Articles, Reflections, & Announcements
Update on UUCT’s Reopening
We want to thank all who responded to the Covid survey sent out last month. About 90 of you responded and the feelings and concerns you shared will be instrumental in helping the Covid-19 Task Force shape the plan for church reopening. Just a few weeks ago the outlook was encouraging as Americans lined up to be vaccinated and new cases and infection rates fell. It looked like full reopening might very well be on the near horizon.
But with the emergence of the Delta variant and reluctance by many to get the vaccine those numbers have reversed at a frightening rate. Florida, with roughly 6.4% of the nation’s population, accounts for 20% of new cases. When we sent out the survey the Daily New Cases and Positive Test Rates here in Leon County were 4.1 per 100k and 2.4% respectively. Now they’re at 20.7 and 13.2%.
Health experts are calling the Delta variant the “virus of the unvaccinated” since virtually all new cases of this strain affect those who haven’t been vaccinated. What’s encouraging for our congregation is that 97% of you who took the survey said you’d been vaccinated compared to about 50% of Leon County residents. That makes it easier for us to keep moving forward. But have no doubt, we’ll move with the greatest caution and deliberation making the safety and well-being of our members and visitors the top priority.
A great number of you expressed in the survey that you’re ready to return to in- person services while others say you want to wait a while longer. With that in mind, we’ve crafted a multi-platform plan that will allow everyone to be engaged but at their own comfort level. At the June 13 th congregational meeting we laid out the plan that offers three options for engagement: attending in-person sanctuary services with masks and social distancing, viewing from Room L with masks and social distancing, and viewing live streamed services from your home. This isn’t an either- or plan; all three options will be available. When might this happen? No sooner than late August or September. Stay tuned.
The guidelines adopted early in the pandemic are undergoing modifications to reflect updated guidelines by the CDC and UUA. In making changes we’re taking into account the concerns and desires expressed by you in the survey. The revised guidelines will make it easier for small groups to meet in person on the veranda or Room L. Once completed, the new guidelines will be posted on the church website. Additionally, technology upgrades are in the works that will make participating in services and group meetings on the veranda, Room L and on Zoom much smoother. This should happen in the very near future so watch for the announcement in The Meridian.
Thank you for your continued patience, understanding and participation.
The Covid Task Force consists of Phil Kiracofe, chair, Janet Temkin and Steve Urse serving as members, Rev. William Levwood as an ex officio member, Bonnie Abellera, VP for Management and DRE Helen Rivers Cassara as consultants.
UU Drawdown Eco Challenge Extended through December 2021
By Ed Oaksford
Great News! If you read the last Meridian, you will have seen how well our UUCT team, Canopy Road Crusaders, did in the initial challenge that ended June 30th. However, that challenge has been extended until the end of the year so our fearless team of 13 and all the other 264 UU’s across the country that participated can continue until the end of the year. Our team’s new end date has been updated so we can continue making efforts to drawdown the concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. I’m asking that current members keep up the good work and try and recruit new members to join us. Because current members have already gone through the experience of signing on they should be well equipped to recruit new members. If they run into problems just drop me a note. Here are the exciting details below with resources and links. We can carry the Summer Olympic spirit on through the rest of the year with our Canopy Crusaders Drawdown Ecochallenge! GAME ON! EXTENDED!
The UU Drawdown 2021 Initiative continues through December 2021. https://www.uumfe.org/campaigns/project-drawdown-uu-initiative/
The UU Drawdown team is currently #2 of all participating organizations in this EcoChallenge, earning 71,000 points to date, and bring us 6500 ACTIONS closer to the point of atmospheric Drawdown! Our goal is to reach 10,000 ACTIONS!
JOIN 277 UUs and friends applying science-based Drawdown solutions & getting measurable results.
See UU Drawdown Action Presentations at this link; (https://www.uumfe.org/2021/03/31/uu-dd-2021-more-resources/) to create custom actions designed specifically around these presentations.
Learn more about Solutions like:
1) Decarbonized Cement to include in the Jobs and Infrastructure Bill (See UU Drawdown Action Presentations).
2) Support Stop Line 3, preventing 760,000 barrels per day of Canadian Tar Sands oil from desecrating Indigenous treaty lands at the Mississippi headwaters.
3) Watch the GA On Demand Workshop # 621, Drawing Communities Together, highlighting UU Drawdown efforts.
Why Donate to the UUCT Mountain Scholarship Fund?
by Trudy Deyle
In Highlands, NC, there is a very special place for Unitarian Universalists called The Mountain for short. It was founded by UUs, including UUCTers, in 1979. Over the years, many UUCT youth have attended MountainCamp and conference weekends during the school year, with some working later as camp counselors. And many UUCT adults have attended a wide variety of programs there, including congregational retreats. The UUCT Mountain Scholarship Fund exists so that any youth in our congregation who wants to attend MountainCamp or any youth or adult who wants to attend a Mountain program is able to do so.
These words written by our daughter in 2001 for a college application essay capture what MountainCamp has meant for so many of our UUCT youth, coming from a small, isolated congregation.
“The Mountain is the first place where I was surrounded by a large number of other UUs who were my own age. It is there that I finally believed in myself and found people whom I felt truly comfortable around. The rich community of The Mountain, bound by religion and friendship, in addition to the area’s natural beauty, is what guided me in finding faith. The supportive, accepting community helped me to show my true self to others. The five summers that I spent at The Mountain influenced my growth as a person.”
Because of how much The Mountain has meant to our children and also to us, Bob and I give generously to the UUCT Mountain Scholarship Fund every year.
This Sunday’s Share the Plate is the UUCT Mountain Scholarship Fund.
Meal Service and Preparation Volunteers Needed
By Janet Temkin
If you and your family are looking for a way to give back to our community, the Kearney Center can use your help.
UUCT has signed up to prep and serve lunches on the first, third and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Kearney Center. We will be assisting with dinners on the second Monday of each month. 4-5 volunteers are needed at each mealtime.
Meal prep is a fun way to connect with others and help our vulnerable homeless population at the same time.
You can easily sign up to volunteer using the link below:
Kathryn Schroeder is now our UUCT coordinator. Please email Kathryn at email@example.com for more information.
Volunteer Opportunity – Auditor
UUCT’s Manual of Policies and Procedures calls for an ad-hoc audit committee to perform an internal review of our financial accounts and procedures every two years. The board is looking for volunteers to do this important work. A financial background is not necessary and there is a checklist from the UUA to help ensure a thorough review. While this is a significant project, prior volunteer auditors tell us that it can be done by one person, or alternatively a small committee, within a couple of weeks. Members performing these audits cannot be serving on the finance committee or serving in positions directly related to UUCT’s finances.
So are you detail oriented and willing to review our financial records and interview our treasurers? If so, lease let the board know – email firstname.lastname@example.org.