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Austin, TX 78705

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In the Event of an Emergency

The Reverend Matt Gaventa
Matthew 18:1-14

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell …

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UPC COVID 19 Response

Worship with Us Online Sunday at 11:00 a.m. 

Click here or dial  408-638-0968 and enter Meeting ID 320 618 870

Please join us this Sunday for a virtual worship experience as we suspend in-person activities because of COVID-19. This worship will feel a little different, but it will nonetheless offer us a profound way of connecting in the midst of disconnection, with liturgy that will be meaningful, appropriate, and sacred.

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Meeting ID: 741 457 513

You may want to start a bit before 11 to make certain you’re online when worship begins.

March 18, 2020

Dear UPC friends and family,

It is unfathomable to consider how quickly this has all changed. A week ago we were planning contingencies for Sunday worship in the sanctuary, and now all of a sudden our church — as with so much of our world — exists largely in phone calls, teleconferences, and emails. I miss you all, even though I know our connection persists. Nothing this past week warmed my heart quite like worshipping with you over Zoom on Sunday, and seeing all of your faces in your own homes and your own contexts. It was something sacred to behold, and if you did not have a chance to join us, I for sure hope you will try this coming week.

Of course, since Sunday, Mayor Adler has announced additional restrictions on public gatherings extending all the way through April. Unless something unexpected happens, this restriction seems likely to extend our current church model well past the original reevaluation date of March 24th. This coming Sunday, your session will meet (virtually) to consider our options, our need, and our April planning, and I will certainly share more with you after that time.

While we wade through this new moment, I want to let you know about some of the ways we are reimagining our ministry together. Pastor John, Pastor Krystal, and I have made an ad-hoc division of UPC ministries, for this moment, into three “spheres,” which John spoke a bit about during his call for offering during Sunday’s service. The first sphere, for now, is the Home sphere. This is the sphere where we do what we can to equip you and your family for spiritual formation with alternative Sunday School ideas, online evening prayer, and the like. Pastor John is spearheading this effort, and if you have other ideas for resources we can provide for you in your own home, do let him know.

The second sphere is the Congregational sphere, which works to equip us in our connections with one another during this socially-distanced time. The Congregational Connections Committee is spearheading an effort to make sure that everybody in the UPC directory gets a check-in call. We want to make sure that you have what you need, and we want to make sure that you feel a part of this community no matter the physical isolation. If you’d like to make a call, or if you really need to connect, don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know — alongside Congregational Connections and the Deacons, I’ll be spearheading our brainstorming about how we remind ourselves who we are in this moment.

Finally, the third sphere is the Community sphere, which seeks opportunities for us to assist our neighbors during such unusual times and in such unusual circumstances. The public health wisdom around restraining from even small gatherings requires us to think unconventionally about how we might serve those around us — it means that normal operations of Micah 6 or Uplift could be counterproductive to the health of clients and volunteers both. But we are still seeking new ideas and new opportunities for community engagement, and Pastor Krystal is actively listening to community voices and working with our own Service Committee to look for imaginative solutions.

For now, I want to let you know, on behalf of the staff, how much I appreciate all of the notes of support and solidarity. Thank you for the ideas, the suggestions, and the offerings of time and talent. We are working as quickly and adaptively as we can, but it will still take us a little bit of time to bring a fleet of new ministry models online. But for now, we can still rely on the very fundamentals of who we are: pray for one another. Remember one another. Call one another. Love one another, as Christ has loved you.

See you Sunday,

Matt Gaventa

Click here to join worship Sunday at 11:00 a.m.