Introducing our Interim Minister

Our congregation is currently weathering two very significant experiences. As single occurrences, the pandemic and our ministers’ departure are challenging obstacles that have shaken our sense of safety and familiarity. Our path, however, has brought us to encounter them simultaneously. Fortunately, as Unitarian Universalists we embrace and accept uncertainty, recognize the creativity that new opportunities present, and, as a community, have found our way together.

Our dedicated Interim Minister Search Team has culminated their search, and it is my pleasure to announce that The Reverend Dr. Michelle Collins will be our Interim Minister for the next year. I am humbled by the thoughtful and committed way in which you– we– are meeting this challenge, and I believe that Rev. Dr. Collins will skillfully steer us through this uncharted territory.

Rev. Michelle has extensive ministerial experience in pastoral care, social justice, worship and congregational life, membership development, small group ministry, adult religious education, hospital chaplaincy, and communications and publications. Rev. Michelle comes to us from the Lewes and Rehoboth Beach area of Delaware. She is a graduate of Starr King School of Ministry, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and recently received her Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. She has served in Unitarian Universalist churches in Maryland, Delaware, and California, as well as at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She is also a researcher for the Soul Matters monthly theme program.

On the personal side, Rev. Michelle resides in a “tiny house on wheels” which will be making its way west to California quite soon. She is the parent of a teenage daughter and also cares for three highly demanding cats. She also likes reading and tabletop gaming (including playing magic-wielding characters in Dungeons & Dragons).

As your Board of Trustees, we were responsible for setting next steps and considered multiple options. I feel encouraged, after watching her virtual worship service, that Rev. Michelle’s experience and specialized trauma training will serve our beloved community in the precise way we need and seek during this coming year.

I invite you all to watch her preaching here.    

Rev. Dr. Collins is looking forward to returning to the Bay Area and can’t wait to see where this time of transition will take us. I hope you will join me, and the Board of Trustees, in welcoming her. She’s looking forward to meeting each of you soon!

–Kerry Simpson, Board President

Notice of Upcoming Congregational Meeting, May 17, 11:45 am

Dear Members:

Our church bylaws call for an annual “Celebration and Planning” meeting of the congregation on the third Sunday in May. Now we know that we should make a provision in the bylaws for times when we are unable to meet in person. In the meantime, given the COVID-19 public health emergency, we are following guidance from the UUA and California nonprofit law. We will hold the meeting on Zoom and will take minor votes by Zoom poll and more major votes (e.g. on the budget for next year) with Survey Monkey. Decisions made at the meeting will be affirmed during the next in-person congregational meeting.

Details for logging in to the meeting have been sent to all members.

We have a wonderful tech support crew lined up to help with the logistics: Dayana Claghorn, David Rosales, Paul Worhach Hudson, and Greg Lemieux. To avoid zoombombing, you will need to be admitted to the meeting. So please try to assure that you are logging in with your actual name.  To avoid cacophony, all participants will be muted until a co-host unmutes them. To avoid distractions, there won’t be concurrent “chat.” You will have opportunities to digitally “raise your hand” with questions or comments. David Rosales will brief you on protocol at the beginning of the meeting. The Survey Monkey will start near the end of the meeting and will continue until 8 pm, Monday, May 18.

This May meeting traditionally includes presentation of Schweitzer awards and annual reports, both written and oral, but this time will be different.  Included in this agenda packet is a summary annual report of major accomplishments and activities for our church year to date. Staff will continue to work with lay leaders to produce a more polished and detailed annual report later.

The crux of the meeting will be deciding on the budget for the coming fiscal year, July 1, 2020–June 30, 2021. Forecasting income and expenses is always a challenge, and this year perhaps more than ever. We just don’t know how much impact the pandemic will have, but we know we can’t count on our revenues staying at the level where they were. The proposed budget has been worked on in some detail by the staff and the Board of Trustees. Tess O’Riva and Larry Nagel will explain more during the meeting.

We hope you will be able to attend.

Kerry Simpson, President
Ann Harlow, Secretary

Please click hereto review the entire agenda packet for the Congregational Meeting taking place on Sunday May 17, 2020. Or, review each document separately:

Board of Trustees message, 4/27/20

Dear UUCB members,

If you would like to witness either of the Board’s upcoming Zoom meetings, just select these links:

Wed. April 29, 7 pm (special meeting): https://zoom.us/j/95775413219
The agenda includes next year’s budget, the May 17th congregational meeting, a report from the interim ministry team, and what to do about worship over the summer.

