Hello Dear Friends,
Many of you may have been targeted by email scams, seemingly coming for our ministers - but from an unfamiliar email address. Please know that no one on our church staff, including the ministers, will ever ask you for money or gift cards in this manner. Check out this article regarding this type of scam: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/07/worshipers-targeted-gift-card-scam
Here is a helpful link with information about how to report them: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/paying-scammers-gift-cards
We know this is a time of anxiety and uncertainty. As a community, we can stay connected in Love, even with physical distance. We want to know how you are doing. A team of callers has already been reaching out and spoken to many of you, but it is possible that we may not have your contact information. If you have been attending our church and haven't received a call or email in the last week, please reach out to us with your contact information so we can add you to our outreach list. We are here for you, we can remain connected even with physical distance. Please email email@example.com to provide us your contact information.
Tania and I want to share that the Governor has order everyone to stay at home/shelter in place beginning tonight. This means that no one should be coming to the office buildings at either campus. The announcement said that grocery stores and essentials will be operating and we can go outside, take a walk, get groceries as long as we maintain social distancing. As we understand it, this order is to more seriously flatten the rise of the virus and ensure our hospitals have a chance to have beds available.
We will continue to offer Sunday worship as we experiment with new formats and technology. Please check our website and our Facebook pages at or after 9:30 am. We will be providing pre-recorded services on our website. We’ll be creative with these. If the service isn’t up by 9:30 on Sunday, please keep checking back throughout Sunday as pre-recorded services could take a bit longer to load as we include subtitles to make them as accessible to all our members and friends as we can. This week will be a new learning for us.
And we will continue to hold virtual meetings, groups and times for connection. In this time of uncertainty, let us hold fast to one another, to the Spirit of Life and Love that supports us. Let us give thanks for small pleasures and remember those serving in our hospitals – keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they do what they can to meet this crisis.
Remember, your ministers and staff continue to find ways to serve and connect with you. Be in touch with us.
With faith, hope and love,
Kathleen and Tania
Like most of us, your fears and anxieties over the coronavirus COVID-19 are probably elevated. Although the risk for children and young adults appear to be less than for older adults, news of this pandemic is changing daily and is alarming. Many parents are wondering how to talk about it with their children in a way that is reassuring but factual. According to experts at the Child Mind Institute, it’s better to talk about it than avoid the subject. They have probably already seen people wearing masks and have heard stories from their friends. Not talking about it, in fact, can make kids worry more. You do have to think about what is developmentally appropriate. In fact, taking your cues from your child is best—ask what they have heard and how they feel. Give lots of opportunities for questions. Since children are egocentric, just hearing about the disease on the news may be enough to make them worry that they will catch it. (This is an excellent reason to limit their exposure to the news.) Be reassuring; let them know the disease is rare, and that kids have milder symptoms. Also, focus on what your family is doing to stay safe.
Of course, this may be easier said than done, particularly if you are feeling anxious and are worried about other family members. We all know that children pick up on how we are feeling. Keeping calm and showing no anxiety are important. I think it’s okay to tell them it is normal to be a little nervous. If you are a “newsy,” consider taking time off from news, or allocating a time limit for reading or watching the news. Also remember, as tempting as it can be to Google symptoms, it’s not a good idea—especially if you tend to be a sufferer of health anxiety. Try meditation. According to WebMD, even 10 minutes a day can help you control and reduce stress and anxiety. If meditation doesn’t come easy to you, try this 20 minute guided meditation from the Mindful Movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIr3RsUWrdo
Exercise is another excellent tool for reducing stress. It not only stimulates the production of endorphins (natural painkillers and mood elevators) but it reduces adrenaline and cortisol which are our body’s stress hormones. You can’t go to the gym (since it is likely closed) but you can take a walk or watch an exercise video. As of this writing, San Diego parks are mostly open. Here is a link to the San Diego Parks and Recreation Website that shows what closures there are, updated daily: http://www.sdparks.org/content/sdparks/en/news-events/news-stories/ParkNoticesandClosures.html.html And, don’t forget the importance of play for your kids! Doing crafts and baking are great—I recommend both--but getting physical is imperative. Here is a link to “A Cosmic Kids Yoga adventure”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWowDC3x0hE&feature=youtu.be
Finally, it’s also extremely important to stay in community. Deciding to temporarily close the church did not come easy to our ministers—and the biggest angst was the idea of all of us not staying in community. So, over the next few weeks, our staff will be trying new ways to reach out. Maybe we’ll have some virtual meetings for parents, and some for kids, too. The teen groups will be meeting virtually as part of their religious education program. I think younger kids might like that, as well—especially if the weeks stretch into months. By press time, the kids will have stayed home from school and are likely missing their friends. Try setting up a free Zoom chat, Skype, or Facebook streaming session for them. They will be needing connections with their school and church buddies just as much as they need to keep up with their studies.
