July 6, 2020
Dear First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh member:
We hope you are well and staying connected with family and friends. Now, more then ever, we need to call on the strength of our community, making sure we are helping each other to get through this difficult time.
As you may or may not have heard, your Board of Trustees and minister have decided to extend the closure of the church building to all group gatherings at least through December 31, 2020. Further, we have decided to decline scheduling future rental or congregational events in the building until further notice.
Weighing our desire to be together with our commitment to keep everyone who visits our church building as safe as possible, the Board decided that extending the closure to the end of the year was warranted. We made this difficult decision taking into account the recommendation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) that UU churches plan for ongoing virtual gathering and operations through May 2021. “Guidance on Gathering In-Person When COVID-19 Subsides” from the UUA Safe Congregations Team, including considerations for deciding when to open, is available here: https://www.uua.org/safe/pandemics/gathering-guidance
As the UUA report notes, in making this decision “we are guided by science and our deepest values.” We will continue to assess the situation based on the advice of the Allegheny County Health Department, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the UUA.
We are grateful to Rev. Connie and the staff for their continued efforts to provide services and opportunities for fellowship during this time of church closure. The clarity provided by this extended closure date offers the opportunity for staff and congregants to plan for ongoing virtual gatherings. When we can open the building safely, such that all or nearly all of our congregants can freely enter and fully participate in person, we will joyfully do that.
Together, we can continue in our quest to become the congregation we want to be, not just today but far into the future. The church building may be closed, but the church community is open.
Scott Smith, President, Board of Trustees