Wed. May 6, 7 pm (regular meeting): https://zoom.us/j/92976666703

We are moving our “listening” time back to the beginning of each meeting, but we can only allow ten minutes to hear from visitors, so we encourage you to voice your thoughts in other ways. The sidebar “chat” is one, but you may not get an answer during the meeting. (I, for one, think I’ll keep the sidebar closed so I don’t get distracted from what Board members are saying.)

Normally, a Board member provides a listening presence in the Atrium at least once a month. From now through May, Elaine Miller has volunteered to listen to your concerns and suggestions. You can call her at 510-528-2523 and leave a message suggesting some good times for her to call you back. Also, Board President Kerry Simpson continues to hold “office hours” on Tuesdays from 3 to 5 pm and would welcome your calls then at 510-508-8098. You can also email the entire Board, along with Tess and Christian, at board@uucb.org.

Another great opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions is the new weekly Zoom meeting with Tess O’Riva, executive director, at 6 pm on Thursdays before Vespers: https://zoom.us/j/690225549

Sincerely,

Ann Harlow, Board Secretary and Communications Co-Chair

Comments by Kerry Simpson during worship, 4/26/20

Hello! As your Board President, I just wanted to take a moment to speak to you about some resources available to help you process and cope in this difficult time.

First and foremost, we are a community, and as such are here for each other. From a team of Easter Bunny helpers to our own grocery delivery volunteers, we take care of each other, and it warms my heart to see it.

As your Board, we are making every effort to be here for you, listening to your ideas and concerns, and inviting you to be engaged with our processes. Tess, our Executive Director, has started an Ask UUCB virtual chat to answer your questions about how UUCB is handling this transition as an institution. Board members are hosting open forums to listen to your concerns, and we have changed our process to ensure all congregants can access our virtual Board meetings. The UUA has provided materials and resources to guide us in this time of transition. Details on all of this can be found on our website at uucb.org and in The Week Ahead newsletter.

We know that the challenges we are facing as a congregation are happening within what is already an unparalleled event in history. We are living in the times our descendants will study about in school. Hopefully they will learn from these times and follow our example of caring for each other every day and finding solace in the community we have created.

Thank you, and may you and yours be safe and well.

Board of Trustees Message: Summary of our Zoom Ministerial Transition Workshop, 4/22/20

Hello dear UUCB members,

I am one of your elected Board members. And I’m happy to send you this summary of our congregation’s Zoom Ministerial Transition Workshop this past Sunday, 4/19, with Rev. Jonipher Kwong and Sarah Gibb Millspaugh of the Professional Life Staff of the UUA Pacific Western Region.

The purpose of the meeting was to get information and guidelines for our congregation as we enter this transitional time—a liminal time, Jonipher and Sarah noted—saying our good-byes to Revs. Kristin and Christian and choosing our transitional ministerial direction.

Attended by 81 congregant households, this very well-organized meeting included excellent presentations by Jonipher and Sarah; break out, small group discussions; and a Q & A and straw poll. Attendees sent comments and questions throughout the time.

The presenters laid out these spiritual tasks for our consideration—

staying grounded during this journey and being gentle with ourselves and one another. We are one UUCB family.
creating a good ending as we say goodbye, acknowledging the progress, innovations, gifts and accomplishments that Kristin and Christian have given to our church, while also acknowledging our grief. Endings evoke ambivalent feelings.
embracing uncertainty—something UU’s are good at.
being willing to learn from our experiences and embrace the new.
For transition ministry, the presenters discussed four options, noting their pros and cons (**see end of this summary for details**)—

Lay-led
Interim
Developmental
Consulting/Contract
Meeting attendees were asked—“Which of these transitional ministry options do you think would help UUCB move its mission forward? (Multiple Choice).” Based on 69 votes, the straw poll results were—

Lay-led 3% (2/69)
Interim Minister, then Settled Minister 67% (46/69)
Interim Minister, then Developmental Minister 33% (23/69)
Consulting/Contract Minister 6% (4/69)
These straw poll numbers give us trends, but do not constitute a final decision, which will be made by the Board-appointed Interim Ministry Committee and the Board.We will continue to update the congregation as we move along and through this liminal time—and always as a Beloved Community.

