May 07, 2020
Dear Calvary Family,
It’s been two months since we last gathered together at Calvary for worship (Sunday, March 8). Can you believe it? Feels like longer, I know! I am so proud of the way you have adapted and cared for one another during this time. We are all having our emotional and spiritual ups and downs with COVID-19. I had a low point this week, but am doing better today. That’s how this goes; some days it just hits us differently. Know that it is completely normal to feel defeated and depressed one day and hopeful and resilient the next. We are all learning the psychology of living through a pandemic together, but one thing’s for sure - it’s a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. We will continue to get through it - together, while apart. We look for God’s guidance during this time and rest in God’s assuring presence no matter what comes or how long this lasts. I encourage you to reach out to fellow members or to us pastors to talk and connect as needed.
As you are aware, today we begin the “Safer at Home” phase of COVID-19 social distancing mitigation here in Denver. It is currently set to expire on May 26 for the state of Colorado, but as we saw with “Stay at Home,” the city of Denver could very well run behind the state in lifting subsequent phases of mitigation. Governor Polis is having another call with Faith Leaders this Tuesday (May 12), so I will hopefully have updated information to share with you next Friday about specifics and guidelines related to churches.
As we comply with “Safer at Home” mitigation guidelines, Calvary’s building will remain closed throughout the month of May. Staff continue to work from home and access the building on a very limited basis (with precautions) as needed. As many of you know, Calvary’s building is kept secure through a system that uses building access cards assigned to individual members. Those cards remain in activation during this time, and we are aware that quite a few members are entering our building – sometimes frequently and sometimes staying for extended periods of time. We know it’s really hard to stay away from the place that we love and that (for so many of us) our life centers around. We also understand that we are all going stir-crazy and want to get out! However, please read this message in light of the loving concern that your staff has for you. We care deeply for you, our church members, and because of that our church building remains officially closed - not only to comply with government guidelines but also to protect the health and safety of all – including those of us who must enter the building for essential tasks.
We do understand that some of you need to enter the building for a very specific purpose: to drop off a check or financial gift or to drop off donations for Jewish Family Service or to do a short, essential task approved by a staff member. That said, we continue to urge those of you who are over age 65 and/or have preexisting conditions or compromised immune systems to stay at home if at all possible (per city and state guidelines) and to not put yourself at unnecessary risk by entering Calvary’s building.
For quick drop off tasks there are alternatives such as mailing your financial donation to the church (our mail is being held at our local post office) or giving online (calvarydenver.org/give). And in regard to the donations we are collecting for Jewish Family Service - remember that if you are healthy and not at risk because of age or immune system you may enter the church and put your donation in one of the grocery carts in the coatroom and then exit the building (remembering to wash or sanitize your hands immediately). A safe, alternative option is to call or email Pat Hagen to arrange for your donation to be picked up from your home/porch. (We recommend this option for those who are advised to continue to stay home during this Safer at Home phase.)
Most importantly, please know that anyone who is entering the church right now while we are officially closed is doing so at your own risk and needs to take precautions (wash your hands and use hand sanitizer, do not touch your face, wear a mask, etc.) because the building is not being sanitized regularly and/or after each person
comes and goes. We know through video footage that many people touch the door handles of the church trying to get in (members and non-members) and because COVID-19 lives on metal surfaces for multiple days, we feel the need to reiterate this to you all so that we all remain as safe as possible. Additionally, under no circumstances is anyone to remain in the building for a long period of time (i.e., longer than just dropping something off) unless approved by a staff member, nor is anyone allowed to use a communal space such as the library, gym, sanctuary, etc.
All of that said: Calvary, we are so grateful for the ways you continue to give to support Calvary and to support our mission partners, and that generosity is important! We do not want to discourage you from your desire to give and serve, we just want to ensure you are as safe as possible as you do so, and that the staff entering the building for essential tasks are also kept as safe as possible. Like you, we look forward to when we can safely announce that our building is open, but for now please ensure that any visit you make to Calvary is brief and “in and out.” We want to continue to allow members to enter with access cards as needed and yet if we see that people continue to use the building for unknown purposes or remain in the building for long periods of time, we may have to prohibit access in the future. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!
As one of your pastors, know that enforcement of social distancing (aka: staying away from the building and not gathering with one another) is never something that I thought would be doing…never in my wildest dreams (especially a church that strives to be Open to All, Closed to None)! Pastors want people in church, not away from it! But I remind us all that WE are the church, and you are still very much IN the church - with your hearts, your prayers, your connection, your love. You are ALL IN! As am I, and all your staff. When we abide by these guidelines and recommendations, we are making a difference in our community, protecting the vulnerable, and protecting our healthcare workers and healthcare system. As weird and different as it feels, when we stay home right now, we’re loving and serving our neighbor.
On a personal note, Damon and I are so grateful for your cards, emails, phone calls, and check-ins. We are doing well, even as COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives, employment, finances, etc. just as it has for many of you. We are grateful for your love and care. We are learning to adapt; we are doing what we can do and trying to let go of what we can’t do. We feel very grateful and fortunate to be a part of Calvary during this time.
I leave you with this beautiful, benediction video sent to me by Calvary member Linda Fischer. It provided me with five minutes of spiritual refreshment this week, and I hope it does you too. This time last year, Damon and I were preparing to go on pilgrimage with some of you to the Republic of Georgia; an unknown land to us. One year later, we find ourselves yet again, in an unknown land…albeit right here at home. May the truth of these words remind you of God’s presence wherever you journey:
With you on the journey,