First Unitarian Oakland is officially shifting to multiplatform – including in-person – worship services beginning on Sunday, March 6. In-person worshippers will want to know what to expect and how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, since the virus will be with us for some time still.

It has been a long time since we have been together in person, so bring excitement, but still bring care, as conditions still require safety practices. In the words of Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, “Whether we liked it or not, we had many opportunities to practice a new normal for Unitarian Universalism, and we continued to provide life-saving ministry regardless of changing conditions. Together, we upheld that interdependent web of which we’re all a part.” Thank you, congregants of First Unitarian Oakland, for all the ways in which you have reached to hold that web together, to hold one another in care.

The reopening team has kept up to date with reports and official guidance about the pandemic, and the board of trustees has agreed not only with the team’s most recent assessment that current trends and conditions can allow us to reopen safely, but also with the recommendations for inclusive health and safety policy and practices that are consistent with both community standards and our Unitarian Universalist values.

In addition to investing in technology to support multiplatform worship, our facilities and worship teams have adopted procedures and procured supplies and equipment to optimize building sanitation and air quality. Risk reduction also greatly depends on precautions practiced by everyone entering our building.

The following policies and practices are being instituted until further notice:

  1. Worship services will be offered on multiple platforms, that is, in person and via live stream, as well as on Zoom.
  2. To enter the building, each person must have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19  and received a booster dose. Children must have been vaccinated to the level that has been available for at least one month. Alternatively, anyone who has tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours may enter the building. Proof of vaccination with a booster or a negative test result will be required.
  3. Masks must be worn in the building: an N95, KN95, or R94 mask, or a combination of a surgical mask covered with a cloth mask. For exceptions, please reach out to the reopening team at rentals@uuoakland.org.
  4. No eating or drinking is allowed in the building.
  5. Meeting space in Starr King Room or Wendte Hall may be reserved for up to 15 people by church groups and short-term renters; participants must comply with the above.
  6. Because the pandemic is ongoing, the reopening team reserves the right to recommend closing the building again should changed conditions indicate the need.

What to expect:

  1. To attend worship in person, wear a mask, and bring your proof of vaccination with booster or recent negative test result (within 72 hours) with you to church; you may also be asked to show identification. (Bring your coat too, as sanctuary windows will be kept open to support ventilation.) For your convenience, you may supply proof of vaccination at least 24 hours in advance by following this link.
  2. A “soft reopening” of a 30-minute live-streamed in-person worship service will be held on Sunday, February 27. A limited number of people may attend in person, by reservation. This will provide an opportunity to test air systems and live streaming technology and to practice new procedures under real conditions. If you would like to participate in person in the soft reopening, you must reserve your spot by following this link.
  3. To view a live stream of worship, go to twitch.tv/uuoakland from any internet browser or with the installed Twitch app on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Closed captions will be provided. A Twitch account is not required to watch, but an account is required to participate in online chat. The stream starts at 10:15 AM and music commences at 10:20 AM.
  4. On March 6, we will hold the first full-length multiplatform worship service, “Homecoming.” Plan to join in person, via live stream, or on Zoom.
  5. To reserve meeting space for your small group, email rentals@uuoakland.org.
  6. If you wish to attend worship service in person and are unable to wear a mask for any medical reason, please contact Pastor Ninán to discuss how your participation might be supported in a safe way.
  7. As with the past successes achieved by our community, returning to our building relies on participation by many if not all of us. We are in need of ushers and greeters to facilitate a safe and smooth welcome back. Please follow this link and let us know how you can help: tinyurl.com/hereformychurch.
  8. If you have any question, please email office@uuoakland.org.

Please help us spread the word – tell your friends!