Message from The President

April has been a busy month for UUCJ.

The ICARE Nehemiah Assembly featured Lois Hoeft, Brian Lapinski and Meg Rohal as moderators and over 100 UUCJ members as attendees. The program was very well organized, speakers were well prepared, videos from persons affected by the system were very moving, there was an emphasis on success (positives are always powerful), and an agreement on common goals with our State Attorney Melissa Nelson was meaningful. The sheriff’s office missed an opportunity to address an important constituency in the Jacksonville community (their loss). The Times Union had a supportive front-page article:

Many UUCJ members are also individually involved in community social action.  Although, there is no master list of their activities, they include: food pantries, collections (clothes, bedding, etc.) for the homeless, volunteer work at local medical clinics, contributions to community organizations and others.  We all should be proud of how much we do.

The ministerial search committee has begun their work with the UUA Transitions Office for a fulltime contract minister for two years with the prospect of calling a minister at that time.  The talented, experienced, and dedicated members include Jeff Funderburk (chair), Tom Larson, Nancy Murrey Settle, Robert Prager, and Penny Reed.  Thanks to all of them for undertaking this important job for us.  We look forward to an extraordinarily successful search for our new minister.

Sunday virtual activities have been varied, interesting, and educational.  Several Sunday morning worship groups meet regularly.  Rev. Paul has continued to deliver excellent sermons and has led Sunday afternoon gatherings to discuss Building Your Own Theology.  Virtual presentations have steadily improved thanks to the continuing efforts of the Worship Committee, excellent worship coordinators and the technical assistance of Tina Ramey, Krystalle Voecks, Lola Strickland and Carlos Fraticelli.  

Outdoor activities are being planned and held. O’Leno will be during the last week in April. Hopefully, other outdoor events can be safely organized now that warm weather has arrived.

The New Normal Team has recommended a phased reopening plan.  However, Duval County continues to have an extremely high rate of new COVIS-19 cases.  Current CDC and UUA recommendations advise that indoor activities of large groups not be considered until the number of new cases are much lower than the current rate of 15 to 20/100,000 per day.  Full reopening is recommended when cases are <1/100,000 per day.  Vaccinations are essential to reduce that number, and everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated.  New recommendations for fully vaccinated people are:

A combined in-person and virtual format for services and technical improvements are being planned.

The Capital Campaign is steadily moving toward implementing renovations to the chapel and social hall.  These improvements will allow us to enhance the resiliency of our campus and expand the use of our facilities.

Thanks to all for your many contributions.

Vince Ober, UUCJ Board President

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