In deep gratitude and love,

Helen Tinsley-Jones
Member, UUCB Board of Trustees

***PLEASE NOTE***

The following document from Presenters Rev. Jonipher and Sarah was sent to UUCB to more fully explain our options.

Different Kinds of Ministry

Exclusively Lay-Led:

Some very small congregations have no professional ministry, though they may occasionally hire a minister to speak on a given Sunday or teach a class. This is typically not recommended for congregations over 40 in membership. Another consideration is volunteer capacity, especially with congregations that have an older

demographic. Please note that even in congregations with professional ministers, lay leadership still has a vital role to play in the life of the congregation.

Interim Ministry:

An interim minister serves a congregation for one or two years after their minister leaves and while they are in search for a new settled/called minister. The role of the interim is to help the congregation use the time between ministers to change old habits. They help bring in the new minister in a way that allows a fresh new approach as well as an acknowledgment of the grief that many may feel at the leaving of a beloved pastor. Many interim ministers are specially trained and certified for this work. Congregations seeking an interim need to apply through the UUA Transition office. Generally the UUA will send the board a few names for consideration and the board hires the interim from those ministers offered. Under no circumstances can an interim apply to be the called minister.

Called or Settled Ministry:

The congregation goes through a yearlong process with a search committee to find a minister who will covenant with them for long-term service. The offer of a position is made after a vote of the membership to call this minister to serve this congregation. Called ministry is usually full time, but it is not required that it be full time. The FTE (Full Time Equivalent) does need to be adequate to meet the needs of the congregation. In a search that is 3/4 time or more, the regional transition program will assign a trained Regional Transition Coach to aid in the search. There is a fee for this required

coaching service. Open positions are posted in the UUA Transitions system online. Churches and ministers follow the procedure outlined in the UUA Transition Ministry Handbook, found at https://www.uua.org/sites/live-

 

Contracted/Consulting Ministry:

Contracted/Consulting ministers are most common in part time ministry positions, but can be full time. The board hires the minister. A small search committee is formed to sort through applications, often made of a few board members. Sometimes, the congregation will vote to affirm the board’s choice at the time of hire. There is an employment contract that is reviewed on a yearly basis (each spring), and renewed if both the board and minister want to continue the relationship. In contracted ministry searches, the regional primary contact coaches the congregation in the search process. Open positions are posted in the UUA Transition system online, but the Primary Contact may also reach out to ministers who might be interested in applying. Note that ministerial candidates such as divinity students with permission to work in a congregation can only serve one year unless there’s approval from the Credentialing Office/MFC and Primary Contact to extend the contract beforehand.

Developmental Ministry:

Developmental Ministry is a special program for congregations who seek to make major cultural shifts in order to enhance the health of the congregation. It is a unique contracted ministry that is time limited, usually five to seven years in length. There is no option to call the minister after the contract is fulfilled. If a congregation is interested in making big changes, and everyone is on board with the developmental goals, the board fills out an application for developmental ministry. The application is reviewed by the UUA Transition office and the Pacific Western Region (PWR) Congregational Life Staff. The application will list, among other things, some of the changes they want to make. If the church is accepted into the Developmental Ministry program, their Primary Contact will work with them to establish a small search committee from the board. The position will be posted on the UUA Transitions System. The UUA and PWR staff will select a few of the applicants who they feel are right for the job and give their materials to the search committee. They will interview these pre-candidates and will recommend one for hire. The Developmental Minister is hired by the board as it is a special kind of contract ministry. No interim minister is usually needed after a Developmental Minister and a congregation can go directly into a new called position.

Board of Trustees Message about our Ministers’ Departure Announcement, April 16, 2020

For the past four years, our congregation has been blessed to have Revs. Kristin and Christian Schmidt as our ministers. Whether by nurturing small group ministry, worship associates, and pastoral care, helping to reshape family ministry and administration, inspiring social justice and online connection, or sharing their musical talents and other generosities, they have made us a better church, a better community.

Christian and Kristin’s news this week that family considerations have led them to another ministry calling has literally taken our breath away. Many among us are shocked or surprised, while also coming to understand their choice – their need – to be close to family for support in raising their boys.

So many questions are arising about what this means for our church – especially in what is already an unstable time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Who will guide us in our ministry? How will that be decided? What does this mean for our future?

Fortunately, as Unitarian Universalists we embrace and accept uncertainty, recognize the creativity that new opportunities present, and trust that we as a community can find our way together.

