On Congregant Treatment: If you haven’t read our governing policy statements in a while (or ever), you might not realize that they include some specific directions about how you are supposed to be treated by me! Our policies forbid your Minister from allowing or causing “conditions, procedures, or decisions that are unsafe, untimely, undignified, or unnecessarily intrusive.”
More specifically, I shouldn’t ask for information that is “clearly unnecessary,” or allow anyone else at CVUUS to collect information that isn’t protected from unauthorized access by others. I also have a responsibility to see that our facilities have an appropriate balance between accessibility and privacy. When you come to me or other staff members for support, we are to give you clear guidance as to what we can and cannot give you. And finally, we are to give you a way to be heard if it is reasonable to conclude you have not been protected in the ways I’ve described above.
Clearly, this policy is subject to lots of potential conflicts in interpretation. It’s hard to imagine that I or any of our wonderful staff members can execute it perfectly. But we want to do our best and to keep improving, so I sincerely invite you to let me know – kindly if possible – whenever you feel I am falling short in my treatment of you. If your concern is with another staff member or a congregant, please try to sort it out with them first and then come to me if concerns persist.
On staffing: With Kate Gridley retiring after 20 years of serving as an accompanist and her fellow accompanist Chuck Miller hoping to return to Florida during future winters, as well as uncertainty about what the pandemic will allow us to do with group singing and choir music, there is broad agreement among the congregation’s lay leaders and Rev. Barnaby that the time has come to revisit the longstanding issue of whether CVUUS should try to consolidate our paid music jobs into a single music director position. We welcome everyone’s input on what they would like to see happen with any aspect of our music as we develop a Music Director job description. Feel free to contact Rev. Barnaby or Carol Harden, head of the Music Ministry Team, if you have immediate ideas or questions. Watch our communications for updates on the process we are developing for deciding whether this possible change is the right thing for us as we head into 2021-22.
Looking further ahead, Rev. Barnaby also announced that he and the Board have begun discussing his long-term retirement plans. He said he will present a tentative timeline for this multi-year process to the congregation by next September
On COVID Policy: The Board-appointed Covid 19 policy team met in March 2021 to clarify and weigh updating broad outlines of our campus use policies. The state is loosening up and vaccination for adults is expanding rapidly. That is giving us confidence we will be able to have worship in some form in the Sanctuary during June, hope for a summer program that includes indoor worship for adults and on-site outdoor activities for children, and Sunday morning activities approaching normal in the fall. However, for now, the team’s position is that we should not implement any substantial changes. So, to summarize:
1) No congregants will be invited to Sunday morning worship pending further notice. Those creating worship can continue to use the Sanctuary for live or videotaping service elements providing all distancing, cleaning, and masking rules are observed. The current sign-in procedures will continue unless the Safe Congregation Team recommends changes. People who have been fully vaccinated, including the waiting period after the last vaccination, are not required to mask if only vaccinated people are present, but are urged to do so. We will use the honor system but people are required to enter the date of their final required vaccination on the check-in sheet.
2) Small groups cannot yet meet on campus without the approval of Rev. Barnaby or, if he has delegated the decision, Laura. We continue to observe the state guidance to use “necessity” in making judgments. In general, a “necessary” onsite meeting will be one that serves a broad social action need for which one of our spaces is especially well suited (for example, cooking for Charter House in our Fellowship Hall kitchen or the use of the Sanctuary for the Red Cross blood drive). A second category would be meetings where the facilities themselves are a focus of the discussion (for ex., meetings of the Facilities, Library, or Safe Congregations teams).
3) Inclusiveness is a primary concern in all we do. Small groups with permission to meet on campus shall, wherever practical, make it possible for other congregants to participate via Zoom, Skype, phone or some other remote access technology. For more, see cvuus.org. All small groups shall intentionally address our goal of keeping those who cannot be at an on-campus meeting as fully integrated into their meeting process and outcomes as possible.
4) Maintenance activities and any work on the facility or landscape shall be coordinated through Laura and performed to the greatest extent possible with masking and proper distancing.
5) Employees are allowed to work on campus but encouraged to continue working remotely until fully vaccinated. Masking on campus and other existing safety measures will continue to be our preferred practice for employees until further notice.