Jamestown, N.Y. – The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Jamestown (UUCJ) was looking forward to returning to in-person services this month. Unfortunately, the current local COVID-19 situation forced a reassessment.
According to UUCJ President Emily Garrick, “At a special meeting, the board voted to reopen in person only when 50 percent of the total population of people in Chautauqua and Warren Counties are fully vaccinated and the transmission rate in both counties is ‘Moderate’ or lower for two consecutive weeks according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.”
The congregation had planned to resume in-person services on Sunday, September 12, 2021, with member Anne Kenefic leading a Water In-Gathering at their 1255 Prendergast Avenue location. That 10:30 a.m. service will now be online.
This annual celebration springs from a ceremony created in the 1980s. Many Unitarian Universalist congregations now hold a Water Communion once a year, often at the beginning of the new church year in September.
Members bring to the service a small amount of water from a place that is meaningful to them. During the appointed time in the service, people one by one pour their water together into a large bowl. As the water is added, the person who brought it tells why this water is special to them. The combined water is symbolic of a shared faith coming from many different sources. Adaptations will be made for the virtual service.
Anyone is welcome to participate by emailing UUJamestown@gmail.com to receive a Zoom link. The link goes out as part of “This Week at UUCJ” on Friday afternoon, but you can request to join until the start of the service on Sunday.
Kenefic was a Sister of Social Service for more than a decade. A graduate of California State University, Hayward, with a BA in Political Science, Religious Studies and Women’s Studies, she received her Doctor of the Law from the University of West Los Angeles. She practiced various types of law in California and taught various subjects at the Paralegal Studies Program at California State University, San Bernardino.
After moving to Jamestown in 2008, Kenefic worked as a paralegal for the law offices of Arthur N. Bailey & Associates, Legal Aid of Chautauqua County, and Fessenden, Laumer & DeAngelo, PLLC, until retiring last year. She has been a UUCJ member since 2008 and was a board member for three years.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Jamestown is a progressive, liberal religious community serving the southern tier of Western New York and Warren County, Pa. The UUCJ’s mission is to support and celebrate each other, encourage spiritual and individual growth, and serve the wider community.