Fellowship NUUws and Discussion

Guidelines and Requirements for UUFHC Gatherings

Updated 20 September 2021

The continued presence of COVID-19 in our communities and around the world presents an ever-shifting reality where we must balance our desire to be together in physical spaces with the safety and well-being of our Fellowship, its staff, and the community at large.

The Board and Professional Religious Staff of UUFHC, together with related sitting committees and special task force groups, are working to evaluate this rapidly evolving situation and to develop guidelines that will support decision making and allow us to meet the spiritual needs of our community safely.

It is critical to note that stated guidelines and requirements will evolve as new information becomes available. The following document includes the current guidelines and requirements identified by the Board. This information will be changed and updated as the situation continues to evolve. The Board commits to ensuring that all information is communicated to the Fellowship quickly and that decisions are made with transparency.

To provide opportunities to participate online and in our building during this difficult period of a worldwide pandemic, we trust everyone who participates will consider the well-being and safety of our beloved community and follow all safety measures identified. Adherence to these guidelines is a part of remaining in right relationship and of supporting our beloved community.

Finally, all individuals who are eligible are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine.

Questions or concerns should be brought directly to Rev. María or to the Board for discussion

Guiding Tenets

The guiding tenets for all decision making around COVID-19 are:

  • Safety of the Congregation and Staff,
  • the Principles of our UU Faith, and
  • the Spiritual Needs of our Congregation.

Throughout this time, we commit to focus on healing and community building with attention to those populations most at risk throughout the pandemic.

Baseline Condition for Indoor Worship and Gathering

The UUFHC Board has established a baseline condition for being able to gather indoors as 14 consecutive days when the COVID-19 positive test rate is 5% or below in Harford County, MD. We will be using the UUA recommended site COVID ACT NOW (covidactnow.org) to track this data. You can monitor the data by clicking on the following button.

We call this a baseline condition because there are other considerations around being able to return to in-person indoor programs, but this is the first condition that will have to be met.

This is the first, but not the only, condition that must be met prior to returning to indoor gatherings. However, meeting this baseline condition does not signify an automatic return to indoor gathering. There are other considerations that Rev. María, the Worship Committee, Director of Faith Formation, the Technology Committee, and others will assess. These groups will work with the Board to assess the remaining logistical, technology, safety and spiritual needs and plan for returning to indoor gathering.

The Board will announce a date for return as soon as possible; however, that date is subject to change as conditions change.

Requirements for Gathering Indoors

Once conditions have been satisfied and the decision has been made to return to indoor gathering, all participants will be required to adhere to the following requirements:

  • Any individual who is feeling unwell, experiencing any symptoms, or has had confirmed or potential contact with anyone who is positive for COVID-19 should not attend.
  • Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 should get a test on the fifth day of quarantine following most recent exposure. If the test is negative, and you have no symptoms and you have had no new exposure,  you may come to church after day seven of your quarantine. However, those who are fully vaccinated (i.e. at least 2 weeks have passed since your last dose of vaccine, regardless of boosters) need not quarantine, and may come to church masked and distanced with everyone else.
  • All individuals over the age of two (2), regardless of vaccination status, will follow a 100% mask mandate while inside the Fellowship building. This requirement is regardless of how many other people are in the building or the length of time the individual will be in the building.
  • All indoor services will be physically distanced between cohabitating family groups.
    • Attendance may be limited to meet the physical distancing requirements.
    • Specific processes to register to attend services in person will be announced once finalized.
    • All individuals will be required to follow any reservation procedures to enter the Fellowship building.
  • All individuals entering the building will be required to sign in to allow for contact tracing.
  • No food or beverages will be served, nor are food or beverages allowed to be brought in to or consumed in the building. Medical exceptions will be considered.
  • The shared restrooms will be one person use at a time with the main doors propped open, excluding children and those who need assistance. Men should use a stall, not the urinal, for privacy. The single occupancy bathroom on the Board room side will also be available for use. Individuals will be expected to use available antiseptic wipes on the touched surfaces after use (sink, faucets, toilet flusher and stall door handles).
  • All individuals will be required to follow all hand sanitization and other hygiene requirements.
  • Indoor services will have safety and hygiene limitations including (but not limited to)
    • No group singing – music and singing will be performed by identified individuals.
    • No sharing of microphones; processes for candles of sharing and other activities will be announced.
  • At the conclusion of services, individuals will be asked to leave the space and not congregate indoors.

Requirements for Gathering Outdoors

  • All individuals over the age of two (2), regardless of vaccination status will always follow a 100% mask mandate.
  • Physical Distancing Requirements will be announced in advance for each event.
  • No food or beverages will be served.

Other Considerations

  • Use of the Fellowship grounds for special events or small gatherings will be limited to official church functions and special services for members (weddings, memorials, etc.).
    • Committees that wish to schedule an activity on the Fellowship grounds should contact the Board to register and to complete the Facilities Request Form located on the Members Only Tab of the UUFHC website.
    • Individuals who are seeking to hold a special service (weddings, memorials, etc.) should coordinate directly with Rev. María.


Congregational Survey

We also want to thank all the members that took time to complete the UUFHC Multi-Platform congregational survey. We had a tremendous response with 83 submissions covering 123 persons! This information is very helpful in informing and guiding the Board's work. The final survey results are available here. If there are any questions regarding this survey, please feel free to reach out to Erica Bertoli, Board President or Mark Davis, Board Vice President.

Stay Informed: Thursday NUUwsbytes

Each Thursday our Church Administrator Karen Kurrle emails updated news for the week.

Contact Karen Kurrle (410-734-7122 | office@uufhc.net).

Current Newsletter

Our Newsletter is published monthly and is posted online at www.uufhc.net/newsletter.pdf. A limited number of hardcopies are available at the Fellowship. We also maintain an online Newsletter Archive.

The Newsletter deadline for submitting articles is the second Sunday of each month. Newsletter articles can be submitted by members of the congregation via email to newsletter@uufhc.net or hardcopy can be placed in the Newsletter mailbox located on the church office door.

Contact Newsletter Editor Kay Saucier (410-569-0975 | newsletter@uufhc.net)

forum@uufhc.net Email Group

The purpose of this group is twofold:

  • to provide a place to post and receive information related to the Fellowship and its mission;
  • to provide a forum for discussion—political or otherwise.

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or to let us know your email address has changed, please send a message to webmaster@uufhc.net.

Literature Rack

Check the literature racks in the coat rack hall. If you missed the information about the Rowe Conference Center, SUUSI, and UUMAC for the summer and autumn, please be aware that there are so many wonderful opportunities for families and single persons to extend the realm of fellowship and to meet other UUs at these UU-sponsored places.

Besides camp and conference information, there are periodicals which you may take home, read and bring back, or pass along to others. Magazines such as UU World, HOPE, Science & Spirit, UTNE, and many others are in the racks. Catalogs from the fair trade artisans and teaching tapes are interesting! You don't have to sign-out anything. If you have some to contribute, simply place in the mailbox marked Literature Rack with your name and telephone number if you are not a member. No obvious political items, please. Enjoy!