Lent can be a special season to release thoughts holding you back and discover limitless possibilities of growth and renewal. You are invited to request Unity’s new booklet, Release and Renew: A Spiritual Practice for Lent 2021. Order now to receive by the start of Lent, Ash Wednesday, February 17.
Our goal is to keep you updated on happenings in the church as well as the ongoing administration of the church. During these challenging times, we are maintaining an active church community providing many opportunities for you to enjoy with us. Listed below are the topics we covered at our Town Hall (Zoom) Meeting on Sunday, Nov. 15th.
1. Several online social events have been held such as game night and the pet blessing. These help us to stay connected with opportunities to share ourselves with one another. We will be continuing to plan future events. If you have an idea for an online gathering, please get involved and send us an email or call Chris Zelle.
2. YED Gift Shower – We have a brand new Youth Education room and nursery. To allow everyone the opportunity to help create this fun space, Jackie Cunningham and Shelly Kaufman will be preparing a gift registry (possibly at Target) so that we can individually purchase items to contribute (ex: stuffed animals, diapers, art supplies, etc.). Be on the lookout for further details via email when this registry is posted.
3. The Sunday Study Group which is led by the licensed Unity teachers will begin a new book series in January based on the book Ask Yourself This by Wendy Craig-Purcell.
4. SOS Team (Sandy Sheppard and Vickie Power, co-chairs) will begin our annual participation in providing meals to the Winter Warming Center Nov. 21st. For more than 15 years, the SOS team has prepared and served dinners at the Winter Warming Center (which was formerly called the Springfield Overflow Shelter). The WWC serves approximately 60 members of Springfield’s homeless population. If you would like to make a donation and share in this commitment, please make your check payable to Unity of Springfield with SOS in the memo line and mail to the church at 417 E. Cordelia, Springfield IL 62703.
Also, instead of using the usual “Give Warmly Project” bins for clothing donations, go to www.helpinghands.org, and a list of needed items can be found under the “How you can help” button. Another suggestion for drop-off donations for the homeless population is Harvard Park Baptist Church & Community Center (217-522-6202).
5. Church Finances – Our general fund balance has held steady from July. Our monthly income is meeting our expenses. We have been gratefully blessed with extra giving from some members. That being said – I am not too shy to say – as we head into the holiday season and if you are in a position to support us with a gift, your generosity would be greatly appreciated.
6. Our Holiday Services (on Zoom) will include Candle Lighting 12/20, Vespers 12/23, Releasing 12/27, and White Stone ceremony 1/3/21. Goody Bags are being prepared by volunteers, which will provide the supplies you need for these Services plus a little love gift. These bags will be available for pickup at the church on Sunday, Dec. 6th from noon to 1 pm and Monday, Dec. 7th from noon to 3 pm.
A reminder was given for the UOS Benevolent Fund which was initiated last Christmas season. We collected $900, and during this year, funds were given out to assist a few members experiencing major financial hardship in addition to a seed contribution given to Greater Springfield Interfaith Association to initiate assistance for the growing homeless population. If you wish to make a donation, please make your check payable to Unity of Springfield and designate Benevolent Fund in the memo line.
7. Reopening Team update was given by Paul Biggers as team chair. The team members include Jackie Cunningham, Chris Smith, Vickie Power, and Cindy Luton. The purpose of the UOS Reopening team is to investigate, analyze and recommend to the UOS Board of Trustees the actions necessary to allow safe, in-person, activities within the UOS Church building.
“We have gathered information from several churches in the area who are open with restrictions and made notes. Socially distanced, masks, service schedules, usher escorts, no congregational singing or responses and nothing passed by hand.
The Team is addressing (a) external Controls (COVID-19 guides and rules of IL state and local governments); and (b) our own Church’s specific Conditions, meaning its physical, staffing or financial circumstances that affect our ability to firm up the list of recommended Criteria for re-opening the Church. – Controls and Conditions can (and do) vary over time, the resulting re-opening Criteria also will vary during the same time frame. Currently, both worsening external controls and our Church’s own circumstances are limiting our ability to proceed as desired.
Additional Staffing for technology development and management are under discussion. It is possible our Church finances may be affected. Some issues related to Social Spacing within the Church building will require revisions, and additional cleaning measures are also being discussed.
We are not able to recommend reopening this year, although planning and discussions will continue. Continued progress toward re-opening will be pursued throughout the early portions of next year. Periodic updates of such progress will be made available in UOS bulletins.”
A heartfelt thank you to all for your loving participation and spirit-led commitment to Unity of Springfield.
UOS Board President
I want to take a moment to recognize how much all of us truly miss being together as a church family during this time of COVID-19. Things are quite different this year than in previous years, as we now have become accustomed to terms such as “social distancing,” “flattening the curve” and even “lock-down.” We have been asked to stretch in ways we never thought possible.
We know the “church” is not a building, and that in fact each one of us is the church. Who could possibly have known we would show up to church in a little stacked tile on a computer screen? However, that we can all be together in some way right now is surely a gift.
While some of us might say that our patience is wearing a bit thin, I would encourage you to keep your confidence in the indwelling Christ as you navigate these uncertain times. We are being called both inward and outward at the same time. We are navigating uncharted waters. In the midst of a pandemic, we are also being called to social action. It is a good time to be grounded in principle. Take time for yourself in the silence, inside your holy temple. That is where you will find God waiting for you to offer reassurance, strength and love.
We will meet again someday soon! I love and miss you all! If there is anything I can do to minister to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.