I know how challenging this time of being physically isolated has been for all of us. Dealing with the Coronavirus has put a strain on the nations of the earth.
During the past 2 weeks, I have had several conversations with our Staff Team about when to start meeting in person again as a church. I have also had a conversation with our elders. I am grateful for the leaders at Calvary. We have processed a lot of ideas and insights. And, I have received input from some of you.
This past week, the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, decided to let churches start meeting during the COVID-19 crisis. It is a part of his directive to open up more of the state in a structured way. And, some clearer guidelines were given to address how churches should open up if they chose to do so.
After seeking the Lord, and after praying and processing together, we have decided to launch in-person worship services beginning on Sunday, May 17.
I know that some of you are asking about Journey Groups and when they will meet in person. Margaret Petry, our Small Group Pastor, is going to work with our Journey Group Leaders on those questions and issues.
Margaret is also going to train our ushers and greeters so that we can create a safe place for each of us.
Becky Gressett is working with our Children’s Ministry Team regarding the start date for different kids’ activities, programs, and ministries. Please note: Kid Care for babies through Preschool and Kids Church for grades K – 5 will start on Sunday, May 17. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Winne is working with our Student Ministry Council regarding youth ministry plans and programs.
Joshua Rushing is working with the Prayer Room Leadership Team concerning plans for the Prayer Room.
So, more information will roll out as we have more clarity.
The Texas Governor’s office released guidance for Houses of Worship during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are a few important notes for our in-person gathering:
- We will observe social distancing guidelines before, during, and after each service. Everyone will be asked to observe the 6-ft rule at all times. (I know; it will be hard not to shake hands and hug. We will get back to doing that one day for sure.)
- Wearing a face mask is optional. (But, masks are recommended by Gov. Abbott.)
- People will be seated as they arrive and will be dismissed in an orderly fashion.
- Family members will be seated together. In accordance with the directives, we will put 2 chairs between each grouping of people or individuals. Two individuals who are not members of the same household but who are attending together can sit adjacent to one another, with two seats empty on either side.
- We will also put some more space between our rows of seats.
- We will place offering baskets at the doors, rather than passing the baskets during worship. And, we encourage you to keep giving online or mailing in your tithes and offerings.
- There will be connection cards and giving envelopes in the seats for you to use. You can place those in the offering baskets as you leave after the service.
- For ministry time, we will not lay hands on people for a while. That will change when the physical distancing directive is lessened.
- We will continue to live stream our services for anyone wishing to participate online.
- Remember that you get to choose whether or not you will attend in person. Each person is responsible to do what you are comfortable doing in this COVID-19 crisis. Some of you will choose to stay home for various reasons, and that is understandable. Please feel free to do what you need to do.
- If you’re sick, we ask that you please stay home and participate online.
- If you’re in the high-risk category due to age, physical, medical, or autoimmunity issues, please use your own discretion knowing that you have the option of worshipping online.
- If you need prayer, please email us at email@example.com.
- Our cleaning crew has continued to clean the building during this crisis. We will also work to sanitize our facilities after our services. This includes disinfecting door handles, countertops, chairs, and other frequently-touched surfaces, etc.
- Also, hand sanitizer will be available at every entrance.
We look forward to worshipping and praying together in our building and online.
Calvary, Tammy and I love you and are honored to journey with you as we pursue deep intimacy and full partnership with the Lord. God is leading us well and is at work in us and in the nations. That is really good news.
More information available at CalvaryHouston.com.
Pastor Jeff McGee