Calvary: IN Response!
A Message from Stewardship Committee Chair, John Kron
Under the current restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stewardship Committee has altered the plans we had for a "Calvary Gives Day" on May 3. The purpose of that one day event was to highlight the many things that Calvary does on an on-going basis. From that we hoped to solicit support, not just from our committed church family, but from our friends, families, neighbors, and the greater Denver community through a concerted social media push.
The coronavirus had other plans. After consulting with the pastoral staff, and meeting via Zoom, we decided to not abandon our plans altogether. Instead we will concentrate our efforts on social media throughout the entire month of April. Our Calvary: IN Response! program carries over the theme from last fall's stewardship campaign, "I'm IN!". It will highlight a different theme each week, beginning April 6, culminating on Sunday, May 3.
• First, we are IN-Side. As we stay at home, Calvary is finding ways to cope with physical isolation by creating online Sunday worship services, encouraging spiritual growth through Lenten Sabbath Moments, and maintaining valued Calvary traditions virtually through Holy Week worship/devotional opportunities. Of course, being home-bound provides ample time for personal reflection and spiritual practice.
• Second, we are IN Touch. Through our Calvary Care Team check-ins, Calvary Zoom meetings and gatherings, social media contacts, and telephone communication, Calvary is checking up on our church family members. We are also coordinating shopping or essential errands for members who cannot get out. While practicing "social distancing" and staying home per our Governor's instructions, we are still maintaining our connections with one another.
• Third, we are still IN-Volved with our missions and ministries that serve those in need in our community. Food bags are available for our Bootstraps and Blessings clients Mondays outside the church. Through Family Promise, we are paying to host and feed families experiencing homelessness for a week at a hotel during our Family Promise host week in April. We also offer financial support for Calvary members impacted by job-loss during this crisis.
• All of this means we are IN Need. We continue to pay our contract and hourly workers (nursery workers, sound techs, cleaning company, etc.) to help keep them solvent until we can reopen our doors. We need to make up for lost building usage income. And we still must pay utilities on our idle structure.
• We must trust, IN Faith, that we will weather this storm. We cannot predict how long this current situation will last. But we know Who holds the future. And we know we can depend on God for strength throughout this ordeal.
• Finally, we must persevere IN Unity with one another, holding on to one another and upholding one another in spirit, if not in the flesh.
Together we will stay IN-Side, stay IN Touch, stay IN-Volved. Together IN Faith and IN Unity we will meet our Needs, as Calvary rises up IN Response to this current global crisis.
Help us spread the message on social media! Share our Facebook posts with your friends and contacts. A link to our GIVE page will help folks contribute IN Response! We will be tracking the "spread" of this generosity, publicizing the number of donations rather than the accumulated amount. Every contribution helps! Together Calvary will weather this storm since we are, as always, ALL IN!
- Stewardship Committee
(Rachel Chang, Amy Kehew, John Kron, Natalie Ralston, Susan Wirt)
Calvary’s COVID-19/Coronavirus Response
Eblast for Friday, April 3, 2020
Hello Calvary family,
As we live in this uncertain and somber season of what it means to be a people enduring a pandemic, we continue to be together, while apart. Know that I am picturing your faces and smiles and quirks as I write this letter. Thank you for your emails, calls, and notes of love and support for our staff. We feel your love! And we return that love in equal measure.
As the number of people who are suffering and dying around the world, in our own country, and here in Colorado rises, may our daily prayers of lament and grief join with the cries and tears of those who are suffering - whether from COVID-19 or any illness or trial. As one of our beloved hymns The Servant Song says, “I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I’ll laugh with you; I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through.” This is true not just for our Calvary community, but for our worldwide community. As people of faith, we see the world through the lens of how we “love our neighbor” and loving our neighbor also means grieving with our neighbor too - and celebrating as well.
I do have some good news of celebration to share with you. On Wednesday, for the first time in 15 days, our Director of Music David Farwig, did not have a fever. He is still coughing and suffering from a bad headache, but the relief from the fever is giving David hope that he might be in his last week of symptoms of COVID-19. Please continue to pray for David and for his husband Greg.
Another celebration for our church family: the first half of Pastor Morgan’s parental leave is complete, which means we’ll be seeing her “virtually” in our worship services and she’ll begin to work from home (as all staff are doing now). As she eases back into our life together, I know it will be good for all of us to hear her “voice” and to be able to celebrate with Morgan and Ian the gift that Julian is in their lives.
