August 06, 2020
August 7, 2020
It’s hard to believe how quickly the summer is flying by! This pandemic is lasting longer than any of us initially anticipated and it is far from over; it is a difficult time - for churches, for teachers and schools, for restaurants, for sports, for those experiencing homelessness, for businesses, for first responders and medical professionals, for families, for children and youth, for those living alone, for EVERYBODY.
Acknowledging the difficulty of this time, we are also seeking to celebrate what is going well with our ministry and how we are adapting and evolving to BE the church in meaningful ways. Thank you, Calvary, for your on-going resiliency, compassion, patience, and creativity. From Michelle Mendoza organizing a way to get supplies to Black Lives Matter protestors downtown, to the Men’s Group doing a food drive for Jewish Family Service, to over 60 people attending our first service in the parking lot, to many of you delivering meals to those following surgery, to staff developing a virtual Vacation Bible School, a Hymn Request Line, faith formation resources, the delivery of yard signs and magnets, the delivery of VIP gifts, and keeping us all connected through the enews and virtual worship - we are BEING the church together, while apart.
As I shared with you in May, staff and Council are evaluating and making decisions about our building closure and virtual/in-person ministries on a quarterly basis during the pandemic. At the June Council meeting, Lori Grohskopf presented the COVID-19 Building Guidelines & Protocols* that she developed in consultation with Resource Management Chair Bill Warren and staff. Lori consulted many different resources and ultimately developed Calvary’s guidelines based on recommendations from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Lori also outlined the cleaning supplies and signage being purchased and installed over the summer to prepare the building to have people in it. She emphasized that the guidelines are subject to change as new information comes out from the CDC and NIH and other entities. At that meeting, we also reflected upon the increased engagement with virtual worship, as well as the longing many of us have to see one another and be close to one another in community.
After having a month to reflect, at the July Council meeting, staff and Council returned to the discussion of how we should move forward for the fall quarter. We discussed the ongoing safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as how the Building Guidelines would affect various in-person ministries at Calvary. Given the limited number of people we can have safely in our building and the restrictions around actions such as singing, hugging, standing close to one another, serving food or drink, lingering in enclosed spaces (to name a few), while also acknowledging the need to provide space for some to gather safely in person in limited numbers, Council voted on the following decisions for September, October, and November:
Calvary’s building will be open for use by small groups of 15 people or less by reservation/appointment, and in accordance with the safety protocols in the COVID-19 Building Operations Guidelines Report
Virtual worship services will continue
The church office will remain closed and staff will continue to work from home
Pastors Morgan, Alice, and I will walk you through each of these points and what they mean for our life together this fall.
Pastor Morgan: Small Groups & Classes
What are the safety parameters for these small group reservations?
All in attendance will be required to wear a face mask at all times in the building.
All in attendance will have their temperature taken at one of our entry doors. If someone in attendance has a temperature (100.4 or above) they will be asked to exit CBC.
All in attendance will follow seating and social distance guidelines while at CBC.
All in attendance will not linger at CBC.
All in attendance note that social distancing prohibits any hugs, handshakes and elbow/fist bumps.
All in attendance will fill seats farthest seats from the door first and will exit by seat nearest the door first.
RSVP's to your group's reserved gathering is needed and attendance will be taken to ensure we can notify all who need to be notified if someone tests Covid+.
Reservations will be for certain rooms that will be preset and cannot be rearranged, as the seats will be spaced for social distance.
Groups will be scheduled for 45minutes.
Group size will be 15 people max.
Restroom use is limited to one person at a time and if possible to plan accordingly to not need to use the restroom.
Reservations will need to be made through Lori Grohskopf (firstname.lastname@example.org).
While some will choose to meet onsite it is still encouraged to utilize Zoom so that folks can meet with more regularity and ensure the safety of all who attend. If you are not familiar with Zoom or your group hasn’t used it yet but would like to, you may contact Pastor Morgan and she will offer trainings or help you schedule your meeting.
We encourage committees and ministry teams to continue to meet virtually as much as possible, but should your committee or ministry team need to meet on-site, you may schedule that with the same process as you would a small group.
