When Covid arrived in March 2020 in my optimism I expected that the church would be closed for three months or so then church life would resume as normal. How mistaken I was. Like everyone during the past nineteen months we have had to adapt to unprecedented times. We missed out on many important occasions. We had to cancel our Coming of Age Service, we missed membership Sunday and of course the Carol Service which for many is the highlight of the year. Sunday Club has disappeared, temporarily I hope! When Services were allowed in the church, under Covid restrictions there was no singing.
          In the wider life of the church baptisms and weddings have been cancelled and rearranged sometimes several times over. One of the great losses is that we were unable to gather at the funerals of beloved friends and family members. The rhythms of monthly charity collections is lost, we’ve missed out on supporting Simon through our pre-worn clothes collection. We missed welcoming visitors on Culture Night.
          Technology has been invaluable during lockdown. Yet virtual coffee or a circle in the Green is not quite the same as meeting in person in the Damer Hall. Broadcasting services via the web camera is probably here to stay. I hope that the web camera will not replace people gathering in community for prayer and reflection.
          Technology has allowed the Managing Committee to hold monthly meetings. It has enabled the work of the Refugee committee to continue. It allows meetings of anyone interested in reading and discussing scriptures from other traditions. The monthly book club has continued to meet during Covid.
          The good news is that we are beginning to open up. This will be a gradual process. I hope that soon people will be more confident about being able to attend church in person. Last Sunday 24th October 2021, wearing our masks we managed to sing hymns and it felt good.
          Looking forward, November will be a busy month with more than half a dozen organisations coming to the church for services of remembrance. It is heartening that these groups are finding a home in our church community. There will be four or five baby welcoming services and in December there are a number of weddings. The Worship Sub committee are working on ways to raise the profile of our church.
          If Covid numbers are kind to us we hope that within a few weeks that we can assemble some singers and that when we gather on Sundays we will hear the choir practice for the carol service.
          Sounds like heaven. Remember that everyone is welcome to be part of this re-opening.

Rev.Bridget Spain
Minister Dublin Unitarian Church                                         November 2021