We hope this finds you well and safe!
Your Board and Minister Cyndi Simpson have been carefully monitoring the advice and recommendations of reliable health and epidemiological experts with regard to the spread of the coronavirus. Our faith is rooted in love and caring for one another, and the primary focus of our love and care is the health and safety of our membership, many of whom are at high risk should they contract the disease.
It is from this love and care that the Board of Trustees has made the decision to close our building for all meetings, gatherings, and any other uses through Sunday, April 19th, effective at 12 noon on Friday, March 13th. We will continue to monitor the situation, listen to experts, and keep you updated as new information emerges relating to our closure.
In our faith, not only do we demonstrate love for those in our immediate circles of closeness, like family, friends and fellow congregants, but also for our larger community. Experts are now asking us, as community members, to “flatten the curve” so the number of new cases does not overwhelm our health care organizations and systems. While the virus can’t be stopped in its tracks, it can be slowed down. Stopping it from spreading quickly will help ensure that healthcare systems can cope with the strain of the outbreak. To slow the spread, we need to act immediately, not some time in the future. Here is a link to a short video and news article on “flattening the curve”.
What does closing the building mean for our congregation?
• Each of us: We encourage you to follow all the recommendations that help avoid contracting the disease—including maintaining social distance of at least 6 feet. Cyndi sent some good suggestions in her email last week and self-care resources are available at cdc.gov website. Especially if you are at higher risk (60 or older, OR you have chronic medical conditions at any age), please follow CDC recommendations and begin social distancing in all aspects of your life. Here are the recommendations for folks a higher risk: They include many practical suggestions. Another reliable source of information is the UNMC/ Coronavirus website.
• Staff: We will continue to pay staff throughout the closure and they are available to you through email and telephone.
• Sunday Services: We will be looking at ways to hold virtual services until it is safe for us to be together. We are not sure what this will look like or when it can be implemented. For this Sunday (March 15) and any other Sunday in the future, you are always welcome to view the services of the Church of Larger Fellowship, a program of the UUA that holds live streaming worship services via Zoom every Sunday at 7:00 pm CDT, and records them for later viewing at any time. Here is the link to receive the CLF Worship Zoom link via email.
• Committee and Other Meetings: We encourage members to stay connected through committee or other meetings and suggest online or telephone meetings rather than face-to-face, whether these were planned for the church building or elsewhere. We are exploring platforms for online meeting and will keep you informed.
• Access to the Building: Cyndi, Jaime (Office Administrator) and Ashleigh (Director of Religious Education) will continue to come into the building to work, answer phones, and manage our US mail. They will be practicing social distancing and will be surface cleaning daily. We ask members to stay out of the building.
• Sunday Offering: It is important for the maintenance of our own congregation and to our Share the Plate partners that we continue the generous contributions that we usually make during the Sunday worship offering. You may send checks via mail to Second Unitarian Church, 3012 S. 119th Street, 68144. Soon you will be able make your donation via a smartphone app (instructions coming soon). We also will be adding an online donation option through our church website at 2uomaha.org. If you would like to text your contributions to the church, please contact Jaime via email and she can send you the instructions on how to do that.
• Pledges for next church year and for 4th year Capital Campaign: We are still in the midst of our Stewardship Campaign. Stewards are making phone calls to have those important conversations. Please mail your pledge forms for both next year’s operating budget and the 4th year capital campaign to the church at the address above. We would like to receive everyone’s forms by March 22nd, please!
• Pastoral Care: If you need assistance—spiritual, financial, or other—please contact Reverend Cyndi Simpson by email. If you need to contact our Caring Committee for other support, please contact either Dorothy Danielson or Lolly Thompson.
• Challenges and Problems: We are certain that challenges and problems will emerge. Please contact the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org to describe the problem. We won’t be able to solve problems if we don’t know about them! Remember our Covenant of Right Relations, and if your problem involves another person, resolution should be attempted directly with that person first.
To quote State Senator Adam Morefeld from his Facebook post on March 11th: As we grapple with this pandemic over the next few months keep in mind there are no easy or perfect decisions or answers in a situation like this, only tough ones. We need to be understanding, supportive of one another, and flexible as a community.”
As members of the Board of Trustees, we pledge to keep you updated about our closure and operations. You will continue to get communications from us regarding current status, changes, and decisions regarding our goal of keeping us all as safe and healthy as possible.
Thank you for your caring, your understanding, your flexibility, your willingness to try new ways of connecting, and most of all, your love for your church and our wider community.
In love and faith,
Your Second Unitarian Board of Trustees
Reverend Cyndi Simpson