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UUA Newsletter


Dear UU Church of the Brazos Valley,


The UUA Congregational Life staff group remains committed to supporting congregations and leaders during this pandemic time. As we settle into a new congregational year with all of its attendant difficulties, I offer this reflection.

“Have you thought about shutting down the worship for a month?”

I was meeting with yet another exhausted Worship Team in a small congregation. They had no paid professional staff. After 17 months online, their volunteers were exhausted. This may sound familiar. As Congregational Life field staff it felt risky to suggest. It was also necessary. Paid staff get vacations and that is what these volunteers needed. Throughout the pandemic many Congregational Life staff have repeated: take it slow and your community does not have to do it all.


Grief is the normal and healthy response to change—any kind of change.


The Team was quiet for a moment, then there were some comments resistant to the idea. This is a natural part of any process that asks us to try new things. One of my chaplaincy teachers said, “grief is the normal and healthy response to change—any kind of change.” Our society has been dealing with grief over the impact of the Delta variant. Grief is typically expressed as anger, anxiety, sadness, numbness, relief, guilt, and more. All of this exists in our UU communities. My job is to support those communities in navigating that grief into the next phase. “I know that it is hard to imagine not having worship. Still, I think the congregation would understand. They love you and this church. You might try some other creative ways to connect during that time so that folks do not lose touch.” I then shared the creative ideas of congregations and communities—some UU and some not. We talked about congregations that, in lieu of worship:

  • started doing a podcast once a month

  • engaged in small group ministries for everyone with in-person, phone, and zoom options

  • created parallel play activities

  • hosted a stuffy con

One of the team members said, “we could do some parallel play activities. That would be easy to do.” After that, I sat quietly as the Worship Team began to consider new possibilities that were more sustainable in the current environment. They no longer needed me at this point because they had a plan. Our UU Communities are resilient and powerful. Congregational Life staff work to support that and share that across our interdependent web. We bring specialized knowledge and skill around trauma, conflict resolution, group process, and creative transformation. If your UU congregation or community needs support, please reach out. In these difficult times, it is important to know that we are not alone. Blessings, Sunshine P.S. You can also find inspiration and guidance for a wide variety of congregational scenarios in our Multi-Platform Resources Guidebook.

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