As your Board of Trustees, we are responsible for setting next steps for where we as a congregation go from here. We have multiple options including an Interim Minister, a Contract Minister, a Developmental Minister or perhaps another alternative entirely. No decision about a specific option has been made.

Because of the particular schedule required to consider hiring an Interim Minister, we need to submit information to the UUA by April 23. At an emergency Board meeting on Tuesday night, the Board appointed an Interim Ministry Search Team comprised of Suzette Anderson-Duggan, Bill Brown, Jean Gleason, Sheldon Jones, and Deborah Schmidt. We appreciate these talented and dedicated members and their willingness to put in the time to allow us to pursue the interim minister alternative. Their work in gathering information about the church and its needs will help us move forward no matter the direction in which we decide to move.

To help answer questions about our options, you are all invited to join a Zoom call with Rev. Jonipher Kwong, the Professional Life Staff of the UUA Pacific Western Region this Sunday, April 19 after worship (in lieu of Virtual Coffee Hour). Look for the Zoom link in UUCB’s Week Ahead.

The members of the Board of Trustees have already heard in this short time from congregants about the many feelings the ministers’ departure raises, and we share many of these same feelings. Amidst the isolation of the pandemic’s social distancing, Kristin and Christian have made sure members stayed engaged through phone calls to all congregants, online worship, and Zoom gatherings. We can honor their service best by continuing to reach out, lend an ear, and support each other and the congregation as a whole through these times of transition at UUCB and beyond.

As we work our way through this ministerial transition, the Board is dedicated to being open and thoughtful about the options, fully engaging and communicating with the congregation, and grounding our decisions in our covenant and our mission.

In the meantime, please stay tuned for an announcement about celebrating Kristin and Christian’s ministry and saying our goodbyes– even if it is with social distancing.

Kerry Simpson, President for the Board of Trustees
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Telephone: 510-525-0302
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News from Reverends Kristin and Christian Schmidt, April 14, 2020

Dear members and friends of UUCB,

The last few weeks have been a time of great change and big feelings as we grapple with life while sheltering in place. The ways the members of UUCB have shown up for one another and our wider communities during these days of quarantine really reflect who this congregation is at its best. We write to you today with some news about yet another big change, news which feels strange to share in this context, news which we wish we could share with you in person.

Rev. Kristin has accepted an offer to be the ministerial candidate for the UU Church of Silver Spring in Maryland where our family plans to move over the summer. Rev. Christian is exploring interim and contract ministry options in the area and plans to grow his clergy tax preparation business. We have not made the decision to move lightly, nor have we made it because we are unhappy as your ministers. When we took up the co-ministry of this congregation four years ago we had two children and both sets of our parents were alive and healthy. Over the last four years we lost Rev. Christian’s mother, welcomed two children from our extended family into our home, and learned our youngest has special needs. Moving to Maryland will be a move back “home” for Rev. Kristin and will allow our children to grow up with one set of their grandparents.

We had no idea when we first began discerning this potential move a few months ago that a pandemic would befall the world this spring. We regret that the timing of this announcement is so difficult, and that we cannot be together with you in person at this time, but we hope you can understand why this transition is right for our family. The vulnerabilities in our society that this public health crisis has revealed have only reinforced our longing to be closer to family at this time in our lives.

We also want you to know how much we value our shared ministry with UUCB. We are proud of our work with all of you to expand and support lay leadership, bring the congregation closer together across generational lines, strengthen our staff team, transition Family Ministry into a program better suited for 21st century families and volunteers, and clarify the congregation’s accounts and finances. While the days ahead hold uncertainty for us all, we hope you will embrace the gifts your next interim minister brings to bear and continue to discern how UUCB is being called to serve here and now, especially in this time of rising need.

Rev. Jonipher Kwong from the Pacific Western Region will join us this Sunday, April 19 after worship on Zoom (in lieu of Virtual Coffee Hour) to answer your questions about what comes next and to share the options UUCB has moving forward. We hope you will join us and him on Sunday after the service and that you’ll let us know if you’d like to schedule a time for a phone or Zoom conversation with either or both of us.

We will be working with the Board and the Committee on Ministry to find the best ways possible to say goodbye and celebrate the ministry we’ve all done together before our last working day on June 15. We wish the very best for UUCB and for each of you and are grateful to have had the honor of serving our faith together with you for the last four years.

