As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to play out, First Unitarian Church of Victoria will continue to face uncertainty.
Months ago the Board formed a COVID-19 Advisory Task Force. The Task Force members are co-chairs Kristina Stevens and Jim Willis, Nancy Dobbs, John Tiffany, Rev. Melora Lynngood and ex officio Steve Sharlow (President). They have worked with Liz Graham and John Hopewell on a congregational survey gathered the thoughts and feelings of the congregation on restarting church services and other functions, to inform Board decisions.
We are concerned that people become informed enough to give reasoned responses to the questions on the survey.
They need to know what is feasible and what is not. For example it is not feasible to present an in-person and a Zoom service at the same time both because the quality of the service would suffer and because each type of service takes significant people resources to produce. Our ministers have been very clear that it would be much too stressful for them to attempt both Zoom and in-person services at the same time.
We are following all provincial policies and guidelines applicable to Phase 3 of B.C.’s Restart Plan. For more information on the policies which are applicable to us, links to BC directives and UUA guidance documents follow:
- Message from the UUA President: Updated Guidance for Gathering (May 14, 2020)
- UUA Guidance on Gathering In-Person When COVID-19 Subsides (May 14, 2020)
- B.C. Ministry of Health, COVID-19 Guidance to Faith-Based Organizations (March 31, 2020)
- B.C.’s Restart Plan: Next Steps to Move B.C. Through The Pandemic
- UUA Guidance for Outdoor Gathering During COVID-19 (June 19, 2020)
- Order of the Provincial Health Officer, Mass Gathering Events (May 22, 2020)
The policies and guidelines still provide us with flexibility in terms of choices we can make and how things are implemented.
The views of all members and friends will be taken into account and are not only welcome but needed! If you have suggestions that you didn’t manage to add to the survey feel free to email any of the Task Force members. The results of the survey will help determine our way ahead with both small group meetings and Sunday services.
We are looking to provide options for members and friends by increasing small group meetings online via Zoom, or live at the church or in your neighbourhood, and preferably outdoors. Live small group meetings should be not more than 10 people. If you need help in setting up regular Zoom meetings let one of the Task Force members know and we will try to arrange training from some of our technical experts.
For Sunday services we are using Zoom services and are continuing to improve the services weekly. We can also use livestream services from the Sanctuary and will be considering an audiovisual upgrade to maximize its capabilities. We are limited to no more than 50 people in live services which includes the minister, worship associate, technical staff, greeters. Covid-19 safety plan.Read more ›
Although we must stay apart for our health during the pandemic committee chairs and and team leaders may still have their meetings by using Victoria Unitarian’s Zoom with each participant using their own computer, laptop or cellphone.
Victoria Unitarian’s Zoom program permits only one meeting at a time – and will bump off the first group if another one starts a meeting – so use a wide margin of time between meetings.
To book a time check the calendar then if your time is available email the office.
How to participate in a Zoom session: https://youtu.be/fGbpwZNW3oI
For training/tutorials, webinars and best practices https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/201740096
Short tutorials on scheduling a/o participating in meetings: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials
Click here to read the Zoom cheat sheet.
If you still have a question or just need encouragement to use Zoom, contact Wally du Temple firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more ›
Your COVID-19 Advisory Task Force (Kristina Stevens, Jim Willis, Nancy Dobbs, Tiff Tiffany, Steve Sharlow, and Rev Melora Lynngood) has received Board approval to modify our procedures to better reflect our members’ wishes from the survey, the science and recent changes to the provincial guidelines.
Sunday morning worship will remain online until phase 4 of B.C.’s re-start plan which will allow for larger gatherings (50 or more people).
This means we will plan for online Zoom worship through May 2021. This may be revised if, for example, the BC government changes its guidelines. The updated guidelines approved by the board are at here.
A survey of church members and friends was undertaken in June to help the Board assess the members’ levels of risk tolerance.
You told us that a majority felt vulnerable to COVID-19, and many were reluctant to take part in any in-person activities, especially indoors, until a vaccine is available. For this reason we are planning to continue with online worship services. A number of responses expressed concern to avoid setting up in-person church functions which would exclude those who felt unable to attend. View survey results here.
There were also a small number of responses from people who very much wanted to meet indoors in person for worship and social contact. To facilitate this, we encourage groups to meet in person while worship stays online so that people can get together to watch the online service.
If sufficient volunteers can be found, we will set up in-person viewing of Sunday services on Zoom in the Lion Hall, for those who would like to attend. We are working on the technical and volunteer aspects of holding in person viewing in Lion Hall and hope that it will be ready soon.
Protocols for indoor meetings would be observed. If you are interested in volunteering to support this, please email Nancy Dobbs.
The amended guidelines will permit gatherings of up to 50 people in the Sanctuary, up to 25 people in Lion Hall, up to 7 people in the Farmhouse Common Room and up to 50 people gathered outside the church. These numbers would also permit choirs and musical instruments, preferably outdoors.
In order to ensure that everyone is familiar with the plan, we will be holding a Zoom online forum to answer any of your questions on Tuesday, October 6 from 7 pm – 8 pm. Please check the e-weekly for the sign-in information.Read more ›