COVID-19 Update 6/12/20: Building closed through the end of August.

Church ReOpen Update

June 12, 2020

The Board recently discussed our next steps and has voted to remain a virtual church until the end of August.  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.  Because of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board will continue to meet regularly (via Zoom) to review our current situation.  We want to thank the Safe Church ReOpen Task Force for their help and advice.

The Board has determined that the Church will continue with virtual services through the summer.  We will not hold church-sponsored outside gatherings this summer.  The Church building and grounds are closed to large gatherings (greater than 20 people) this summer.  This decision is in keeping with what we believe is necessary for safe/healthy practices to cope during this type of pandemic.  

An exception can be made for memorial services, which would be managed on a case-by-case basis with the Minister and Task Force. Weddings would be another exception handled case-by-case.  These services would follow Massachusetts COVID-19 guidelines.

Church members can gather outside provided:

  • Current Massachusetts guidelines for gathering size, social distancing (currently 6 feet), masks, and other relevant measures are followed.
  • No entry into the church (bathrooms are closed, chairs must be brought from home …) 
  • Anything brought onto the grounds be removed after the gathering (chairs, trash …)
  • For gatherings greater than 10 people that meet current Massachusetts guidelines for gathering size, please check the church calendar at www.uusharon.org/calendars/month to see if the grounds are already booked for the date and time of your gathering.  Once confirmed that the grounds are available, please use the “submit event” button on the top of the church calendar page to schedule the gathering, making sure to fill in all the required fields and choosing the venue “outdoor social distance event”.  In addition, please send the president, Rory McGregor, an email about the gathering at president@uusharon.org.
  • Impromptu meetings for coffee, garden walk throughs, and conversation are expected and fine as long as the gathering is small (less than 10 people) and social distancing, masks, and other guidelines are followed..
REMOTE WORSHIP INFORMATION

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.


OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT AND NOURISH OUR SPIRITS

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. You can also donate using PayPal at https://www.uusharon.org/ucs-donations/

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. You can also donate using PayPal at https://www.uusharon.org/ucs-donations/
We will convert the donations into grocery 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.

PLEDGE CAMPAIGN REMINDER Please return your pledge sheets 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 services.

Yours in faith, in service, and in hope,

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