|Dear UUCJ Family,
I know that there are those of us who are anxious to be able to gather physically on the UUCJ campus and be in community together. The Board totally understands this desire to be together again. However, we continue to feel strongly that we have an obligation to ensure the well-being and safety of all our members, including those who are at high risk for contracting the COVID-19 virus.
The Board is weighing all available recommendations—from the UUA, CDC, and NIH—as we consider how best to come back together, not only for the congregation, but also for outside groups who use our campus, which might have a different risk tolerance. Under the current circumstances in Jacksonville, it is clear that opening the campus for the congregation now or in the near future would not be wise. The board is working on developing guidelines for opening the campus for gatherings, based on the science and recommendations available to us. At this point it looks like it will be a while.
The “New Normal” Team, composed of several board members and others from the UUCJ congregation, is working on identifying and facilitating ways for people to connect virtually—not just electronically—by also by those old-fashioned ways: snail mail and telephone. We all want to be connected, and we are working on ways to make that happen. We encourage you to reach out to your friends and neighbors through phone contacts, safe-distanced small get-togethers, Zoom dinners and whatever else has meaning for you.
Back in March, when this all really first started, many of us thought it would be months before it would be over. Now, it’s obvious that this disruption in our “normal” lives is going to last much longer. It’s an opportunity to think of the “New Normal”—how do we connect in ways that are physically distant, but still meaningful? And I keep thinking that this is an opportunity to redefine what “normal” means—both for our church, but also for our neighborhoods and our world.Take care and stay well.