May 5, 2021 – 3:20 PM
“As a people of faith, we seek to better ourselves, our community, and our world through integrity, justice, and hope.”
High Street and COVID-19: What You Need to Know
- As of March 15, 2020 all in-person activities have been suspended for the duration of the COVID-19 Crisis. All group activities will use Zoom. You can find instructions on how to access Zoom (via computer, smartphone/tablet, or landline/telephone) here.
- Please regularly check our Happenings page. Happenings will be updated at least weekly or more often as required.
- Our Community and COVID-19 is a basic information page, giving you information on attending “Virtual Church” and advising you of congregational and community resources available to you.
Pandemic Anniversary: What Now?
March 12, 2021: It’s been a year since our communities were first deeply impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic, shutting down our places of worship, our schools and businesses, and changing how we do everything from grocery shopping to family gatherings. This week many news outlets are looking back over the year and asking how our lives have changed and what we see in our future that is different as a result. Many of us knew personally people who died of COVID 19, and many of us also lost people this year in ways that amplified our grief–not being able to accompany loved ones in hospitals and long term care centers in the ways we used to, and not being able to gather to share grief and stories and say goodbye in the ways we were accustomed to. Mental health, financial health, spiritual well-being and social needs were all deeply impacted for many of us. Some of us have struggled to find work and get enough hours to keep ourselves afloat; some of us had to take time off when we got sick with COVID or quarantined when a close contact got sick. We’ve watched a long, excruciating election cycle and witnessed events we never thought we’d see in our own country when the US Capitol was under siege. We have seen incredible fires, un-predicted ice storms in areas unprepared for extreme cold weathers, and we are braced for many more climate disruptions.
Here at High Street, you have also said goodbye to a minister of 6 years and moved into an interim ministry during a time of great uncertainty in every aspect of our lives. As we begin to put this puzzle back together, we may find a different picture forming, that old pieces don’t fit where they used to, that some pieces are missing, and new pieces and looking for the right spot to connect. These represent all aspects of congregational life–from how we organize ourselves into programs and decision making bodies to who is at the table with us to form community and engage ministry together. These even represent the spaces we occupy and how we connect with each other. This is a time to pay special attention to what has changed and what needs to be changed–to what we can do and we might let go of. This month we are engaging a conversation with the transition team about the work of putting this puzzle back together and what might be emerging from that work–what choices we have and how those might provide new possibilities. I look forward to engaging another year with High Street as we move through this liminal time together. … Rev. Sarah
What Does It Mean To Be A People Of Commitment?
There’s a natural, and important, go-getter quality to this month. After all, huge payoffs come when we keep our commitments. Maintaining loyalty to healthy habits not only lengthens our lives but enriches them. Faithfully following through on our relationship commitments allows us to fully realize ourselves as the interdependent creatures we are, as well as increases just about every metric of happiness, meaning and success out there. And keeping the promises we make to ourselves ultimately gives us the strength, groundedness and self-confidence needed to follow through on all those promises we make to those around us.
Add it all up and what we get is a picture of commitment that looks a lot like climbing a mountain. The path is long and littered with challenges, but there’s definitely a beautiful view waiting for us at the top. Staying on course is the goal. What’s needed most in our backpacks are the qualities of endurance, focus, determination and grit. And of course no commitment climb would be complete without a handful of coaches offering us motivational words and strategic tips, along with a supportive crowd that lines the path and cheers us on with encouraging shouts of “You can do it!”
There is no doubt that such climbs are worth it. All of us certainly need a few of these successful journeys to feel fulfilled. But what about those we notice along the way? What about those we see sitting on the side of the trail, bruised and tending to their wounds? What about those we see walking the other way? Those who have stopped half-way up and are now traveling back down the path?
There’s the friend whose marriage was good for so many years but, through no real fault of her or her spouse, that relationship has now just grown thin. She is the one sitting there struggling to accept the sad reality that some marriages just weren’t meant to last a lifetime. There’s also the co-worker that is proud to have maintained a successful career for 20 years that supported his family, but who – because of that commitment to stable work – had to turn his back on an earlier dream of being a writer. And over by that turn in the road sits your sister who gave her faithfulness but only got betrayal and infidelity in return. Then, of course, there are the many fellow travelers who bravely remain committed to the long-haul goals of health and security, but who walk wearily because addictions or bad luck have turned their journey into a one of one step forward and two steps back.
All of which is to say that maybe what’s needed most this month is for us to tone down all the motivational talk so we can make at least a little room for mourning.
Yes, the path of commitment is a lot like climbing a mountain, but it is just as often more like trudging through a thick forest where all sorts of paths complicate our journey. Not every path of commitment is clear and long, with a reward waiting at the end. Some just lead to dead ends. Others start out along beautiful streams but mid-way through snakes slither out through the grass. Some trails are simply too steep and must be abandoned, not just for our safety but for the safety of those we love. And almost always there’s that fork in the road. We want to travel both, but we are forced to choose. So commitment to one necessarily means traveling with regret and “What ifs.”
In such woods, our backpacks need to be filled with more than just endurance, focus and grit. Self-forgiveness, acceptance, and the ability to let go or admit “I was wrong” need to be tucked in there too.
In such woods, people need us to be more than coaches and cheerleaders. They need something more like pit stop crews. A trusted circle of people willing to offer them repair and rest.
We need to remember that for every person wanting to hear “push through the pain,” there are two needing someone to say, “It’s ok to tell me about your pain.” Sometimes the best advice is “break it down to one step at a time”; Other times the wisest words we can offer are “It’s ok to stop trying.”
