Important information for Calvary Community Church
Dear Calvary Family:
As you know, I have spoken about the Coronavirus or COVID-19 in our past two Sunday morning services. We have stood in the gap in faith in the Prayer Room and in other meetings. I believe that this is an occasion for our testimony, as I shared last Sunday.
And, I know things are crazy and information is coming at you fast regarding the Coronavirus.
Your pastoral team has been following the news and keeping up with information from many sources, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other local resources. On Thursday (March 12) we learned that CFISD canceled classes for next week. On Thursday night, I participated in a conference call with the Office of Emergency Management and Houston Responds. At that meeting, it was shared that many faith community leaders from across the city participated in a conference call on Thursday with Dr. Peter Pisters, president of MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dr. David Callender, president of Memorial Hermann; and Dr. Umair Shah, president of Harris County Public Health, hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership. The purpose of that call was to urge churches across the city–especially those with meetings larger than 250 people–to suspend live gatherings for the next two weeks.
Your pastoral team has been in prayer and conversations over the past couple of weeks. We got on a conference call this morning (Friday, March 13) to process what we had learned on Thursday.
In light of recent develops, in the context of prayer and reflection with the Lord and with our team, we have decided to host online services only for the next two Sundays (March 15 and March 22).
So, we will not meet for public worship on Sunday, March 15, nor on Sunday, March 22. And, we are canceling all other meetings for the week of March 16 – 21, including Journey Groups, the Prayer Room, ETS classes, student ministry, and children’s ministry activities.
Instead of physically gathering on Sundays, March 15 and 22, we will live stream these 2 special services with worship and a message. The live stream will take place at 10:00am on the next 2 Sunday mornings. Also, we will post the audio of the sermon on our website as soon as possible.
So, our Sunday services for March 15 and 22 will be available to view live online at 10:00am through the following channel:
After the service, we will upload the video to our YouTube channel. (We could not get live streaming to work via YouTube yet. This learning curve is interesting.)
YouTube: Calvary Community Church
We recognize that we have a responsibility to do our part in our community to stem the tide of the spread of COVID-19. And, we want to contribute to the well-being of our community. Our community responsibility is rooted in Christ’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). In this particular instance, loving our neighbors well means not gathering physically from March 15 – 22 for our worship services and regular ministry activities.
In addition to the live stream, I will 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. We may not be able to gather physically, but we can still fulfill the mandate to stir up one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25). While technology cannot replace the warmth of our community at Calvary, we are grateful to the Lord for technology that will allow us to connect at some level.
And, I want to stress the importance of your financial support during this season. We don’t have a lot of financial reserves. When someone gives to Calvary, those funds to go to ministry and missions. Situations like this can put a strain on a church and on the many other organizations that depend on the regular generosity of their members. Please consider giving by mailing a check to Calvary or by giving online at https://calvaryhouston.com/give. Or, you can call the office (281-550-4323) during regular office hours and give over the phone using a credit card.
Finally, please know that we have not made this decision lightly. We have not made this decision out of fear. Instead, we are making thoughtful and reflective decisions. We believe we are seeking to love our neighbors well. And, we believe that following the guidance of our governing authorities is consistent with the Scriptural admonition to submit to every governing authority (Romans 13:1-7). If the government asked us to stop meeting because they opposed the gospel of Jesus Christ, we would have no choice but to “obey God rather than people.” However, in this regard, we believe our local government is demonstrating wise regard for human lives by attempting to slow the spread of this disease.
Remember: There are extremes in our world today. We don’t want to put our heads in the sand pretending nothing is going on; and, we don’t want to be led by fear or give in to the extremes that are being broadcasted every day.
In light of what is happening, I want to suggest praying through Psalm 46. This is a place where we can find God and discover that the Lord is with us.
If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or calla the church office at 281-550-4323.
I am so grateful for you. And, I am praying with you for our church, city, and nation.
In the name of our Savior, Deliverer, Healer, and Redeemer,
PS: I have included a link below to an article by Ed Stetzer, a missiologist and a key biblical voice in our day.