Dearest Church Family,
Back in March of 2020, I gave my very first Children’s Message on Zoom. I wore a big, floppy hat and talked about how things would be “different for a while.” Who knew that the “a while” time would stretch on for 16 months.
I wonder how you felt then and how you may feel now. About 4 weeks ago, I will admit that I was feeling so tired…exhausted, and weary from doing things differently than what I would have preferred. I have really missed hugs, in-person conversations, and all of the beautiful and interactive moments of theological brilliance that come from our children at UCC.
I remembered something that I shared about 3 years ago and thought this might be a good time to share it again. Back in November of 2018, during the Time for Children, a young friend wondered so thoughtfully, and her parent agreed to let me share her beautiful words:
“I wonder if God is like the air around us.
God is with us everywhere we go.
And since God is love, love is all around us.
Love is what we breathe in and out.
And even when we have to hold our breath,
That air – God – love – is what fills our lungs.
We breathe in the love of God.
And as we exhale, that love will spread out into the world.
"How can we remain tired when we breathe God’s love in and out? While we have been apart, we have still been breathing. We breathed together on Zoom and through Facebook. We breathed in connections through phone calls and emails and texts and hand-written cards. This time of being “different for a while” didn’t mean we stopped breathing. It certainly didn’t mean we stopped connecting.
Children are tender, thoughtful, and inspired theologians and philosophers. What incredibly beautiful connections they make about God and the world. I am grateful beyond words for the privilege and honor of working with such important people.
As we begin to come back together for in-person opportunities, let us remember to keep breathing, friends.
With love, always,
Emily Jamison Guerrero
On May 18th, at our executive council meeting, the recommendations for In-Person practices were approved! What does this mean? Well, it means our church doors are going to start opening more and more for various activities, including hybrid worship in July.
On Sunday, June 13th, we will have a zoom town hall meeting after worship, where we will hold space for anyone to ask questions about our coming together in-person plan. While a lot is packed into one plan, we thought we would take the time to highlight 3 specific things that were included, based on feedback from the congregational survey.
1) Masks. Inside the building, those over 2 years of age and without a precluding medical condition will be asked to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose. Masks will be provided for those without. One fully vaccinated worship leader at a time may remove their mask when speaking (or singing) on the chancel but must put it back on when not speaking or singing.
2) Children and youth volunteers. Any volunteers working with youth and children must be fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated but want to volunteer with children or youth, we will be happy to find other ways that you can contribute that don’t involve contact with children.
3) Seating. Pews will be temporarily moved out of the sanctuary to allow for better social distancing. As a temporary solution for seating, we will use our metal folding chairs and the blue choir chairs. We ask that the blue choir chairs be reserved for those with mobility issues. Households will be asked to leave two empty chairs on either side of their household. Up to 50 worshippers may sit in the sanctuary, additional seating can be provided in the fellowship hall if needed.
To take a look at the full recommendations for returning safely to in person worship, go to https://www.uccaustin.org/indoorworship.html. We look forward to discussing this in more detail during our town hall meeting on the 13th.