A Stable Faith by Rev. Shayna Appel

Greetings all!  It is good to be back.  I hope you could find some renewal and refreshment for your souls this summer.  Goodness knows we all needed it after the past 18 months of upheaval!

As we prepare to begin another year together in the life of UUCM, the Soul Matters curriculum greets us with the theme Embracing Possibility. This seems appropriate on so many levels — not the least of which is a question on many of our hearts: “Will we be able to worship in person this year?”

Based on many conversations last year, and holding tightly to the values expressed in our UU Principles, the decision was made to attempt multi-platform worship for the 2021-2022 congregational year so that our services would be accessible to those able and willing to gather in person as well as those who cannot. This decision has required a great deal of time and effort by our Worship and Music teams, who have been working hard all summer to figure out all the technical as well as liturgical challenges multi-platform worship entails. 

Working with James McClure, who has provided design and technical assistance, we have purchased new equipment that is ready for installation.  Next steps include tapping the expertise of Property Chair Bob Baker and an electrician to wire new components into the existing electrical and technical systems.  Then comes the exciting part… we launch!

The good news is that we will be bringing our congregation powerfully into the 21st century.  (Talk about the possibility of possibilities!) Our new technical capacity will allow us to offer not only multi-platform worship every Sunday, widening our welcome and outreach significantly, but it will also make our sanctuary a choice location for weddings and memorial services due to increased broadcast and recording capabilities.

The less-than-good news is that we may not be ready to launch until later this fall.

This will no doubt disappoint many of us who were looking forward to in-person worship starting later in September.  On the other hand, given the trajectory of the COVID-19 Delta variant (anticipated to spike sometime between late September and October), this point may be moot. So until we can safely offer multi-platform worship, we will continue worshipping via Zoom.

Please know we are doing our best to safely and competently regroup!  The Re-Opening Task Force met twice in August and is continuing to meet.  The team is keeping itself and the UUCM Board informed about the best practices information that we can obtain from the CDC, the State of New Hampshire, and the UUA. 

We do believe it will be possible to offer in-person worship services sometime this year.  Participants will likely have to be masked and physically distanced, and this may, for a time, limit the number of folks who can attend in person.  But, we hold faith in the possibility that things will continue to improve along the COVID-19 front and that our most competent Worship and Tech teams will work hard to keep us all socially connected during this time of continued physical distancing.

I ask of you, Beloveds, your support and your continued patience.  Prayers and positive thoughts for those involved in the work can’t hurt either!

Faithfully rooted in the possibility of possibilities, I again welcome you and welcome you back!

In Faith and with much Love,

Rev. Shayna