As we navigate the many challenges and demands presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, we will post messages and other communications received in the Parish office from friends and neighbors throughout the community, which may be of interest or benefit to our members.
COVID-19 Task Force Update, April 23, 2021
The vaccine rollout is a glimmer of real hope after a year of worry and fear. Most public health experts agree that small gatherings of fully vaccinated people carry a very low risk. For many that means being able to visit family, see grandchildren, and gather with friends after months of isolation. Yet, until enough people are fully vaccinated to reach herd immunity, gathering as we did pre-pandemic remains unsafe.
At First Parish of Sudbury, services, and programs will continue to be offered solely online through the summer. While we strongly encourage groups to also continue to meet online, gatherings of small groups of fully vaccinated people outside at FPS will be possible during the summer. We are also considering an in-person outdoor service (weather permitting) on June 13th that will involve everyone wearing masks and social distancing. Please CLICK HERE for our complete COVID guidelines.
As we plan for the fall, the COVID Task Force will look to public health and medical experts for guidance in determining when and how in-person activities might resume. We will use a science and metric-driven approach, taking into consideration the rate of new cases, infection rate, test positivity rate, ICU caseloads, vaccination rates, CDC recommendations, and state guidelines.
Preparing the Meetinghouse is an important part of planning for our return. Recently the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to expend money from the Equity Fund for improvements to the heating and air conditioning system that will, among other things, provide better air circulation. Because it is now understood that aerosols play the main role in spreading COVID, improved air circulation is an important safety measure. Vaccinations remain our best defense against COVID. At this point, everyone ages 16 and over in the United States is eligible to receive the vaccine, and supply is increasing every day. If you have not yet been vaccinated and do not have contraindications for vaccination, we urge you to make an appointment as soon as possible. We care about you and want you to be safe!
The leadership of First Parish is committed to a multi-platform, hybrid model once in-person gatherings resume. During the past year, we have learned that gathering online works well for many people. It made it easier for some to attend services and programs, and it has encouraged those who do not live in the area to engage with us. Even as we look forward to being able to gather in person, we also want to keep those things that have made engagement easier and more inclusive.
We are, hopefully, in the final stretch of the pandemic. While we’re not quite at the end yet, we have many reasons to be hopeful and much for which to be grateful. Stay safe and stay well. We hope to see you soon!
If you have questions or comments, please email us at .
Reopening the Meetinghouse
As Massachusetts reopens, we must consider how First Parish will function in a world where the spread of Covid-19 continues. The FPS Covid-19 Task Force has presented recommendations for Phase 1 (summer) to the Board of Trustees, which approved them. The major points of the Phase 1 plan are below, but we will be sharing more information in the coming weeks.
The First Parish Meetinghouse has been central to our congregation for centuries. Many of us find comfort just from being in the building or walking on the grounds. The Memorial Garden is a place of beloved memory. We miss being in the space, but most of all, we miss being with each other in person. At the same time, keeping our community safe is the highest priority and the guidelines for Phase 1 were developed with that goal. More detailed guidelines can be found in this document.
- Summer services will be offered online via Zoom.
- Small FPS groups (committees, affinity groups) are encouraged to meet online in order for everyone to be able to participate. Small groups are also welcome to meet outside at FPS wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Please bring your own chairs.
- Once the building is prepared for safe use, small FPS groups will be able to use the building in accordance with guidelines and capacity limits. There will be more information available as we approach that time. Please note that the kitchen will remain closed.
- Outside groups will also be able to rent space after the building is prepared. Again, they will be asked to comply with safety guidelines and capacity limits.
- Additional cleaning procedures will be implemented, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
The Task Force welcomes your thoughts as we move through this challenging time. We are in this together and we will get through it together. Please email us at . Members of the Task Force are: Sherri Cline, Bridget Hansen, David Hoaglin, Dianne Hoaglin, Rev. Marjorie Matty, and Sheila Murphy.
Coupons for COVID
LSRHS senior Joel George has founded a website to help support the homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the world is in a crisis. A pandemic is ravaging across our country and society is more turbulent than ever. However, I believe that every problem is also an opportunity to improve. To pull together as a community and help those who can’t help themselves, while giving the next generation a hand in finding their place in such a chaotic world. I searched for a way to do exactly that while observing social distancing. I could find no such way, so I created Coupons for COVID.
Coupons for COVID is an online shop where gifted high schoolers sell goods and services; every high schooler is experienced and passionate about the service they offer. Members of the Lincoln-Sudbury community then buy those services by making a donation directly to the Pine Street Inn, Boston’s largest Homeless shelter, through their secure platform.
In return, they get a coupon for whatever task they purchased, to cash whenever they decide. If they would like to cash the coupon immediately, they may do so (we offer free no-contact delivery for many of our products). If they do not need the service right now, or if the service requires violating social distancing, then they may wait to cash it. This way the homeless shelters get the support they need immediately while the customer gets the service whenever they feel comfortable.
In total, we offer 40 different services and have something for everyone. For the food lover, we offer Indian cuisine and dozens of homemade baked goods, from various cookies to cakes to allergy-free brownies. For the academic, we provide tutoring in multiple subjects, such as mathematics, biology, writing, Chinese, Russian, and beyond. On top of those services we offer custom made keychains, custom made art, custom made friendship bracelets, on-call tech support, cassette digitization, photography, musical tickets, and landscaping. In short, we have something for every interest and need, performed by an experienced and passionate high schooler.
Sew Your Own Protective Mask
For those who may be interested in sewing their own protective face masks, a simple pattern and instructions are provided here, courtesy of Dianne Hoaglin and her daughter-in-law, Nike Mendenhall. Simply click on the links to access both the pattern and the instructions… and happy sewing!
If you are currently making masks and would care to donate them, please package them in plastic, and place them on the bench beside the door. Click here to view CDC Guidelines for making, wearing, and caring for protective masks.
MA Legislative Response to COVID-19
Click here here to stay informed and up-to-date on all bills, pending in the Massachusetts Legislature, which relate specifically to the COVID-19 emergency. This site is comprehensive, and updated daily.
Lincoln-Sudbury Mutual Aid Network
The Lincoln-Sudbury Mutual Aid Network has been formed to offer support services during this time, specifically for Lincoln and Sudbury residents. Their informational flier includes links to many other resources including neighborhood aid networks. In addition, Massachusetts has established a resource hotline for anyone in need of services. Dial 211 day or night to be connected to someone who can help you locate the services that you need.
Hope In The Face Of A Pandemic
Rabbi Yisroel Freeman of Chabad Center of Sudbury delivers a short Chassidic story about one person’s inspiration, when gravely ill, and when there was no hope left. Click here to view the video.