Notes from Session


It will come as no surprise to you that Session is continuing to focus on the many questions related to re-gathering and our plans to offer hybrid services when we can safely do so. Although the rise in the Delta variant has pushed back the timeline, we are using this time to get ready in all sorts of ways –and recognizing that this preparation will take some time.

Al Brooks, our ZoomMaster, and John Owen, our Session facilities person, have been hard at work getting the technology in place for hybrid services when that time comes. Last month, Session authorized expenditures for the needed equipment, and Al and John have met with a consultant to install a good internet service connection. Additionally, Al researched and identified a camera that meets our needs. John has built (yes, that’s right, built!) a platform to mount the camera. Cables to connect the camera and microphone to the internet drop have been ordered, and once the cables arrive, they will install the camera, cable and mounting platform. There’s more to this hybrid model than meets the eye — and thank goodness for John and Al’s good thinking and oversight on the technology end.

On the worship side, there’s lots of planning to be done as well. Sue and the worship planning team offered some excellent draft proposals for changes to our in-person worship once we are able to be back in our space. Recognizing that the desired outcome is for both in-person and Zoom participants to have an inclusive, relational worship experience, with minimal distractions, Sue and the team are working towards simplifying the service to its essential elements and synching up the in-person and Zoom room experiences. Additionally, Sue offered a proposal to reduce the number of volunteer roles required on site, while ensuring adequate staffing for Zoom. Session was enthusiastic about the direction of these early plans and we discussed how to keep what is most essential to us as a community and how to be sure those joining us on Zoom have a full experience. As we say several times at every meeting, we will continue to tweak our plans as we move forward and continue to learn more. We continue to feel excitement about moving in this direction when circumstances allow.

Monthly Potlucks: Good news! Amity Baker, Carol Jenkins and Elinore Standard will begin work as a team to develop and implement a plan for revolving monthly potlucks, hosted in homes, and beginning, as with all else, when it’s safe to do so. We look forward to the time we can safely gather in small groups to share meals and our lives!

Of course, in addition to these conversations, we continue to think about the ongoing work of really being church. Session offered a statement of support to Presbytery’s Leadership Commission which has recommended that the land at the Camp of the Eastward (CATE) be returned to its original inhabitants, the Abenaki. Our VIA groups working on Racial Justice issues and Correctional Reform continue and will share updates in the weeks ahead. Session voted to send $500 to TeacHaiti to meet immediate hunger needs after the earthquake and Ann Naumann will speak to us in early October about our educational mission with these families. While we were disappointed not to see one another in person at the picnic, our community continues to remain connected on Zoom and we will get to the other side!

Your clerk,
Mary Beth Barritt