“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity. ” — Gilda Radner
Delicious ambiguity: not sure I ever thought about putting those two words together. But framing uncertainty this way helps me find my footing on this squishy, constantly moving ground on which we are standing with no clear, 100% supported, guaranteed safe path forward. Yesterday the Center for Disease Control announced that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks except in some crowded public settings and Governor Inslee announced that Washington State would “fully open” by June 30. To be honest, I didn’t cheer. I felt a little whiplashed by the abrupt shift. And I feel concern about honesty and equity in the world of vaccination, knowing some can’t get vaccinated, others still don’t trust vaccination and others continue to experience a variety of barriers. (Answering calls for the Virginia Mason/CHI Franciscan COVID call line and volunteering at vaccination clinics has provided perspective on the many challenges people face even when they want to get vaccinated.)
So what does this news mean for TUUC? First, I want to honor the impact of the trauma we have all felt during the last 16 months and our efforts to manage the upwellings of anxiety, grief, isolation, anger, frustration, “fill-in-the-blank.” This has been a long haul of “taking the moment and making the best of it” for all of us. Sometimes that best doesn’t feel very good. Yet we persevere, call a friend, plant a garden, take a walk, connect with our “pod,” get a vaccination, drive a friend to get a vaccination, help a neighbor, work remotely while wrangling kids who are in school remotely, meditate and then sometimes just go to bed and pull the covers up over our heads. We are so ready to be together – in person! – again. As you have probably read, the Board of Trustees and the staff are working on a plan to begin meeting in person. A few of us recently attended a Western Region meeting on multi-platform programming, sharing ideas and concerns with leadership from other UU churches on how to do church in person again. Sifting these conversations, information from the UUA and our BOT conversations results in a few clear priorities:
● We must focus on inclusivity. We want our circle to be wide, to welcome all who want to join us.
● We must provide a safe and healthy environment for all.
● We must continue to provide the option of attending electronically. We have learned the value of people zooming into church and church programs if they just can’t physically attend. This will require additional technology.
● We must support congregants as they consider their comfort level with attending in person.
● We will honor our commitment to partnering with the Saltwater UU Church (Des Moines WA) and the Northlake UU Church (Kirkland WA) for online worship this summer.
● We will likely start our transition to in-person with small groups so keep tuned for more news about this as we develop guidelines.
After over a year of distance and separation, being together in a large group may feel strange. (I’ll probably still wear a mask – no shaming please!) Will we be comfortable or even able to sing together? (I love singing in the zoom services – no one can hear how off key I am!) What about coffee hour? How can our kids meet safely in the poorly ventilated classrooms downstairs? I invite you to let us know your thoughts, questions and concerns. What matters most to you? What have you missed? What can you see for the future of TUUC? Please send an email to the Board of Trustees (firstname.lastname@example.org). We look forward to hearing from you – and seeing you as soon as possible! Until then: be well, be compassionate and laugh as much as you can.
President, Board of Trustees