Together, we find strength inside
In these uncertain times of pandemic, the Executive Committee of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches sends its sympathy and support to all who are struggling, have Covid-19 symptoms or are worried about loved ones. We thank ministers and all community leaders who are supporting people practically and pastorally. It is inspiring to see communities pulling together. The technology that allows us to be connected is a blessing.
We are exploring how to support congregations through the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic brings.
We have reached out to ministers to understand what support is needed, and will continue to do so.
We are asking congregations to complete a brief survey of the impact of the pandemic on their financial and governance stability, and Executive Committee members will work with District Associations and congregations to help assess the impact.
Simon Bland, our Ministry and Congregational Support Officer is offering surgery sessions for Treasurers between 10am and 2pm on Wednesday 8th April. Treasurers should email Simon directly to book a ten minute slot to talk with him.
We are assessing the GA’s financial situation, and with information from congregations, will decide what financial support is needed.
IT company Netserve Ltd have volunteered their time and provided a dedicated phoneline for Unitarians who need help to get online from a trusted partner. To access support ring 0203 728 8415 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please share this information with those who may benefit from this help.
We hope that the 'Being Together' programme of online events between the 7th and 9th April offered people the space to find strength and inspiration in connecting with each other and an opportunity to reach out to those who have not yet set foot in one of our chapels.
Despite the many challenges that we are facing, we will gain new strength through innovation, collaboration, and firm commitment to our values.
Please find here resources and information to help you and your congregation during this challenging time.
Keep an eye on the latest health advice from the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Check whether there is a Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group for your area, where you could offer or request help: https://www.facebook.com/CovidAidUK/
Take care of your mental health: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799
Online Worship Advice from the Quakers: https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/about/online-mfw/Online-worship-advice
Handy United Reformed Church guide to using Facebook Live, YouTube and Zoom for the recording and broadcasting of acts of worship: https://urc.org.uk/images/Communications/docs/Facebook_Youtube_and_zoom.pdf
Useful advice on copyright issues for live, streamed or recorded services, from Law & Religion UK: https://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2020/03/17/streaming-church-services-an-updated-guide-to-copyright-and-religion/ and from Kent Unitarians: https://www.kentunitarians.org/copyright-issues
You may like to read 'A Blessing For Our Time' by Eleanor Chiari.
You may like to reflect on the poem below from Unitarian Universalist minister Lynn Ungar...
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.