Planning for the Unknown

I occasionally receive the following question from people who are not part of any religious community. I answer it politely, seriously, but I have to confess … inside, I am – with more than a tinge of hysteria – laughing. Or crying. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

The question: “So when will you be resuming in-person services?”

I have learned to answer very simply, “When it is safe for all of our members to be there.”

What I wouldn’t give for a crystal ball! How about you?

As I wrote last week, I believe there is sufficient evidence that it is not foolish to believe that by September 2021 we will have a vaccine, so I am squarely facing the assumption that life will be, more or less, like it is right now for a year.

Starting Monday, Carrie and I are both going to take a week of study leave, leaving the church in the very capable hands of our Assistant Minister, Kiya Heartwood.

During  next week, Carrie and I will be meeting several times, and doing research on our own, to plan out the next church year. We will be starting first with identifying the “what” – what are the outcomes we want a year from now, in terms of faith development*? What do we anticipate our members will be thinking about, struggling with, exploring?

None of us would have chosen our current pandemic-isolation-murder-hornets reality, but here we are. Talk about an opportunity to search for meaning!

 After that, we’ll map out the “how?” What are the programs, the worship services, the chalice circles, the religious education classes that we need in order to get to those outcomes?

(Are there questions you are struggling with? Topics you want to go deeper with? Email either Carrie or me and let us know!)

So, next week, Carrie and I put on our auto-responders and hunker down with books, curricula, and journals. Kiya was already prepared to step in as sabbatical minister, so please turn to her. (She’ll contact me if there are any emergencies.)

See you in a week! 

*A maxim you will often hear at Live Oak, courtesy of Connie Goodbread, is “Faith development is all we do, Unitarian Universalism is the faith we teach, and the congregation is the curriculum.”