Pandemic message to UUCPA

The following message went out via U.S. mail on June 4, 2020.

Dear UUCPA Members and Friends,

This week you doubtless have heard about the Santa Clara County Health Department’s latest updates to our shelter-in-place order. With the reopening of some religious services, dog parks, swimming pools, and campgrounds, you may be wondering, What about UUCPA? When might we reopen? 

Of course, we don’t have an answer to that yet. But here are some things you should know: 

The Board of Trustees, as well as ministers and staff, are carefully monitoring Santa Clara County Health directives. The Board of Trustees, in close consultation with staff, will decide the manner and timing of our reopening. 

The Unitarian Universalist Association has strongly recommended that congregations plan for remote operations through May 2021. While we are hopeful that we can gather before then, we are planning for that long a stretch of online-only church. You may be asking yourself, “Why would we wait so long?” Here are a few reasons:

  • Our congregation includes the entire lifespan, from the very old to the very young, and mixes them together.
  • Many, possibly most people involved in our congregation are either in a vulnerable group, or come into close contact with friends and family who are. We sit in enclosed spaces and breathe the same air for periods of time.
  • We sing together.
  • We share food and drink.
  • We have a limited number of sinks for handwashing.
  • We do not want to put staff at risk. Their jobs necessitate contact with many people, which risks both their health and that of others.
  • We value the inherent worth and dignity of each person, and we do not want to create an unsafe situation for anyone–either within our campus or in the wider world. 

The UUA urges congregations to hold off on gathering the entire congregation until contact tracing in our area is robust, and/or there is a widely available vaccine. Like the UUA, UUCPA will make decisions as guided by science and in accordance with the values we hold dear. And whatever form our gatherings take, we and the other leaders will focus our energy on making our congregation a community of care, inspiration, justice-making, and learning, as it always is. 

Please reach out to us anytime with any questions or comments.

Yours in love and community,

Brooke Bishara, UUCPA Board President  

Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern, Parish Minister