Westminster’s Annual Water Communion Service on 9/12 will be hybrid – in-person and online

We are excited to announce that our annual Water Communion service will be both in-person and online on Sunday, 9/12! As this will mark the first large Westminster gathering of members and guests in FAR too long, there will be many precautions taken to ensure that this service is safe, comfortable, and truly joyous. Please read carefully as we lay out the guidelines, procedures, and plans for this service.

Outdoor Service
Weather permitting (and it’s looking good), the service will take place outdoors, in the front circle. Please sign up at the link below if you plan to join us in person on Sunday, 9/12. We are not limiting attendance, but we are asking you to sign up to allow us to plan . This signup will also serve as a contact tracing list, should the need arise.

Sunday, Sept. 12th Water Communion Service In-Person Sign-Up

There will be a variety of seating, both in the sun and shade. Tents will be available for our most vulnerable members to protect them from the sun. There will be wheelchair-accessible areas, and those speaking at the service will be amplified. Bathrooms will be available, one person at a time, in Smith Hall.

Online Service
Since under the circumstances there’s still significant risk of infection in any non-household gathering, we encourage anyone who is unvaccinated to watch the service safely at home. We also recommend that, if you can, you should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccines and masks are the best ways we all keep each other safe! And of course if you are not feeling 100% on Sunday morning, we invite you to join us on Zoom instead. Simply visit the Westminster website for the link to the service on the morning of the 12th.

Congregants will be required to wear a mask during the entire service, vaccinated or not. Why masking outdoors? We are taking into account the UUA Guidance for the Delta Variant. Our values call for us to protect the most vulnerable among us, without singling them out or excluding anyone. We welcome everyone, including those who are immunocompromised, those who cannot take the vaccine for a variety of reasons, and families with unvaccinated children, which includes all children under age 12. Extra masks will be available if needed. During the service, only the speakers will take off their masks when speaking.

Children and Youth
Children and youth are welcome. We ask that they sit with their family.

Social Distance
Everyone will be asked to maintain a 3 foot social distance from others not in their family pod. If you’d like to greet your neighbors at closer range, be considerate and ask first if they are comfortable doing this. Everyone’s risk tolerance is different!

Live Streaming
The service will be simultaneously streamed via Zoom for our remote congregants. You’ll notice the presence of several smartphones, additional microphones, and tech volunteer(s) who are managing the live streaming of the service for the folks at home. We want to include everyone with every service as much as possible. The service will be recorded.

If you are uncomfortable with being on the Zoom call, we invite you to sit in an area out of range of the cameras.

Until it is safer to do so, we will not be singing in worship. You are invited to hum along (or sway along!) with hymns if you like. Fortunately we’ll have our outstanding Music Director, Nonetta, on piano!

After-Service Fellowship
We are pleased to announce we have procured a iced coffee and ice cream truck for after the service! Bring cash or a mobile payment app if you’d like to purchase refreshments. All are welcome to greet each other outside after the service either on the front lawn, masks on of course (unless eating or drinking). And please remember to ask for a person’s consent before shaking hands or hugging.

Thank You

Our staff and many volunteers have worked together for weeks to plan our return to in-person services. Many thanks to everyone on the Horizon Team (Beth Adams, Beth Gibson, Cele Mark, Alice Cialella, Larry Manire, Jan Searles, Sarah Quigg, April Cambre, and Deb Weaver) for all their work preparing the building and grounds for a return to services. Many thanks to Liz Roper, our Tech Host, for working with us to iron out many (many) technical challenges. Many thanks to the Bridge Team (Kamilla Barzykowski, Doug Alexander, Daisy Bassen, April Cambre, Linda Hevenor and Ellen Quaadgras) for their thoughtful considerations and investment in keeping things as safe as possible in a pandemic, while upholding our commitment to UU principles and to the science.

And many thanks to First Unitarian Church in Providence for generously sharing their guidelines with us and for granting permission for us to model this email after theirs.

Whether you join us in person or online, we look forward to your continued presence in services as we strive to continue living our values in all the ways we can.