In faith and affection,

Reverends Christian and Kristin Schmidt

Letter from the Board March 23, 2020

As your Board of Trustees, we recognize that this is a unique, uncertain and unprecedented time in so many ways in our own personal lives and as a congregation. In this moment, we are focusing our time and energy on taking care of ourselves and one another – including checking in with every member household and providing what support we can in this difficult time. We are heartened by the care that members of our community have shown for one another as well as embracing other ways to connect as a congregation.

As we contemplate the uncertainty in the larger world and our own lives, and to give ourselves more time to better understand how it will impact our own financial plans, we wanted you to know that we have decided to extend the stewardship campaign through the remainder of the Church year ending on June 30 instead of concluding it in early April. During this extended period, there will be additional information and opportunities to participate and support UUCB. We will learn more about the impact this virus is having on the wider world and better assess how it impacts us as families – including the Church family.

So this is kind of just taking a deep breath, looking around at all of the joy and wonder in our world, among our friends and in our beloved UUCB and appreciating the connections that help us call this our home.

Do You Need Help Getting Groceries or Meds? 

As we shelter in place and go out only as needed, some of the less vulnerable among us are stepping forward to make necessary errands for those who can’t or shouldn’t go out. This is very generous, because in fact no one is immune to serious illness from this virus. We thank these volunteers for their loving assistance.

If you are “older” – variously defined as 60 or 65 or 70 or more – or for any other reason are especially vulnerable, PLEASE CONTACT USrather than go out yourself and risk infection. We may be able to help you connect with available delivery services. And we will shop and deliver to you in person if that is the best solution.

We want to be sure everyone has the essentials to weather this difficult time.

Contact: GroceryDelivery@uucb.org, or 510-356-3496 to leave a message. The outgoing message at this number may contain pertinent updates. Susan Lankford is coordinating this grocery delivery effort for UUCB.

Pastoral Message from Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, President of UUA

Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, shares a pastoral message for Unitarian Universalists experiencing the impacts of COVID-19 in our communities and congregations.

Announcement March 18, 2020

Dear UUCB friends,

Six Bay Area counties announced a “shelter in place” order for all residents on Monday directing everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks as public health officials desperately try to curb the rapid spread of coronavirus across the region.

The directive began at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and involves San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties, and it is to stay in place until at least April 7. Three other Bay Area counties — Sonoma, Solano and Napa — were not immediately included.

These are anxious and uncertain times, and we want each person in our congregation to remain as healthy as possible. We encourage you to find creative ways to occupy your time. If you need some inspiration, feel free check out how our Italian brothers and sisters are making the best of this situation here.

While we are not able to physically connect with our loved ones and our community, we are blessed with modern technology that allows us to check in on each other over video and text messaging, phone calls, emails, etc. We will offer virtual Sunday worship for the next several weeks via Facebook Live, and any groups that wish to meet online are welcome to use UUCB’s Zoom video conference account. For more information about how to set up a meeting on Zoom, please email Rev. Christian at RevChristian@uucb.org.

We invite you to gather virtually with us for the following opportunities to be in community:

Thursday, March 19

Vespers and Community Check-In
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
After lighting our chalice and hearing a centering reading we will enjoy a time to check in with one another and be together in community on Zoom! Click this link to join us: https://zoom.us/j/500955388

Sunday, March 22 

Morning Worship
11:00 to 11:30 a.m.
We will gather on Facebook Live for a simple service of readings, music, and prayer. Make sure to have a candle handy! 

Virtual Coffee Hour
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
After worship we invite you to switch over to Zoom for a time to connect “face to face.” The link to Virtual Coffee Hour is listed below, but we will also share it in the comments on the Facebook Live feed during worship. Click this link to join us: https://zoom.us/j/249116376 

Instructions for Facebook Live

>From a computer:

  • Open a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Windows Explorer, etc.)
  • Make sure your computer’s sound is on and turned up
  • Go to https://uucb.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=5a84a51e329988f782183e97b&id=a447f655da&e=3b850e1c0d
  • Click on the “Videos” tab on the left side of the screen
  • Once the worship service has started, the video will begin on the screen. If it doesn’t, try refreshing the page (click a symbol that looks like this: ⟳), and it should come up.
  • If you don’t have a FB account, you can follow the same steps. When asked to sign in, don’t. The live feed should still come up without signing in to an account.

