January 19, 2021 —
Dear Unity Family,
I want to take this opportunity to say “Happy New Year!” Your trustees have launched into 2021 with enthusiasm serving this community we love. We are preparing for our 2021 Annual Meeting which will be:
Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 12:15 p.m. via Zoom (link will be sent through Plugged In).
We hope you will make plans to spend some time after Rev. Teresa’s Sunday service on Facebook and make the switch over to Zoom for the meeting.
We are making the transition to Rev. Teresa’s leadership and are grateful to all of you for your loving support. We had a great Community Meeting with our expert guide, Rev. Martha Creek. We have been fortunate to have her as our succession consultant.
The trustees met this week and wanted to update you on in-person services. We are not going to hold in-person services yet. We hear you, we feel you! We all want to get back to in person services. Your board made the decision to move services from in-person to virtual in March when the number of cases was increasing daily.
In August and September, as the number was trending lower, we outfitted the building to hold limited in-person services for those who wanted to come. We rearranged the seating, made stations for temperature checks, created a sign-in station for contact tracing, recruited and trained volunteers to help with the services, and arranged for necessary sanitation. Just as we did that, the number of positive cases and deaths began increasing dramatically. That is when, in November, we put our plans for in-person services on hold.
We have been monitoring the numbers of new cases in Volusia and Flagler Counties and they are not decreasing in sufficient numbers to begin in-person services. It is one of our high priorities to begin in-person services when the trustees determine it is safe to do so.
Some things that we have taken into consideration:
- Some churches that began having in-person services had to close due to COVID outbreaks – some more than once.
- Some ministers and church staff have become infected with COVID.
- A large majority of churches have not instituted in-person services.
- Some churches have had trouble getting their congregations to follow the rules set for resuming in-person worship.
If in-person services are offered when the board determines it is safe and in a limited way, there would be no fellowship. Congregants would come in one at a time; have their temperature taken; sign in for contact tracing; ensure that everyone wears a mask at all times; be seated by our ushers one at a time; and be dismissed out of the building after the service one at a time by our ushers. Bathroom visits would require an usher for hand sanitizing, and no food or drink – not even a bottle of water – would be allowed in the building.
Our question is, “What would we gain and what would we risk?” After prayerful consideration, research, and deliberations, the trustees unanimously think the risks are not worth the gains.
Friends, this has been a difficult year for everyone on this planet. I am proud to say Unity of Daytona Beach has not missed one Sunday or special service, our staff has not missed one day at work, our staff has learned new skills on the fly, we are continuing to improve the quality of virtual services and have done it with love – all this to continue to provide our message to each and every one of you. I believe we have done extraordinary work to accomplish our mission and have been successful.
While we wait to be in a sacred circle holding hands and singing “Let there be Peace,” we can find peace in the knowing that we are keeping you safe until we can be together – really together – once again.