A Piece of Mike’s (re)Open Mind…
Several people have asked recently about when the church will reopen. While I haven’t consulted with the Board about this specifically, and no one is in a position to predict the future, I think the answer is sometime safely after the self-quarantine rule has been lifted.
Although, I suspect it won’t be that cut or clear. Probably, gatherings of up to twenty or fifty will be allowed first, then if there’s no spike in Covid 19 infections, a gradual increase. Or not. No one knows, but no large, in-person gatherings will happen at First Unitarian Denver until it is thoroughly safe to do so.
Several people have also asked me about the possibility of having Jen Simon stay on as an Assistant Minister or some other staff position when her internship concludes at the end of May. Sadly, for many who appreciate Jen and others who have grown attached to her, I have to let you know that is not going to happen. First, because the Ministerial Fellowship Committee with the larger Association has a long-standing rule of forbidding interns from moving directly into paid ministry at their internship congregation. Second, because we don’t have it in the church budget to fund an additional position at this time.
This issue has been discussed at the Board and Finance Council. Much as we love Jen, unless a large pot of money falls out of the sky, right now we have other pressing obligations for available funds. I am happy to talk about this with anyone who has concerns or questions.
On a related matter, if you haven’t returned a pledge form or otherwise let the Stewardship Team know your intentions for the fiscal year beginning July 1st, please do this as soon as possible. Having pledges ahead of time allows the church to plan and accurately anticipate what we can and can’t afford as a community in terms of the building, many of our programs, and the church staff.
Lastly, a word about surviving and even thriving in this time of social and economic upheaval. Most of us at this point have reached some kind of stability or at least adapted to current reality. Many of us have seen incomes drop or stop altogether. Many of us know people who have gotten sick or even died from Covid 19. Most of us are dreading the approaching election season with all the toxicity that entails. It is safe to say that all of us are profoundly affected in one way or another, and not on the positive side of the scale.
What to do? How to cope?
Here is my best advice…
Trust that in your heart, in your body, in your conscience, you know what is noble and good. Hold fast to that knowing. It is your sacred thread for hard times.
Speak up and speak out about what is important to you. You need this outlet and the people you love also need you to do this.
Surround yourself with people of strength, sanity, and compassion, of any and all political parties. Strength, sanity, and compassion transcend politics and they always will.
Pray as if everything depended on God. Pray that we collectively learn what is truly important, that we learn to let go of tired prejudices about class, race and nationality that serve no one. Pray as if everything depended on God, but work, speak, and vote as if everything depends on you. In fact, it does.
To the extent that you are able, support organizations that model the saving work of collaboration and inclusive community among diverse people. Such organizations exist and make a difference.
Allow yourself to laugh. However and whenever humanly possible. Laugh out loud. Laugh at the craziness. Laugh at the absurdity. Don’t laugh at injustice. But remember that to laugh at yourself may be the purest form of prayer.
You will not be able to do any of this this alone, so stay connected to your community.
Hold your hands open and your palms upward to receive strength, guidance, and love, from within and beyond.
Know that you are not alone.
In faith and love,