As we work to figure out how many reservation spots Calvary will need and if those in an existing group all wish to meet in person or if some want to meet in person and others wish to meet via zoom, or if you are not part of a current group but would like to be moving forward we need to hear from you. Please take a few moments to complete this survey that will help Pastor Morgan and Lori know who wishes to meet onsite so we can plan accordingly. Here is the link to the survey: https://forms.gle/GxqgVbfzcLLjtvGWA.
Pastor Alice: Worship
Our worship will continue to be virtual with videos posted on our Youtube channel using Youtube Premiere. We have found that using Youtube premiere is a tremendous way for us to worship together at the same time, and using the live chat helps us connect to each other through the screen. If you’d like to use the live chat feature but don’t know how, I will be happy to walk you through it.
Some of you may be sad that we won’t be worshipping in person, and I feel that grief, too. But virtual worship has allowed us to use more lay people participating in worship, we get to show laypeople’s musical, artistic, and speaking gifts. It’s allowed us to be more creative with how we craft our services. In the Gathering, I’ve been able to film spiritual formation tutorials that probably wouldn’t work as well if we tried to do it in person together.
And many of you like that you can watch our worship videos at any time. You’re also more likely to rewatch content that we post. And we have a lot more people all over the country watching our services, maybe they’re a friend of a friend or a family member, but in this time of virtual worship, we have all of these services right at our fingertips.
Our Youtube Channel currently has 36,395 views to date, which equals to 5,800 hours of people watching our videos. We currently have 191 subscribers. Our traditional worship videos average between 200 and 300 views, and the Gathering averages between 75 and 150 views.
And for the most part, we can still feel that connection to our church community in virtual worship. Our Healing and Wholeness service via Zoom is one example. I was amazed how I was brought to tears by everyone sharing their burdens and griefs. Worshipping through a screen made me feel a lot less alone in my grief.
But one hurdle to virtual worship is accessibility. Before this pandemic, if you wanted to attend worship, it was as easy as driving to church and walking through our doors. But now, you have to have internet, a tablet or computer, and some tech know how to view our services. We strive to be a church that is open to all and closed to none, and that includes accessibility to our worship services.
If you don’t have the means to watch our services on Youtube, you can request DVDs to be mailed to you. Pastor Morgan is putting our services on DVDs by request. Call or email her if you’d like that option.
We are going to continue to hold parking lot worship once a month as long as the weather cooperates, and we cherish that opportunity to physically worship together. We encourage you to RSVP for these opportunities and be with us as we worship. But we do plan on recording these outdoor services for those who don’t feel comfortable being around others quite yet.
Pastor Anne: Office & Staff
Given the restrictions we have on space in our offices, the limits on how many employees can be working in that limited space, the fact that staff share so many common spaces, the fact that we can only have so many people in the building at once, and because the building is open by appointment only, the office will remain closed for September, October, and November and staff will continue to work from home. Even as staff continue to work from home, many staff must use the building to complete certain tasks; staff will continue to schedule that time through Lori as we have been since mid-March. You may schedule an appointment to meet with a staff member via phone or Zoom or in person (if both parties feel safe doing so). Per our cleaning and building protocols, there is a designated space at the church for one-on-one in-person meetings, and you may schedule those meetings by contacting Lori Grohskopf.
Even though you cannot physically walk into the office, you may continue to call 303-757-8421; messages are checked regularly throughout the day Monday through Friday. You may email email@example.com or any staff member to contact us. If you do not have our emails or phone numbers you may get that information from Lori. You may also mail your financial gifts or other communications to the church at 6500 E. Girard Ave; the mail is picked up at the post office weekly. And you may continue to enter the building briefly to drop off a financial gift or an in-kind donation in the grocery carts in the coat room.
If at any point Colorado experiences a spike in our COVID-19 numbers, Calvary might decide to close our building again if that is the safest decision or us and our community. If that happens, we will communicate that as quickly as possible. In October we will begin discussions around the next quarter (December-January-February) and will keep you informed of those decisions.
Calvary, as we move into the fall, I know we will continue to BE the church together in meaningful ways. I truly believe that God is holding us together, even when it feels like at times that we’re barely holding on.
With you on this journey,
*If you would like to read a copy of Calvary’s COVID-19 Building Guidelines as they stand now, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-757-8421 to request a copy.