“What a difference a year makes…”
Anniversaries are interesting things. In the course of living day to day, we tend to not see big differences. For the most part, one day tends to look a lot like the day before with some minor changes. Even if a major change occurs one day, humans tend to achieve a new equilibrium quickly and maintain that until the next big change comes. And that new equilibrium become routine and, over time, doesn’t seem like that much of a big deal. It is only when we look at a larger time frame that we see the big changes that occurred and their impact.
One year ago, the Board of Directors of the UUFP decided to stop in-person meetings to help to do our part to “flatten the curve” of the Covid-19 pandemic. While we did not know how long this would last, no one would have imagined that over a year later, we would still not be meeting in-person. At the onset, the Board of Directors set two goals to ensure the UUFP would get through the quarantine intact: Maintain financial stability and to protect the bonds of community that define us as a fellowship. So how did we do?
Maintain financial stability – While not meeting in person has definitely had a negative impact on our overall income, we made some changes that enabled us to meet our goal:
- Held a “Virtual” Congregational Annual Meeting to approve a new budget for the year.
- Through the generosity of members and friends, we were able to raise some additional funds to pay for the roof repair and update out technological capabilities.
- People are starting to take advantage of our “virtual passing of the basket” during Sunday services to make smaller, weekly donations.
- Members and friends who can afford to continue with meeting their pledges, do so.
- The good news is that we still have money in our savings account and are able to pay our monthly bills. (I need to state here that I participate in monthly meetings with other UU Leaders and there are some churches that needed to take out loans just to meet monthly expenses).
Protect the bonds of community – Delivering on this goal required shifting our way of interacting:
- We started to use Zoom as a platform of interacting with each other — Coffee Hour, Vespers during the summer, Sunday Services, Book Club and now Monday Meditation.
- Sunday Services are recorded and posted to our own YouTube channel for those who want to view them at a different time.
- Streaming capability will start shortly which will enable a better virtual experience.
- A walking club has started and meets the first Saturday of every month.
- Two outdoor bonfires were held in the fall that were very well attended (masks and social distancing was maintained).
- Many friends and members came out to participate in both the spring and fall clean-up sessions, even though they had to wear masks.
One year ago, many members and friends of the UUFP felt that we should just enter a “holding pattern” until we could meet in-person again. Hopefully you will see that in order to deliver on our goals, the UUFP had to make some big changes over the course of the year. Yet to those who have “made the big changes” along with us and participate regularly in our current offerings, things such as “Virtual Sunday Services and Coffee Hour” are now routine and not seen as a big deal. If you’ve not made the change yet, please come join us. It has been a year and we miss you.