Articles, Reflections, & Announcements
Church Operating Guidelines in the Time of Covid
As you read this, Florida and the rest of America are in the midst of yet another surge of the Coronavirus. Terms like “social distancing”, “lock down” and “Zoom” that were unknown to us a year ago are now commonplace and part of the modern lexicon. What we had hoped would be a few weeks of inconvenience and precaution has dragged on longer than anyone could have imagined.
In response to the realities of this deadly pandemic, UUCT’s Executive Board and church leadership made the well-being of members the top priority and suspended all in-person services and gatherings.
To establish steps toward church reopening the Board created a Task Force to research and write guidelines. Task Force members are Phil Kiracofe, Chair, VP for Community Steve Urse and VP for Social Justice Janet Temkin, with Rev. William Levwood, RE Director Helen Rivers and VP for Management Bonnie Abellera as consultants. We are fortunate to have Janet who is a nurse working for the Leon County Public Health Department.
Some outdoor gatherings of groups 12 or less, wearing masks with individuals spaced more than six feet from each other have already taken place, and others are being planned. You may recall a survey in The Meridian a few weeks ago asking if you would feel comfortable joining a limited attendance contemplative service on the veranda. Unfortunately, Covid numbers started to rise again so that plan was put on hold.
The Covid-19 Reopening Task Force has been busy meeting to create sensible and safe guidelines for current practices and reopening. Those guidelines were approved by the Board and can be found below.
Interim Guidelines for Facilities Use
- Any groups wanting to use the facility must register and seek prior approval by emailing the Office Administrator. Groups meet only outdoors; no indoor group activities are permitted. Bring your own food and drink as food sharing is not permitted.
- Groups should be no larger than 12 people unless specifically approved by the Covid Reopening Task Force, and these should include only people who can follow guidelines. Parents and caregivers are responsible for ensuring any children in their care are in compliance with guidelines.
- People must use hand sanitizer. Groups must clean anything they use before and after. Cleaning between uses also applies to office staff who share offices and church members who use staff office space.
UUCT’s guidelines are based on metrics created by Covid Act Now, an interdisciplinary consortium of public health experts from the Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security, Stanford University Clinical Excellence Research Center and Grand Rounds. You can visit the Covid Act Now website at https://covidactnow.org/us/florida-fl?s=1463421.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Phil Kiracofe at email@example.com.
Manna’s 12 Days of (After) Christmas Food Drive
All donations for Manna (food, toiletries, money) are gratefully accepted and welcomed by volunteers and clients. To mix things up a bit, a couple of the churches volunteering with this program are asking memberships to participate in a “12 Days of Christmas” Food Drive beginning Christmas Day and ending January 5. Donations can be brought to UUCT veranda or call me and I will pick them up.
Bring any donation, if possible, in a double brown grocery bag OR a reuseable bag you won’t use anymore. This enables Manna to use those bags again.
December 25 a box of cereal
December 26 a jar of peanut butter
December 27 a bottle of vegetable/canola oil
December 28 a can of soup
December 29 a 2 to 4 pound bag of sugar
December 30 a tube of toothpaste
December 31 a box of crackers
January 1 a can of beans
January 2 a can of chicken
January 3 a bar of soap
Janury 4 a can of tuna
January 5 a cake or muffin mix
As always, thank you for all you continue too do to help feed our brothers and sisters.
Old Guys Lunch
The next Old Guys Lunch will be Wednesday December 30 at 11:30 am on the veranda of UUCT. Social distancing and current facility use guidelines will be followed. We will continue meeting every other Wednesday weather permitting.
If interested in joining this group or for more information, contact John Sample.
Indwellers Nature Walk
Join us Saturday January 9 at 2 p.m. for a Nature Walk at Birdsong Nature Center.
Kids are welcome but no dogs. There is a $5 admission fee, but anyone who would like to go but can’t afford the fee should reach out. Social distancing and face coverings required.
Adults 25-49 are invited to join Indwellers, a new cohort group for socialization, community connection and spiritual exploration. Indwellers is inspired by the Hindu “Grihastha” stage of life. Usually translated as the “householder” stage, this stage of adulthood is focused on caregiving, citizenship, career and personal development, and deep engagement with daily life.
You can look forward to a bimonthly Zoom discussion on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month, social events, and community care.
Christian Spirituality @ UUCT
Before there were UUs, there were Unitarians and Universalists, both of them Christian denominations. Subsequently, Unitarian Universalism has come to draw from many sources of which the Christian tradition is only one. This challenges all UUs, Christian or not, to develop a framework for religious pluralism, something that is desperately needed in today’s world. I think of Christianity (and other traditions) as a language through which I ground our UU Principles and Purposes, and which inspires me to live and grow fully into them. During the last several years, we have explored history, theology, Bible and more. We have celebrated the holy days of Easter and Christmas, and shared communion during worship in between.
While each week’s Bible passage will be the focus of the meeting, the real purpose of Christian Spirituality is to create a friendly association, to give and receive support, and to find our lives expressed in the Bible. Our meetings will be the first and third Wednesdays each month 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. For zoom information contact Kay Stuart-Tilley firstname.lastname@example.org
6th January 2021 Matthew 2:1-23
20th January 2021 John 1:1-18
Centering BIPOC Voices: Adopts Covenant & Welcomes New Members
By Robin Gray
On December 12th, we welcomed four participants who were joining a discussion for the first time. Centering BIPOC Voices continues to welcome new members.
At that same meeting we adopted a behavioral covenant. A brief preamble to the Centering BIPOC Voices Covenant outlines the purpose of the group. The covenant is available at the link below:
The covenant will be shared with new participants and will guide each participants behaviors in our discussions.
Upcoming Church Work Day
Join us on Saturday January 9 from 9am – 2 pm for our monthly church work day. Feel free to bring your lunch. Social distancing guidelines will be followed.
Hope to see you there!
Centering BIPOC Voices January and February Plans
By Robin Gray
On January 9th we will discuss “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolpho Anaya. This is a coming of age story that quickly became a classic work exploring the lives of Chicanos in New Mexico. Young Antonio is presented with distinct world views – his mother, father, brothers and Ultima offer different perspectives of the future he can choose.
Bob Deyle is facilitating the discussion and plans to send questions before we read the book. If you want to join the January 9th discussion, please contact Robin Gray as soon as possible to join the distribution list.
For the February discussion we selected the duo “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin and the documentary film “I Am Not Your Negro”.
The “Fire Next Time” is “James Baldwin’s impassioned plea to ‘end the racial nightmare’ in America.” “I Am Not Your Negro” offers a view of Baldwin’s thought through his own unfinished manuscript and interviews. I Am Not Your Negro is available on Netflix and as a rental from other streaming outlets. We are looking at having a “watch party” for the film before the February meeting date.
We meet each month on the Second Saturday at 3:30 p.m. New participants are always welcome. Contact Robin Gray (email@example.com) to learn more.