ACT FOR AN EQUITABLE WORLD
MESSAGE FROM UCM BOARD
September 17, 2020
Dear UCM Members and Friends,
It has been a strange six-months for all of us as Covid-19 impacts us individually and collectively. We are grateful to Rev. Fiona Heath and the team of contributors who have responded so effectively in the moment to shape and deliver our on-line services. The number of Sunday participants has remained steady, sometimes even exceeding the average attendance. Together, UCM remains strong and connected.
The UCM Board’s decision to remain closed over the summer has been revisited and we have some updates to communicate:
- We do not plan to reopen UCM for worship, meetings, or rentals until at least January 2021.
The rationale for this decision is based on the recent steady uptick in cases in Peel and the GTA; the potential of a surge after the reopening of schools and some businesses; and the dropping temperature of Fall that will prevent outdoor alternatives. In addition, our congregation has a high percentage of individuals who themselves, or whose family members, would be characterized as “vulnerable” by reason of age and/or compromised immune systems.
It is also our corporate responsibility to keep our staff safe from exposure, which we have enhanced with contact tracing and sanitizing practices for volunteers who must enter the building to carry out responsibilities for the care of our assets, both material and financial.
UCM is in a strong financial position with pledges that continue to flow and the support of the rent and salary subsidies from Federal Government programs. The Finance Committee has determined that UCM’s financial health can be maintained without rentals and that we could, if necessary, tolerate a deficit.
The Montessori Tiny Treasure School has resumed in Building B and in Founders Hall. Routines have been established to prevent unnecessary and/or unprotected contact with staff the main Administrative Building.
- The UCM Board strongly discourages indoor in-person gatherings for UCM-sponsored off-site activities.
Most Committees and Task Forces have transitioned into online platforms such as Zoom. We recognize that some have met outside with strict social distancing and sanitizing routines. Others have continued the important work on our grounds and in our gardens. Going forward, we highly recommend that no group meet indoors until UCM officially reopens. Even outdoor encounters should be respectful of the needs and wants of each prospective participant, each of whom would be giving informed consent for participation with the understanding that they would be undertaking the risk personally.
- UCM Covid Task Force
The UCM Board has struck a Covid Task Force to monitor government directives and institutional best practices, and to ensure that UCM responds appropriately. The members of the CTF are: Co-Presidents Mara Bullock and Collette Dowhaniuk; Treasurer Becky Bridel; Administrator Tisa Zabarylo; and Insurance Agent Michael Loeters. To date, the CTF has amended rental agreements, established contact tracing and sanitizing protocols, and is advising the UCM Board and staff going forward, informed both by our insurer’s advice and training materials as well as Board of Health directives.
- Pastoral Care and Lifespan Learning
Pastoral Care by Rev. Fiona Heath and the Caring Circle will be held by phone or Zoom for the time being. Director of Lifespan Learning, Kathleen Cairnie-Sorensen, is also serving families and youth through virtual programs. Rev. Fiona will respond to pastoral emergencies as is best under the circumstances.
- UCM Programs and Activities
The staff and Board intend to continue to evolve ways to fulfill our DNA and Strategic Plan in creative and effective ways. We are using this challenge of the Covid 19 Pandemic as an opportunity to serve our congregation and community. There have been some unexpected benefits as we have been able to extend our reach to former members who had moved out-of-are as well as share with other Unitarians in the GTA, the province, and across Canada.
- We want to hear from you!
We will be sending a brief survey to the congregation. You’ll be able to share your views about in-person gatherings, respond to questions about potential new ways of engaging in congregational life, and let us know what’s on your mind about UCM. Together we can ensure that UCM not only survives, but thrives, and emerges stronger and more vital.
UCM Co-Presidents Mara Bullock and Collette Dowhaniuk
On behalf of the UCM Board of Directors