Dear All,

I would like to thank everyone for offering me such a warm welcome as I’ve begun my work at First Congregational Church. There are many challenges ahead as together we navigate the risks of COVID-19, but there is no better community to work through these challenges with than the amazing folks of FCC.

With the Delta variant developing quickly in the past few weeks, making plans for the fall has been like trying to hit a shape-shifting target. As such, details about when and how music can be done in-person are still in flux. I have been actively gathering information so that any plan we put forward is based on the best scientific data we currently have available. Together, with the music staff, the In-person Worship Team, and the church Board, I hope to form a plan for in- person groups to safely rehearse and/or record music, whether for online or in- person services. Such plans would be built on carefully observing mitigation strategies such as requiring participants to be vaccinated, wearing masks, distancing, and ensuring sufficient air ventilation and filtration. I hope to have more information soon, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, we will continue working to provide excellent music for each worship service. If you are someone who would like to contribute to special music this fall or be involved in music ministries in any other ways, send me an email!

For the choir, we are exploring ways we might safely work together in-person. We had a Zoom choir gathering on Wednesday, September 8. It was really good to be together and we were able to have a thoughtful and candid discussion about possibilities for the fall and the risks involved.

For kids and teens, grades 1-12, we are exploring ways to work together with instruments rather than singing for the foreseeable future, likely beginning with middle and high school groups this month.

In closing, my hopes for FCC’s music ministries are to fully utilize and develop the diverse musical talent within our church and to reach out to other musicians and music lovers in Eugene who are looking for a community like ours. Despite the trials of this time, I know that together we will find creative ways to stay active, connected, and achieve amazing things for our community.

In solidarity,

Jared Fischer, Director of Music Ministries jaredf@fcceugene.org