Coronavirus Update

Continuing to Regather

We currently are holding our worship services in person - at 9 AM and 10:45 AM (both live streamed), with refreshment available outside in the picnic area in between services. We kindly ask that you wear a mask and practice social distancing (but may remove your mask once seated at the second service). No registration required.

Specific ministry updates at the bottom of this page.

Additionally, even as we still experience aspects of quarantine, at Calvary we want to assure you that church has not stopped. God has blessed us with leadership and a congregation who is seeking out creative new ways to continue our worship, fellowship and service together. Read on to see what this looks like, and how you can be a part of it!

 

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The deacons and other volunteers are ready and waiting to assist you with grocery/med pick up, etc during this time.  Or do you need prayer over something you are facing? Please give us a call, drop us an email, or fill out the form below!

What are the Practical Steps we are Taking at Calvary?

Check here for Rolling Updates

August 14th: Relaunching our Two Services

One of the questions that has come up is where we will meet for worship services during construction.  Last month our Communications Team facilitated a survey to help us gain information that would help us make that decision.  Thank you to the 87 of you who filled out that survey.  Based on that information, the elders concluded that we will be able to meet in the Fellowship Hall for worship and use the classrooms that are not under construction for Calvary Kids.  With school getting ready to begin, we are also considering how we can safely gather children for church.  We are working on it, and we plan to have more information for you soon.

The survey not only gave us information regarding where to meet in the fall, but also helped us see the different challenges that we face in re-gathering.  The elders desperately want for our people to be together again.  We have seen Sunday morning in-person attendance begin to climb.  There are a significant number of us who cannot and should not be among crowds.  They indicated that it will be a while until they return.  There is also a significant number of us who are hindered from returning by the restrictions that are in place.  We want to accommodate each need and each family as best and as safely as we can.  As a result, we plan a three-pronged approach.

  • First, we will continue livestreaming services. 
  • Second, we will continue to have a worship service with the current restrictions regarding masks and social distancing.  This service will be the first service on Sunday morning, when no one has been in the building and any germs that entered the previous week have had time to die. 
  • Third, we will add a second worship service on Sunday morning.  Seating will still be by family unit with appropriate spacing.  Once you have been seated, you will be able to remove your mask.  In this service, masks will only be needed when moving around the building and during the singing.  When Calvary Kids begins, it will be during this second service. 

    We recognize that for some of us, the restrictions of the first service are not enough.  For others of us, the restrictions of the second service are too much.  We are doing our best to accommodate everyone.  The elders view this multi-faceted approach as missional.  We want to meet each person where they are.  We believe that this is the way Jesus worked while He was on earth.  Though we are trying to make it easy for everyone, we recognize that there is no solution in which everyone is perfectly satisfied.  Your willingness to accept less than perfect solutions is appreciated.  We really want to see you return to church.  We do not want high risk individuals to be reckless.  But for those who have a lower risk, your willingness to sacrifice some personal wishes for the good of others is very appreciated.  We thank you for following the Biblical principle of loving others at a cost to yourself.

    Last Sunday we experimented with a Fellowship time after the worship service.  Coffee, tea, and water were provided in the picnic table area, behind the Fellowship Hall.  That time went well, so we will be continuing that gathering.  You may have noticed that in the past few weeks we have begun to sing in our worship services and our worship team has returned to lead us in person.

Due to the renovations for the building project and being affected by Covid-19,  the Christian Education Committee has decided that DiscipleLand will not resume this fall. Still - we are hopeful that come January, our downstairs classrooms will become available (aka - be able to accommodate 2 exits). 

As it is intimately related to DiscipleLand and also affected by Covid-19 concerns, the Wednesday Night dinner will also not resume this fall.Both items will be re-evaluated in late October/early November to see if they can restart in January. Please continue to pray over these ministries as they seek the Lord's guidance!

Thursday morning Ladies’ Bible Study will be offered in the fall, but it will look different than in the past. The topic will be “Steadfast Love: a study of Psalm 107” by Lauren Chandler; the Wednesday evening women’s group previously enjoyed learning about the anchoring love of God in a tumultuous world using this study. It is a 7 week video course, and the book is $14. Masks will be required, chairs will be 6 feet apart, and there will be no drinks or snacks served (you may bring your own beverage).

To sign up for the class, you must call the church office to register by September 15. Remember, the church office is only open Monday and Friday mornings; other times you can leave a message with your name and phone number. Books will be paid for at the first class, which will be Sept 24. There will only be 7 classes this semester, and because of the limits on fellowship during class, each one will be shorter than usual. God is still good! .

