Hello Again Dear First Church Members and Friends,
Based on today’s news of confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Milwaukee, we are moving Sunday March 15 worship services online and closing our church building until the public health crisis lifts.
We are sorry for this sudden change and the loss it causes as we prioritize the health and well-being of our community, and of the general public. With its rapid transmission, Coronavirus is showing us how truly interconnected humanity is. Sadly, in order to slow its spread and protect the vulnerable, we need to drastically reduce in-person contact right now.
This public health threat is unprecedented in recent memory, and as many institutions move to implement safety measures to protect people, you might be feeling shocked, numb, confused, sad, or afraid. These are all very normal reactions to a new situation and a health threat.
Remember the tools you have to process your reactions: feeling your feelings, naming them, connecting with your breath or body, talking to others, making meaning, remembering gratitude, spiritual practice. All of these tools can help you move from your amygdala to your neocortex, and from your head to your heart.
Our worship service this Sunday will be live-streamed at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., with drumming and dancing from Ndongo “Lucky” Diop and Kassumai, a sermon from Rev. Jennifer, and a Worship Associate story from Julia Oschwald. Please join us and connect with your heart. There will be time for joy as well as grief, as we practice being human and make meaning of this moment.
We will offer Religious Education online at 10:00 a.m. for all ages and have online youth group at 1:00 p.m. this Sunday March 15. Please check the RE Weekly News for details on how to participate.
The Pledge Team is heart-broken to not be celebrating Stewardship Sunday in person with all of you. And yet the priority of Public Health, and safeguarding those who may be vulnerable, represents so much of why we love First Church. Please join us online for service, consider your commitment to Our Spiritual Tapestry, and be sure to turn in your pledge via the online form https://uumilwaukee.org/ways-to-give/annual-pledge-drive/ (scroll down) by the end of the day on Sunday. This community of shared values, practice, and relationships has many patterns to weave both now and in our future.
All in-person First Church groups, events, and meetings will move online, to the phone, or be rescheduled. Your group leader will have more information about the specifics for your group, event, or meeting. Staff will be working remotely.
While we cannot fully replace the power of in-person connection, we know that staying connected in other ways is powerful and vital to our well-being. This week we will explore and experiment with new innovative ways to continue being together as a faith community. We will use all the tools at our disposal: the telephone, email, video-conferencing, Facebook, and live-streaming our worship services. In the upcoming weeks, your staff will be working on how to offer new ways to tell our stories, share resources, and grow strength and resilience in these challenging times.
Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom, Senior Minister
Rev. Dena McPhetres, Associate Minister
Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, Director of Religious Education
Mark Bishop, President of the Congregation