I’d like to write about what to do with kids that are home from school—if we are still in that position. There is a lot of information out there with suggestions, but I’d love to hear from you about what has (and hasn’t) worked, so I can pass it along to everyone. Take care.
~ Kathleen Swift
During this time, it is important to find ways to stay connected. There are many great options available for ways in which your groups and classes can still go on, virtually. This can be a simple as setting up a group phone call with your participants, or you can try one of the great online options available for virtual meetings.
Below you will find some tutorials for setting up Zoom or Skype. We hope these help you navigate these new waters.
If you need technical assistance, our Office Manager, Rose Riedel, will be there to help you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zoom video communications software offers both free and paid options.
Pro: Even the free option allows for up to 100 participants.
Con: Participants will need to download before they can join. There is a 40 minute limit for group meetings on the free version.
To sign in, use your Zoom, Google, or Facebook account.
If you don't have an account, click Sign Up Free.
If you have a Zoom account but cannot remember your password, click Forgot.
Click this link for Getting Started tutorial from Zoom:
Click this link for Zoom Video tutorials:
Skype is a communication service that allows users to make free video calls to other Skype accounts. Instant messages and file sharing are also allowed for free.
Pro: One great Skype feature is its instant messaging tool, which is perfect for collaboration on documents. For example, if you’re working on a document in the office, you could IM a co-worker to get their input and attach a copy of the document. Starting a dialogue in real-time helps keep teams connected and offices productive.
Con: One disadvantage is because Skype is a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) provider, your video or audio connection will only be as good as your Internet connectivity. If your connection is slow or intermittent, you might have trouble placing or staying connected to a call.
How do I download the latest version of Skype?
1. Go to the Download Skype page.
2. Select your device and start the download*.
3. You can launch Skype after it is installed on your device.
*Skype for Windows 10 is already installed on the latest version of Windows 10.
How do I create a new account for Skype?
1. Launch Skype and select Create new account or go directly to the Create account page.
2. We'll take you through the process of creating a new account.
Click here for tutorial from Skype on Getting Started: https://support.skype.com/en/skype/all/start/
We know many of you have been wondering about services and events at First Church, and we want to share some important information with you now. We are following the UUA guidelines as well as the CA Governor and SD County Officials recommendations by not holding live services at either campus on Sunday March 15th and beyond.
Rev. Tania and Rev. Kathleen will be streaming a service this coming Sunday, so please watch our Church’s homepage for that link. As this is untested, if there is a problem with the live stream there will be a pre-recorded service for you to watch on our website on Sunday. The Family Ministry team will be sending out information and activities for families to use on Sunday.
The Celebration of Life service for Vicki Newman will happen at our Hillcrest campus on Sunday, March 15, at 3pm. This will be the last in-person event held until further notice.
Please note that all group meetings at both of our campuses are suspended starting immediately, until further notice.
In the end, the decision comes down to believing we can flatten the infection curve. We believe in public health. We will be sending out ways for us to stay connected, so please watch our website for more information. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas please email them to the ministers. We will make it through this.
With love and faith,
Kathleen and Tania
Dear First Church Members and Friends,
I want to thank our colleagues, especially Rev. Sunshine Wolfe who have contributed to this letter as we support one another and our various congregations. Given the growing concern and spread of the COVID-19 virus, we’re writing to share more information and ideas we’re considering. It’s important to remember that though you may not be affected directly, others in our community are at risk and we must practice care for one another in this time of uncertainty. This is not the first crisis we as a nation or world have met and it will not be the last. We have survived and will continue to survive together. If you are feeling a lot of intense emotions at this moment, know that this is normal and understandable. You are not alone. Intense feelings can be overwhelming and prompt us to shut down or deny that anything is wrong. All of this is normal. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself and others.
The good news is that there are steps we can take to protect one another. We all can contribute to our collective and individual physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
1) Rev. Tania and I are discussing steps to bring worship online. We may begin offering a worship service that is both in person and on-line in the next week or two at both of our campuses. Our South Bay campus will start this effort this Sunday, March 15th. Please watch this space for more specific information regarding times and links.
2) Some of you may already feel the need to stay away from public places, but remember there are ways in which you can stay connected with friends and your community. We still need one another. Call a friend, play Words with Friends, chat with someone online, chat with a neighbor from one another’s doors or porches. Have your friends set a time when you will all go out and howl at the moon. Find creative ways to connect while keeping social distance- make a game of it. Get the holiday lights out and make different affirming messages each day with them. Tell jokes. Sing songs. According to your own ability, find the creative connection unique to you. Distance and connect! Distance AND. Connect!
I will be making phone calls to some of you on Wednesday, 3/18 between 4:30-6:00 and I’ll host a ZOOM meeting on Thursday, March 19th starting at 1:00. Just click this link:
I will find regular times to host Zoom connection times through the rest of March – please watch this space.
