Closing the Meeting House, Opening Up Connections

Dear USH Members and Friends,

As you have probably gathered, we too have come to the decision that it is necessary to cancel all in-person gatherings at the Unitarian Society of Hartford Meeting House until further notice.  This includes Worship services and Circle Dinners. We have made this decision not out of fear or panic, but out of care, concern, and love for our community. Given the strong advice from Governor Lamont, state health officials, the Centers for Disease Control, and our own Unitarian Universalist Association, we feel not only that this is the right decision, but that we have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to help reduce avenues for transmission of the coronavirus.

As UUA President, Susan Frederick-Gray, wrote on March 12, “we believe it is our moral obligation to follow the guidance of health professionals who recommend early action even before cases have been confirmed in an area because it is most important to protect public health and the most vulnerable people in our communities. This moment indeed reminds us of the interconnected web of which we are all a part. It also reminds us of our responsibility as religious communities to be mindful of our need to care for our whole community.”

        We are working on many ways to connect from our homes – please join us!

Worship:

        This coming Sunday (March 15) we WILL hold the worship service — virtually — at 10:30am on Facebook and our homepage, where you will also find an order of service to view or print yourself. The previously-planned Music Sunday service has been postponed to some future date. We will broadcast the service in two places: Facebook Live (publicly from the Unitarian Society of Hartford Facebook page, you do not need to have a Facebook account to view it) and through the livestream platform Vimeo.  We are working on having a link on our homepagethe USH website that will take viewers directly to the livestream without any further logging in or familiarity with social media in order to view. Plan to get online from your home by 10:15am and to have a candle or chalice ready to light this Sunday and experience our first effort at creating a service to be livestreamed.

Checking in:

We also want to get as much of an actual sense of how you are doing as we can. Please take a few minutes to fill out this brief survey so we can start to gather information from you directly about what your needs and/or resources are and where you collectively need our energy to be focused in the coming days and weeks. Please fill out this survey and share your thoughts with us. And don’t hesitate to call, email, or text your Revs and other USHers!

Circle Dinners and other activities: Let’s go virtual!

Our Circle Dinners and all other in-person activities are also cancelled, but Lisa Galinski is starting to create “Virtual Community Circles” instead – stay tuned for more, or contact Lisa if you want to help or host. We encourage you to consider doing the same for your USH groups! We now have a USH Zoom account that we will use for these community circles and this USH Zoom Room is available for any other USH online gatherings. It’s free, simple and easy to use videoconferencing for up to 100 devices (more than 1 person can be at a device) at a time — let Buffie or RevCathy know if you want to use it for any USH activities!

We all need to take care of ourselves in this unsettling time. Please: go for a walk, listen to the vespers service Cathy just reposted to the USH Facebook page, write a letter to someone you haven’t seen in a while, make some art, get on Facetime with another family’s kids — do whatever it is you do to ground yourself.  And of course: wash your hands for 20-30 seconds frequently, stock up on medicines and some food/essentials, stay home as much as possible, and check on your neighbors.

We are all living together into this strange new reality, moment-by-moment. Thank you for your patience, understanding, good energy and thoughtfulness at this incredibly turbulent time.

Thoughtfully,

Revs. Cathy & Heather, USH Staff & Board members