This week marks 73 weeks that we have been outside the Northlake building. It has been a time of social isolation and fear for some. We have each been required to change plans, change habits and adapt to new ways over and over and over again. I know you are weary of this. I know we just want this to be over, to return to “normal,” to feel comfortable again.
The painful news is that things will not return to the way they were before. When we return to our Sunday church service, we will have the zoom platform running, and I know that some of you are unhappy with this decision. Not only is it a change, but there is a discomfort thinking that our personal, private religious experience will be available for others to view.
When we return in person, we will all have to wear masks indoors as we strive to safeguard the children in our community.
And when we return in person, we won’t be able to hug each other, as we recognize the risk our very breath may pose for others.
There is some good to the changes, however. This time of being forced to learn how to zoom into services and meetings has advanced our skills and comfort, and now people can join us who were previously isolated or remote. I have heard countless requests that we continue our services online so that folk who have health concerns, disabilities or are immunocompromised can continue to join us. We have been forced into the tech age, and our walls have been widened to include many who need this community.
Northlake is a community that is in covenant with each other. This means we do the work of attending to the needs, the fears, the hopes and the dreams of all. It is not easy work. It is not easy when we have to change, to adapt and to rethink our normal ways. It is especially not easy when we are tired of doing this so much over that past year and more.
Our covenant to each other is that we will care for each other. We won’t always get this right, but we don’t give up in embarrassment or frustration. We return again so we can practice how to live into a covenantal community, until we learn how to live according to our hearts, until we look like who we dream we are.
August Worship: Puget Sound Worship Collaborative continues!
Rev. Kristen Kuriga’s sermon title is “Watering The Seeds of True Self.” How do we foster our connection to something larger than ourselves? This service will explore the gifts of creating daily rituals to connect us to ourselves, nature, and all that is.
Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee’s sermon title is “Fun Times.” The idea of having fun is associated with children, and play, but is it something adults can embrace? Do we know how to have fun, how to laugh, how to have pleasure? The service will look at what fun can offer us in life.
Rev. Joe Rettenmaier’s sermon title is “Expanding the Experiment.” How does our collective yearning for dismantling myths of supremacy in our world transform our faith into the thriving multicultural beloved communities we seek?
Rev. Kristen Kuriga, Blessing the Animals service! Join us to celebrate our blessing of the animals. This is an opportunity to honor the connection we have with our beloved pets and to express our gratitude and well wishes for the friendship and care they bring to our lives. There will also be a time to honor and remember pets who have died. We are creating a slide show of members of our congregations with their pets. If you would like a picture included, please send it in an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “Blessing of the Animals” as the subject. Photos are due by Monday, August 16. We also invite you to bring your pets to worship with you so we can see them and bless them in our live zoom service!
Rev. Kuriga and Rettenmaier will hold a joint service, closing out our summer collaborative worship together!
Multi-Platform Church Services
When we return to Sunday services in September, we will continue to have the online Zoom platform available so that people across the country can join us. There has been some concern about privacy expressed by those who will attend in-person, so here are some guidelines that may assure some of you:
First, we are not recording or streaming the service. Just like the Zoom service now, people will not be able to view any part of the service (other than the sermon) after Sunday morning.
Second, we will not be showing the faces of those in the congregation. There will be a camera in the rear of the church that may show the back of heads, just like the view you would have if sitting in the church.
Third, we will have a private area set aside where people can sit that no camera will display.
For Joys & Concerns, there will be candles and a sandbox available in the back of the room for those who do not want to appear on the camera.
Please let us know if there are other ways we might address concerns for privacy. We are working to create a balance between personal concerns and greater access for those who remain in their homes for safety considerations.
Northlake Doors Are Re-opening!
Each of our indoor meeting spaces now is capable of having multi-platform use. This means that meetings can be scheduled at the building beginning August 1st, as long as the committee or team also assures that Zoom is also scheduled, offering a safe way for all people to attend.
Each room has guidelines on how to be safe in that space, including masking, ventilation and occupancy guidelines. These are available in a shared google drive, and will be posted in each room.
Sunday morning church services will be rolled in slowly. Our first in-person service will be available on Sept. 12th, and it will also be available on Zoom. There will be no in-person coffee hour or Children’s Religious Education. If all goes well (with both COVID and church considerations) we will expand our program beginning in October.
Our choir will be practicing in-person (although the choir director will be in Nashville!), and we are eagerly hopeful that it will be safe to sing together in October.
We are not asking for vaccination status proof from those entering the Northlake building. We do ask that if you come into this space you be aware that we have vulnerable members who cannot get vaccinated, or who are still at risk even though they are vaccinated. Please, get vaccinated if you qualify.
All Northlake events that happen inside require a mask be worn.
There will be no food or beverages served indoors in order to reduce the risk of viral infection.
Nonfiction reading discussion in September
Joining the nonfiction reading discussion in September? Please read Active Hope by Joanna Macy. Make notes on your insights and questions. It’s a short one and a half hour discussion so you will want to be ready. Join zoom per the instructions provided in the weekly email newsletter before 10:30 am on September 11.
This short book is big on ideas to renew ourselves so we can focus on the unique skills each of us have in the global fight against climate change. We can each participate uniquely in the Great Turning.
Beginning in September we will be hosting Wednesday evening programs for all who want to join. There will be a gradual startup due to the ongoing pandemic crisis, but will eventually expand to weekly activities. If you have a program suggestion, please present it to Margaret Rogers or Rev. Nancy for consideration!
Eventually the plan is to have a Community Meal one night, an evening of singing, an evening of spiritual practice, and a UU history class. If there is a fifth Wednesday in the month, we will offer a time for new folk to learn more about Northlake.
In September we will begin a 10-session workshop titled “Spirituality in Practice.” This will be offered once a month on the second Wednesday, and it will be multi-platform so folk can attend both in person and online. It starts on September 15th at 7:00PM in Adams Hall (or zoom).
Here is the introduction to the course: “Spirit in Practice was created to help Unitarian Universalists develop regular disciplines, or practices, of the spirit- practices that help them connect with the sacred ground of their being however they understand it. Spirit in Practice affirms religious diversity while seeking unity in our communal quest for meaning and wholeness.”
On the fourth Wednesday of each month we will explore UU history. This will begin on September 29th at 7:00PM, and we will be watching the 6-disc video series titled “Long Strange Trip: A journey through two thousand years of Unitarian Universalist history.” Because this will feature videos we will not be able to have this available via online platform. We will meet in Adams Hall in person.
Please register for these gatherings through the Northlake office at email@example.com
Klara Anderson – 1st
Raymond Holtz – 21st