Dear People’s people,

Yesterday, I wrote to you that we would be following the guidance of our elected officials to make decisions about how we gather now that COVID-19 is present in Michigan. Last night, Governor Gretchen Whitmer discouraged all gatherings of 100 people or more as a way to slow the spread of the virus. We will be following that advice. Sunday services and Sunday morning religious education classes are cancelled. We will be postponing the celebration of our 50th anniversary on 10th Street previously scheduled for the 15th and the New Member Welcoming scheduled for the 22nd. We are also postponing the memorial service for George McCrea scheduled for March 21st. We will continue to follow the advice of state and local officials to determine when can gather again in person.

This Sunday at 10:45am, we will be livestreaming our service via Zoom. This means you can join by phone or video conference from home – or wherever you are. Here’s how to do that:

By phone: call 1-646-876-9923 and enter meeting ID: 552 766 7326. (note: this is a long-distance call.)

By video:

  • Sign up on the Zoom website, or download the Zoom Cloud Meeting App from www.zoom.us or the app store for your device.
  • Open the App, click on ‘join meeting’ and enter 552 766 7326.
  • If you already have the app installed, you can join the meeting directly by following this link: https://uuma.zoom.us/j/5527667326

(note: our “meeting room” will open at 10:30am on Sunday.)

Please take a few minutes to install and navigate this program before 10:45am on Sunday.

I also encourage people, if you feel healthy and safe, to gather in small groups for the service. Perhaps you have a church friend or neighbor who isn’t as tech-savvy as you. Invite them to join you to watch the service from your home or offer support with setting up a Zoom account on their computer or phone.

I fully expect some challenges with this new way of worship (not least because hundreds of other congregations will be trying this too and that might exceed Zoom’s capacity). We will be posting most of the service later on Sunday on the church’s YouTube Channel (available at https://tinyurl.com/Peoplesyoutube). I’m grateful to be working with a team of staff and volunteers who are creative, flexible, and good at solving problems while prioritizing people’s safety and security.

For now, the church office is open and some small groups will continue to meet (though I encourage groups to postpone, conduct business via email, or meet by phone or video conference, if possible.) I am available for spiritual, emotional, and technical support, if you need me. I generally take Fridays off, but will be working tomorrow; please reach out if I can support you.

I want to close my second letter in as many days with a poem from Unitarian Universalist religious educator Lynn Unger:


Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

May it be so. May we make it so.
Take good care of yourself and each other,

Rachel

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