On Tuesday May 19th Church Council discussed whether there would be any changes to worship services now that Massachusetts has issued guidelines for places of worship. We considered the state guidelines, the more detailed recommendations from the Southern New England UCC Conference, the current rate of Covid-19 cases in South Hadley and the county, and the recommendation of the Deacons.
The discussion was thorough, and ultimately Council unanimously concluded that worship and meetings will continue to be held online for now, and most likely will continue throughout the summer.
Council also supported the decision of the Activities committee to NOT hold the Annual Fall Fair or Holiday Bazaar this year. Activities will provide more information about this in the Church at the Center.
We recognize how much these decisions affect our church life. But, as our Conference has reminded us, churches are designed to be places of healing rather than sources of sickness, and our top priority is the safety of everyone in our faith community. We are committed to proceeding deliberately and thoughtfully, taking into account the needs of our church members and the evolving public health challenges. We will be meeting frequently to review all recommendations and guidelines to develop policies and safe practices for worship, children and youth programs, and other activities that might be resumed, with precautions, in the future. We will continue to keep everyone informed on our progress through Church at the Center and separate emails.
These are unprecedented times, and the future is uncertain. But we remain a church community, committed to each other and our faith. Regardless of how we gather, whether in person or virtually, we can learn from this and grow.
Blessings to all,
Rev. Lori J. Souder
Members of Church Council
Bobbie Ayers, Corinne Chartrand, Eliot Chartrand, Al Duffy, Karen Hyvonen, Kate Hoffman, Gretchen LaBonte, David Morrell, Anita Sarro, John Hoffman, Treasurer, Brian Lapis, Past Moderator