Please tune in to this special video message from UUSGS Board President Kathy Mague & Rev. Jason…
A few key points:
- Due to public health guidance, the UUSGS Board of Trustees has decided (again) that large, indoor, in-person gatherings are not in accordance with our shared values at this time. For more, see UUA guidance (8/20), City of Springfield public health message (9/9), and COVIDActNow data for Hampden County.
- We are embracing this challenge as an opportunity for visionary value-driven change, not only to remediate the effects of necessary restrictions but also to help us to address long-standing barriers to participation, thereby positioning us as a leadership congregation well into the future.
- We are exploring a new model for congregational life that maximizes opportunities for access and inclusion, online & offline, Sundays and every day.
- Small- and medium-sized groups will be key.
- In the short term, Sunday services will be offered online, with in-person gathering opportunities at UUSGS and elsewhere, beginning 9/19. Those who choose to gather in person will be masked at all times, and will remain in accordance with official health mandates.
- Looking forward…
- We anticipate broadcasting a single live service every Sunday from the sanctuary at UUSGS. This single service will create a sense of intimacy and connection online (i.e., not merely a camera at the back of the room).
- A limited number of people will be allowed to reserve space to attend in-person in the sanctuary. Everyone will be masked and distanced in accordance with current guidance.
- Others will be supported in gathering and participating outside at UUSGS and/or elsewhere.
- Still others may choose to participate from home – individually, or in small groups (e.g., “watch parties”). Let’s be creative!
- We expect our new website to be ready in October, which will feature a worship portal with integrated chat, bulletins, etc.
- In November, we expect to add functionality for online & hybrid classes and meetings, special events & concerts, fundraisers, and more.
The UUSGS leadership team is aware that within and among our community there exist many different needs, preferences, perspectives, barriers, and opportunities. We believe this modular approach to congregational life will allow our diverse needs to be met in different ways, while also providing enough consistency of approach that we can continue to offer excellent programming, even as health guidance shifts (as we expect it to for some time).
Together, we honor the grief of this journey (for grief always accompanies change). So, too, we honor the possibility in our midst… the possibility to not only react to this immediate challenge responsibly but also to faithfully accept the invitation – offered by our deep history as religious liberals – to innovate, adapt, change, and grow. In short, we will create caring, vitalized religious community for our time, here and now, together.
Please tune in on upcoming Sundays as we explore this path more deeply together.
Love will prevail!!