Update from Rev. Cayer: April 16, 2020

How are you doing?

I hope you’re figuring out new regular routines; these can be very helpful in supporting a healthy experience of work/life balance.

ERUUF’s Finances
Just as this pandemic has thrown businesses, non-profits and each of our families into financial uncertainty, it’s also had an effect on ERUUF. ERUUF’s income mainly comes from our members’ generous financial support (given weekly or monthly by most) and building rentals. Our rentals left the campus at the same time we did, and it’s normal that all of us hold our resources closely in the midst of uncertainty. So as might be expected, in March ERUUF’s income was down by almost 40%, and it looks as though this will be true for the month of April as well. We are fortunate to have some savings to draw on to cover this loss of income in the short term. We have also applied for a Small Business Administration Loan, which does offer support for employees of religious institutions (not the institutions themselves). We have not yet had a response but will share results when we do.

Here’s what members can do to help the fellowship right now, and also in the long run. First, if your job or income has been unaffected by the pandemic, and you’re able to send your regular monthly pledge payment by mail or through the secure online portal, it would have a very positive immediate impact. If you are able to accelerate your payments (that is, send them now rather than wait till the end of the fiscal year in May or June) that would also be very beneficial. Similarly, if you are confident and able to consider increasing your annual gift even by a small amount, that also would be very helpful at this time.

Second, now is the time to make a financial pledge for next year. If you haven’t yet had the chance, please go online to do this now here (at the bottom of the page). This can be your best estimate of what you plan to give in the coming year. If you need to revise your pledge in the coming months, that would be just fine.

Your action on this now will enable us to better estimate next year’s income and create a realistic budget for the coming year. At this time, we have not heard from nearly half our member households, and our best guess at this time is that we might have only 70% of the income we actually need. It would be ideal to use actual pledges as the basis for making decisions about the budget, especially if we have to make difficult cuts.

And as always, keep in mind that ERUUF has a Ministers Discretionary Fund that can help support members who unexpectedly find themselves in need. At this time the fund is sufficiently full.

ERUUF’s Ministers and Staff
You’ve seen some of us online, but may not know that the Administrative staff have been hard at work behind the scenes in support of everything you’ve seen, although you may have chatted with some during a service or been greeted as you’ve waited to get into a Zoom Coffee Hour. These amazing people have also been taking care of business as usual (remotely, and also briefly in the office as needed). On the program side, ministers, program staff, and key lay leaders are also working by phone, email, and online with our members and with each other. We are ministering to current needs and planning for the future.

We’ve all had steep learning curves the past few weeks and most of us have worked far more than usual. As things normalize, we’re committed to working normal hours, and to doing only the things that only we can do, as well as we possibly can. We’re happy to let all the fabulous libraries, museums, yoga, and meditations teachers do what they do best. We are here for conversation, pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, and worship in support of you and your life. Call or send an email and we’ll get back to you within our regular working hours.

For the most part our regular groups and many of our classes are meeting online. I’m particularly amazed that our music groups are meeting regularly, because it’s not possible to sing or make music in a group over zoom or other platforms (different internet speeds make synching impossible). I’m so grateful to all the lay leaders and staff who are leading these important, heartfelt opportunities to stay connected.

If you’ve tuned in to Wednesday evening Vespers or Sunday services, especially the Easter service, know that ministers and staff leaders are just as amazed as you are by what’s on-screen! As service leaders it’s a strange new experience to “preach” and pray just 18 inches from a camera, so we’re really grateful that somehow something about what we’re offering touches you—thanks for your feedback. And my word, none of us can fathom how Jocelyn created the Virtual Choir, but we are still joystruck by that beautiful experience—thank you, Jocelyn! (View the recording here

We have moved to our ONE SERVICE Schedule. Sunday Service takes place at 10:30 on Sunday morning. Zoom Coffee Hour will follow as long as we’re online. You’ll have to click over from the live stream service to the Zoom Coffee Hour (for security reasons the Zoom link will be posted closer to the actual Coffee Hour). Links will be posted close to the time of services/coffee hour under “ONLINE TOGETHER” at the bottom of the ERUUF Homepage.

I’m grateful to Each of Us and All of Us—because together we’re creating beloved community in ways we never imagined possible.

I’m more grateful than I can say to be on this journey with you!