Dear members and friends of First Parish of Watertown,

Due to a growing concern about the spread of the coronavirus in our area, the Parish Committee, in consultation with the Minister and Staff, has made the decision to cancel worship services, religious education classes, and after-church activities for the next two Sundays, March 15th and March 22nd. We have also agreed to reevaluate the situation before making a decision to reopen. It is possible that Sunday activities will be cancelled for additional weeks.

In lieu of worship on March 15, we recommend that you consider the weekly online worship
service produced by the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship
at 8pm on Sunday evening.

In preparation for the following Sunday, March 22, Rev. Wendy and the staff team will be
considering ways to provide an alternative online worship experience. Stay tuned!

We will also be exploring other innovative ways we can use online technologies to create
additional opportunities to stay connected with one another virtually, and will keep you apprised of our plans as they develop.

This and future updates will be posted on the church website and we will also continue to
communicate via email, making sure to also call those whom we know do not use email.
For those who do have online access, we will be sending out information about how to use
ZOOM and other online technologies, and will be providing some technical support to help you get started in using it.

We will begin to use these technologies to meet when we can, and encourage committees and
other groups in the church to do the same.

Updates regarding events, including decisions about the likely rescheduling of the Talent Show, will be forthcoming.

We are very mindful that this is happening in the middle of a very important financial pledge campaign in our congregation, and will be doing all we can to work with the Giving Committee and with you to make sure that our campaign is successful, even in the midst of this disruption.

This Sunday, March 15 was to be a designated offering to support the Mass Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. We will try to re-schedule this but in the meantime, you can donate through their website. Pledge checks can be sent to the church or left in the mail slot in the front door of the church. We are also exploring the possibility of online giving to the church, and will update you about that as soon as we can.

We do not take this situation lightly. But we believe that we have a moral responsibility to help “flatten the curve” to slow the spread of the virus in our communities so that emergency services and area hospitals can cope with this pandemic.

Please let Rev. Wendy know if you decide to or are required to self-quarantine and whether you might need food or other supplies while you stay home. Also, please let her know if you are ill, have tested positive, and/or have been hospitalized.

If you are healthy and able to provide help to others during this time, please let us know that as well.

We look forward to the time when we can safely and prudently meet again in person for worship and fellowship, but until then we see this as an opportunity to innovate and be creative and learn new ways of connecting with one another.

In faith, hope and love,
Sue Twombly, President
Rev. Wendy L. Bell, Interim Minister