Remember back when the COVID pandemic was new and we couldn’t find toilet paper and were washing our groceries? Two and a half years ago, when the world went on lockdown in March 2020, UUSM began producing online services. Here’s an article about that process. In September 2021, we transitioned to our current Facebook and YouTube livestreams.
At the same lonely and scary time, we saw a need to create a Zoom Coffee Hour where members and friends could be “Alone Together” and interact online to chat, check-in, meet in their regular affinity groups, and discuss the sermon with the minister and worship associates. For the entire duration of COVID, we have hosted a Zoom meeting every week after the Worship Service from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, with attendance ranging from 12 to 30 people. We have watched children grow from infants to toddlers (Dante). We have shared a lot of joys and sorrows.
In December 2021, UUSM slowly began to reopen for in-person services and group activities. At the end of February 2022, the UUSM COVID Steering Committee decided to follow UUA advice regarding our local community’s COVID levels, and fully reopen our sanctuary to vaccinated, masked, and social-distanced members and friends. As COVID levels have continued to decrease, in-person attendance has increased slowly but consistently. About 60 people are now present onsite each week for Worship Services and Coffee Hour. 20 to 30 continue to view the live video streams during the 10:30 to 11:30 am hour, with dozens more watching the Facebook and YouTube recordings during the weeks afterwards.
However, these changes have had an impact on the Zoom Coffee Hour. Increasing onsite attendance has meant that most people have stopped coming to the online post-service meeting. While it continues to be a valuable community resource for those that are not local or are ill, the worship team has decided that it is time to retire the regular Zoom Coffee Hour. At this time, there is not enough staff or volunteers to continue hosting on Sundays after the service. UUSM’s weekly Zoom Coffee Hour will be discontinued at the end of October. The final regular meeting will be on Sunday, October 30, beginning after the Día de los Muertos service.
I have acted as the regular host throughout these two long years, with significant help from Leonard Cachola, Larry Weiner, Elizabeth Fuller, Greg Wood, and several others during the summer of 2022. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to use my technical skills in helping my UUSM church community maintain a sense of togetherness during this difficult period. But now I’ll have a chance to see many of you in person at church!
If you are concerned about the demise of this project, click on this Google Poll to let us know what your interest might be in participating in an Ongoing Monthly Zoom Get-Together at another time or on another day.
Please reach out to the Pastoral Care Ministry Team to let them know what you need.