January 28, 2021
Dear Calvary family,
I miss you all and I hope this letter finds you warm and well during this wintry weather week. This letter includes three portions: an Annual Meeting Recap, an announcement from Council about COVID-19 building protocols for the next three months, and some personal reflections on pastoral ministry in 2020.
Annual Meeting Recap
It was wonderful to gather with so many Calvary-ites on Wednesday night (almost 100!) for our first ever Virtual Annual Meeting. While I certainly missed the fun of fellowship and sharing a potluck meal together and feeling the collective energy in the room, I’m so grateful for the ways that we continue to adapt and connect as a congregation during the pandemic.
In fact, that is the essence of what Pastors Alice, Morgan, and I shared on Wednesday evening. The “Hope of Calvary” is that, in 2020, we have become willing learners, we’ve cultivated resiliency, and we’ve expanded our welcome and engagement. These are spiritual practices that will continue to serve us as we move into the future with a hybrid style of ministry. We know that even once it is safe for us to gather in person again that we will forever be balancing and prioritizing three areas of ministry and engagement: onsite, offsite, and online. We are excited to explore what these areas of ministry will look like and what ideas you have that can help us minister effectively to the many different people who connect with our church.
We certainly missed those of you who could not join us and those of you who are unable to connect with technology. I hope you feel some connection in reading this letter and reviewing the Annual Report. And, if you were not able to join us Wednesday evening, please visit these links to review what you missed. For those of you who do not have easy tech access, there is also a document linked below with the outline/script of the Hope of Calvary Address.
• Volunteer Appreciation Document (updated with corrections)
• Approved 2021 Budget
• Approved 2021 Leadership Ballot
• 2020 Budget Sheet, Profit/Loss & Budget Comparison 2020-2021
• 2020 Annual Report
• YouTube Link to watch Video Portions of the Annual Meeting which includes 2020 Reflections from Staff, 2020 Reflections from Committee & Ministry Team Chairs, 2020 Worship Recap, 2020 Staff Appreciation for Congregation, Hope of Calvary Address, 2020 Buster Highlight Reel
• Link to watch the entire Annual Meeting on Zoom
• Link to read notes/script for “Hope of Calvary” Address
Many thanks to Co-Moderators Sharon Murphy and Rick Breitenbecher, Treasurer Virg Musil, Secretary Norma Wick, and Chair of Nominating Committee Walter Rowell for their presentations during the meeting, as well as to ALL of our committee and ministry team chairs and staff for their heartfelt and informative video portions (especially Bill Warren’s creative Resource Management update). And a special thank you to Pastor Morgan for facilitating all of our tech needs on Zoom and for creating and editing the videos that were shown in the meeting. We, indeed, have thoughtful and committed leadership who have worked so hard all year.
Important COVID-19 Building Announcement from Council
At the January 13, 2021 Council Meeting, Council voted to continue with the current COVID-19 protocols that we have been utilizing the past three months (November, December, January) for the next three months – March, April, and May. What does this mean?
- Worship will continue to be virtual, accessed on Calvary’s YouTube channel.
- Staff is working on transitioning to Livestream by late March/early April.
- As weather allows in March, we’ll resume monthly parking lot worship services.
- We’ll continue to offer special services on Zoom and YouTube throughout the Lenten/Easter season.
- The office remains closed, with staff working primarily from home and in the office/building as needed.
- You may contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting with any staff member, or contact the staff member directly.
- The building is open to small groups and/or small meetings following safety protocols/measures. To schedule building use, contact email@example.com.
Lori Grohskopf, Facilities & Operations Manager, in consultation with Staff and Council will continue to evaluate Denver’s COVID-19 protocols and recommendations. Council’s decision is subject to change if local guidance changes on best practices. The safety of our membership and our community at-large continues to be the number one factor in our decision making. We know this pandemic is lasting longer than any of us imagined. We look forward to when we can gather together in person. Thank you for your continued patience and adaptability, Calvary!
Personal Reflections on Pastoral Ministry in 2020 – A Metaphor
Pastoral ministry, in any year, is like walking through a big house and each room requires a different skillset, mindset, heartset. There’s the budget/finance office, the worship planning creative play room, the sermon/teaching preparation study, the mission/service kitchen, the pastoral care/therapeutic office, the communications front porch, the confidential conversations backporch, the congregational gathering living room, the dining room of worship where we’re fed, the bedroom of rest and retreat, and then there’s the email corridor - which is never ending; it’s the hallway that connects all the rooms together (can’t be avoided!). As we go from room to room, we get used to what we can expect to find in these rooms and what’s required of us in them.
In 2020, this revolving door effect of going from room to room in the big house of ministry was the same – but what was different is that the furniture in the rooms was either unrecognizable/outdated/no longer functional, completely rearranged, or thrown out. So it’s been like doing an extreme home makeover without a design plan, while living in the house yourself during the renovation and hosting guests in it - trying to make everyone feel at home when you don’t even know where the extra folding chairs are to go grab so that everyone has a place at the table! And so, for me as a pastor, 2020 has been about simply trying to ensure that there’s a foundation underneath us, a roof above us, and enough windows and doorways for everyone to get in the house and not get left out or locked out. (And I know I haven’t always succeeded.)
But the thing is – you know how you feel after a home renovation? Exhausted and completely spent from the work but also satisfied and excited about the result and the opportunities the new space offers? That’s how I feel. Completely exhausted and kind of excited about the future too. That’s what 2020’s been like for me. What has it been like for you? If you’re struggling to find words for it, maybe like me, finding an image or metaphor will help.
Whatever your 2020 experience, as we move into 2021, holding all that we have shared together in 2020 and holding on to the hope we have in Christ and in our life together as Christ’s church, I’ll end my letter with the benediction I shared on Wednesday night at the Annual Meeting:
May the Lord Bless You and Keep You;
May the Lord Make His Face to Shine Upon You
And Be Gracious to You.
(Even in a pandemic)
May God Grant You the Grace Never to Sell Yourself Short,
The Grace to Risk Something Big For Something Good,
The Grace to Remember that
The World is too Vulnerable for Anything but Truth,
And too Small for Anything but Love.
(And whether you are engaging in ministry onsite, offsite, or online)
May God Take Your Minds and Think Through Them;
May God Take Your Lips and Speak Through Them;
And May God Take Your Hearts and Set Them On Fire, for Christ’s sake, Amen.
*William Sloane Coffin Benediction adapted by Rev. Dr. H. Stephen Shoemaker,
with additional adaptations by Rev. Andrew Daugherty, and then Rev. Anne J. Scalfaro
Holding it together while Holding on!