by Patti Brooks, President
At long last, the new church season is upon us! I hope you are well and in good spirits.
Although the church was closed in March due to the COVID-19 lock-down, and we close seasonally every summer, it doesn't mean that the Board of Trustees and Pastoral Committee have been idle.
There has been much going on since we closed in March. The big change, other than moving to deliver services by Zoom, is that we have replaced the rotting back doors and changed their color according to the Historical Society’s recommendations. The doors are now a welcoming blue. I want to thank those that were involved in sanding, re-glazing the doors with windows, priming, and painting both the new doors and the side and front doors. (The front is still being worked on because it needed repair to the window glazing.)
The church board met to figure out how to proceed with opening for the new 2020-2021 season. We discussed options about meeting in person or on Zoom. Because our church is an intimate space, to protect the health and safety of our congregants, we decided to hold Zoom services every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. If you would like to participate, please send your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the Contact Us form on this website.
By choosing to Zoom-deliver services, it allows the most people to take part in our services; otherwise, with social distancing measures, only 14 people could attend at the church itself. Service schedules are posted on our Facebook page, this webpage (Calendar), and NSAC Services and Classes and Event Facebook page. We are excited to test this new Zoom frontier!
Like many people, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations during this time of the pandemic, the church is struggling financially. Closing our doors two months early was equivalent to nearly a third of our normal operating schedule when we receive donations and sponsor fund-raisers. Unfortunately, even when we are closed, there are bills to pay: telephone, internet, website fees, electricity, heat, water, and trash removal.
Although the time to replace the back doors was not optimal, the board had no choice because the rot had progressed to where you could easily push your hand through the wood. We had to upgrade to solid wood doors (the previous ones were hollow core) and have them professionally installed, then purchase the primer, paint, and materials. But now that is finished, and the church is secure.
In August we filed our annual report with our parent organization, the NSAC, and with it, we paid our church fees. These fees included a nominal charter fee and a per capita tax, meaning that for every person who is a member of the church, a fee is levied by the National Organization. The per capita tax is many hundreds of dollars.
We understand that folks are hurting right now. We have some members who recently lost their jobs and others whose businesses have been decimated by the restrictions placed because of COVID-19. To survive, we need to pull together and do what we can to help each other and to help our church. For those of you who regularly tithed or gave weekly donations during services, we ask that you continue to do so as you are able. Every little bit counts. Donations can be made by clicking the PayPal Donate button or by sending a check by mail to 34 Warren St., Salem, MA 01970, or dropping a check off at the church by sliding it through the side door mail slot. The First Spiritualist Church of Salem is a 501C-3 religious nonprofit and your donations are tax deductible as provided by law. Our pastoral committee and board of trustees are volunteer, no church leader is remunerated for his or her service so 100% of your donation (less PayPal fees) goes to the operational and capital projects expenses of the church.
We had some fundraisers postponed because of the limits caused by the COVID-19 virus. We are reevaluating these and brainstorming new events that can be delivered by Zoom or other alternative means.
We are also designing an unfoldment class to be delivered via Zoom. Class is be co-taught by Pat Cizewski and Nancy Karolides and is tentatively scheduled to begin in October. There is still much we can do but we can't do it without you.
Lastly, we maintain our healing list as usual. Please send your requests for healing to the church email or via the Contact Us page on this website.
We are looking forward to starting our services again on September 13. Zoom directions can be found on this website. See you on Sundays!
Board President and Pastoral Committee