An Update from the Congregational Safety Advisory Council – June 22, 2021.
Earlier this year, the Board of Trustees appointed the four of us (Dr. Donald Cole, Occupational, Environmental and Public Health Medicine Consultant; Prof. Susan Bondy, Epidemiologist with University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health; Tanya Cothran, Chair of the Committee on Shared Ministry; and Rev. Shawn Newton, Senior Minister) to advise the congregation’s leadership on best practices as we move closer to gathering in person for Sunday services and other activities.
We are guided in our work by the following core values shared by many Unitarian Universalist communities across North America:
- Our abiding care and concern for the most vulnerable, inside and outside our congregation.
- Accessibility and inclusion for all of our members and friends to participate in our congregation, regardless of health status, health vulnerability, or ability.
- Recognition that we are part of an interdependent web and, as such, our risk-taking and our protective actions affect far more than just ourselves. Our congregational decisions can impact other congregations and the wider community.
- Our affirmation that good science, coupled with our values, must be the basis upon which we make decisions about in-person gathering.
You may have heard the early steps of the province’s Roadmap to Reopening allow for small numbers of people to attend religious services. While these initial steps are promising, we will continue to only meet online on Sunday mornings during the summer to best serve the entire congregation through this time of transition back to being fully open. Our sincerest hope is that the worst of the pandemic is behind those of us who are fortunate to be in Canada. We look forward to being able to gather as a full congregation, both in person and online, early this fall for our Sunday, 10:30am service.
In the meantime, we recognize that some groups and committees would like to start meeting in person. So we recommend that small group gatherings related to First Unitarian can begin to be held in person, and ideally outside taking advantage of summer weather, with two important conditions:
- Meetings must strictly adhere to current public health guidelines; and, as importantly,
- All potential participants should have agreed they are comfortable meeting in person prior to meeting.
We appreciate all of your understanding, patience and, with some anticipation, unleashed enthusiasm, as we move toward a time when those who wish to gather in person will be able to do so.
Be well over the summer.
The Congregational Safety Advisory Council