>From a smartphone

  • Make sure your phone’s volume is turned up.
  • Open the Facebook app.
  • Using the search tool (top of the screen), put in “UU Berkeley”, our church page should be the top choice, and click on it.
  • Scroll left through the light grey options (below the “Learn More” blue button) and click on “Videos.”
  • At the time of the worship service a notice should pop up that we are showing a FB Live video, which you can then watch.

It’s hard to predict how something so unpredictable may impact our church’s budget, but we have a lot of faith in your commitment and generosity. You know as well as we do that our Good Neighbor organizations are depending on our support now more than ever for the incredible work they do in our community, and that the church continues to serve our mission even when we cannot gather in our building.

In times of anxiety it can be tempting to pull back, but we hope you will join us in continuing your generosity practice. You may send a payment to PayPal (give@uucb.org.)

We strongly encourage you to please reach out to us if you need a pastoral call. We are all in this together, we have a tremendously caring congregation to lean on, and we have many ways to give and receive support even though we cannot gather in-person. May our prayer be for comfort through the storm, for love and kindness to guide our actions, and for the well-being of our friends and neighbors.

May love and compassion be our guides as we move through the days ahead, together in spirit and purpose.

In faith and affection,

Christian and Kristin
Senior Co-Ministers

Announcement March 14, 2020

Dear UUCB friends,

Today ends what has been one the most unusual and unnerving weeks in living memory for many of us. A week ago the prospect of cancelling events at church was still controversial, but now even the NBA, NFL, and Disneyland have shut things down to slow the spread of this virus. Parents are grappling with what to do with their kids while schools are closed for several weeks. People who have been advised not to leave their homes more than necessary are looking for ways to stay healthy and keep busy. Hourly wage earners are anxious about how the slow down in business will impact their paychecks. Many households are navigating more than one of these concerns.

Over the next several days a team of caring UUCBers will be making phone calls to try and check in with every member household in the congregation. We are so grateful to everyone making these calls, and even if you aren’t one of the “official” callers we encourage you to pick up the phone and check in on the people you know at church, from your book clubs, your neighbors down the street, and anyone you know of who might be having a hard time right now. This is the time those of us who are not higher risk can offer to make grocery and pharmacy runs for those who are. This is the time to tuck a sudoku or crossword puzzle booklet in your neighbor’s mailbox. This is the time to schedule video chats with the grand kids so you can read to them while their parents put their feet up. This is a time when our whole community needs all of us to act with love and care, to act in safe ways to stay connected.

We are gearing up for another way to connect tomorrow morning. We hope you’ll give our online worship a try at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow (Sunday). We’ve been working with Acting Director of Family Ministry, Catherine Boyle, and Music Director, Bryan Baker on the service and are looking forward to being together with you then. Here, again, are the instructions for tuning into Facebook Live:

From a computer

  • Open a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Windows Explorer, etc.)
  • Make sure your computer’s sound is on and turned up
  • Go to https://www.facebook.com/uuberkeley/
  • Click on the “Videos” tab on the left side of the screen
  • Once the worship service has started, the video will begin on the screen. If it doesn’t, try refreshing the page (click a symbol that looks like this: ⟳), and it should come up.
  • If you don’t have a FB account, you can follow the same steps. When asked to sign in, don’t. The live feed should still come up without signing in to an account.

From a smartphone

  • Make sure your phone’s volume is turned up.
  • Open the Facebook app.
  • Using the search tool (top of the screen), put in “UU Berkeley”, our church page should be the top choice, and click on it.
  • Scroll left through the light grey options (below the “Learn More” blue button) and click on “Videos.”
  • At the time of the worship service a notice should pop up that we are showing a FB Live video, which you can then watch.

And if you are not in the higher risk category, we encourage you to come to the Social Hall tomorrow any time between Noon and 2:00p.m. to pack Connection Kits for our elders and Spirit Kits for our children.

We also wanted to address a concern that several of you have raised in the last few days regarding how this pandemic may impact the church’s income. This is a realistic concern, and yet right now we think it’s most important to focus on those among us who are struggling with how this is impacting their well-being and livelihoods. While it’s hard to predict how something so unpredictable may impact our church’s budget, we have a lot of faith in the commitment and generosity of all of you. You know as well as we do that our Good Neighbor organizations are depending on our support now more than ever for the incredible work they do in our community, and that the church continues to serve our mission even when we cannot gather in our building.

