What does it mean to live with intention? In January of 2022, the question feels like a Zen Buddhist koan, a paradoxical riddle that might break open our understanding of reality. Perhaps living with intention means making a plan, and then living it out. Or perhaps it means living our values while adapting to the chaos of the world.
In the infinity loop consciousness of trying to plan during this pandemic, let me tell you more about our First Church plan to return to in-person church.
Our new in-person church plan’s safety is based on vaccination or a negative COVID PCR test, instead of the Milwaukee County COVID incidence rate on which our previous plan was based. This means the new plan should be safe at all levels of COVID transmission, so we hope Omicron will not affect our new plans. If, however, Omicron has significant “vaccine escape” (meaning it gets around vaccination’s immunity), then we will have to reconsider our plans again. We hope that does not happen.
Sundays: On February 6, we plan to return to every-Sunday in-person worship services at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., religious education at 9:00 a.m. only, as well as other church activities. Online worship will continue every week at 10:00 a.m. with a shorter service of the opening, worship associate story, interlude, sermon, and closing.
- Worship in the sanctuary will be limited to 100 people per service. All will be required to be masked and provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR COVID test required for everyone above the age of 5. We will share information about how to reserve your seats soon.
- January’s Sunday worship services will remain online only.
Memorial Services: We are now open to in-person Memorial Services at the church, limited to 100 attendees per service, masked, with proof of vaccination or a negative PCR COVID test required for everyone above the age of 5. Because we are able to offer in-person Memorial Services and in-person grief support and worship, we will discontinue our COVID Candle practice during worship beginning in February.
Staff-led Teams: For several weeks, these teams have been meeting in-person at the church, with an option for those who wish to join the meeting online. This has allowed us to experiment and refine the technology and systems. They will continue to do so.
Member-led Groups: We hope to open up to member-led in-person indoor meetings at the church in early 2022. The staff person who leads your ministry area will contact you when we are ready to train you on the new systems.
We are living with the intention of seeing you in church and staying humble in our planning. We are so grateful to you for your commitment to Unitarian Universalism and our shared values in all the chaos of the world.
Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom, Senior Minister