is ongoing and the results will sustain our church and congregation’s important work.  An update on the pledge campaign will be made during our church service on March 22.
Yours in faith, in service, and in hope,

Rev. Jolie Olivetti, Minister
Board of Trustees, Unitarian Church of Sharon