Less pushing grit and more encouragement to forgive themselves. Less shouting “You can do it!” from the sidelines, and more whispering “I’m here to listen.” Yes, there’s no doubt that’s exactly what so many need this month. And maybe that’s exactly what you need too… –Soul Matters
From Rev. Sarah
February marked the first six months of our interim time together. We are completing a review of these first six months and assessing our work as we move forward. It’s time for more of you to get involved in sharing your vision for the future of High Street, your concerns about High Street, and your commitment to High Street. In March and April the transitions team will begin to engage you in deeper conversations and of course the annual Stewardship campaign will take place.
February also marked a full year with COVID 19 and its deadly consequences as we hit 500,000 death in the US alone. So much has changed, and so many of those changes have been hard on all of us. Change in and of itself always comes with grief–with letting go of something, not always willingly. Our collective and individual grief continues to be a reality we must engage. So as we march into March, let’s create space to remember, to share and to dream. We cannot change the past, but how we live today shapes the future we share. –Rev. Sarah
May 9, 2021 at 11 AM
Caring for and Being Cared for: Stories of Nurturing
High Street Church Zoom Worship with Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan and Guest Storytellers
We often think of nurturing as a role for women and mothers, but all of us can be nurturing and all of us receive nurturing from a myriad of people and places. What happens when we extend ourselves in this way with one another? How is this connected to both the healing of the planet and ourselves simultaneously?
Share The Plate with Bibb County Parks and Recreation
Religious Education for Children
1. Virtual Religious Education Time for Children (11 years old and younger) on Saturday at Noon using ZOOM
We are currently using the virtual curriculum CARTUUNS. CARTUUNS uses animated shorts from Pixar and Disney as the basis for discussion about the values inherent in Unitarian Universalism. These short animated films run only 3-8 minutes long, making it easy to keep a child’s attention. Each week week host Discussion and fun activities keep children engaged and coming back for more.
Please contact Paula Del Rio email@example.com for login information.
Saturday, January 16th : we will watch the short film Geri’s Game and talk about the 4th UU Principle
2. Virtual Religious Education Time for Middle school and older on Thursday at 7:00 pm
1. Members of High Street Unitarian Universalist Church: The Annual Meeting, as required by our bylaws, will be held via Zoom after the Sunday service on May 23, 2021. We will be voting on our annual Operating Budget, and Rev Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan will be presenting a State of the Church report. Non-members are invited to attend; however, only members will be allowed to vote.
2. Canvas Update: We now have 49 pledges and $99,235.00. If you still need to pledge, please see your Happenings email attachment or more information or email the office.
3. Helping Others: These are especially difficult times for people living on the street or with inadequate or uncertain housing. There are several ways to help right now:
- Donate coats and other outerwear to Wear, the thrift store at 464 1st St.
- Donate a gift card at Wear, designated for use by those in need
- Donate gift cards for the Salvation Army for supplies for the Warming Center or for River Edge Behavioral Health to buy bus passes, medication, and photo identification for people in need of services (Deliver these to Bert Bivins Fire Station & Sheriff Precinct at 4036 Napier Avenue).
- Donate Biofreeze pain relief gel, cough drops, saline eye drops, Orajel, new men‘s and women’s underwear at High Street for Daybreak, Macon’s day center for those who are homeless.
- Volunteer at Daybreak, which has been VERY Covid-safe (contact firstname.lastname@example.org 478-972-0005).
4. Looking for a place to have a Covid-safe retreat for you & an intimate number of family/friends? Call The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center. They have converted the Director’s residence to a five star location for a retreat. It can sleep up to ten folks & has a complete kitchen, multiple baths, and above all a beautiful view of Blue Valley. They also have several smaller places for parties from 1 to 6. In addition, this is a great way to support our own UU-affiliated center just 5 miles west of beautiful Highlands, NC. Call them at 838-526-5838 to reserve your retreat accommodations.
5. Calling all chalice lighters! The worship team is experimenting with new ways to do chalice lighting on zoom. Send me a short video or picture of you or someone in your household lighting your chalice! We will be using these in our Sunday services. email@example.com
6. From Rev. Sarah – A note about my schedule: I take Mondays off, and when my kid/husband are out of school, I generally take that off, too. I reserve Friday nights and Saturdays except morning time for family as well. On Sundays I begin my sabbath in afternoon/evening. This usually has me working between 40 and 50 hours a week, depending on meeting schedules, etc. Of course there are exceptions! Please call or email me to chat or set up a meeting.
1. This Sunday we will have an online offering using our new online giving technology, found here: https://onrealm.org/hsuuc/-/give/now
Please have your credit or debit card handy! (Also feel free to give beforehand, and as many times as you want!)
Thank you for your generosity.
2. Stay Safe on Your Computer! As more people are spending more time online, there has been an increase in email scams. Scammers retrieve email addresses from websites and change them, slightly, and use the changed email address to email others asking for favors and money. Please know that no minister of High Street Church will ever ask you, over email, to buy eBay gift cards or itune gift cards, or for money in general (unless it is for the church or some approved fundraiser). If you are a victim of an email scam, do not respond to it. Please report the email to gmail (or whatever carrier the email address uses). They will try to remove that email so the scammer won’t prey on others.
3. Interested in being a phone buddy or pen pal with someone from High Street? Contact Jane Donahue: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. A Note About the Happenings: The Happenings web page (https://hsuuc.org/happenings/) is usually updated only once per week, but under the current circumstances, it will updated as the need arises. There will be both a Date and Time of Update at the top of the page and reminder emails about the Happenings may not be made when updates are made. So make sure that you bookmark the Happenings page or put it in your Favorites and check it regularly.
5. Daybreak (Macon’s day center for those who are homeless) Daybreak has a significant need for specialized volunteers: nurses, adult learning tutors (reading, writing, math, finance, personal goals, etc.). Daybreak also always needs volunteers for general operations (laundry, showers, computers, gardening, the café, building and grounds maintenance).