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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 whose purpose is to gather the thoughts and feelings of the congregation on restarting church services and other functions, to inform Board decisions. 

Liz Graham has been working on a background document describing the options and some of their limitations to be presented as a preamble to the survey. 

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 already 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, etc. 

Upcoming Event – Church picnic (limited to 50 people) scheduled for August 3.