photo of Rev Terasa
May 12, 2020

A special message from Rev. Terasa

To open or not to open? That is the question. Or is it?

When I was Vice President for Program and Strategy at the UUA, the “Strategy” part of my job focused largely on what we called “Congregations and Beyond.” We had become increasingly aware that there were people who wanted to be a part of the UU movement, but who couldn’t / didn’t want to attend a traditional service in a sanctuary. We started promoting new ideas for how to engage with these folks. A lot of those methodologies are having to be practiced right now while we are unable to gather together in person.

I was very excited by these ideas and even wrote an article in the UU World about it: . Now that I am faced with the reality of being forced to learn new ways, I confess that my heart is in turmoil. I really, really miss being at church with you all! I miss being together in all the ways we used to gather, not just for worship. I know many of you do as well. My heart breaks for our seniors who are isolated in their apartments, not even able to go out of their doors. My heart breaks for our youth who have bonded in a very palpable way, suddenly unable to be together or have their transitions recognized and celebrated. I confess my heart breaks at the realization I won’t be able to have a goodbye hug with all of you!

The truth is I have no idea when we will be able to gather together again. Unless something drastically changes, the risks of being together in larger groups are still terribly dangerous. Those who are most vulnerable would have to take the most risk to be there, or to suffer being excluded.

A number of my colleagues are beginning to strategize about possible scenarios and the staff and Board are beginning to examine those possibilities. We hope to have more information for you soon about what we will start to plan, and will be eager for your feedback.

In the meantime, your incredibly exciting and successful candidating week with Rev. Amanda (yay!!!) is proof that relationships not only can continue but that new relationships can be forged with depth, even if only online. I have been so touched in witnessing how moved you are to be together in worship, even when we can only communicate on Facebook. We are finding ways to make this work, even in the midst of estrangement, fear and confusion.

The Board and Transitions team are trying to work out a way for some kind of goodbye “party” for me. But know that I am still with you until the end of June! And you have the gift of Walter’s continuing service with you.

I wish I had simple answers or could recommend a clear direction. None of us can do that now, unfortunately. But we can try to continue to show up for one another, in whatever way that is possible. We can continue to extend patience and gratitude toward those trying to find a way forward. The love of this community is still palpable.

Stay tuned for more to come. And please stay safe and know we are here for one another. 

Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
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