In times of anxiety it can be tempting to pull back, but we hope you will join us in continuing your generosity practice. Whether you send a payment to PayPal (give@uucb.org) or mail in a check or some cash to the church office, we hope you will continue to make offerings each week. We also encourage you to take a look at the latest Stewardship Videoand hear about why Michael Armstrong loves and gives to UUCB.

We hope to “see” you tomorrow for worship on Facebook Live, and we hope you will let us know if you need a pastoral call. Don’t forget to wash your hands, turn off the news sometimes, go outside for a walk (keeping a distance of 6 feet between you and anyone else), and reach out by phone, text, or email to your neighbors. May love and compassion be our guides as we move through the days ahead, together in spirit and purpose.

In faith and affection,

Christian and Kristin
Senior Co-Ministers

Announcement March 12, 2020

Dear UUCB,

We continue to monitor the recommendations made by both the CDC and local health departments and have made some important decisions to protect everyone’s health that will significantly impact congregational life.

Event Cancellations

  • The service in memory of Gwendolyn White will take place as planned this Saturday, March 14 at 1:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. We urge anyone who falls into the higher risk category (60+ or any age with underlying health concerns) and who is concerned for their health to stay home.
  • In-person worship and all Sunday morning events are cancelled this Sunday, March 15 and until the Contra Costa County Health Department lifts its recommended ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • Please be in touch with the leader of any group you are part of at church to determine whether your group will be meeting next week. We encourage all groups with several members at higher risk to cancel their gatherings or move to meeting online using UUCB’s Zoom video conference account. For more information about how to set up a meeting on Zoom, please email Rev. Christian at RevChristian@uucb.org.

Online worship Friday and Sunday
In lieu of in-person worship, we will be mailing worship resource packets out to members of our congregation who have little or no access to the internet. We will also offer the following services via Facebook Live (instructions for accessing Facebook Live appear at the end of this e-blast):

  • Online Vespers service this Friday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m.– this is a great chance to virtually connect with our community, center yourself after a wacky week, and give Facebook Live a try before Sunday morning.
  • Sunday Morning Worship on March 15 at 11:00 a.m.– we will offer an abridged version of our usual Sunday morning worship, complete with Time for All Ages, music, prayer, and reflections. Stay in your jammies, brew up a cup of tea or coffee, and tune in for a time to be together, even if we can’t gather all in the same physical space.

Ways you can help
We have heard from many of you who are eager to help provide support and comfort to those who may be feeling isolated during this time of social distancing. Thank you! Here are a few ways we could use your help keeping everyone connected:

  • Phone calls– Members of the Board and other lay leaders will be making phone calls to check in on everyone in the congregation. Please email Rev. Kristin at RevKristin@uucb.orgif you would like to join in the effort. She will send you a basic “script” of topics to cover and a list of names and phone numbers to call.
  • Connection Kits– Many in our congregation may not be capable of or feel comfortable leaving the house much in the coming days and weeks. We invite anyone who is not in the higher risk category to join us in the Social Hall on Sunday any time between Noon and 2:00 p.m. to pack up small kits with basic necessities and expressions of our congregation’s support. All participants will be required to wash their hands when they arrive and we will maintain a distance of a few feet between one another at all times. People in the high risk category or who appear to be under the weather will be sent home immediately. We will have information about how you can help deliver these kits when you arrive on Sunday.
  • Spirit Kits for Kids – Many classes and events for kids are being cancelled and it’s possible that schools will cancel their classes in the near future. We invite all families who do not have anyone in their household who is in the higher risk category to join us in the Social Hall on Sunday any time between Noon and 2:00 p.m. to make Spirit Kits with games, activities and ideas for spiritual practice to help children and youth pass the time. All participants will be required to wash their hands when they arrive and we will maintain a distance of a few feet between one another at all times. People in the high risk category or who appear to be under the weather will be sent home immediately. We will have information about how you can help deliver these kits when you arrive on Sunday.
  • Continue making offerings– If we let it, fear and anxiety can lead us to make different decisions than we usually would. So, we encourage everyone to keep up your practice of generosity during this pandemic. The church will continue to serve out our mission even when people cannot gather in our building and our Good Neighbor organizations will still depend on our offerings to fund the good work they do in our community. To pay with PayPal send your offering to give@uucb.org. Or, you can mail in cash or a check to the church office. In all cases, please be sure to indicate it is for the weekly offering in a note.

