Dear UUFM Members and Friends,

The events of the last week have been intense and scary. Suddenly, the world seems upside down – with cancellations for KSU, sports of all kinds, and USD383. This is a time when we need reassurance from our religious community more than ever. 

We are here for you. 

And we want to be here for you in a responsible and safe way in the midst of this pandemic.  That does mean changing how we “do church.” Our Sunday Services Committee met today, and made some far-reaching decisions that you will want to be aware of. 

We have held our last in-person service and children’s religious education session, until further notice. Instead, we are offering an on-line services on Zoom. The meeting information is at the end of this email. It’s scheduled for 10:30, so that people have time to get on and make sure everything is working before the service begins at its usual time. There is a phone number if you would prefer to call in and hear the service. 

If you have not used Zoom before, you will need to download the program, which is free, beforehand. You can do that at https://zoom.us. Or you can click on the meeting link when you’re ready and click through to download. We have posted Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Zoom on our website [at http://uufm.net/zoom-frequently-asked-questions/]. 

With the move to on-line services, we will need more help with technical aspects of the services. If this is an area of interest for you, please contact Doug Walter (kbsi@cox.net) or me. 

Because we need one another, please stay connected with whatever small group(s) you participate in, and make accommodations as necessary. For example, the Women’s Coffee Group has moved to meeting through email and phone. With several members in the high-risk group, it’s wise to make such accommodations, while recognizing the importance of still gathering together. So, if your group needs to change how you gather together, please do so. If you’d like help in setting up virtual meetings, let me know. 

Providing support to one another is one of the most important things we do as religious community. We have a Caring Team ready to support you, or help you in supporting others. If you’re sick and could use someone to do errands, or check in with regular phone calls, let me know. And on the other hand, if you’re available to help our Caring Team with supporting those who need help, also let me know. 

And, in the midst of these challenging times, we will remember those in greatest need, who are most affected. Let’s honor the recommendations from the Riley County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control. Let’s be realistic about our own needs, resisting the urge to give in to panic or hoarding. And as we find ways to support people who will struggle with both the health and economic consequences of this pandemic, we will be advocates and supporters of those in poverty or sickness. 

We will continue to be together, but in different ways. It will be an adjustment process, and we will do the best we can do. We will learn and grow from it. This disease will not disappear soon. But together, we can get through it and grow into an ever more caring and connected community. 

In faith and freedom,

Jonalu Johnstone