President’s Letter January 2021- Vanessa Shaughnessy

We made it to 2021!

I hope you had opportunities for rest and joy in the last few weeks of that very long year. I am deeply grateful that those of us on the board have been able to take some time for celebration and rejuvenation ourselves, especially because it’s about to get very busy!

It’s been helpful for me to reflect that, through the hurt and uncertainty of the last several months, there have been opportunities unique to this time.

Virtual gatherings have fostered connection and conversation that may not have happened in person. For example, my youngest is a huge movie fan, and the depth of his interest has outstripped his peer’s attention spans and our family’s ability to keep up. In WSUU’s Movie Club, he’s found a space to connect about his favorite passion. I can’t think of another way he’d be included in this kind of rich intergenerational community–I’m hoping our new connections last long after the need for online-only groups has passed.

While our church activities are virtual, there’s been extra space for germinating some exciting work to improve our building’s accessibility. Seeing opportunity in the otherwise depressing emptiness of our church building, member Jim Schlough has been hard at work, getting estimates from various contractors and reimagining the design of the chancel area to enable wheelchair access. Our own Neve Mazique-Bianco has been brought in as a professional accessibility consultant to the congregation, and there will be more information and more opportunities to learn about and participate in the accessibility work coming up soon.

In addition to work already in progress, in this new year, there is much to dig into and much to look forward to in our community:

January 24th the board will be presenting our mid-year report, with updates on the work undertaken so far this church year and what’s yet to come. We’ll have an in-depth presentation from the phase one right relations team as well as a financial overview from our treasurer. 

January 30th we’ll have our ministerial start up, offered by our primary UUA regional contact, Sarah Schurr. It will be a time of visioning and clarifying, and I hope everyone who can possibly participate will join us.

Also starting this month, the board, with support from the Covid Advisory Team, will be engaging in discernment around possible updates to our Covid guidelines, reevaluating if, how, and when we may be able to safely expand them.

The month of February will bring our indomitable auction, held online this year, with silent auction offerings starting January 31 and ending February 5, and the live main event the evening of Saturday, February 6. I can’t wait to celebrate with all of you and see how our community comes together in love and support.

If you have questions, concerns, input, thoughts, poems, or art projects related to any of these items or anything else church related, please send them my way: I’d love to hear from you.

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