Calvary UMC family,
Good evening! I hope this email finds you well, snuggled up at home and taking one day at a time, as we live in this new and strange reality of physical distancing in the era of COVID-19 concern.
As I write, our health care workers and first responders, both in our community and around the nation, are already experiencing the troubling uptick of needs as this virus spreads. We each have an important role to play–even and especially if that role is to remain home, avoid physical contact with others, and encourage those close to us to do the same.
It has been both sad and heartening over these past two weeks to see how you have stepped up as a congregation, both to care for each other as well as to look for ways to care for those beyond our congregation. Our Care Circles are up and running, and I give thanks to God for the opportunity they present to make sure each member of our church family is connected. It has been sad to be unable to gather in person, but I am grateful for the flexibility and willingness to try new things of all who have tuned into worship and meetings on Facebook and ZOOM.
Tonight I must share the sad update that we will continue to suspend all in person worship, meetings and gatherings at least through Sunday, April 26. That means we will not gather in person until at least May.
It breaks my heart that we will not have the chance to gather sooner, but I know you join me in our commitment to follow the best advice of the experts, and follow the lead of our governor, who today said, “There is no time table on saving lives.” We will hold the line to protect those most vulnerable to this virus as well as to support the work our health care professionals are doing to both prevent the spread of this virus and to treat those infected.
This of course means that we will be celebrating Holy Week and Easter during this time of physical distancing. In the coming days, I will send you more information about the worship and study opportunities in this most holy of weeks in the Christian year. I hope to include both Facebook/ZOOM activities as well as pieces you can do at home–I know not everyone is able to join us even when we use Facebook and ZOOM.
We will not, however, be exploring alternative in-person worship gatherings during this time–you may hear some pastors discussing drive-in worship or some other such opportunity. While I applaud the creativity of such ideas, I believe the necessary intention from our local leaders is to limit physical proximity. As your pastor, with great care and concern for both your safety and that of the community, I will not do anything which encourages you to leave your house.
I look forward to sharing our Holy Week and Easter opportunities soon. And I hope you will continue to reach out to me as well as your Care Circle leader during this time. Let us know if there are any ways we can support you in the days and weeks ahead!
Grace and Peace.
Calvary UMC family,