By Xanath Bailey
There has been so much that I have enjoyed about this past year of meeting and worshipping on Zoom! The ease of being at home on a Sunday morning, seeing congregants and guests who might otherwise not be able to participate, the variety of topics and presenters have all been a joy! Our Worship Committee has been so creative and hardworking in order to provide interesting and inspiring services. That being said, I DID truly miss us gathering together in person. I missed the hugs and deep conversation that can only occur when we are physically in the same place. I miss hearing Ray play live, the singing and the coffee hour! The good news is that it looks like we will be able to gather together once again for worship services in the fall.
I am thankful for the guidance of the UUA and our own Re-Opening Task Force regarding ensuring our safety and wellbeing … both by having the building remain closed and by planning for its reopening. A great deal of thought, discussion, and work has gone on behind the scenes to make wise decisions and to prepare the building for the fall.
Researching best practices for safely reopening has been only part of the Task Force’s work. Major work has been done to clean the interior of the building in preparation as well … A big “thank you” to Jean Grant and Rich Myette for developing cleaning lists and ensuring that the cleaning is getting done. (There is always room for more volunteers on this front!). The Building and Grounds Committee and Board have worked to address issues that have needed attention even before the pandemic … squirrels in the attic (Thank you Bob and Rich), overgrown shrubbery that has hindered light from adequately reaching the exterior, and the rot of siding that occurred as a result. Things are shaping up nicely, and the next step will be to have the meeting house’s exterior cleaned and stained. Mike Goodwin has taken the lead in seeing to it that we will have the technology in place to offer simultaneous live and Zoom services in the fall. There is much to look forward to and to be grateful for!
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Elayne Leonelli and Will Aitcheson for the graceful leadership that they have provided to the Board and the congregation at large during this challenging time. Well wishes to Will as he moves to Oswego. While Elayne will no longer be serving on the Board, she has given me and the Board great guidance and she remains a vital part of the Finance Committee. Thank you as well to Andy Houtman as he leaves the Board following his third term of service. Welcome to Lynn McDonald and Diane Collins as they join the Board!
Your UUCGF Board and staff are planning for the next year and looking forward to welcoming you back to a safe and refreshed meeting house while committing to keeping the Seven Principles at the forefront of our work and investing in the future. There will be opportunities for meeting the needs of Religious Education, providing community outreach, and working toward a more equitable, just, and healthy world. I am excited and I hope that you are too!