COVID-19 Updates for First Parish in Framingham
Dear First Parish community,
In this time of uncertainty, in these days when COVID-19 continues to spread, it is essential for us to err on the side of caution, to act to support of our own and the larger community’s health. The most important thing we can do now is to help flatten the curve of transmission to give medical, public health and first responder personnel the best chance to serve those who need them, including the availability of hospital capacity for those who need that level of care.
Update September 15, 2021
We are holding outdoor worship services, with masks and seating 6-feet apart. No groups are permitted to meet inside the buildings. Small groups may meet outside if weather allows. Our Regathering Group, composed of members who are medical professionals and concerned stakeholders, will reassess guidelines needed in October. We are using the CDC County level risk assessment as our guide.
Update September 23, 2020
We are sharing are worship services through YouTube and Zoom.Several activities transitioned to Zoom over the spring and summer, including Coffee Hour, Spiritual Book Group, Journey Groups and ESL. Outside meetings were approved for some small groups, if they reserve space in advance and follow health guidelines. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed next to the entrances of all buildings, masks and disinfectant available for individuals and cleaning staff. HVAC filters upgraded and room air purifiers purchased for smaller room. A COVID Task Force is forming to review what meeting indoors safely would entail.
Update May 5, 2020
We are continuing online worship services and some small groups. We do not anticipate having any in person events in June.
However, we have been able to complete our Ministerial Search as of May 3, we have a new called minister, Rev. Aaron Stockwell. who will be starting August 15. We also plan to have our annual spring auction all online, May 11-17.
There is discussion about institutions like schools opening in the fall with physical distancing and mask and glove requirements.
Update April 2, 2020
Our online service access information will be shared by email only. It will be sent out on Friday to members and friends. You may share that information with your friends and family if you wish.
We are sending out a weekly newsletter called the Weekly Care Post, in lieu of the regular monthly newsletter or midmonth, as things seem to change so fast it seems more helpful to communicate more frequently.
Update March 27, 2020
- All gatherings at First Parish are cancelled at least until the beginning of May.
- We continue to have the buildings cleaned and sanitized as a precaution.
- Weekday Coffee Hours will be organized by Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris on Wednesday, April 1 at 11:00 am. and on Thursday, April 2 at 3:30 pm. An all church email will be sent out on Tuesday March 31 with links to join us on Zoom or phone.
- Worship will be online, and access will be shared on Facebook, this website and in the Weekly Care Post newsletter that will go out each Thursday evening.
Caritas : How it will work through April
March 13, 2020
Here’s what we’re doing our part to help flatten the curve will look like for the remainder of March:
All in person worship services are cancelled for the remainder of this month. We will offer opportunities to gather on line using Zoom. Rebecca and I are working on plans for this Sunday March 15. An email with details and links will be sent out tomorrow. Information for March 22 and March 29 will be available prior to each of those Sundays.
All large gatherings have been postponed, including the Auction which was scheduled for Saturday night March 21. The 8 session Anti-Racism workshop with Ken Wagner has also been postponed.
Virtual meetings are always an option. If you would like to schedule a meeting for your group or committee, please let me know. We have a Zoom account for church use. I can schedule meeting, provide information, and help orient you to the technology (or ask others with Zoom experience to do so as well.)
In an email letter sent yesterday, UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray reminds us “as we have to adapt quickly and try new things, perfection is never the goal. The goal is to care for one another and live compassionately. Know that your care and intention really makes a difference.”
During this time I can be reached on email at interimminister@uuframingham.
As we struggle to make our way through these anxious days, I offer a poem written by my colleague Rev. Lynn Ungar entitled “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.
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.
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20