In response to direction from local and state officials prohibiting gatherings where people cannot observe social distancing (staying 6 feet apart), our Sunday worship through the end of March will happen online.
I have reached this decision in consultation with two of our Chalice members: Nancy Bowen, a retired doctor with over 20 years in public health service, and Marshall Fogel, also a retired doctor. We are fortunate that Nancy and Marshall have agreed to advise Chalice leaders on our response to COVID-19.
I am changing our Sunday service topic to “Stay Away and Stay Connected.” We will worship online together at 10 am. There will be time for sharing our joys and sorrows; if you have a joy or sorrow to share, you are encouraged to have a candle with you to light at your computer.
We will use Zoom webinar technology for our worship service, like we did last summer. (Unlike last summer, we are not encouraging you to gather in groups to watch together.) I know it can be frustrating to figure out new technologies. As we will worship this way for at least three Sundays, I hope you will take the time to figure it out.
We have Chalice congregants who are willing to help. Please let me know ASAP if you will need help with Zoom (and if you are a congregant willing to help others with technology, please let me know).
I know for most of you, this decision both makes sense and feels hard. With so much worry on our hearts, wouldn’t it feel good to be together! And just at the moment we would be comforted to see each other, hug each other, hold hands and sing, this is the moment when the best thing we can do to keep each other safe is to stay apart.
This is also a moment for us to cast our circle of love and support even wider. There will be some people for whom attending online worship will feel safer and more welcoming than attending in person. How wonderful that anyone anywhere will be able to worship with us these next few weeks.
As I wrote in my message yesterday, now is not the time to isolate ourselves. Pick up the phone. If you are lonely, call a friend. If you are not lonely, STILL CALL A FRIEND!! Every person I have talked to this week said they felt better after talking. If you don’t have someone to call, let me know, and I’ll find you someone.
I love you and miss you, my beloveds.