A Stable Faith by Rev. Shayna Appel
The significant disruptions to life in our congregations and communities over the past year [have] been traumatic. There is, understandably, a deep yearning to gather again in person. Unfortunately we are in an “in-between” transition time that continues to be risky. Our first concern continues to be safeguarding the well-being of our people and the public. [UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray Special Announcement re; Guidance from the UUA about planning for safe operations in alignment with UU values.]
As I write to you, two very high-tech and highly effective vaccines are making their way into the arms of folks here in New Hampshire and around the country. Given the danger, isolation and despair we have all experienced over the course of this past year, it is reasonable to wonder when friends and groups will again be able to gather without fear of contagion.
As with so many of life’s biggest questions, there is no easy or clear answer. According to Dr. Kim Kilby and Dr. David Pratt, professionals involved in public health and members of a UU Congregation in Schenectady, N.Y., the answer will be based mostly on herd immunity. Expectations at this time are that herd immunity will be possible once the total number of American who have recovered from infection and who are immunized reaches at least 200,000,000 people.
We are not there yet. Additionally, even with a successful vaccination program, experts note that safety practices like washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing will likely remain essential practices in the fight against COVID-19 for some time now.
That all having been said, we are beginning to take steps towards regathering and we will continue to do so as long as the infection rate continues to decline, inoculation rates continue to rise, and we are able to move forward keeping our UU values at the forefront. To date the Re-opening Task Team has revisited our current status and will be making recommendations to the Board. Once we have a decision from the Board you will all be notified in our weekly newsletter, so please, stay patient and stay tuned!
With much love & great hope!