On February 27th from 11am – 4pm, The Congregational Church of Plainville, UCC, will be handing out high quality, reusable KN95/KF94 masks to those in our community. Each recipient will receive 2 masks and an information sheet on how to properly use and care for their masks.
As I mentioned in my sermon Sunday, in the early aughts, I spent a semester of self-study in South Korea. It was at a Buddhist university and a monastery was right aside it. I lived sort of like a monk that whole semester. I did not talk to a lot of people. Most of my time was spent alone. Despite my loneliness, or maybe even because of it, I often experienced moments of profound peace and even joy. I would walk outside and walk into town, and people were living their lives, businesses were doing their thing, the trees, the plants, the fields and open spaces, the air and the skies were interrelating in their natural ways. I was living amid, within the interconnectedness of all things. I was part of the interconnected nature of the universe. And when I really felt alone, I often resorted to either my friends, pen and notebook to write a poem with or to my dear, dear friend music to spend some time with.
In many ways, as we enter the depth of Winter during the depth of the Pandemic, we are sort of all living a quasi-cloistered life. Of course, the degree of that “quasi” depends on how strictly we are following the social distancing recommendations. But in the least we all are living less socially-interactive lives. For the introverts among us, this is beyond hard, I know.
That said, there is something to be gained from the quasi-cloistered life. I imagine virtually all of you have things you are ever more grateful for compared to our pre-Covid existences. The gift of in-person worship is an easy example. The sound of the church organ is another.
More than this, though, a quasi-cloistered life affords us the opportunity to watch for the small, simple joys all around us. The big, obvious gifts of family and friend time being harder to come by, we are forced to look for the less obvious connections in life – our connection to our surrounding environment, to our neighborhood ecosystem, to the birds that remain through the winter, to the snow that accumulates and resists easy melting until Spring, to the sounds of music that are easily accessible, to the activity of laughter that momentarily provide us the height of happiness, to the small snippet of days when a winter walk is doable. Latching unto these simple joys is the spiritual practice for us through this Covid-limited Winter.
A conjoining spiritual practice to discovering small, simple joys all around us is the practice of memorializing them. What does this mean? One great and easy example is keeping a journal specifically meant for the “counting your blessings and naming them one by one.” Maybe get one of those old-school composition books that you used to use in your old school. They are like a buck or two at CVS. In fact, that is my simple joy of the day – these inexpensive composition books, which I’ve used and filled-up for years and years. What a gift they’ve been to me!
So, Friends, as we enter the deep and dark days of Winter, may we resist the world’s way of merely wading through it all. May we both wade through and rise above it all, always looking up and meeting God in the Middle.
I realize this may be disappointing to some, but the Phasing Forward Team, considering the recent surge in Covid cases in Connecticut, has decided that while Plainville remains on level Orange (or, God forbid, goes to level Red), we will postpone in-person services and offer only online services via Facebook and YouTube. This means that November 1’s worship service and subsequent services will be online only.
The Town-Level Covid Response Framework shaped our decision: “state health officials encourage asymptomatic residents to get tested, for individuals to avoid large gatherings, limit time with non-family members, and that high-risk individuals stay home and stay safe.”
1.) For in-person worshippers to get tested before each Sunday is not realistic
2.) While our gatherings are not large, they are inside and without the capability to open windows now that the weather is cold
3.) Worshippers at CCP are mostly made up of non-family members
4.) Connecticut defines high-risk individuals as:
“• Older Adults
• People who have high-risk chronic medical conditions like:
• Heart Disease
• Lung Disease”
We will return to in-person worship as soon as Plainville returns to level Yellow. We will be tracking the code levels as they are released by the State. Should Plainville return to Yellow an email will be sent to invite members to join us once again for in-person worship that following Sunday.
The same applies to Coffeetime in the Courtyard.
On a more positive note, we will be offering monthly Virtual Coffee Hours via Zoom with some creative ideas starting in November.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Church Office. Thank you.
Beginning Sunday, September 20th, we will be returning to In-person Worship with a VERY LIMITED attendance per the guidelines we are following. Every week we will send out an email to ask who would like to join us for the following weekend. If you are chosen you will receive a confirmation email. In order to accommodate as many members as possible we will be rotating who will be joining us each week.
Please Note: If you receive a spot you will be sent a confirmation email with guidelines and instructions. Please do not come to church on Sunday morning unless you have received a confirmation email as we only have a limited capacity for the space and will not be able to accommodate you.
We realize some may wish our return to in-person worship was less limited. We all long for a return to “normalcy.” But that old saying applies: Better to be safe than sorry. It would be devastating to lose anyone at C.C.P. to this horrible virus, and it would be made worse if we knew we didn’t take every precaution possible. Hence, the protocol and the limited nature of things. What’s more, being mindful and seeking to protect all is what Jesus did and would do. Let’s follow Jesus’ lead.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we attempt to return to worship safely.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office.