In addition, we have celebrated two staff anniversaries in the last few weeks: Lori Grohskopf - 4 years (March 21) and Alice Horner-Nelson - 2 years (April 1). I am so grateful for the ministry they provide our congregation and for their personal friendship too. Calvary would not be the place it is today without both of their gifts - and we are lucky to have them! This has become especially evident as we’ve navigated the last few weeks together; their encouragement, wisdom, creativity, and flexibility have been invaluable. I hope you’ll join me in dropping them a note of appreciation and thanks.
Well Calvary, we are now headed into Holy Week, the last week of Jesus’ life, a journey where time seems suspended and the days a bit longer and a bit darker. As we journey with Jesus through this week of unknowns, uncertainty, and suffering, may we strive to “stay awake” with him on his journey - remembering that it led to the cross, yes, but beyond it…to the empty tomb.
A colleague of mine shared with me a social media post that read, “This is the Lentiest Lent I’ve ever Lented.” His words match my sentiments exactly:
“For many people, Lent is not their favorite season of the year, given its unyielding focus on mortality, repentance, and the surrender of the ego. But this Lent seems particularly harsh. Weeks ago, none of us could have imagined that we would be giving up so much for Lent. All of us have given up our familiar routines, our social freedoms, our physical connections, our communal life. But many have given up so much more, including their jobs, their health, their financial security, and their peace of mind.
I know that this season is wearing on you. The uncompromising isolation; the chaos of managing kids and online education while working from home; the challenges of staying safe; the concern for loved ones near and far. The news only amplifies our fears and anxieties. We’re all doing our best to get through this, but if it helps at all, remember that the season of Lent is an invitation to be intentional about leaning into our reality, feeling the ache and awe of the world, and calling on God’s grace and mercy. Practice grace and patience with yourself. Find ways every day to be kind to the people around you. Reframe how you do community. Make space for God.”
And as you journey through this Holy Week, I offer to you a series of spiritual practices from our friends Joyce and David Reed, who are the Global Coordinators for Spiritual Care for all of our International Ministries Global Servants (missionaries), as they encourage us all to stay centered with God, with others, and with yourself:
• Community - Connect with 1 person each day via phone/text/video chat
• Gratitude - Begin or end each day by writing down 3 things you're thankful for
• Awareness - Spend time at a window, on a porch, or in your backyard noticing 5 signs of life around you
• Prayer/Silence - Practice 7 minutes of quiet space for prayer or silence
And, of course, I encourage you to participate in our daily Holy Week offerings, whether that be a worship service or a devotional. Watch for an email in your inbox each day from April 5-April 12 as we journey with Jesus to the cross, watch and wait during Holy Saturday, and celebrate the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday. It will be a Holy Week like no other, but then again, it always is…
With you on the journey,
Calvary’s COVID-19/Coronavirus Response
Eblast for Friday, March 27, 2020
As I sit down to write this note, know that I am thinking of you. I miss seeing our greeters at the doors on Sunday mornings. I miss seeing you find your regular place in the pews. I miss walking by your classrooms on Sunday mornings and saying hello by the coffee pot. Christianity is a profoundly incarnational faith and it is so very hard to not be physically together right now, isn’t it? It is difficult to not be able to give hugs while grieving, to give a touch on the shoulder while listening, to hold hands while praying, to break bread together while communing, to sit in the same room together while singing, to sit side by side while discussing, learning, and meeting, to help someone with a load of laundry or hand them a food bag on Mondays.
While I know we are all coming to grips with what it means to be apart right now, I have been moved by the efforts we have all made to come together during this time. You are calling one another, writing one another, texting one another, ZOOM-ing one another, Facebook-ing and Instagram-ing one another...in short, you are being the “church” - the living Body of Christ to one another - in profound ways. And honestly, I am not surprised. You are being YOU, Calvary: a Christ-like community that experiences and shares God’s love - and you are being YOU in creative, flexible, and compassionate ways.
Yes, Christianity is an incarnational faith. And, Christ is also a Universal Spirit that transcends time and space. We are connected through our faith and through the presence of God. We are together while apart.
As we continue our physical distancing while seeking to remain spiritually and socially close, I hope you will take advantage of our digital platforms to connect and stay in touch. Wednesdays evenings on ZOOM are a wonderful time of casual connecting, prayer, and reflection together. Sunday worship on YouTube is a time to be connected through tradition and scripture, music and word. I know many of you got to experience the uplifting worship experiencing of The Gathering for the first time last Sunday. I’m so grateful to Pastor Alice and Matt for their musical and spiritual gifts. Whether you tune in for the traditional or contemporary worship service (or both!), know that your pastors are thinking of each of you as we create those services. We may not be able to see you through the camera lens, but we sense your spirit right in the room with us.
