Coronavirus Update 2: Holy Week Worship goes Digital

March 20, 2020

Coronavirus Update 2

Dear Calvary Members and Friends,

These days when everyone has a cell phone, one would think that we are more connected than ever.  With FaceTime, I can visit my grandchildren in New York.  Social media enables us to communicate with family, friends and strangers.  We live-stream our worship services so that you can participate in worship in the comfort and safety of your homes.  And yet, in this time of crisis, we are discovering something deeply missing.  We are physically distanced.  We are discovering how very much we miss being able to wrap our arms around each other, to hold each other’s hands.  At a moment when we need more than ever to come together, we are ordered to isolate ourselves from each other, to “shelter-in-place.” So it is not without much prayerful struggle that we announce these new safe practices as the global crisis grows.

In keeping with the guidance of several government authorities about how best to reduce risk to Calvary’s members, friends, staff, and join the broader community in efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Calvary’s operations have shifted completely to a ‘remote working’ status for an unknown period of time. Some government estimates suggest a return to ‘onsite working’ by April 7 or April 30, but these are only estimates. Calvary will continue to communicate updates on all worship services, ministries, and operations through our website, weekly e-blasts, occasional ‘mass’ emails, Facebook, and physical mail to a few households. We’re also working on a weekly video check-in or devotions with the pastors. The precise format is to be decided but look for it next week.

This means that Calvary’s building is now closed to all but the occasional staff visit needed to maintain Minimum Business Operations, per the Bay Area counties March 16 order (section 10(f) and (g)). Offering only live-streamed and broadcasted worship services, some ministries, and various staff operations will continue to be maintained to provide Calvary’s “Essential Business of providing social services and other necessities of life for needy individuals … distance learning … the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value and security of the organization, to process member and employee benefits, and to facilitate staff being able to continue to work remotely.”

If you have been in contact with staff previously, you will know how to reach them through their work email, sometimes their work phone voicemail, or their personal cell number. If you have an urgent need to reach someone on staff and don’t have prior contact information, please call the main phone number, 415-346-3832, and leave a message; a staff person will review the messages daily and arrange for someone to reply. We stand by our conviction that worship is NOT a non-essential activity.  As we approach Holy Week, we will live-stream Palm Sunday and Easter worship services.  In addition, we will make available Maundy Thursday and Good Friday worship services for viewing on Facebook and YouTube.

Additional event updates:

  • Senior Adult Tuesday Program is on hiatus till at least the end of April.  We encourage people to stay home and stay healthy, to call one another as they are able to chat and stay in touch, and to call the church (ext. 3) if they have needs the church can help with.
  • Confirmation Sunday, originally scheduled for April 19, will be rescheduled. We are comfortable that the work has been done and our confirmands are prepared but this is an important Sunday in the life of the church and our young people, and needs to happen when it is safe and we can celebrate in person without fear, concern, or risk. Please contact David Barnes at davidbarnes@calpres.org with any questions.

In this time of physical separation, the church remains committed to supporting the Calvary community and its broader ministry in San Francisco. As we continue to be the church God calls us to be, please let us know if you are—or know someone who is—currently in self-quarantine, sick, or feeling isolated by calling the Pastoral Care line at 415-346-3832, ext. 3.

Calvary needs your continued financial support – offering plate donations, pledge contributions and other financial gifts – to sustain these ministries and programs. While passing of the Sunday offering plate is on a temporary hiatus, you can make a pledge contribution at calpres.org/fulfill-2020-pledge/ or one-time donation at calpres.org/one-time-donation at any time, just as you would on Sunday.

In Christ,

Lois Dress, Clerk of Session

Cal Chinn, Transitional Pastor and Head of Staff

David Foster, Chief Administrative Officer