Dear Members and Friends of First Church:
I hope you are all staying safe and healthy during these difficult days. If there is anything the congregation can do for you at this time please let us know.
Rev. Scott is coordinating our pastoral care response and is assembling volunteers, a ‘First Church Links’ team. An impressive number of you have stepped up to help. The team’s goal is to check-in on our members and friends and to provide whatever assistance we can for those in our community who are in need. Please contact him at email@example.com if you need help, or know of someone who needs help. We will also be offering prayers as part of this week’s service. If you have something you would like to be included in our prayers, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the last week, the staff and I have been working to move our congregation online. Here is an update on the programs we will be offering and when they will be available.
We will be posting two video programs a week. Starting this Sunday, March 22, we will be offering an online service featuring a sermon, music, hymns, readings, and a spoken and visual meditation. This week’s theme is “Once Upon a Time… We Had Time.” And we will be exploring how we can compassionately, and faithfully, respond to our society’s current health crisis. The video of our services will be prerecorded and available on YouTube starting at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.
Beginning this coming Wednesday, March 25th, we will also be offering a 10-minute, mid-week Minister’s Forum and Message. Each week, I will be in conversation with a different guest who will be helping us figure out how we can collectively make our way through the pandemic. Our first program will be with Dr. Kim Waller, a member of the congregation and Associate Professor in Epidemiology & Disease Control with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. The following week, on April 1st, we are planning to have someone to talk with us about engaging in the Census while we are in the midst of a pandemic. And on April 8th, Dr. Kate Coyer will join us to talk about the impact of social media and fake news on the spread of disinformation about health and politics. Dr. Coyer is a Research Affiliate with the Center for Media, Data and Society in the School of Public Policy at Central European University (CEU), and an Affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
In addition to our prerecorded video content, we will be offering a number of live online programs via Zoom. You can find the details for these program on our website, firstuu.org. We will also be sending you links to some of them this Sunday when we send out a message with a link to our Sunday service.
This Sunday we’re providing two times for group reflection: one in the late morning from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and another from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. These group reflections will be hosted by Carol Burrus, whose job title has been changed from Director of Religious Education to Director of Religious Community. She will be overseeing all of our online programs offered via Zoom. The week of March 23rd, Carol will also be hosting a mid-week Zoom family gathering on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Look for an announcement soon about a full slate of programs for middle schoolers, high school youth, and adults that will begin the week of March 30th. In early April, both ministers will also be providing online programming through Zoom.
If you would like to be involved in helping Carol with the online small groups, or if you would like more information, please email her: email@example.com
Please keep in touch and, again, please contact Rev. Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org if there’s anything the congregation can do for you. I am holding you all in my heart and hope to see you in-person once it is safe for us to gather again.
The Rev. Dr. Colin Bossen, PhD
Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston
African American Religious Studies Forum Affiliate with Rice University’s Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning