Latest Information About Our Response to Coronavirus
UU Lansing Rules for Community Gardening and Grounds Work
The church building is still closed to congregants and community members.
No restrooms or other amenities are available for congregants or public use.
· Follow instructions on all signs posted on the premises.
· Stay home if you feel ill, have been exposed to Covid-19, or are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea).
· Practice social distancing, maintaining a 6-foot distance from others at all times.
· Avoid touching your face, particularly eyes, nose, and mouth.
· Cover coughs and sneezes with tissue (preferable) or by coughing/sneezing into the crook of your arm.
· Wash hands with soap and water (preferable) or use hand sanitizer before and after touching any tools or surfaces that others have touched (or are likely to).
· Wash/wipe down handles of “community use” tools with soap and water, sanitizing wipe, or hand sanitizer before and after use.
· Bring a face mask that covers your nose and mouth, and keep it on your person so you can wear it should the need arise. Outdoor activities are relatively low risk, but it can be difficult to maintain 6 feet of space between you and other people at all times.
· Bring your own tools to limit spread of the virus on handles.
· Bring a mobile phone with you and keep it on your person, in case of emergency, especially if you are alone or not in close proximity with others on the grounds.
· Bring water to drink; the water available on the grounds for the community garden is not safe for drinking but can be used to wash hands and rinse off tools.
· If you are planning to go alone, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
For questions about these rules, or if you need to contact someone about the Community Garden or Grounds work, please call:
Church Administrator Kathy McWilliams (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.), 517-351-4081, ext. 107
Reverend Neal Anderson (Evenings/Weekends/Emergencies) at 517-351-4081, ext. 103
Please DO NOT call police to report people on the grounds unless they are an immediate danger to themselves or others. Thank you!
UU Lansing Covid-19 Task Force Bulletin
June 6, 2020
The church’s Covid-19 Task Force has met twice now and has begun discussing plans for safely re-engaging as a community over the coming months. Like you, we miss being together!
Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President Susan Frederick-Gray released Updated Guidance for Gathering on May 14, encouraging UU congregations to plan for “…virtual operations for the next year (through May 2021).” With support from the Board, our senior minister, Reverend Neal Anderson, signaled his intent to follow those guidelines in an open letter to congregants on May 21. While it is daunting to contemplate such a long time away from one another and our usual routines, the Task Force is confident we can not only continue meaningful virtual engagement but also develop ways for folks to safely care for our building and grounds, participate in community gardening, and engage in in-person small group ministry over the next year.
Our first order of business, in consultation with the Grounds Committee and Community Garden volunteers, was to draft the rules below for grounds work and gardening in the Community Garden space. Outdoor activities, generally, are lower risk than indoor activities, and Task Force members agreed that observing a handful of commonsense rules can help ensure the health and safety of congregants and community members who participate.
If you’re not a gardener or Grounds Committee member/volunteer, there are a number of other ways to stay connected while we are physically apart. Even with the church building closed and in-person worship suspended, you can:
· Follow the church on Facebook.
· View the weekly Sunday service on YouTube after it’s posted (usually around 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning).
· Watch the worship service “live” with others on the church’s Facebook page at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
· Participate in virtual Coffee Hour on Sunday mornings after service, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
· Attend Vespers via Zoom, Tuesdays through Fridays, 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. (Meeting ID: 936 671 908)
· Share in the Joys and Sorrows of other congregants, or share a joy or sorrow of your own by using the form available on the church’s website.
· Participate in future calling campaigns to check in on individual Members/Friends, as they are announced.
· Donate to the church and its community partners through pledge payments, one-time donations, and Second-Sunday Plate Collections. Donations can be made online or by sending a check by mail.
· Participate in the many committees and small groups that are meeting online (Sunday Morning Forum, Let’s Grow, Committee to End the New Jim Crow, White Fragility Discussion Group, Semi-Conscious Aging, Stewardship, Religious Education for Adults, Religious Education for Children/Youth, Music, Accessibility, Grounds, Pretty Good Book Group, Pagan Group, and more!). Watch the weekly news email for meeting announcements, or see the church calendar for information about meeting days/times.
· Contact the minister if you are interested in learning about being a Worship Assistant or Pastoral Assistant.
· Attend the virtual General Assembly of the UUA.
The Task Force is meeting regularly and will continue to communicate our progress as we go. With your cooperation and commitment to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we know there is a way forward. Look for future updates in the weekly news.
Yours in service,
April 24, 2020
Dear Beloved Community,
It has been over a month since I wrote to you with a “sense of sadness, abiding hope, and a heart full of love for our Beloved Community.” At that time I was announcing our decision to suspend all in-person gatherings and programs. As I revisit that e-mail I am reminded that we agreed to reassess the situation as of April 13th. That day has come and gone. As some of you know from joining Vespers with me on Tuesday through Friday at 5:00 p.m., I have adopted the phrase “the weirds” as a shorthand for this current moment. I have also been naming the small aha moments when I realize that my earlier expectations of the progress of COVID-19 and our human response need to change, sometimes drastically, “COVID moments.” My sense that we would somehow be together just after Easter is a distant memory as I and we continue to adapt. Governor Whitmer today extended the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, and obviously as a religious community deeply committed to an ethic of care and love, we will not be resuming any in-person programming any time soon. We will continue to use YouTube and Facebook for worship and Zoom for coffee hour, Vespers, and many other small group engagements (see this e-mail for information about all of those).
