June Welcome

By Sharon Dittmar

Rev. Sharon Dittmar

On May 14, UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray shared updated guidance for gathering in our congregations. After consultation with public health officials she wrote, “We continue to recommend that congregations not gather in person. We also recommend that congregations begin planning for virtual operations for the next year (through May 2021). Take a moment to breathe. I know this is significant.”

For some people, this news came as a welcome relief. For other people, this news came as a shock. It will take some time for this to sink in, and for you, our congregations to consider your next moves. Fortunately, the UUA Safe Congregations Team has created recommendations on Gathering In Person When COVID-19 Subsides.

Given our congregational polity, and various locations and sizes, each of you will make a unique decision about how and when to reopen based on concerns and information about public health, accessibility, inclusion, and the unequal impact of risk and exposure that falls heaviest on historically marginalized communities. This is worthy work that lives our faith. As Susan Frederick-Gray said, “our ministries are essential services.”

How can we best live our values and support community during our digital time together? It is a question that may feel exhausting at this time, and yet it is our question to hold, and together we have the capacity to figure this out for our communities. And this work will take time. Be spacious and give yourself time. Please know that your MidAmerica staff is here to hold these questions with you. There are opportunities for creativity, innovation, and resilience. And we know that some of you are exhausted with the demands placed on you at this time. Please rest as you need. Together we will help and hold one another on the journey ahead. Way will be made.

About the Author

Sharon Dittmar

Reverend Dittmar graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1997. She served one year as Interim Minister at the Gathering at Northern Hills (Cincinnati, OH 1997-1998), and eighteen years as Minister at First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati (1998-2016). In 2016 she began work as Congregational Life...

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