You can also request a phone call if you need to speak with me or Tania in private.
3) Stay away from information overwhelm AND stay connected to a few reliable resources.
In this day and age- there are tons of places to get information. News outlets make money on crisis and it is not in their best interest to limit that information. Pick two or three places that you will routinely check for information that have reliable and factual information on the virus. For example, you could choose the World Health Organization, your friend Cam who reads everything and distills on their FB page, and your local health department. You do NOT need all of the information (unless you do- some among us manage crisis by having all of the information, that is ok). If you are feeling overwhelmed by the information- you can choose your sources. It is better to pick what is manageable than it is to ignore this all completely.
This is a time of challenge and together we can help make it manageable for ourselves and our world. If your job has been affected (your job, i.e., service or tourist industry has shut down because of the virus or you’re sick and unable to work), or if you’re needing financial help to buy food or supplies, please let us know and we’ll do what we can.
Stay away AND connect. Stay away from what is potentially harmful and embrace creatively how we can connect in spite of it all. You are not alone (but if you are, reach out).
WASH YOUR HANDS by Dori MidnightWe are humans relearning to wash our hands.
Washing our hands is an act of love
Washing our hands is an act of care
Washing our hands is an act that puts the hypervigilant body at ease
Washing our hands helps us return to ourselves by washing away what does not serve.
Wash your hands
like you are washing the only teacup left that your great grandmother carried across the ocean, like you are washing the hair of a beloved who is dying, like you are washing the feet of Grace Lee Boggs, Beyonce, Jesus, your auntie, Audre Lorde, Mary Oliver- you get the picture.
Like this water is poured from a jug your best friend just carried for three miles from the spring they had to climb a mountain to reach.
Like water is a precious resource
made from time and miracle
Wash your hands and cough into your elbow, they say.
Rest more, stay home, drink water, have some soup, they say.
To which I would add: burn some plants your ancestors burned when there was fear in the air,
Boil some aromatic leaves in a pot on your stove until your windows steam up.
Open your windows
Eat a piece of garlic every day. Tie a clove around your neck.
My friends, it is always true, these things.
It has already been time.
It is always true that we should move with care and intention, asking
Do you want to bump elbows instead? with everyone we meet.
It is always true that people are living with one lung, with immune systems that don’t work so well, or perhaps work too hard, fighting against themselves. It is already true that people are hoarding the things that the most vulnerable need.
It is already time that we might want to fly on airplanes less and not go to work when we are sick.
It is already time that we might want to know who in our neighborhood has cancer, who has a new baby, who is old, with children in another state, who has extra water, who has a root cellar, who is a nurse, who has a garden full of elecampane and nettles.
It is already time that temporarily non-disabled people think about people living with chronic illness and disabled folks, that young people think about old people.
It is already time to stop using synthetic fragrances to not smell like bodies, to pretend like we’re all not dying. It is already time to remember that those scents make so many of us sick.
It is already time to not take it personally when someone doesn’t want to hug you.
It is already time to slow down and feel how scared we are.
We are already afraid, we are already living in the time of fires.
When fear arises,
and it will,
let it wash over your whole body instead of staying curled up tight in your shoulders.
If your heart tightens,
science says: compassion strengthens the immune system
We already know that, but capitalism gives us amnesia
and tricks us into thinking it’s the thing that protect us
but it’s the way we hold the thing.
The way we do the thing.
Those of us who have forgotten amuletic traditions,
we turn to hoarding hand sanitizer and masks.
we find someone to blame.
we think that will help.
want to blame something?
Blame capitalism. Blame patriarchy. Blame white supremacy.
It is already time to remember to hang garlic on our doors
to dip our handkerchiefs in thyme tea
to rub salt on our feet
to pray the rosary, kiss the mezuzah, cleanse with an egg.
In the middle of the night,
when you wake up with terror in your belly,
it is time to think about stardust and geological time
redwoods and dance parties and mushrooms remediating toxic soil.
it is time
to care for one another
to pray over water
to wash away fear
every time we wash our hands.
Dementia with G.R.A.C.E. by Vicky Noland Fitch
Being with Dementia: A Soulful Approach by Miekka Zanders
Are you remodeling your kitchen or cleaning out your garage? Please consider donating your used refrigerator or freezer to our Chula Vista food pantry. We would love to provide our pantry shoppers with fresh and frozen food. We welcome single or combo units of any size that are clean and in good working order. Contact Maureen McNair 619.427.1769 or email@example.com.
Smooth, crunchy, salt-free, sugar-free. Your donation of any size jar is welcome. Just drop off jars of peanut butter all month in the South Bay Food Pantry bin on the Hillcrest campus patio or in the South Bay campus Social Hall before and after services on Sundays.
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