Many thanks to all 94 (!) of you who took the time to respond to our survey about your considerations, concerns, and comfort level to help us determine how and when we consider Phase 1 of reopening the church in some way. The Board of Trustees, and ministerial and administrative staff have carefully reviewed your responses and spent thoughtful time assessing the appropriate actions to take. Some of you had some great “out of the box” thinking about ways for us to hold services or alternative meetings in order to connect, learn, and worship. Many of you expressed thoughtful concerns about safely gathering while preserving our closeness at the same time.
As you will have noticed in the last few days, Hays County is matching or leading Travis, Bexar, Harris, and Dallas County in per-capita COVID-19 infections. Texas in general is having a spike in cases after certain restrictions were lifted in May, and the way the larger population areas reopen will be considered in the way we reopen. We do watch these numbers and keep track of “hotbeds” around Texas and the country due to large or packed gatherings, restaurants and bars reopening, irresponsible behavior, and, sadly, due to churches reopening too soon or too carelessly to prevent outbreaks. This data, along with lots of visioning and brainstorming, and with your responses to the survey, influence our decision-making.
Unfortunately, there was a small but significant percentage of responses that do not lend to Phase 1 reopening in the near future.
This percentage is based on 11 people (almost 12%) to 17 people (18%) who would not be willing to refrain from attending if they are: 1) in a high-risk group; 2) have knowingly been exposed to the virus and have been quarantined; and 3) knowingly have the flu or any other contagious disease. If any respondents misunderstood or misinterpreted these questions, please feel free to contact Rev. Jill or Kit if you would like to clarify your answer.
There was at least one person who was comfortable with us opening the doors and seeing what would happen; and one who felt that personal choice and responsibility were being disregarded. A large percentage were opposed to touchless temperature checks. We have the dilemma of the necessity of bathroom use vs. having enough volunteers willing to sanitize the facilities after each use. MOST of you were willing to wait until cases dropped in the area and when safety could be assured for all. But anyone who does not share that opinion puts too many others at risk. Therefore, we will be delaying our decision until we have different data, from the national level to our church community level.
The spiritual lesson here lives in the teachings about “the body of Christ,” the many essential parts that make One. We are called to focus our attention and intention to hold close to each other, even as we are apart. That means that the good and the safety of the One Body, Unity of Wimberley, must take precedence over individual desires. We all miss each other! We miss our intimacy as a community! But if we lost even one dear soul because we gathered too soon or too carelessly, how shall we live with that, knowing we could have done it differently?
We are always open to your thoughts and ideas as we make our way down this path that none of us have ever trod. We are constantly considering new ways to make connections, to engage each other, to care for each other. And we trust that, although we can’t see the end of the journey, the Light of Truth shines on that path one step at a time.
With much love and many blessings,
Rev. Jill Carey
Chip Slade, President, Board of Trustees