Update from the Board and Minister on in-person gatherings

Dear members and friends of Westside,

As we enter the fall season, many of you may have questions about our plans for continuing to come together as a community and specifically about the possibility of having in-person meetings with proper physical distancing and masks.

The board is committed to considering how we function as a community with a focus on caring for the safety of all of Westside’s members and on making decisions with equity in mind. Taking into account differing health and safety concerns and access needs, we have concluded that church activities must continue without in-person contact.

This includes meetings on-site at Westside as well as in other locations, and includes social events for the purpose of fundraising for Westside.

Gathering outside with distancing and masks for social connection that isn’t part of a specific church function is an individual choice, and the assessment of risks is up to each of us to determine. We hope all are remaining aware of the guidelines for our area as they evolve—including adhering to the mandates for Phase 2, still in effect for King County—and making conscientious choices. We ask that those planning or considering in-person gatherings deeply consider the equity issues involved when we invite others to join us in actions that may be risky for physical health and when we use meeting spaces that are not accessible for all.

We know it is difficult and disappointing not to be able to gather in-person for church activities. This decision will be re-evaluated at minimum quarterly, or more often if there are significant changes, by reviewing the science, health department recommendations, and the practices of other local congregations as well as the UUA guidelines. The board, with input from the COVID-19 advisory team, will continue to monitor the state and local situation and will provide another update in January.

If you have any questions or concerns about this decision please contact a board member to discuss. If you find yourself struggling with feelings of isolation or depression in the face of life’s shared and continuing uncertainty, please contact Rev. Christopher (minister@wsuu.org) or the Lay Pastoral Care Team (pastoralteam@wsuu.org) for support.

We too look forward to the time when we can take joy in each other’s physical presence again, and know that we abide together always in love!

Yours in community,
Rev. Christopher and the Westside Board of Trustees

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