Good afternoon friends and members of BCCUCC,
These are amazing times that we are living in. While the Coronavirus does not seem to have affected us too much personally, we are abundantly aware of the possibilities that this disease could bring if we disregard the potential risks. There are many simple steps we can take to mitigate the spread of the virus and help keep ourselves and loved ones healthy. Washing our hands regularly and minimizing contact with others are two of the best measures we can take. We have also been advised to avoid large public gatherings, especially where there are a number of persons present who are at greater risk of the most serious symptoms. Your church leadership is aware that our weekly worship service is one such type of gathering.
Yesterday, the three bridge Conference Ministers of the Southern New England Conference, UCC, recommended that all churches in the conference suspend in-person worship services for the next two weeks while we evaluate the impact COVID-19 will have on our communities. Linda and I have spoken with the Church Council and the Deacons and we have agreed to support this recommendation. Starting this weekend, we are suspending our in-person worship services for two weeks. We will reevaluate what to do going forward at that point.
Since In-person worship is suspended, Linda and I have developed an online virtual worship service to celebrate starting this Sunday. This service will take place at our regular time of 10:00 AM and will be hosted through Facebook Live. All you need to do to attend is go to our church Facebook page www.facebook.com/bccucc and click on the live stream video. (You don’t need to have a Facebook account in order to see it). We recognize that this is not ideal, but it seems to be the best option available to us at this time. The service and sermon will also be available on the church website and in the church office by midday Monday, barring any unforeseen complications.
This live-streamed service will be somewhat abbreviated and may feel more like a “cottage meeting” than your traditional worship service. We think this will work best for an online service. We’ll see how it goes and would enjoy gentle helpful feedback. Remember, this is new to us all!
Additionally, Linda and I would still like to make the service personal and meaningful. In order to facilitate this, we will be acknowledging the altar flower donors and recipients and including Prayers of the People. Since you will not be able to raise your hands, we invite you to email or text us prayers (any time prior to 9:00 AM on Sunday morning to dale@bccucc.org or linda@bccucc.org ) and we will include them in our live stream. Please be sure if you are mentioning people, to confirm that they would be comfortable with us lifting them up in public AND that you don’t include full names. Perhaps just mention first names. We want to be respectful of peoples’ privacy as we hold them in our prayers.
As I write this, I am comforted in knowing that God is with us. God’s promise is to “be with [us] always, even to the end of time.” None of us are alone at this time, but we are all in this together. Take a moment today and remind yourself that you are loved and precious in God’s sight, that you have folks (at the least a church family!) that care about you and love you. If you have time, check on someone you know and make sure they are well and have everything they need. If you need something, please call on other church members, the church office, or Linda and me, and we will be there to support you.
Blessings and peace be with you,
Dale and Linda
Rev. Dr. Dale Azevedo, Senior Minister
Dr. Linda Hartley, Associate Minister