As things slowly open up in Massachusetts, we have been preparing to open our church building for modified use, balancing safety with the needs of the groups that use it to do their essential work. In particular, some AA groups and the Little Acorn Nursery School are looking to return. The Standing Committee approved an updated building use policy during COVID at the July meeting which is available from our Building Events Coordinator, Jess Volk (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and on our website: www.uuchelmsford.org.

We wanted to communicate these important highlights:

  • all groups, whether First Parish or outside rental, must follow the Massachusetts state guidelines for indoor gatherings, including wearing masks and keeping a six foot distance.
  • to accommodate these social distancing guidelines and for the safety of staff and volunteers who need to use the offices, group meetings will generally be restricted to the vestry. Only designated downstairs bathrooms will be available.
  • meeting in person for all groups should be essential to the purpose or work of the group. Any First Parish group who wishes to meet in person in the building should have a conversation with all their members as to why it is necessary to meet in person and ensure that all members of the group feel safe or comfortable to do so.
  • use of the building must be reserved and confirmed with our Building Use Coordinator, Jessica Volk.
  • all groups are expected to clean and sanitize the space after use, including the bathrooms.
  • worship, the central practice of our congregational life, will remain virtual through the summer and into the fall.

If you have questions, please reach out the COVID Task Force: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you for your understanding and care of one another and our First Parish Community.

Tom Coffey, Gail Burati, Michelle Hillman, Jim Curley, Steve Zocchi, Dolores Heredia-wood and Rev. Ellen Spero

As we wrap up the current church year - Thank You!

Church leadership and the staff would like to acknowledge and express our gratitude to everyone in the congregation. We appreciate you for the patience, love, compassion and flexibility you have shown each other as we have navigated through this difficult time. The Standing Committee established a Provisional Pledge process for FY21, and the congregation approved a 4 month provisional budget to start FY21 at our annual meeting. A COVID Task Force was formed. Best of all, the virtual worship services have been wonderful! Well done by all!!!

  • COVID Task Force will meet during the summer

    The COVID Task Force has held five meetings to date and will continue to meet during the summer. We will take advantage of this quiet period to create a vision for a hybrid re-opening, and then determine the criteria and logistics for making it a reality. Your ideas and concerns are welcomed at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • The building will remain closed for general use

    Even if you have a key, please refrain from entering the building at this time unless you are staff or a volunteer in an essential role. Please consult with the task force at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss possible exceptions. Thanks for bearing with us as we implement safety precautions for those who need to be in the building to do their work.

  • Regarding your first parish meetings this summer

    With the arrival of beautiful summer weather, and as Massachusetts advances through its phases for re-opening, the desire to meet in person may grow. We ask all committees and small groups remember our covenants to each other, especially those around being inclusive and accessible for all. Will any members be excluded as a result of venue choice?

  • We are not rushing to re-open. No on-site worship, programming, or events

    With health & safety as our primary concern, we will continue to keep our building closed to any on-site worship, programming and events until we have safety protocols in place with the resources and people to implement them. We plan to continue with:

    • Remote Worship and programming through the summer (July and August)
    • Remote Worship and programming at the start of our next church year (September)
  • Remote broadcasting will continue

    We are recommending that remote worship & programs continue to be available into the future, even after the building is opened. Our commitment to accessibility, especially for our most vulnerable, remains strong.

  • The task force is your first point of contact

    The COVID Crisis Management Task Force is a subcommittee to the Standing Committee. Their objectives are to:

    • Keep the Staff, the Congregation, and all who enter our church as safe as possible from contracting or spreading the virus
    • Provide a central place for discussion and planning across First Parish with relevant committees and for input from the congregation
    • Establish policies and procedures for when and how we might re-open our church for worship, programming and building usage by the congregation and 3rd parties Create generic policies and procedures for crisis management

    This task force is your point of contact for any ideas or questions you might have related to COVID and crisis management at First Parish. We welcome your suggestions, questions and concerns on how best to honor our covenant during this pandemic. Please use the email address below. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The members of the task force are: Dolores Heredia-Wood, Rev. Ellen Spero, Gail Burati, Jim Curley, Michelle Hillman, Steve Zocchi and Tom Coffey.
In faith together, the COVID Task Force on behalf of the Standing Committee