March 12, 2020
Calvary family & friends,
When the religious leaders of his day asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, he told them it was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” He then added that the second greatest commandment is like the first: to “love your neighbor as yourself.” As a community of faith whose mission is to “be a Christ-like community that experiences and shares God’s love”, we frame our actions and decisions by these two commandments.
With the global spread of COVID-19 (the coronavirus), we have watched cities shut down, universities move to online classes for the remainder of the semester, conferences and large gatherings postpone or cancel their events, and Governor Polis declare a State of Emergency in Colorado. Without a vaccine in place, scientists and public health officials believe two of the most practical intermediary steps in which we can all participate is via vigilant proper hygiene and social distancing.
Calvary’s Staff and Leadership have been carefully discerning our responsibility for ensuring the safety of our congregants, staff, and members of the community who gather in Calvary’s facilities. In listening to the science, and in response to Christ’s call to love our neighbors, we have decided that the best way to love and care for our neighbors is to temporarily move to online-only Sunday worship services, and to suspend all events, small groups, meetings, and other in-person church life activities, effective immediately. The church office will be closed during this time as well. Staff will be working remotely. You may contact staff via email (see list below) or through their cell phones (as listed in the church directory). If you do not have a church directory, you may call the church (303-757-8421) to request information. Church voicemail will be checked regularly Sundays-Thursdays.
This is a stark moment of widespread anxiety in our nation, yet we do not make this decision out of fear. It is from a deep sense of obligation to, and responsibility for, our members, neighbors, and the community at large. We want to be a part of leading the way in our community of Denver by modeling how we care for one another; paradoxically, in this moment, it requires social distancing and vigilance in our self-hygiene.
The goal of these efforts is, as experts in these fields say, to flatten the curve, in order to reduce the pressure on the healthcare system as the situation develops. If the healthcare system is overwhelmed, an array of negative consequences cascade from that leading to a much more serious crisis.
We will continue to assess the situation and, in conjunction with leaders of our community and leaders of our church, will plan accordingly. We will be in regular communication regarding worship opportunities, protocols, and church life activities and will inform you as these decisions are developed and made. While we cannot know for certain at this time, our hope is that we will have seen a reprieve that will allow us to gather again by the beginning of Holy Week, on Palm Sunday April 5. If we hear from officials that it is safe to gather earlier than April 5, we will.
In the meantime, we invite you to:
Livestream worship with us on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. We will be uploading Orders of Worship to our websiteso that you may follow along as you worship. *Livestream instructions below.*
Give electronically: Because Calvary’s mission to our community is vital, and because our commitment to funding our programs and supporting our staff remains essential, your continued giving—even in your absence—is critical. Thank you for your continued commitment to Calvary. Click here to give online or to set up automatic giving, at any time. You may also call or email Luwan Jones, Calvary’s Accountant, for further information about online and automatic giving (303-757-8421). You may also mail your gifts to Calvary (6500 E. Girard Ave. Denver, CO 80224).
Pray: Pray for those who are already affected by COVID-19. One of our member’s has a cousin in Washington State who has COVID-19 and he is in critical condition. Please pray for Daniel; he’s 39 years old, is married and has four children. We also have members of our church in health care professions who are on the front lines of caring for those with COVID-19; please pray for them as well.
Call the Calvary Prayer Line (303-756-1034, ext. 300) to hear the latest prayer concerns and updates and listen to a prayer.
Take a Sabbath Moment to Pause & Reflect through the Lenten Devotionals that will continue to be sent via your inbox (if you receive our Enews, you will receive these).
Calvary, while we would have never wished this situation on our world or in our community, this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to truly practice our Lenten theme of Sabbath together. As you are out and about less, use this opportunity to connect with God more deeply. And be creative about how you can connect with others.
Consider writing cards to our VIPs (Very Inspiring Persons) or making a phone call or two to those in our congregation who cannot get out or who may need help with groceries or errands. Email Mary Hulst for a list of VIPs who would love a card or a call.
If you yourself are sick or cannot get out and about and need help with groceries or errands, please contact us at the church and we will coordinate volunteers to help you during this time. If you are willing to serve on a Care Team to help get groceries or run errands for people who are sick or unable to get out, please contact us.
In moments of fear and anxiety, we have the opportunity, and obligation as God’s people, to model another way. We believe this to be Christ’s Way of love and compassion and justice. As we take precautions for ourselves and loved ones, it is our faith and trust in God that brings us comfort and strength. Imagine new ways of practicing hospitality, kindness, care, thoughtfulness, and even physical touch. As we protect your bodies from germs, know that our faith will protect our minds from fear and our hearts from hatred.
Calvary, our commitment is to do everything we can to communicate with you about the measures we are taking to be responsible, while also being reasonable. As feelings of fear and anxiety arise within yourself, remember to pause and take a deep breath: “Be Still and Know that I am God,” as the psalmist writes. As we live into the unknown together, know that you journey with God and with a community that loves you and prays for you.
Practicing true Sabbath Peace with you during this time,
Rev. Anne J. Scalfaro, Senior Pastor
Sharon Murphy & Rick Breitenbecher, Co-Moderators
Jim Comstock, Chair of Safety & Security Team
Calvary’s Staff Contact Information:
Rev. Anne J. Scalfaro, Senior Pastor
Rev. Morgan C. Fletcher, Pastor (*currently on parental leave)
Rev. Alice Horner-Nelson, Pastor
Rev. Mary A. Hulst, Pastoral Associate & Pastor Emerita
Angela Leonard, Children’s Ministry Coordinator
Dr. David Farwig, Director of Music
Denise Lanning, Organist
Rev. Matt Nelson, Worship Leader for The Gathering
Lori Grohskopf, Administrative & Operations Coordinator
Luwan Jones, Accountant
HOW TO LIVESTREAM
The easiest way to do so is on a computer or on your phone. When worship would normally start, open an internet browser and type in www.calvarydenver.org . This takes you to our website. Move down the page to our "Watch" section. The center picture is our livestream link. Click the white arrow and it should start playing. You can make it bigger by clicking the icon that looks like a square.
Remember: this only works if we are currently livestreaming. If you want to watch at a time we aren't streaming the service (i.e. not 10:30 am or 6:30 p.m.) click here. This is our Youtube channel with many videos listed. The latest livestream will be near the top with a title of "Calvary Baptist Church of Denver (Live Stream) DATE OF SERVICE".
Questions? Email Pastor Alice.