Holy Week at Calvary UMC

Saturday, March 28—Friday, April 10
One of the 14 stations of the cross will be sent daily via email, as well as posted on Facebook. Each station will include a photo for reflection along with the Biblical text for that station. These 14 stations make up the Scriptural Way of the Cross, approved by Pope John Paul II in 1991. This list differs from the original Stations of the Cross, which included several scenes not included in standard Biblical texts. Many Protestants, including United Methodists, have since adopted this list of 14 stations as a tool for Lenten (and especially Holy Week) reflection.

Sunday, April 5
10:00 a.m. ONLINE WORSHIP (ZOOM live, video posted to Facebook by 12 pm)
Join us for this special service, with various readers walking us through not only Jesus’ triumphant into Jerusalem, but also venturing into the closing scenes before Jesus’ crucifixion.
+1 301 715 8592 US
Meeting ID: 274 410 154

Thursday, April 9
DINNER WORSHIP: A simple service order is being provided that we invite you to use while you sit at table for dinner, either with family in your home, or even calling a friend, family or neighbor to do so via call or conference call! We are invited to use the liturgy created by Rev. Sarah Are, via A Sanctified Art. A Sanctified Art are the creators of the liturgy (themes, calls to worship, prayers) we have been using during this season of Lent.

This document is available here: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/575b394d45bf211e060c93fc/t/5e7e8616b042e9754b41315f/1585350168748/SA_athomemaundythursday.pdf

Friday, April 10
3:00 p.m. ONLINE WORSHIP (ZOOM live, Video posted to Facebook by 5 pm)
This service will be a time of contemplation, prayer and reflection as we remember Jesus’ crucifixion and death.
+1 301 715 8592 US
Meeting ID: 641 071 316

If you aren’t able to join us live at 3 pm, we hope you’ll tune into the service on Facebook after it’s posted!

Sunday, April 12

SUNRISE SERVICE (liturgy provided for home service)

10:00 a.m. ONLINE WORSHIP (ZOOM live, posted to FB by NOON)
We are so excited to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection together! Let’s lift our voices, offer praise and give God glory for new life in Christ!
+1 301 715 8592 US
Meeting ID: 274 410 154

COVID-19 Update: Activities Suspended Through April 26

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.
Pastor Sarah

Letter Regarding COVID-19 Response

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What a time we live in! If it wasn’t enough to face the challenges before us, as individuals, a congregation, a community, nation and world, we find ourselves facing a situation none of us anticipated: the spread of a virus around the world in what many experts increasingly believe either is, or is on the way to being, a pandemic.

In the midst of the uncertainty around COVID-19 (coronavirus), it can be difficult to know what we should be doing, to find answers for our questions, and fear and anxiety (or, on the other hand, denial) can seem at times overwhelming.

The Bible includes calls to spiritual health as well as physical health. Indeed, in Leviticus 13, God provides instruction for what we would today call a quarantine. Throughout Old Testament law, we see God’s concern for the whole of human experience—spiritual commitments, relationships, physical health, everything. John Wesley, the founder of our Methodist movement, was also concerned not only with the spiritual, but also the physical. He offered dietary and exercise guidance to his followers, and understood some of the connection between our physical health and mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. We carry this legacy. Therefore, it is appropriate that as a faith community we would work together to care for the holistic well-being of our congregation and community.

In the light of the unfolding COVID-19 spread, I am writing to you to share reminders of the common sense measures officials are asking of us at this time, as well as our preparations and plans for our own congregation.

The good news (and yes, even in the midst of our uncertainty and anxiety, there is some very good news) is that basic practices have already been shown to slow and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Experts are universally confident that some simple measures can drastically help keep both you and those around you healthy[1]:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

In local communities where there have been confirmed cases, the local health department gives guidance to those who have been exposed about entering generally two weeks of self-quarantine. The purpose of such a quarantine is to prevent the possibility of the spread of the illness while waiting to see of the exposed person becomes ill.

In addition, as a preventative measure, the CDC is now encouraging older adults (defined as those over 60) as well as persons with compromised immune systems to consider avoiding public spaces, and especially large gatherings until we have greater clarity and better handle on the spread of the virus.[2] It is important to know that there is currently no projected end to this period of social distancing. The link in the footnotes provides the current guidance from the CDC to prepare for such social distancing.

Presently at Calvary UMC, we plan to approach any changes to our schedule in ways similar to inclement weather—namely, we will follow the decision of Charles County Schools. If Charles County Schools close for quarantine purposes, all events at Calvary will be cancelled. Further, we will follow all relevant guidance from our local health department and officials. It may be possible that schools are open but we are asked to cancel worship services and other gatherings. Of course, we would do so.

When we anticipate bad weather, I also always remind you to make the best decision for yourself and your family. Sometimes we may hold worship if there is snow on the ground, but in such a case, I would always expect you would not venture out if you felt it was not safe to do so. Please do the same thing now and in the days ahead.

Given that the CDC is now encouraging persons over 60 to avoid large gatherings, I understand that even as we continue regular events at this time, some of our congregation may reduce their participation for now. We want to be sure to remain connected to our entire congregation, even those who may make such a decision.

Therefore, in the coming days, I will be sharing even more about how we will be using technology to remain connected. This will include Facebook Live videos (which we have used successfully for worship on snow days) as well as ZOOM, which is a video conferencing tool that allows participants to connect either on their computers or by calling in on their phones to connect to the audio. A number of churches use ZOOM regularly not only for meetings, but also for connecting for things like fellowship and prayer groups. If your group at Calvary would like to explore such a tool, I would be happy to help you consider your options.

We will also be encouraging you to consider using electronic giving to help support the ongoing financial needs of the congregation, even if you choose to stay home for a time.

If you have any questions about these measures or suggestions for how we can prepare for possible contingencies as a church family, please let me know. If you need assistance preparing for a period of social distancing, let us know how your church family can be of assistance.

I take confidence and peace knowing that God’s people have journeyed through such difficult seasons before, and that God has sustained them along the way. I give thanks that one of the ways God supports us in such seasons is through the care, love and encouragement of our brothers and sisters in Christ. May you know you are loved and surrounded with support, and may you reach out in care and service to those around you.

Grace and Peace.

Rev. Sarah Andrews Schlieckert

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html