Dear Members and Friends of Chalice,
Many of us have been looking forward to gathering together in person again for worship on September 12 in our beautiful Sanctuary after such a long absence. However, with the growing Covid numbers from the Delta variant and after thoughtful consideration, the Board, the Reopening Task Force and Rev. Nica have decided to postpone Chalice’s Sanctuary reopening for the time being. There is simply no responsible way to have larger indoor gatherings right now.
The UUA recommends that congregations in that category do not reopen indoor worship until the risk level has come down. None of the congregations in our cluster will be reopening on that day either. More and more children are getting Covid now that they are back at school, and there have been several breakthrough infections among vaccinated people in our congregation. We would not be able to sing or have kids in our Sanctuary and would only have room for a small number of members to be socially distanced. So, until conditions improve, it seems wisest to postpone in-person large indoor gatherings. We will monitor conditions, and once the trajectory heads back in a positive direction, we can consider re-opening.
This may be especially disappointing to so many of you who have given generously of your time and work recently to prepare our buildings for reopening. Rest assured: Your efforts are hugely appreciated, and will still serve us incredibly well in the — hopefully — near future. Thanks to all your work, we will be able to pivot and reopen quickly once conditions improve.
We do have some good news too. Reverend Nica and the Worship Team are busy preparing a very special in-person outdoor Ingathering ritual for anyone who wants to join us masked outdoors on September 12. More information on that soon. Meanwhile, small groups can continue to meet masked outside and for now, a few people can gather masked and distanced inside, in well-ventilated areas. We recommend only vaccinated people participate in in-person gatherings, to keep everyone safe. We will continue to offer excellent worship opportunities online, as well as Chalice circles and other groups via Zoom. We will also continue to offer family and other events outside, so parents and children can socialize in safer conditions.
We know this will be disappointing news for many of you who have been aching to gather together in our Sanctuary. We hear you and feel you! But we also care deeply about our community’s safety. Thank you for your understanding.
Here is the UUA’s guidance for gatherings:
We feel that we would not be following this guidance if we were to reopen indoors on September 12. Moreover, the majority of our survey respondents said they would not attend indoors in person, so it’s clear that most of our fellow members understand the risks.
In faith and care,
The Board, Reverend Nica & the Reopening Task Force