August 6: Phased Reopening Update

Fred Hulting and Rev. Lisa Friedman

In May, we shared an update on the phased reopening of the church during summer and fall. At that time we were full of optimism given increasing vaccinations, lower infection rates, and a loosening of restrictions in Minnesota.  In July, we moved into Phase 2 and began allowing small groups to use the church with fewer restrictions. It has been fun to see people gather in the church and to reconnect after such a long time.  Now, as September approaches, we continue to work towards Phase 3, which would allow us to return to regular building use, including Sunday worship.

At the end of our May update, we wrote “Current trends with the pandemic are encouraging, but forecasting the path forward is difficult and we will adapt as needed.”  And so here we are, trying to navigate a difficult path forward as the Delta variant creates new challenges for our community.

For now, our Phase 2 protocols remain in effect, and small groups and priority events (e.g. memorial services) may continue in the building. However, the Board has given Rev. Lisa authority to enact additional restrictions – such as requiring masks for all persons in the building – whenever she feels it is necessary for the safety of the congregation and our staff.  For example, at memorial services we are asking all those attending to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. So, if you are coming to the building, thank you in advance for adhering to the posted policies and guidelines. To request event space, please fill out this form.

The Board will meet with Rev. Lisa in mid-August to discuss the situation in Hennepin County and review the necessary steps that will allow up to move to Phase 3 and begin to hold in-person services in September.  But even as we welcome you into the building, we will continue to offer virtual options for Sunday services and for many church events. The successful fundraising for our new audio and video system in the Sanctuary is making that possible.

Please watch the church communications  for continued updates on the progress of the reopening, and please reach out to us with questions at or

Plans for a Phased Reopening of the Church

Fred Hulting and Rev. Lisa Friedman

With the increase in vaccination rates, and the relaxation of state COVID restrictions, many of you are asking the question: “when will we reopen the church?”  We are all looking forward to a time when we get back together safely and resume many of our familiar rituals and programs.

At its May 13th meeting, the Board approved a plan from Rev. Lisa Friedman for the phased reopening of the church.  This approach will accommodate the needs of our community, while ensuring the safety of our staff, members, and friends.  And it will give our staff the necessary time to work through the many details required to reopen the building. This is not just a return to the way things were.  We get to learn from the past year and work towards a new multi-platform ministry, with Sunday services and other programs available both in-person and online. Continue reading →

Update on COVID-19 Preparedness for UUCM

Fred Hulting, Board President

As mentioned in my earlier post, the Board of Trustees is developing plans to manage the short- and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the activities of the UUCM community. To accelerate this work, the Board created a COVID Task Force led by Cathy Bujold. The members of that Task Force include volunteers and staff with experience in COVID workplace regulations, knowledge of church practices, and expertise with our facility: Shelley Buss, Lisa Stock, Allison Laura, Bob Dachelet, and Rev. Lisa Friedman.

Guided by state regulations, advice from the UUA, and the latest science, the Task Force has initially been focused on the risks of using our building. The recommended approach is to open the building in four phases, gradually allowing more people into the building as we are able to do safely. We are currently in Phase 1, which allows for a small group of four to five staff and volunteers to be in the building for specific needs and purposes. There is no timetable for moving to Phases 2, 3, and 4.

A detailed Phase 1 Preparedness Plan has been created by the Task Force and approved by the Board.  The plan’s emphasis is on enabling our staff to do their jobs safely and accommodating necessary volunteer activities.  It covers building access and use procedures, health and safety policies for staff and volunteers, and facilities maintenance and cleaning protocols.  The Board has also appointed our Minister, Rev. Lisa Friedman, as the Plan Administrator.  Lisa will manage the implementation of the plan and she will coordinate training for staff and volunteers who must be in the building at this time. Continue reading →

Board Update: Ministerial Transition, COVID-19, Anti-Racism, Solar Project

A message from Fred Hulting, Board President,

It may be summer, but things are not slowing down at UUCM. As we are working through our ministerial transition, we must also deal with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, choose how we respond to the call for anti-racism work, and support the Social Justice Ministry’s actions for racial and environmental justice. The Board met recently and laid out a plan for tackling all of this over the next few months. Continue reading →

Changes to Our Zoom Worship

The internet can be a wonderful environment for connection. Unfortunately, just like the “real world,” it’s plagued by people who don’t share our commitment to love and justice. Because the pandemic has moved most gatherings online, we’re seeing the rise of “Zoombombing.” These are trolls who try to use Zoom’s features to cause disruption by sharing harmful imagery or messages that are often sexual or racist.

We are striving to offer a meaningful, accessible and safe online worship service for UUCM members, friends and visitors. We already had some prevention settings in place for our Zoom worship. Based on recommendations, we’ve added a few more and will let the community know if others are required:

  • We will now be using a new meeting ID for each weekly worship service. We had previously been using the same ID number. The Zoom link will be shared each week in the Friday Update email and posted on
  • When you connect to worship, you will automatically be placed in a waiting room. This will happen whether you join through the app or by phone. One of our greeters will manually admit you into the main Zoom meeting space. Think of this like waiting in the church community room before going into the sanctuary. For those using the Zoom app, it would help greeters if you changed your name to something recognizable (and not your device name). It would also help if folks could arrive early so there’s not a log-jam at the start of worship.

Continue reading →