Fall has always been a special time for me. Maybe it’s that elusive sense of things beginning, like when I was a younger person heading off to school. Even today, when I close my eyes I can smell newly sharpened pencils, wax on ancient wooden floors, and leaves burning. It brought alive a sense of possibility, of learning, of returning to the clamor of community.
This year, though, it’s different. With the restrictions of the coronavirus, there was little summer travel, little getting together with friends in the same old easy way. On one hand, it doesn’t feel like summer has happened yet, but on the other hand, the shortening days, leaves beginning to turn and fall, and my desire to date things November are signs that time is passing on. In a different way, yes, but moving on as we adapt and adopt our patterns of behavior.
At the Region, we have been spending the summer working to translate and revise our in-person offerings to the virtual world. The UUA has told staff not to expect any travel until March 2021 at the earliest, and so we’re learning more about how to be with you all in Zoom and other ways. So instead of planning our travel schedules and booking hotels, we’re booking Zoom rooms and creating ways to come together differently.
Two events I’ve been working on this summer is our Extended Leadership Experience (ELE, replacing our in-person MidWest Leadership School) and a Behavioral Covenant workshop—you’ll find details about registering for these events in this newsletter. The ELE will provide basic leadership skills, and the Behavioral Covenant workshop will help you learn how to deal with disruptive behavior in your congregation. Both will emphasize how we do this work in the virtual realm.
Until there is a way to reduce the risk of the novel coronavirus, we will continue to evolve how we are together, but one thing that’s clear to me is that we still need each other—we still need vibrant congregations that remind us that we are valuable, that we are connected, that we can make a difference in the world