As I admire the beauty of new Spring blossoms, I am reminded that last year in March we closed our building and began to navigate the COVID pandemic as best we could. Despite all the fear and uncertainty, we regrouped and with great leadership and a core group of volunteers, we moved forward together. Since then, we have not skipped a beat and actually have been able to strengthen our connections. I feel so blessed and proud to be your minister, especially in these times. You have shown up in so many ways to make sure that everyone in our community feels included, connected, and cared for. In this difficult and extraordinary time, you have engaged in ongoing creativity and ministered to one another. For this, I am deeply grateful!
As we approach this one year anniversary of the pandemic, I want to acknowledge the deep grief for so many lives lost to this pandemic. I also want to lift up and honor the many ways we have managed to maintain and breathe new life into our programs. I am grateful for our Board for their leadership, vision, and commitment to our health and safety above all else. While I miss seeing you in person, I know that part of loving you and ministering to you, is making sure that I do my very best to protect you and keep you safe. As I say every Sunday as we extinguish the chalice:
“We extinguish this flame, but not the light of truth, the warmth of community, or the
fire of commitment. These we carry in our hearts, until we are together again…and I
hope and pray that we can be together very soon.”
In the meantime, we will continue to follow both Alameda County Public Health guidelines, as well as the UUA’s recommendations: “In the midst of uncertainty, the UUA stands by our spring 2020 recommendation that congregations plan for ongoing virtual gathering and operations. This applies to worship, events, rites of passage, and more. Our highest values and commitments call us to refrain from in-person gathering until the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled. We invite you to think of your congregation as primarily digitally-connected, with small in-person nodes that can grow as the pandemic subsides. We are guided by science and our deepest values, not politics, when we urge congregations to not resume full in-person operations until concrete public health criteria are met.”
With Gratitude and Love,
Rev. Maria Cristina