IMPORTANT NOTICE - COVID - 19

To the Calvary Family,

 

In these uncertain days filled with concern, fear, and worry about the COVID-19 virus, we want to encourage you with two thoughts:

 

First – TODAY IS A GREAT DAY FOR THE GOSPEL!!  All through history the Church has proclaimed the message of hope in an uncertain --  and at times terrifying -- world.  May this be true of us this day and in these days as we continue to intentionally reflect the light of Christ in a world that is trembling in panic.  Let us Christians be ready to share with the world around us the confidence we have in Jesus – that God is in control, and that we have the hope of eternal life through His Son. Because of this, we have His peace and are not slaves to fear or panic. [Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

 

 

 

 

Second - God gives wisdom and discernment to those who ask, to help live a godly and prudent life on this earth that glorifies Him. [James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”]  To this end the church leadership has been seeking wisdom from the Lord in prayer, and also consulting other reliable sources to guide our path forward as a church body.

It is with these thoughts that we want you to know we have been evaluating the health issues around us and how it is affecting the church. We do not want to be alarmist, yet we want to be prudent and take steps to live safely at peace with each other. To these ends:

 

1. Because one of the highest, primary purposes of the local church is to worship together, we plan to continue with Sunday morning church services as long as we are permitted by local authorities, though we will re-evaluate this decision on a weekly basis.  At the same time for those who are uncomfortable with meeting together we affirm your complete freedom to stay home and share in our services on-line.

 

2. Another important practice of the Church is the celebration of communion.  Our custom over the last years has been to celebrate this event weekly during Lent.  We will continue to do so this next week, but we have purchased sealed, individual communion kits.  Each person will receive a kit and open it themselves so that multiple people will not be touching the same bread or the same cups.

 

3. During our services we will keep the windows and doors open, as well as run the air conditioning.  This will aid in ventilation as well as with keeping our hands off the door handles.  Bottles of hand sanitizer will continue to be available all over our building, please use it freely and wash your hands regularly.

 

4. Our nursery will not be functioning, but children of all ages are always welcome in the service.  Parents may also choose to keep their children with them in the overflow area (fireside room) if they find that more convenient.

 

5. Our junior church ministry will continue to function, but of course no children will be forced to participate.  Parents are more than welcome to keep their children in the church service with them.

 

6. Though we are very pleased at the format and content of our current Sunday School study, “Seeking Him,” we believe it wise to cancel all of our Sunday School classes for the remainder of the semester.  God willing, we will work through this study together next semester.

 

7. We have made the decision to change the way we pray for people at the end of our services.  Instead of being at the front of the sanctuary the prayer ministers will be in the patio.  This will enable them to keep a safer distance from those for whom they are praying in a more ventilated area.   While these prayers are an important part of who we are as a body, they require extremely close contact which could pose a threat to the health of individuals and our community.

 

8. If you or your family members have shown any symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, or especially fever, we strenuously request that for the sake of the wellbeing of others you remain at home and enjoy the Calvary service online.

 

9. After much prayer and consult with health professionals, the deacon board believed there would be many benefits to Pr. Nathanael and the church if he attended the IBC conference in Croatia and he traveled with our blessing. However, following the decision by the US government to limit travel to the US from Europe, the conference was canceled after Pr. Nathanael had already arrived in Croatia.  He was able to change his flight in order to be home by this Saturday.  Though he is feeling fine, upon his return he will limit his contact with people and will not be present at church the next two Sundays.

 

10. We are recommending that in any gathering sponsored by the church we refrain from physical greetings of any kind – handshakes, hugs, and kisses specifically.  Greet one another with joy, smiles, and words, but please do so without touching.  Those who wish to wear masks are more than welcome to do so.

 

11. Although much is still uncertain and unknown about this virus with fake news flying around the world, it is clear that the greatest danger and threat is to those over the age of sixty and to those who already have an underlying health issue.  To that end we encourage those of you who fit this higher risk criteria to assess yourself honestly and remain at home, sharing in our services on-line.  We love and value you as our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we honor you for your faithfulness to the Gospel.  For these reasons we also desire to protect you.  While of course you will always be welcome in our services and we would never turn you away, we encourage you to be wise and cautious.

 

12. For any members of our family who serve as volunteers in any capacity within the church, even if your ministry is continuing during these weeks you are not in any way pressured or forced to participate if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe doing so.  If you prefer not to serve at this time, we respect and honor your decision.  We just ask that you please let the leader of the ministry know that you will not be able to participate.

 

Thank you for your understanding during these times. Please keep the church body and our country in your prayers. Pray too for the leadership as we evaluate this changing world around us, that we will make wise decisions to protect our people but also glorify God. Consider also how you might show God´s love to those around you in a special way, shining the light of the gospel every chance we get.

 

Matthew 6:33–34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

 

With love, prayer, and joy,

 

Pr. Nathanael and the deacons of Calvary International Church