Dear Calvary Family,
Take a deep breath and pray.
That’s what I say to myself often these days. It is not a time to panic, but it is a time to be prudent and prepared. We are in uncharted water. Leadership in faith communities, educational institutions, hospitals, government, and our local community face difficult choices about how to address the complex challenges that the COVID-19, coronavirus brings. Please pray for wisdom and courage.
Our anxiety rises with the spread of the coronavirus and we worry. We are concerned about the impact of this disease on healthcare workers, vulnerable adults, the physically fragile, and the livelihoods of people. Our world feels uncertain, and it grows smaller, lonelier as we follow health protocols, practice social distancing, engage in self-isolation, and exercise necessary quarantine measures. I also want to acknowledge that we all have things we are grieving, large and small, life-altering or inconvenient. It all feels uncertain and unsettling.
Take a deep breath and pray.
In these uncertain times, we can, at this moment, recognize how connected we are to one another – a body of many members. Do you recall the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12:26 when he says, “If one member suffers, we all suffer together…”? This realization shapes our actions in ways that foster goodness and compassion to expand our caring networks. Another realization is our faith community isn’t found in a building but grounded in the love of God found in Jesus Christ. So, even though we can’t gather in-person, we will discover new ways to worship and minister together.
To that end, we will have an online worship service available Sunday, March 22 – we can’t worship in-person, but we can worship in Spirit from our collective homes. A video recording will be placed on Calvary’s website (www.calvarychurchpa.com). You can expect a short worship service with prayer, Scripture, and a message. Rev. Richard Cassel and I look forward to worshipping with you, and yes, there may be some funny, perhaps awkward moments as we learn how to worship this new way. I hope we will be able to add music and additional elements to our online worship experience in the coming weeks.
Also, with the help of church leadership, I hope to set up small caring groups. These groups would stay in phone contact to share words of care and encouragement and let the church office know about concerns or needs. We are starting conversations about safe ways to deliver needed groceries or medicine to church members or neighbors.
The circumstances around this pandemic are ever-evolving. We have not been through anything like this before. We will need your help along the way, please – the way forward will take all of us.
Since I can’t visit with you on Sundays, in your home, assisted living facilities, etc., I will communicate with you more frequently through email messages, newsletters, our website, and other social media platforms – keeping Calvary’s community connected.
Calvary’s session has taken action on a few important items as follows:
- Based on the current recommendations of health care authorities, the church building is closed to the public for 8 weeks (until May 11, 2020). If the recommendations of health care authorities changes, Session will reassess this decision.
- Due to the church closure, no worship services, baptisms, weddings, funerals, meetings, activities, events in the church building will be held. This means we will not have public, corporate worship for Palm Sunday, Holy Week services, and Easter, but we will have online worship services. (And here is a thought: when that day comes for us to gather again in the Sanctuary to worship, let’s celebrate Easter and witness to the resurrection!)
- The April Congregational Meeting is postponed to a later date.
- Families are encouraged to consider scheduling memorial services for later dates. If a funeral is the only option, it is recommended the service be held in a funeral home with only immediate family in attendance.
- Payroll for all staff and steps for their health and safety will continue.
- Church membership is encouraged to continue to support Calvary Church with pledges and offerings by mail or through an online donation. More information about the online option is on our website at https://calvarychurchpa.com/give/.
So, please take a deep breath with me and pray and act as though you bear the love of Christ into the world for others—because you do.
P.S. Please share this communication with other Calvary friends. Thank you.
Click here to read A Call to Prayer from the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)