Our Pastoral Assistants and other volunteers have called everyone in our directory, and we will be doing that again very soon. If you did not receive a call or message please contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can update our database with your new information.
For at least a year or more (COVID moment), our lives and how we engage as a religious community will be shaped by the timeline as set by COVID-19. This will be further impacted by the actions and decisions of ourselves, other individuals, communities, and governments. There is no timeline. Navigating what are now life-and-death decisions will take faithful discernment of ever-changing circumstances and responding as best we can with the best knowledge and understanding we have in the moment. The health and safety of all our beloveds and the greater humanity is a calling which we take seriously and will to continue to prioritize.
And in all this we continue to be called to incarnate the values and mission of our religious community. Now, possibly more than ever, our saving message of love and justice is needed within ourselves, UU Lansing, and beyond. May we together continue to make it so.
The ever-changing expectations and adaptations are emotionally, physically, and spiritually taxing, draining, and exhausting. We need one another. May we ensure that no one in our religious community feels alone. Please continue to reach out to each other in the ways that you can. Please reach out to me if you have needs. Because of your generosity the Ministerial Discretionary Fund is available for me to, on behalf of the congregation, support those who may be financially challenged for one reason or another.
Be gentle with yourselves, be gentle with each other.
With abiding love for you all,
March 14, 2020
It has been a few days since I wrote you about our decision to suspend all in person programs of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing. I know that this is a great disappointment for all. Tomorrow was to be our much anticipated Youth led worship. I am so saddened that we will not have the opportunity to worship with the youth of UU Lansing tomorrow. The youth have been assured that when we can return to being together on Sunday morning they will have priority for when their worship is rescheduled.
The anxiety that has come with this public health emergency is palpable. I am hoping that each one of us finds just a little space to touch the ground of our being. A spiritual practice can be comforting in difficult times.
I have posted below the most recent information about Worship, Joys and Sorrows, and Pastoral Care.
You can view this Sunday’s worship service anytime on our website.
Join us for worship tomorrow morning via our website.
It will also be posted on our Facebook page.
If you would like to post a Joy or Sorrow on our website page please fill out this form.
Go here to view congregants’ joys or sorrows on our website.
If you are in need of pastoral care, please call the church at 517-351-4081 ext. 102 to leave a message on our Pastoral Care Hotline, which is monitored, or e-mail Rev. Neal at email@example.com
A Message from the Rev. Neal Anderson
March 11, 2020
It is with a sense of sadness, abiding hope, and a heart full of love for our Beloved Community that I write you today. With the support of the Board and the staff of UU Lansing, we are suspending all in-person programs of our religious community until at least April 13 (this includes Sunday morning worship, RE, Adult RE, Circle Suppers, Community Circles, Mapping Our Future Together, Chris Crass Weekend, Music Program, and all other UU Lansing programs). The Board, Senior Minister, and staff will reassess the situation at this time and inform the congregation of further action.
I invite all of us to be part of “flattening the curve” and suspend all of our in-person gatherings whether at UU Lansing or at other locations.
It is during these times of deep concern and high anxiety that we need each other most. And yet the current public health emergency necessitates us to be physically separated for the time being.
We know that our religious community is not just a building but the abiding promises that we make to each other to care and support each other on our journeys and the values we incarnate together. I with the staff and program leaders are working to create ways that we can stay proximate without being physically together. We will be letting you know soon various ways we can gather “virtually.” Watch for ways our committees, teams, and ministries can meet remotely.
In the recent Mapping Our Further Together gatherings, we have begun to answer the question together, “What does it mean to be a community with courageous, vulnerable, loving relationships and where could that take us in the future?” Our experience as a religious community in responding to the current public health emergency will certainly inform these conversations into the future.
The staff and I will continue to work from our offices and/or home through this time as we continue our ministries of administration, communication, engagement, religious education, pastoral care, worship, and serving the mission of UU Lansing. We are all working on how to adapt our ministries to the current reality. We will still be available via e-mail and phone during our individualized work hours.
I also invite all of us to be gentle through this time. May we be gentle in our e-mails, gentle in our interactions on social media, and especially, especially gentle with each other.
This is another opportunity to practice supporting the institutions, like the church, that are necessary in these times.
Please, please take care of yourself and each other now, so that we may take care of each other in the future.
P.S. If you are in need of pastoral care, please call the church at 517-351-4081 ext. 102 to leave a message on our Pastoral Care line, which is monitored, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org