Worshiping and Connecting Online

Over these next weeks or months, we are using Zoom as a way to meet virtually not just for worship, but for small groups, committee meetings, and even for creative new ways to be together, like Emerson’s Pagan Chat Group’s Lughnasadh ritual on Saturday and Coffee Hour after every Sunday morning worship service.

A few notes on the worship service:
Everyone is invited to light their own chalice, so you might want to have one ready.
If you have a joy or sorrow, you would like to have shared aloud during the worship service, you can write it in our Virtual “Book of Life”: https://forms.gle/dG1utcEyg4GCSP8N6. There will also be an opportunity for people to write something in the chat.

You can join us for Sunday morning worship via Zoom, by clicking this link: https://tinyurl.com/emersonuuc
Zoom Meeting ID: 858 109 2800
Password: chalice

Alternately you can join via phone: (669) 900-6833
And enter the Meeting ID: 858 109 2800

Virtually yours,
Rev. Matthew


HELP HOST EVENTS FOR ONLINE CONNECTIONS

Calling all Emersonians!  Are you interested in helping your community keep in touch and connected by hosting/organizing an online event?  It could be a yoga class, a song circle, a creative writing workshop, an informative lecture, or just a time to chat and hangout. It could be an ongoing event or one-time only.  We invite you to contribute and help maintain our sense of connection during this time of physical distancing. You may use the church Zoom account to hold your event.  Please contact the office at office@emersonuuc.org or (818) 887-6101 in order to arrange.  We look forward to all your wonderful and creative ideas to keep us entertained and grounded and create connections with your fellow Emersonians!


SUNDAY OFFERING & PLEDGE PAYMENTS

If you regularly placed checks in the offering basket, please put those checks in an envelope and mail them in to Emerson (address below) for the next several months.  Or, this might be a great time to set up automatic Bill Pay with your bank or credit union

Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
7304 Jordan Ave.
Canoga Park, CA 91303


A Pastoral Message from Rev. Matthew

Questions jump around our hearts, sometimes wildly so:

How can we keep ourselves safe?
How can we keep those we love safe?
How can we keep others safe?

With news of the rise of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and its spread to Northern California, these questions take on new meaning and urgency. At this time, there is no confirmed case near us, but it seems there is an increasing chance that it will spread to Los Angeles. And it is good to practice resilience, as we have been exploring in worship and in small group ministries over this past month.

With that in mind, I am writing to you about how to care for yourselves in community, and how community can support caring for yourself.

There are behaviors we have been recommended to take to guard against the flu or other airborne illness. Washing hands often. Sneezing and coughing into our flexed elbow. Staying home when sick. (I’m writing this from home because I had a mild stomach flu this week.) Elbow-bumping, rather than hand-shakes. These behaviors are what is being recommended in response to the coronavirus.

Some practical information:

  • If you are sick, stay home – from work, from school, from Emerson. You care not only for yourself this way, you care for those with whom you would have come into contact.  Not everybody you encounter has a strong immune system.  Consider the impact of your germs on others. (I also acknowledge that since our government doesn’t guarantee universal paid sick leave, staying home from work is, tragically, not always possible for some.)
  • Reach out by phone or email to let someone know you are ill ~ that includes me (Rev. Matthew), if you’d like. Just because you are sick, doesn’t mean you have to be isolated.
  • Wash your hands often.  Ideally with non-anti-bacterial soap and running water for 20 seconds. If that is not available, then alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Maintain a social distance of three or more feet from someone who is coughing or showing other symptoms; check in with that person to see if they need help to ensure they are getting what they need to recover.
  • Notice how often you touch your face – we all touch our faces way more than you would ever think. Your awareness may help reduce this behavior, which is one of the ways any virus is spread.

There’s more you can do. One piece of advice I have been reading is stocking up, if you can, on your regular medicines. This will help if, for any reason, you aren’t able to get to the pharmacy for an extended period of time. More practical information from the World Health Organization can be found here. Or here, in a Washington Post article dated 2/26/20And here was a useful article in The Guardian about coronavirus myths.

Helen Keller once noted that, “security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of [humanity] as a whole experience it.”  This can be a hard truth to face. Yet there might be a different kind of safety. As my colleague the Rev. Karen G. Johnston writes:

One thing we have started exploring is the possibility of livestreaming worship services in the case that worshiping together in a large group is no longer advisable. This would also make worship available to those who are sick or otherwise unable to make it to church.

It would also be great if people were willing to make soups or other meals now that could be stored in the church freezer for if/when people are sick.

Lastly, if your anxiety about this, or anything else going on in the world, is at a breaking point, or just feeling too much, you are not alone. Reach out to someone you trust.  Risk connection.  Make some time to hang out with me.

We’re all in this together.

~ Rev. Matthew
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