This past week, we asked you to share your opinions and concerns about reopening the church with the Facilities Reopening Survey. Thank you all for participating. 51 persons shared their candid opinions with us. We are now in the process of looking at the results. We will use your feedback to help us decide how to proceed as we consider steps and measures to reopen the church. You can see the full results of the survey by clicking this link: https://unityalbany.org/2020/06/10/unity-church-survey/ and then clicking on “see previous responses”. Scroll down to the bottom to read spirited comments. Also, very helpful comments are in the same page: https://unityalbany.org/2020/06/10/unity-church-survey/, click on the top right where there is a dialog icon and says – at least today – 10 comments.
A few people are ready to comeback right now, but most people are quite concerned about reopening too quickly. The majority would return with some concerns and precautions, perhaps in a hybrid form, balancing attending in person with attending online. Many would take more time before coming back, some waiting until the Fall. Most people are concerned and are cautious, and some are worried about a second wave. A large majority indicated that they will consider coming back when the number of cases in Albany is very small and the social distancing recommendations have been lifted. Some would not come back until the situation is completely resolved, others when there is a vaccine. Also, a large majority are committed to wearing masks, maintaining 6 feet from others, avoiding physical contact (at least while at church), and, of course, using hand sanitizers, and thorough cleaning of surfaces and handles.
Needless to say, we are not ready to reopen just yet. Reopening will be considered carefully, weighing concerns, current guidelines and new findings. The threat of the virus is still there and there is no vaccine yet. As leaders of the church, our foremost concern is the health and safety of our community. Most likely, we may have to do the reopening in stages, especially if we are to maintain social distancing … and social distancing while singing. There are lots of parameters to be taken in consideration, and even though we are eager to be with each other, the Board will move carefully on this issue. We’ll be discerning steps for reopening in the upcoming weeks, trusting the guidance of Spirit. We ask the congregation to keep being in prayer for the right path and step towards reopening.
For the moment, we’ll continue with online Sunday services and joining in community during zoom hospitality, heart-to-heart meetings and zoom classes and prayer. We heard about your appreciation of the online 6:00pm One Song service and we’ll be considering how to bring it back on a regular basis.
NYS has been doing great reducing the number of cases, the possibility of reopening is getting closer and closer. So hang in there. We all miss being with each other and we are hopeful that it won’t take much longer. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. The Church in the Park event had to be cancelled because Thatcher’s Park is only allowing groups of up to 25 people. But don’t get discouraged. We have a lot of work to do and, with the wonderful leadership of Rev. Steve, we’ll be bringing you plenty of opportunities to connect with each other as we move forward with the transition plans. I am personally looking forward to participating in the HOPCOF (Honoring Our Past, Creating Our Future) event with you. The silver lining of the corona virus time has been the resilience of our church and the many ways we kept finding of being with one another online, the heartening leadership of Rev. Steve in the face of current events, the amazing work of the prayer team and chaplains, the ongoing inspiration from the music team and the zaniness of the cake-bomb fairies.
As usual, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Board for discussing any of your concerns and your creative ideas. We’ve been touched by the outpouring of love and support that you have extended us. And we are deeply grateful for your kind words of support and encouragement. Unity Church in Albany is the best! We are centered in Spirit, we are guided by Love and Light!
In love and service,
Karina Reinhold, Treasurer