It’s tough for us as an organization whose purpose is to “create loving community” to cancel in-person gatherings. The support and connection we give and receive as part of this community is important, and though we are working on ways to help keep people connected through the mail and online, I know it doesn’t replace being together in person. And yet, keeping physical distance right now is the kindest, most loving thing we can do for one another, and especially for those among us whose bodies are more medically vulnerable.

We are all in this together, we have a tremendously caring congregation to lean on, and we have many ways to give and receive support even though we cannot always gather in-person. May our prayer be for comfort through the storm, for love and kindness to guide our actions, and for the well-being of our friends and neighbors.

In faith and affection,

Kristin and Christian
Senior Co-Ministers

Here are instructions on how to access worship via Facebook Live:

From a computer

  • Open a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Windows Explorer, etc.)
  • Make sure your computer’s sound is on and turned up
  • Go to https://www.facebook.com/uuberkeley/
  • Click on the “Videos” tab on the left side of the screen
  • Once the worship service has started, the video will begin on the screen. If it doesn’t, try refreshing the page (click a symbol that looks like this: ⟳), and it should come up.
  • If you don’t have a FB account, you can follow the same steps. When asked to sign in, don’t. The live feed should still come up without signing in to an account.

From a smartphone

  • Make sure your phone’s volume is turned up.
  • Open the Facebook app.
  • Using the search tool (top of the screen), put in “UU Berkeley”, our church page should be the top choice, and click on it.
  • Scroll left through the light grey options (below the “Learn More” blue button) and click on “Videos.”
  • At the time of the worship service a notice should pop up that we are showing a FB Live video, which you can then watch.

Announcement March 10, 2020

Dear friends,

We have been monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (also known as the novel coronavirus) as well as recommendations by the CDC and local health departments about what we can do to keep ourselves and one another healthy. We’d hoped that by encouraging common sense illness prevention methods we would be able to avoid significant impacts on worship and programming. However, the growing number of confirmed cases in our region as well as new public health recommendations mean we must take greater precautions:

Continuing illness prevention

  • While this virus does not pose a serious threat to some, it has been deadly for older people and those of any age with underlying health conditions. Even if someone is symptom-free they can be a carrier for the virus, which is why the CDC has recommended that people over 60 and people and with compromised health stay home as much as possible.
  • The most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and any similar virus is by washing your hands thoroughly, with lots of soap, for at least 20 seconds. Washing your hands every time you return home, before you eat, before going to sleep, and after sneezing or coughing can help prevent the spread of most illnesses.
  • If you are not feeling well, whether you think it could be related to COVID-19 or not, please stay home.
  • Should you or someone in your household show symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 please contact your doctor immediately. If you test positive for COVID-19, or if your doctor encourages you to self-quarantine, please notify the Co-Ministers as soon as possible by calling 510-592-8738.

Worship and other gatherings

  • Depending on a number of factors, we may need to cancel in-person worship and other gatherings for a period of time. We will let the congregation know by Friday, March 13th whether the service on Sunday, March 15 will continue as planned.
  • Whether we cancel in-person worship or not, we will offer worship online via Facebook Live each Sunday for the foreseeable future. Just tune in to the UUCB Facebook page at 11am on Sunday morning. Please note that worship may be different from the descriptions on the website and in the Beacon for the near future.
  • While we will take necessary precautions to protect everyone’s health, the memorial service for Gwendolyn White this Saturday, March 14 at 1:00 p.m. will continue as planned.
  • In light of the CDC’s recommendations we are reaching out to the leaders of all church groups to discuss modifying or cancelling their gatherings. For example, our Music Director, Dr. Bryan Baker, has already cancelled choir rehearsals and the choir will not be singing on Sunday mornings for the time being.
  • Our kitchen team is suspending Sunday’s snacks and light lunches until further notice. Other groups that usually share food should reconsider what to do during this outbreak.

We know that opinions about how to navigate public life during this pandemic span the gamut, but as Michael Levitt, former Secretary of Health and Human Services said in 2007, “Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after a pandemic will seem inadequate.” Our chief concern in all of this is protecting everyone’s health, and especially those most vulnerable to this virus.

We encourage everyone to check in by phone or text with your neighbors and to reach out to friends in the congregation about their wellbeing. While this is a time for extra precaution, it is also a time to draw together in safe ways and to care for one another.

In faith,

Rev. Kristin and Rev. Christian
Senior Co-Ministers