At the UCUCC Women’s Retreat in January, the focus was on “Self Care.” We looked at this theme from many perspectives: physical and emotional self-care, as well as mental and spiritual self-care practices. I’ve been reflecting on how meaningful that time was– in part because I’m missing being physically present in large groups! But also because the theme we explored that weekend seems so important in this time of increased isolation.
We’ve been sharing a lot about how to stay safe physically (Wash your hands! Don’t touch your eyes, mouth, or nose!) but I want to be mindful of how I’m caring for my heart and spirit, too.
Personally, I have a playlist of my favorite hymns that I listen to, including Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, How Can I Keep From Singing, and Lift Every Voice And Sing. After this past Sunday’s worship service, I added the Mahalia Jackson version of His Eye Is On the Sparrow to my list as well. These hymns have gotten me through grief and loss, and it lifts my heart to sing them even if I’m sitting at home singing by myself.
How are you tending to your heart, in these anxious times? As a church, we are thinking about ways that we can care for each other, physically and spiritually, and we wanted to share those thoughts with you.
This week, we will bring you worship from Pastor Catherine’s farm! Please look for an email tomorrow (Saturday) with more detailed information about how to participate, along with the “announcements” section of the order of worship which will include updates about what upcoming church events are postponed, cancelled, or happening online. If you don’t see those email instructions, please check your spam folder, and check the church website at www.universityucc.org.
Our plan is to update the ‘Sunday Service’ section (in the middle of the home page) with information about the this weekend’s worship as soon as it is finalized. Like we did last week, we’ll also email out the worship recording and the order of worship after the fact, so if you are unable to join us “live” Sunday morning, you can worship with us later.
Lenten Prayer Groups
Have you signed up to be part of a 4-week Lenten Prayer Group? These groups will be focusing on connecting with Spirit, praying for and with each other, and on trying 4 different prayer practices.
There are some in-person groups available:
Sundays 7:00 pm in Ravenna (Bart & Lisa Klingler leading)
Mondays 7:00 pm in Ballard (Bob Perkins & Lynn Willman leading)
Some groups are meeting online:
Sundays and other days for a young adult group (Linnea Nasman leading)
Thursdays 1:00 pm (Carol Kassner leading)
Wednesdays 12:00 pm (Pastor Todd leading)
The first prayer groups start Sunday the 16th. Please note that online groups have a phone-in option.
Have questions? Want to sign up? Contact:
Pastor Todd TSmiedendorf@universityucc.org
Carol Coleman email@example.com
We are here to support you! Please reach out and let us know how you are.
You can connect with Carol Coleman at ParishCareSupport@universityucc.org
You can email the Prayer Chain at PrayerRequest@universityucc.org
If you would like to connect with a pastor, they are available by phone or email:
Catherine, firstname.lastname@example.org (206) 524-2322 x 3307
Amy, email@example.com (206) 524-2322 x3312
Todd, firstname.lastname@example.org (205) 524-2322 x3309
The three common practices for Lent are prayers, fasting, and almsgiving. Perhaps we could consider “social distancing” as a Lenten practice of fasting from each other’s company. If your giving patterns have been disrupted as we move to worshiping online, remember that you can mail a check to the church office for your pledge or to support our monthly special offering recipient:
4515 16th Ave NE
Seattle WA 98105
You can make a donation at any time on the church website:
Just click the links that say “Give Now” or “Online Giving.”
Or, if you’ve been meaning to set up monthly or weekly online giving, now is a good time to ‘Dare Greatly’ (as our fall pledge campaign encouraged us to do). Here are the instructions for online giving via MyUCUCC:
- Follow the link above the church giving page, and on the right-hand side of the page you’ll find a button that says MyUCUCC.
- If this is your first time, select “Need a login? Click Here“
- Type in First Name, Last Name, and email (make sure to use the email address that we have in the church database).
- If what you typed matches the church director information, you will get an email confirming your login to MyUCUCC. If you get a bouce-back then give us a call at the church office and we can assist.
- The confirmation email will include a link to create a password.
- Log into MyUCUCC and use the “Giving” tab at the top of the page to make a one-time or recurring gift from your bank account, credit or debit card.
- You can use the “optional memo” field to make a note if you want your gift to be part of your 2020 pledge, or to go to our monthly special offering!
March’s Special Offering is One Great Hour of Sharing, a UCC fund to help people recover from disasters both domestic and international.
Using the church building
As the outbreak of Covid-19 comes closer to our personal circles, we’re becoming more aware of how connected we are and how many people we are in contact with. At this time, the church building is still open for groups of less than 10 people to meet. One new measures we are taking is the creation of a “ building sign-in sheet” for the church, so we can track who is in the space, where, when, and with whom. That document will be in the church office (during office hours) or on the comma table next to the parking sign-in sheet. This will help us focus our cleaning efforts on spaces that are in use, but it also helps us understand and evaluate potential risk of exposure within our community.
Social distancing (6ft or more between people) is still the best protective measure against this virus. Please consider meeting online if possible! We are commissioning some church members to be “tech deacons” who could help folks who are uncomfortable or just unfamiliar with the technology. We encourage you to just try it, and to give each other (and yourself) some grace as we sort out what works and what doesn’t work.
We have held several meetings online through “Zoom” which allows for people to connect via phone or computer. If you have a group that is planning to meet in the next few weeks, we would like to help you use our zoom account. Here is some feedback that we’ve gotten from meetings this past week:
- “I was satisfied with our online Zoom meeting. I solved the problem of my picture display, so if we have a repeat for April, it will be more than just my voice attending.” – Tom
- “It was great! I appreciated your instructions as I had never ‘zoomed’ before. I’m really glad that we had such a tool to make it possible to meet in these challenging times.” – Kathy
- “I had no problems with joining or participating in the online F&E Board meeting. The amount of information provided before the meeting was fine and all I needed. I have no problems with continuing our meetings using Zoom.” – Bill
Physical health updates and recommendations
If you have been with someone who later develops symptoms of Covid-19 (such as fever, dry cough, or difficulty breathing), you might be concerned that you are at risk. Casual exposure to someone contagious is fairly low risk, if you are taking reasonable precautions such as cleaning, frequent hand-washing, and avoiding handshakes. Your risk might be considered “medium level” if you’ve spent more than 10 minutes in close contact (six feet or closer) to someone who is sick. Here are some things you can do:
- Keep washing your hands. Hand sanitizer is out of stock in many places, but plain old fashioned soap and water is more effective (and still readily available). Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Soap and water is very effective for cleaning surfaces as well! You don’t need the fancy disposable wipes to clean shared surfaces.
- Minimize contact with others. The reason “social distancing” is so effective is that when we are in close contact the virus is more contagious and able to spread from person to person. Staying more than 6 feet apart makes a big difference. If you have an underlying condition that makes you more susceptible to illness, be especially thoughtful and diligent about your contact and proximity with others.
- Trust your body. If you are feeling unwell, take extra precautions if you are around anyone who might be vulnerable to infection.
- Monitor your symptoms. It could be helpful to pick two consistent times throughout the day to take your temperature and write down the results and more easily notice if you have a fever.
Please stay in close conversation with us, so we can support each other. Stay calm and compassionate, and take extra precautions with your health and the health of those around you—we are all connected to each other, and that care for one another is what will carry us through this difficult time. Amen