COVID Guidelines for Northlake as of March 2022
As long as the COVID risks are HIgh or Substantial (according to the King County public health dept.) Northlake UU Church will require social distancing, masks on in-doors, no food/beverages indoors, and vaccinations/boosters for all attending.
When the Kirkland area statistics are in the Moderate range Northlake will follow these guidelines:
Vaccines required for all aged 12 and over, and vaccines encouraged but not required for those under 12 that are eligible to receive them.
Masks will be required for Sunday morning services, children’s programming and Choir. Masks may be removed for committee meetings or group gatherings if there is an open and respectful agreement that everyone in the space feels comfortable and safe without masks.
Social distancing will remain a standard practice.
Outdoors gatherings will not require masks or vaccinations. Food/beverage consumption may take place.
Choir Practice can be indoors, in-person as long as there is social distancing, good ventilation practices, vaccinations and masks are worn. There will be a virtual practice option for those who cannot practice in-person.
Choir Performances can take place indoors toward the end of the worship service, with good ventilation and short performances.
These recommendations will be modified over time depending on local COVID statistics and restrictions. We will also use the COVID-19 Indoor Safety Guideline tool to assess the safety of choir rehearsals & performances, as well as other gatherings if COVID cases begin to rise.
Sunday Services in April
April 10 | Inspired by Faith by Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee. We find meaning and grounding in moments of awe and wonder. This is the work of church, to inspire us and help create meaningful life. And the natural response to this is generosity and gratitude for each other and for the community. We will explore this today as we kick off our annual Stewardship Campaign.
April 17 | Flower Communion by Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee. Flower Communion is one of the UU “Holy Days”. It honors spring, growth and new life. Join us as we share this ritual together, and be sure to have a flower next to your computer screen or bring it in hand to the building.
April 24 | Whose Side Are You On? by Rev. Ranwa Hammamy. The lyrics of this song written by Florence Reece have lived on for 90 years, fueling movements for labor justice and beyond. How do we, as Unitarian Universalists who believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, answer this question in today’s fractured & violent world? What does it mean for us to “Side with Love,” and how can we each do our part?
April Guest Speaker (8th Principle Services):
Rev. Ranwa Hammamy (they/she) is a Unitarian Universalist-Muslim minister, with a commitment to serving at the intersection of pastoral & prophetic community ministries. They serve on the UUA’s Side With Love Organizing Strategy Team as the Congregational Justice Organizer. Ranwa has also previously served as Director of the UU Justice Ministry of California and on the Steering Committee of DRUUMM (Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries), a national organization for UU People of Color.
Children in the Church!
We are welcoming our children and youth back to Northlake! It is wonderful to hear and see folk we have been missing for the past few years. And we welcome new ways of being with them!
Beginning in April we will continue our long-standing practice of forming an arch as we sing, with children filing out to be in the outdoor playground on the first and third Sundays. On the second and fourth Sundays we are inviting all ages to remain in the Sanctuary together. This allows our young folk to remain with parents if they wish, and to remain welcomed within the whole church community.
We are planning a special space in the foyer where there will be activity bags, books and tables so our younger community will feel welcomed and embraced.
The 8th Principle
For the past year the Northlake congregation has worked toward being ready to endorse the 8th Principle. Our endorsement will amplify the message coming from congregations across the country that we want to be actively engaged in racial equity, and in the healing of the historic damage to the fabric of democracy.
On April 10th the congregation members will be asked to vote in support of the UUA adopting the 8th Principle. We have done much work toward this vote:
1. We have had a number of sermons that address Social Justice, particularly in regard to racial trauma, equity and justice;
2. The Board of Trustees has engaged in a year-long discussion of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change’s book that reported on the audit of the power structures and analyzed systemic racism and white supremacy culture within the UUA;
3. We engaged in a year long speakers program called The Eighth Principle Series that included Rev. Anthony Johnson, Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, Nicole Pressly, Paula Cole Jones, Mykal Slack, and upcoming speakers Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, Alex Kapitan and CB Beal.
4. We participated in a 4-hour workshop titled “Building A Culture of Inclusion” led by Paula Cole Jones;
5. We offered book discussions and small group discussions on racial justice.
It is now time for the Northlake congregation to take the learnings from the past year and vote. Let us acknowledge that the vote will not change things in a tangible manner, but will show support for the work of changing the larger system.
The vote will also not mean that our work is done. The Board has directed the Ministry Team of Northlake to create a Racial Justice Task Force that will evaluate our internal practices and habits, ultimately recommending changes so that we are accountable, bringing equity and diversity to our hiring practices and adapting to become the congregation we envision.
Reaching toward what is next at Northlake
By MaryEllen O.
This hope is our door, our portal.
Even if we never get back to normal,
Someday we can venture beyond it,
To leave the known and take the first steps.
So let us not return to what was normal,
But reach toward what is next.
Amanda Gorman, New Day’s Lyric
While grief and sorrow were always with me on this journey, intentional focus on hope and positive outcomes has been a primary coping mechanism for me throughout the pandemic. I’ve attended to positives that were easy to see – continued connection through Sunday services and gatherings on Zoom, mid-morning gardening and sunshine between work meetings, fewer commuters and cleaner urban air quality, quieter waters and a healthy baby Orca in Puget Sound. Although counter examples get more attention, my heart was recently warmed by a study that found in 2021 people were generally kinder to strangers and gave to charities on average 25% more!
Hoping for positive outcomes I cannot see yet takes more courage. It has been difficult to look to the future in a time full of uncertainty, however, to refuel my inner fire I need to dream and invest my time and energy in reaching toward a hopeful future. Northlake is the community where I have the most opportunity to act out this hopeful courage! I have acted by supervising youth game nights, serving on the tech team for Sunday services, supporting our incredible employees by chairing the Human Resources Committee, and preparing for a Capital Campaign to take the first steps toward our shared vision of a thriving Northlake for generations to come. I am refueled by such meaningful effort and the positive impact it can make.
Every one of us offers time, talent, and treasure by showing up for Northlake in all the ways we can. This is not at all about showing up in the same way as someone else, but I encourage each of us to find a new way to share our gifts by being fully present or offering to help with an event, signing up to be an usher or greeter at a Sunday service, joining a committee or taking on a leadership role, and giving the monetary amount that reflects your courageous hope for the future of Northlake. We depend on each other to do this, to show up again and again, to invest meaningful effort and resources.
While the words Amanda Gorman wrote in New Day’s Lyric at the dawn of 2022 were intended for a much broader coming together of humanity, the place I feel it happening most in my life is right here in the Northlake community! We are venturing beyond the disruption of the pandemic and collectively reaching toward what is next for Northlake with the courage to believe a hopeful future is possible.