As of Sunday, March 15, Mt. Toby Meeting has cancelled all in-person activities at the meetinghouse, including:
• Meeting for worship
• Committee Meetings
• Concerts, 11:40 Hours, and the Inquirers’ Group
This week, we added further restrictions.
As of March 18, under the guidance of our ad hoc committee on Covid-19 precautions, we eliminated further activities, including any Mt. Toby sponsored:
• Outdoor worship
• Walking worship and walking meditations.
We expect these restrictions to remain in place at least for the next month.
• We know know that the virus has entered the Pioneer Valley. Several local hospitals are now reporting cases.
• We have many vulnerable people in the Mt. Toby Community. A vulnerable person is someone over 60 years old, anyone with an underlying health condition (heart disease, lung disease, diabetes) anyone with a weakened immune system, or anyone who is pregnant).
• The recommended distance between people is 6 feet. There are many places in the Meeting house that this distance is not possible (like the women’s room).
• It is not known how long the virus lives on surfaces, however it is thought to be several hours to several days.
• The Governor of Massachusetts has cancelled all discretionary gatherings: Although spiritual health is important, meeting is discretionary.
• While walking for exercise is fine, there is no official guidance about walking in a group. If the group is 10 or fewer, if they stay 6 feet apart, and if they use good “respiratory etiquette” and frequent hand washing, it lowers the risk of transmission… but it does not meet the standard of avoiding unnecessary contact with people outside your own household.
Of course we can’t tell you not to take a walk with a friend. But we can tell you that Mt. Toby will not be organizing such walks for any purpose, including worship, until at least mid-April.
We do have resources to offer you for the time being, however:
• We will be offering our regular meeting for worship through Zoom, on Sunday mornings, from 10:00 through 11:00 (with a half hour for tech support at 9:30, and with the possibility of breakout rooms for fellowship afterwards).
• We will also be offering a weekly Zoom Taizé service on Thursday nights.
• Zoom is available by telephone as well as through computer, and you do NOT have to be technically skilled to access it. Our Communications Committee can help, and is working to identify as many Friends as they can who are willing and able to help us all learn how to make it easy to learn how.
• Other ways of worshiping at a distance are being discussed, and we’ll share them as soon as we can.
Contact Ken Hoffman with questions regarding our Zoom account or schedule, or contact Ruth Hazzard, clerk of M&W with questions on meeting for worship, or Peter Bishop with questions about Taizé.
Cat Chapin-Bishop Clerk, Mt. Toby Meeting