Coronavirus Update: Worship and Events at Calvary

March 12, 2020

Dear members and friends of Calvary:

Together with our pastors, the Session sends this update about Calvary’s response to recent COVID-19/“coronavirus” developments.  While there is still much that is unknown about COVID-19, we’re slowly learning ways to help slow the spread and avoid overtaxing our healthcare services.  Therefore, after prayerful discernment, with deep concern for the health and well-being of the Calvary community, and in compliance with the Governor’s Guidance for Gatherings, Calvary’s Sunday worship service will be online only, live streamed via Facebook, for the remainder of March.  The full text of the Governor’s Guidance for Gatherings offers helpful definitions and rationale, and you may see it here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Gathering_Guidance_03.11.20.pdf

In addition to offering our worship online only, we’re reporting several other schedule changes:

  • Sunday Studio, youth fellowship (the 4th and 5th grade class, for example), childcare and children/youth choir are cancelled for the remainder of March.
  • The final confirmation class, scheduled for March 15, is cancelled.  Confirmation is still scheduled for Sunday, April 19th; contact David Barnes with any questions at davidbarnes@calpres.org.
  • Choir rehearsals are cancelled for the remainder of March.
  • The Lenten Bible studies are cancelled, with the exception that those Bible study groups that meet regularly throughout the year may choose to meet if they desire.  All Lenten Bible studies are invited to explore ways of meeting online (via Zoom, for example).
  • The Senior Adult Tuesday gathering is cancelled for the remainder of March.  We will send an update about April.
  • The Wednesday Playgroup is scheduled to resume April 15, pending circumstances.
  • The Boy Scouts are suspending meetings until April; the Boy Scouts will provide updates.
  • Small church-related meetings such as committee meetings may meet at church.  We encourage Zoom or other online or phone conference meetings.
  • The church will not host or sponsor any large group gatherings for the remainder of March.
  • Some volunteer activity schedules have been modified.  Please check with the organization before making your plans.
  • Check the web calendar at www.calpres.org/events, or call the front desk for schedule updates.  The situation changes daily, even hourly.

This community will adjust and care for one another.  We are committed to making sure that people can still connect with one another be it by video, phone, text messages, etc.  It might even be an opportunity to learn how to use some of these technological means of connection.  If you are unfamiliar with how to participate in worship by way of Facebook, one of the pastors would be delighted to walk you through it.  While some of these shifts from in-person to online may take a bit of getting used to, we also know that there are others who may find and connect with us for the first time.  While there is certainly a feeling of loss, we are excited about how we may discover some new life during this time.  It may be an opportunity for a “Sabbath,” a time of Lenten reflection or contemplation.  To be clear, we are not canceling our community gatherings, but rather finding new ways to gather as a community.

It was difficult to make these decisions, but it ultimately came down to expressing a deep and abiding love for the community by not taking a chance with one another’s well-being.

We continue to encourage common sense precautions by individuals:

  • Frequent, thorough hand washing or use of hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Stay home if you are sick or if your health is vulnerable.
  • Continue normal good health practices: enough sleep, water, a flu shot, etc.
  • Avoid isolation by using other ways of connecting if you are concerned about leaving home: video, phone, text messages, etc.
  • Please contact the pastors if you need help at home.  The pastoral care line is 415-346-3832, ext. 3.

We don’t know what will emerge in the coming weeks, and we’re committed to being flexible. Through this time of caution and concern, we hold each person, our congregation, and the world in prayer.  We lift up in particular the health care workers, and those with the least means to weather the coming storm.   

In Christ,

Lois Dress, Clerk of Session

Cal Chinn, Pastor and Head of Staff