How We Can Be the Church Now (The Ethical Life: week 2)

If you’re like me, you’ve been getting a lot of emails in the past few days from various groups and leaders sharing their response to the novel coronavirus.

Like those groups, Foothills has also been planning. Both in terms of prevention, as well as response for the more widespread arrival of the illness in our area, which seems at this point, inevitable.  We will be sending out more information with these plans and guidelines in the next two days to everyone connected to Foothills.

For now, I want to focus on the central question we’ve oriented ourselves to as we have been making these plans: How can we continue to be the church through this time?

As in, how will we continue to show up for each other, and be a source of courage and comfort? How can we respond carefully, thoughtfully, and creatively? What does courageous love mean in this moment?

These are the questions we’ve been asking ourselves, and we’d also love to hear what you’d say…What do you believe courageous love asks of us in these days? Respond to this email with your thoughts.  We’re listening.

We know we have a unique role to play in these times as a steady source of connection, community and care.  And, we take seriously our responsibility to maintain a sense of caution and preparedness – especially as a community with a high percentage of those in the higher-risk demographics – all without succumbing to sensationalized fear, racism or xenophobia.

We seek to follow guidance, reason, and science – anxiety and panic is a contagion in these times, too.  In our conversations with experts, they have reminded us that one of the biggest dangers in situations like this is the “worried well” who hoard resources and overwhelm the health care system, preventing those who are actually ill from getting the resources they need to recover.

Given the realities of the virus, it’s likely we’ll need to find some new ways to live out our mission in the coming days and weeks.  However, our mission doesn’t change.  In fact, it’s even more urgent that we find ways to be there for each other, and for our neighbors across Northern Colorado, and beyond.

We certainly didn’t plan that this global health crisis would coincide with our current series The Ethical Life. But, the messages we’ve offered these past couple of Sundays – from virtue ethics and the call to act for the good, to the commitment of our faith to be duty-bound to the all that means all – these can be helpful orientations to keep us grounded through this time.

As we think about our response, two things are most on our minds:

First, if you are feeling especially vulnerable or under-resourced in this moment, please let us know at caring@foothillsuu.orgThis helps us know who to especially remain in contact with, and also we may be able to help ensure you have the resources you need to remain safe and healthy, particularly in the case of larger scale quarantines.

I know there are a number of you out there who fit this description – we are here for you.

And second, if you are at all feeling sick (or one who is especially vulnerable) please stay home. Now is a great time to check out our livestream! And if you need help getting it set up, again, please don’t hesitate to reach out – hello@foothillsuu.org.  If this just isn’t an option for you, you can always catch the sermon on podcast.

In order to ensure that “staying home” is available for all those who need it, we are seeking to grow our ministerial discretionary fund, anticipating the need for church members who don’t have paid time off to have a little extra assistance to make time off possible. If you can make a donation to the discretionary fund, please follow this link and select “Ministerial Discretionary Fund” from the dropdown, or send us a check in the mail with Discretionary Fund in the memo line.

As of now, our plan remains to gather on Sunday for church, to be the church for each other, and to continue to be a steady voice of hope in these times.   Whether in person, or online – 8:30, 10, 11:30.

In community, and with love,
Rev. Gretchen

PS I really appreciated this poem from Dori Midnight, speaking to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Notes from The Ethical Life: Week 2 – All or Nothing   

Listen to the message
Read the transcript

Text
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail
William Stafford’s The Gift
Elizabeth Nguyen’s A Crowded Table in the Time of CoronaVirus
We Persist (for Elizabeth Warren)

Referenced in the Service          
Jonathan Haidt’s The Psychology of Self Righteousness
How the Women’s Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women

Further Resources
Deep dive into deontological and consequentialist ethics
Frederick Douglass: A Woman’s Rights Man
Info on UU the Vote

Music
We sang our series theme song, Your Life Is Now
The band played Queen’s I Want It All at 10 & 11:30

Remember
We dedicate our lives to the proposition
that when we are faithful in our commitment to the whole,
we can and will create a world where we can all get free for all time.

To who, and to what have you pledged your loyalty? And who might have you inadvertently left out?