The congregation has not met for Sunday Services in the building at 9 Vance Road since March 8, yet Sunday Services have adapted and continued, and new forms of community connection have emerged. This is a remarkable achievement worthy of celebration! I am proud of the adaptive capacity I have witnessed and been privileged to nurture over the past seven weeks.
Many people in our community deserve recognition. Let me first name the Care Team: Jan Kinney, the chair, along with Donna Deming and Jaye Moyer. In addition to launching weekly small groups, the Care Team has reached out to multiple individuals with phone calls, cards, and emails.
The Ad Hoc Ministry for the 150th Anniversary Celebration (Linda Mangelsdorf, Verne Bell, Erica Nichols and Elizabeth Mehling) is reaching out as well, encouraging members and friends to connect with and capture the story of the UUCRT.
The Communications Ministry (Jay Beaumont, John Kinney, Nan Dempster, Board Member, and Keith Jordan) have ensured the timely production and distribution of our newsletter and weekly eblasts, and, with a surge of input from Kris McGrath, UUCRT Administrator, the UUCRT website and FaceBook page are current, relevant, and useful.
On Sundays for the past four weeks we have averaged 40 participants in the service, with new guests and old friends showing up from as far away as Pakistan. The Sunday Services Ministry, chaired by Diane Diachishin, has helped make this possible. Diane, along with Hollis Kellogg, President, Greg Winner, and Mike Landrum have all shared their musical gifts, while Marcia Westra, Linda Mangelsdorf and Verne Bell, have contributed readings, and Jaye Moyer has provided guided meditations.
Amidst all the disruption and adaptation, I am particularly proud of the congregation for continuing to reach out to the most vulnerable people in our congregation, and our larger community and world, in these times.
Over a dozen people contributed to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund. With your generosity and the assistance of Alan Horne, Treasurer, and the Board’s rapid response to emergency motions, the congregation has been able to provide direct cash assistance to eight refugee families from Afghanistan and Iraq, who have been left unemployed due to COVID19. So far, these donations have impacted the lives of seventeen adults and seventeen children.
The UUCRT also received a grant from the Orange and Sullivan Community Foundation, and Bernadette McGinn, Board Member, and Bryon Abrams are taking the lead on the UUCRT food security initiative. With support from Nora Gallardo and Verne they are providing deliveries of food to households around the UUCRT.
I have not named everyone who deserves recognition. The Board deserves special appreciation. Many people are acting outside of the UUCRT, to embody our covenant to live with justice, equity and compassion, and to work for world community. I appreciate all of you who take the time to call in or show up on the video screen every Sunday morning. Your presence is a gift.
Rev. Chris J. Antal