I am appreciative of everyone’s flexibility and generosity of spirit as we learn how to manage hybrid worship step by step. We are three Sundays in and have already learned a great deal. One is that most people who attend in the sanctuary like to sit in the back and off camera while those watching at home see a mostly empty sanctuary. This points to how the realities of what we are experiencing in the sanctuary and at home can be quite different. Another is that we miss singing: both congregationally and listening to the choir. Steve is starting to rehearse with the choirs and exploring ways to share their music. As for congregational singing, we are monitoring the UUA guidelines and hoping they will let us know when and how it is safe to do so.

Another is that we got used to typing joys and sorrows in the chat instead of writing them in the book or emailing them to me ahead of time, like we did before COVID. What you may not realize is that I could not really see the joys and sorrows last year during the service and that there is no way for those in the sanctuary to see an online chat at this time. That is why I am asking people to send them to me ahead of the service. Here are some other things that might be helpful to know: · If you have been waiting to attend worship in the sanctuary because you wanted to leave the pews available for others, please know that there is a plenty of room. We can accommodate forty to fifty people with social distancing but up to this point, we’ve only had about twenty. We have had a couple of new people attend in the sanctuary, so it would be lovely for them to meet more of us. This is not to put pressure on you if you do not feel comfortable attending in the sanctuary. This is only letting you know that you won’t be preventing others from attending if you do come! · If you are watching online (or in the sanctuary for that matter) and are missing interacting with other First Parishers, join the Zoom social hour after worship. This is a great way to see and talk with people. · The Worship Tech Team, the Worship Committee and I are planning a meeting on October 31st to review the capabilities of our broadcasting system, assess where we are now, and brainstorm short-term and long-term goals for hybrid worship. In other words, it won’t always be like it is now. We just need some time to learn and work together. In gratitude, Rev. Ellen