Dear First Parish Community,
As we welcome a new year and its possibilities, we also find ourselves continuing to navigate the effects of Covid on our lives. While the ongoing uncertainty and need for flexibility can feel tiresome, we are also grateful for the opportunities to safely gather in multiple ways these past months. Throughout it all, First Parish leadership has sought to listen to the guidance of experts, to monitor metrics, and to adapt protocols as conditions have changed.
As conditions in recent weeks have taken a dramatic turn for the worse, we suspect that you will not be surprised that we once again need to adapt. For multiple days in recent weeks, Massachusetts has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic. From November 1 to the end of December, hospitalizations more than tripled, overwhelming our hospitals.
As a result, we’ll be pausing our in-person services, meetings, and gatherings, while continuing to offer online services, SEEK classes, and other programs. We anticipate that this change will remain in effect through February 15. We’ll continue to monitor metrics and adjust our timeline if the data indicates conditions are improving or worsening.
Rev. Stephanie and/or Alyssa Lee will continue to lead worship from within the Sanctuary. Polly Oliver will also provide music from the Loft. All onsite service participants will be asked to either test, remain masked when speaking or singing, or speak unmasked from another room within the building. As before, some elements of the service, including the chalice lighting, will be led online from congregants’ homes.
The Covid Re-Entry Team will continue to meet weekly and will keep the Parish Committee up to date as conditions change. This surge is expected to last for four to six weeks. As we go through this surge, we wish you good health as we together await opportunities to more safely regather at First Parish as well as with family and friends.
Rev. Stephanie May
Deb Stubeda and Annie Stubbs, Co-chairs, Parish Committee