|Dear Members and Friends of All Souls Church-
We write to you today on behalf of the ministry and the ASC Board of Trustees to update you on measures we are taking in order to be safe and responsible in the face of the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.
First of all, remember that we are Unitarian Universalists! Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part calls us to respond with reason, rationality, open-mindedness and care for those most at risk. Panic, fear, suspicion, and putting self-interest above all is not how we roll!
With this in mind, the Board of Trustees has decided, effective Monday, March 16, 2020 and until further notice:
The operations of All Souls Church shall be suspended, except as noted herein;
1. Services will be held by remote transmission. (Our final service together will take place Sunday, March 15. If you are ill or are compromised in any way, or at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, you are encouraged to not attend.) The means to access the future transmitted services will be developed and communicated to the congregation as soon as possible;
2. The All Souls office shall remain open until further notice. However, members of the All Souls community are encouraged in the strongest terms to limit communications with the Office Administrator to remote means—e.g., email, telephone—and refrain from physically proximate interactions with the Office Administrator;
3. Meetings of All Souls’ Board, committees and affinity groups are encouraged in the strongest terms to be held through remote means, and refrain from physically proximate interactions. (Again, the means to do this will be communicated to church leadership ASAP.)
4. Events and publicly-accessed meetings, e.g., Pizza Nights, the Bereavement Group, The Compassionate Friends of Brattleboro, the Meditation group and special events, such as the Spring Fair on April 4, are cancelled until further notice.
5. We are leaving it to our current tenants, Theatre Adventure, Miss Martha’s Early Learning Center, and the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus to use their best judgement regarding canceling their programs and they will inform Ed Burke, Rev. Shayna Appel or Leslie Kinney of their intended use.
Stay tuned to the church’s website (ascvt.org) for updates.
We are all concerned about the possibility of isolation that may develop over the course of long-term social distancing that this pandemic requires, so we are working hard to find alternative methods of connecting electronically and will pass this information on to you as soon as we have it.
Finally, let us close with these words from Lynn Unger;
“What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.”
Keep your hands clean and your hearts open! We’ll get through this!
With All Love-
Rev. Shayna, Ed Burke; President; & The All Souls Church Board of Trustees