Speaking of worship, many of you have asked about our Director of Music, David Farwig. Thank you for your continued prayers for him and his husband Greg. David found out on Wednesday, March 25 that he did test positive for COVID-19. He is now in his second week of symptoms and it is definitely an up and down, difficult illness. He appreciates your love, prayers, and concern so much. I have contacted those who might have been in close proximity or utilized shared space with David in the last 14-21 days and have given them resources on signs/symptoms of what to watch for and what to do if they feel ill. For all of us the advice remains the same - call your doctor if you feel ill and he/she will guide you with next steps. I know you will continue to pray for David, for Greg, and for all of us who have friends and loved ones with COVID-19. I don’t know about you, but this keeps hitting closer and closer to home each day as I discover my own friends and colleagues across the United States who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Calvary will continue to do our part to help prevent the spread of this disease. Because of both city and state "stay at home" guidelines, in addition to bans on gatherings of 10+ people for a month and gatherings of 50+ people for 2 months, Calvary continues to suspend all in-person gatherings for the foreseeable future. Staff are working from home and accessible via email, ZOOM, and phone.
While it remains to be seen how long we’ll physically be apart from one another, we will continue to invest our time and resources into strengthening our bonds of faith, connection and community in the weeks ahead.
“Blest be the tie that binds,”
Preacher: Rev. Daniel M. Schweissing
Scripture: Mark 13:1-8, 24-37 (NIV)
Title: Living Faithfully “Until it is Over”
6:30 p.m. Worship
The Gathering Worship Service will be posted as a video on our Youtube Channel, website, and Facebook page. It will also be emailed with the morning worship video link.
This week’s scripture begins with Jesus’ seemingly off the cuff prediction that the temple in Jerusalem will one day be destroyed. This, in turn, prompts four of his disciples to ask, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Jesus replies with a short prophetic discourse, offering predictions of uncertainty, hardship, and terror that will ultimately culminate in the return of “the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”
So what are we in the 21st century to make of this seemingly cryptic and elusive message? While it may be impossible to clearly understand every last thing that Jesus has said here, he does offer some pretty clear advice on how to live faithfully in times of tribulation and uncertainty. Given that most of us have found our lives upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, might Jesus’ words in Mark 13 give us some guidance as we seek to navigate these times of unprecedented unknowns?
Come! Join us at the (virtual) Gathering on Sunday as we unpack Jesus’ words in the book of Mark and explore these issues further. Read More…
Grief and Perseverance – Sarah Brooks
With the surge of the novel coronavirus or COVID19, life as we know it has dramatically changed without much time for us to prepare or process. In thinking about it and trying to deal with our new reality this past week, I began to feel like we all lost something. Collectively as a society we experienced a death – death of society as we know it. Death of our freedom. Death of the socialization we are used to. With death comes grief. And like a sudden death, as occurs with an accident, it leaves us unprepared for what to expect. We have experienced this together now, on a societal scale, which makes it so much more enormous than just one family losing a member. WE ARE ALL GRIEVING.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified 5 stages of grief—
Over the next several weeks and months, we all may experience these stages to different degrees and in different orders. We may experience them more than once. The thing is, we will likely all experience them as we navigate these uncharted waters and come to realize that life as we knew it no longer exists. We are now in a COVID19 world and we must eventually come to accept that life as we knew it has changed. We cannot just go out whenever we want, to any destination we want. We must prepare, we must plan. Do we need to go out? When we go out, are we prepared to stay a safe distance from others? Have we washed our hands? What does our future look like? I am not sure any of us currently know.
So, realize that we are all grieving. Realize that people may not be the way they were before. We are hurting. We are in denial. We are angry. We are bargaining. We are depressed. But eventually, it is my hope that we will all eventually find acceptance. So, until then, let us all be a little more patient with each other. Be a little kinder, a little gentler. This is my prayer and wish for us all. Read More…
Write an Encouraging Card to Our Nurses, Chaplains, Doctors, and Healthcare Workers
Our Calvary members and friends who work in hospitals and related health care professions are having an especially stressful time right now being on the front lines of this pandemic. They would love some encouragement! The following list are those who work in hospitals. You can find their address in your church directory or email Lori Grohskopf or Pastor Alice.
Krysta Baglien (chaplain)
Brooke & Nick Breitenauer (doctors)
Rachel Chang (chaplain)
Shu Chang (doctor)
Katie Cornell (nurse)
Dustin Frye (chaplain)
Miranda Frye (nurse)
Brenda Goodman (chaplain)
Jordan Grohskopf (nurse)
Janet Kerlin (nurse)
Sarah Allexan Kline (doctor)
Sarah Mather (chaplain)
Sara Reynolds (chaplain)
Lindsay Honeker Sullivan (nurse)
Patti Thurman (nurse)
Steve Zeiler (doctor)
If you know of a health care professional that is connected to Calvary that should be on this list, let us know!