Coronavirus Update: Wednesday, 3’25’20
Here is the latest information from Calvary that you need to know regarding our services, gatherings, and responses to dealing with the Coronavirus or COVID-19.
Join us online for our worship service this Sunday
Instead of physically gathering, we will live stream our services with worship and a message. The live stream will take place at 10:00am on Sunday mornings. Also, we post the audio recordings of the sermon on our website and podcasts as soon as possible, which is usually sometime on Mondays.
Our Sunday services are available to view live online at 10:00am through the following channels:
YouTube: Calvary Community Church
In addition to the live stream of our worship services, I upload the notes of the messages on our sermon page. I want to encourage you to watch the live stream and to talk about it with others through texts, social media, email, or over the phone. Or, you might want to get together with less than 10 others to worship with us via the live stream.
Upcoming schedule and plans for Calvary
As you know, dealing with the Coronavirus by government officials and the CDC is fluid and ever-changing.
On Tuesday, March 24, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo gave the “stay-home-safe-work” order. This order in effect from 11:59pm on Tuesday, March 24, until 11:59pm on Friday, April 3.
Here is a brief summary of what this order means for us:
- Everyone must remain at home unless they are conducting essential business such as grocery shopping, picking up food, or going to work at businesses that are deemed essential.
- Public and private gatherings outside of a household or single living unit are prohibited.
- Parks will remain open, but the use of benches, playgrounds and workout equipment is prohibited.
- When you are outside of your home, everyone must maintain social distancing of at least six feet.
- Grocery stores and gas stations remain open.
- Restaurants can operate, but only as a take-out option.
- Worship services have been limited to video, live streaming, or teleconferencing. Churches must also limit their staff to 10 people or less on-site when conducting their services.
- There is an exception for ministers who are meeting one-on-one to provide mental and spiritual health.
Here are the actions we are taking in light of these directives. By the way, all of these plans are subject to change. Please continue to check our website for official updates and our current thinking. Or, feel free to call the church office at 281-550-4323.
Please note: Most of our church staff members are working remotely. Our regular church office hours, services, and activities are suspended until April 5.
- Worship Services:
- Journey Groups:
- We are encouraging Journey Group members to stay socially connected in the midst of physical distancing through voice calls, texts, chat, Messenger, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout, Facebook Live, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and any other means. You can even use snail mail and send cards and letters.
- As you know, our Journey Groups are our first line of pastoral care. Please keep in touch with your Journey Guides and let them know how you are doing and how we can help you.
- If you haven’t heard from your Journey Guide, please contact your leader and check in. Or, connect with Margaret Petry, our Small Group Pastor.
- Children’s Ministry:
- Bible Study for children will resume on April 5 at 9:00am.
- Kids Church resumes on April 5.
- Kid’s Club plans to start back on Wednesday, April 8.
- Children’s Pastor Becky Gressett is working with her team on ways to connect with children during this season.
- Youth Ministry:
- Jane Winne, our Youth Ministry Coordinator, and the Student Ministry Council (SMC) are connecting with our youth in various ways.
- Please connect with Jane via email or phone (281-381-9931) for further details, or contact the church office.
- Youth Bible Study begins again on Sunday, April 5.
- Regular youth activities will get back on track the week of April 5.
- The Prayer Room:
- At this time, we are encouraging people to lift up all kinds of prayers, requests, intercession, and thanksgiving for everyone, and especially for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
- Because the church building is closed, you can pray on your own, or you can connect with others using technology to pray together.
- Ladies Ministries:
- For information on our activities and ministries for women, please go to our webpage or to the His Delight Facebook page.
- The March Ladies Retreat has been rescheduled to Aug. 1. Stay tuned for details.
- Ladies Bible Study will start again on Tuesday, April 7.
- Bible Study and Equipping the Saints classes:
- Bible Study for all ages will start on Sunday, April 5.
- Equipping the Saints classes commence on Wednesday, April 8.
Responding to COVID-19
Most of us in our lifetimes have never experienced anything like this pandemic and the impact it is having on our world. People worldwide are grieving loss, experiencing trauma, and reacting anxiously. We need to be aware of what we are experiencing and what others are going through, so that we can respond thoughtfully and not merely react. Right now, it seems like everything that can be shaken is being shaken. That is unsettling for sure. On top of that, I believe that a principality of fear is using this pandemic to manipulate, deceive, and torment both leaders and people. The enemy loves to take advantage of people when they are down.
During this trouble, there is good news. We get to announce that our God reigns (Isaiah 52:7). Our God is sovereign; he rides forth victoriously on behalf of truth, humility, and righteousness (Psalm 45:4).
And, you and I were made for such a time as this (Esther 4:14; Acts 13:36). This pandemic is an occasion for our testimony (Matthew 24:6-14; Revelation 12:7-12). The church of the Lord Jesus Christ has always flourished in the face of trial, trouble, and persecution. And, the Lord is with us; he will not abandon us nor forsake us. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).
Recently, a friend shared the following encouragement with me. In Failure of Nerve, Edwin Friedman writes: “We as humans were designed for challenge. Our immune system develops in response to challenge.” My friend went on to say that he is optimistic that, with the Lord’s help, we will figure out how to adapt and adjust in order to move forward.
The Lord gave us a word for this year: deep intimacy and full partnership with Jesus (Song of Songs 1:4). This crisis affords us the opportunity to draw close to the Lord, because we so desperately need the Lord and God so profoundly loves us. And, the Lord is answering our prayer; God is giving us his heart for others. When we see others the way that the Lord does, and when we feel what he feels for others, then, loving others and reaching them with God’s love flows naturally from us. I am grateful that the Lord can redeem even this crisis to take us into deeper relationship with him and into greater partnership with Jesus on his mission to love and reach others (Romans 8:28-29).
Remember Your Giving in This Season
In the midst of all this shaking, I want to encourage you in your regular, spiritual practices. Don’t neglect your spiritual practices that ground you in the awareness that God is near. Spend time with the Lord through personal devotion, devotional Scripture reading, personal and family prayer, personal and corporate (online) worship, serving and caring for others, regular fasting, praying with and receiving prayer from others, and other spiritual practices.
And, let’s be sure to bring all the tithe and offerings into the storehouse. I want to encourage you to be faithful in the giving of your tithes and offerings in this season. When you give to Calvary, those funds support ministry and missions. We continue to minister locally and globally. Please consider giving by mailing a check to Calvary or by giving online at https://calvaryhouston.com/give. If you mail a check, please send it to Calvary Community Church, 7550 Cherry Park Drive, Houston, TX, 77095. Our mailbox is secure, and we check it regularly. If you usually give at our services and if you need some giving envelopes, please contact Marcella and we will mail some offering envelopes to you.
I realize that this is a trying time for many of us. Some of you have lost your jobs. Others are experiencing economic hardship. As a church family, let’s be there for one another. Our Journey Groups are connecting with people to check in and to help meet needs. Your pastors are also connecting with our members and regular attenders to express care and love. Where the needs of some people are bigger than what a Journey Group can meet, we have benevolence funds that may help. So, as you become aware of needs, connect with your Journey Group. For considering benevolence needs, please contact Marcella at email@example.com.
Thank you for your faithfulness to give, to care, to connect, and to serve to advance the kingdom of God in the earth.
If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me at 281-686-5291.
I love you so much. And, I am praying with you for our church, city, and nation.
May the Lord grant to each of us grace, physical strength, and courage as we partner with him in our world today.
Senior Pastor, Calvary Community Church