“My new normal is to continually get used to the new normal.” -Anonymous
I keep hearing that people “just want things to return to normal.” As we close out this fiscal year, I reflect upon how the “Old Normal” played out for UUFP. The first eight months of the year saw us with an increase in visits by newcomers, continued support of the Pottstown Cluster through household donations as well as food donations from our own garden, a new floor in the sanctuary, upgrades in security of the fellowship, ongoing development of the children’s RE Program and strong financial support from members and friends through pledges and donations. In addition, the Knitting Knights donated bags full of knit caps to local hospitals, successful Labyrinth walks were held, rentals of our facility increased, and Fair Districts held a meeting for the local community at our fellowship. The year was proving to be quite a banner year for UUFP.
And then Covid-19 arrived. We heard stories of congregations of all faiths having outbreaks because people simply went to their places of worship. All of us had to learn how to “do church differently”. Mostly that meant streaming a service of your choice from your home computer. As the risk mitigation processes put out by our state and local governments start to ease up, many people are starting to ask when we will start to have in-person meetings and services at the UUFP. I wish I had an answer to that question. In fact, the UUA has sent a memo to all UU Churches that their new guidance is for churches to not resume in-person services until May of 2021. Keep in mind that this is guidance and not a mandate. We are free to make our own decision as to when and how we come together as a congregation. We just need to do it in a way that focuses on the safety and health of our friends and members.
So we are not yet ready “to return to normal”… or are we? The things above that defined “the Old Normal” are things that we can still do. Members can still knit caps to donate, the Garden Committee can still grow vegetables and donate them, Labyrinth walks can still continue (with masks and social distancing), we can still support the Pottstown cluster and so on. What has changed, however, is how we do them. We just need to think about how to “do UUFP” differently. And this is where the board and I would like your help. What ideas do you have for how we can “do UUFP” differently? One suggestion that was already made was that instead of singing hymns (the act of singing together is considered unsafe), we learn to use sign language for a few favorite hymns and can then “sign along” as a group to a piano accompaniment. Another idea was that we start to stream our own Sunday services and continue to do so even when we start to come together for those who may want to still social distance at home but still feel a part of our community.
The friends and members of this fellowship are a very creative and forward-thinking group. The board and I would like to know what creative ideas you have on how to “do UUFP” differently. Please share your ideas with us.
“Creativity is contagious, so pass it on.” -Albert Einstein