June 1, 2020
Dear Calvary Family,
Ever since the coronavirus forced us to suspend our in-person ministries, most of us have been looking forward to the day that we’d be able to “get back to church.” As restrictions have eased in recent weeks, a team of deacons—including two deacons who work in the field of business and organizational safety—have been developing a plan for our congregation to begin gathering again. This plan was approved by our deacons at a meeting on May 28; and because we felt that it is so important for you to know the details of the plan, we are sending a copy to you.
As you read through this document (as I sincerely hope you will), you’ll see that our church will be taking a number of steps to provide the safest possible environment for everyone who participates in ministry at our facility. Hand sanitizers will be placed throughout the building; touch-less fixtures will be installed in many of our bathrooms; cleaning guidelines will be established, and sources of potential cross-contamination will be removed.
However, because of the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus, we cannot provide the kind of safety we want to provide without your cooperation and participation. Therefore, among other things, you’ll see that we’ll be asking you to practice social-distancing, to wear face coverings, and to let us screen your temperature as you enter the facility.
Even with these steps, “going to church” will not be the same as it was before the pandemic. For the time being, we’ll be offering only one worship gathering, which will take place on Sunday mornings at 9 o’clock and that will continue to be live-streamed on Facebook for those who feel safer participating from home. In addition, during this season when we are meeting with safeguards, there will be no nursery provided; there will be no children’s Sunday School classes; and adult classes will be limited to a select number of classrooms that are large enough to allow for social-distancing and easy cleaning.
As your pastor, it’s my deep wish that we could return immediately to the kind of worship, study, and fellowship that we were enjoying before the pandemic. But because we feel that the safety and well-being of our members and guests is of utmost importance, these are the steps that we feel compelled to take—at least for the time being. Of course, even with this plan in place, some of you may not feel ready to put yourself in the middle of a crowd; and that’s okay!
In fact, if you or the members of your family are among the commonly designated “high risk” groups (young children, the elderly, or those with pre-existing conditions), we urge you to think prayerfully about when you should return to in-person church activity.
With all that said, it is our plan to resume public worship on Sunday, June 28. Of course, we need to emphasize that even this date is subject to change. If there should be a sudden spike in coronavirus activity in our area that causes health officials to re-impose restrictions, we may need to delay this reopening. On the other hand, as conditions in our area improve, it should also be possible for us to relax our guidelines, making our ministry less stressful and more enjoyable for all involved.
As we sail through these uncharted waters, please know that all the leaders of our church will continue to seek the Lord’s wisdom. If you have questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact me or one of our deacons. Let’s all continue to pray for our church and for one another. And let’s remember that regardless of when or how we meet, we are the church! And our Savior has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age.
Alex L. Martin
Rev. Alex L. Martin, Pastor