Due to Covid-19 concerns, we think it may be best if we take a pause in all our PrimeTime activities until masks are no longer required or optional. We were in contact with Perkiomen Tours and were told that as of now we would have to wear masks on the bus to and from, and also in the theater... several hours! 

Therefore, we are cancelling our trip to Sight and Sound to see Queen Esther on September 22, 2020. Sight and Sound will be extending their production of Queen Esther and they also intend to offer it in 2021. Prayerfully, we will be able to set up a trip when mask requirements for Covid-19 are gone or optional.

We are excited to announce that starting July 19 we will again experience the joy of worshiping in song together. This will look a little different as we are taking steps to make sure this is done in a safe way. This includes signing with masks on as they help reduce mouth droplets in the air, and fewer songs will also reduce the droplets. Additionally keeping the singing until the end of the service allows us to get out of the confined space after singing and gives an exit for those who are uncomfortable singing in groups during this time.

Lastly, moving forward you can just show up to church and no longer need to fill out a registration.

As promised, now that PA has entered green phase the elders have chosen a date to regather in person. We do ask that you wear a mask, practice social distancing and register beforehand so that we are able to anticipate how many spots to prepare. You can find the link to register each week at the top of our home page using the yellow button "Register for In Person". We will continue to provide a Live Stream Service as well. Read the full update here.

Read the entire plan here: Charting a Pathway to Regathering

Due to the many unknowns around Covid-19 and the lengths the Lehigh Valley has yet to go in flattening the curve, we are announcing that Calvary Church's In -Person Gatherings' cancellations are extend indefinitely. That being said, we'd also like to update you that church leadership is prayerfully considering  what re-opening will look like, so that we are equipped for when that times comes - as we eagerly await rejoining with you all in person. At the moment there are no firm plans for how or when re-opening will take place, except this: however we re-open - it will be done in such a way that our church family and community loves how we come back, and feels cared for and safe. If you'd like to hear more about this - you can watch our Pastors Tim and Dave speak about it here. Lastly, throughout all this conversation about our physical building being closed or open - we've got to remember that the real church - is us. Though we may feel limited by being apart, we serve a limitless God who is continuing to work during this time and so can we. We can and will continue to worship, fellowship, disciple each other and serve others no matter our circumstances, as this is our calling as followers of Jesus.

Our Worship Services, Connect Groups, and other activities will continue only online through the month of April. We will have online services for Good Friday (7 p.m.), Easter Sonrise (6:30 a.m.), and Easter (10 a.m.).

We will continue to hold our worship services online for March 29 and April 5, and meet virtually for all other church related activities. We will continue to monitor the situation and post updates regarding our plans.  Thank you to all who have participated with our livestream worship services.  We are making improvements in our use of this technology each week.

Youtube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc-SmpZFnvCV3BEFov4Ch6g   

Following the recommendations of the experts and our government leaders, Calvary BFC is cancelling all in person gatherings for the next two weeks. We will continue to monitor the situation and decide what our next steps are when the time comes. For the next two Sundays (March 22 and March 29) we will again livestream our worship service. We do not make this decision lightly. It is a decision that we believe shows care for the people of Calvary and demonstrates our love for our community.
 

On that note, thank you so much for tuning into Calary's first live streamed service this past Sunday. We are aware that the video stream of the service was lagging and we are making improvements.  We've strengthened our internet capacity so now watching on your device should not be as "laggy" as last week - meaning you should be able to watch the service with no pauses, skips or glitches. In addition to Youtube next time we will also use Facebook Live - but with only one camera view. 

Thank you for being patient with us while we explore this new territory together. If anyone needs assistance getting to the live stream please let us know by calling or emailing the office.

Dear Calvary Church,

In light of unfolding events, we are recommending that our church ministries (including Connect Groups) not meet in person this week, March 16 - 21. Instead, we encourage everyone to take this time to slow down, care for our communities and pray and see how God is calling us to respond. If you would like to meet at this time, please use video conferencing tools. The office is more than happy to help anyone set this up who feels uncomfortable doing so themselves. For any questions or concerns, please call or email the office - and we will make a decision and update you about meeting Sunday March 22 by Wednesday.

  1. We will not be having in-person services this Sunday, March 15, 2020
  2. We will not have Sunday School classes or mid-week gatherings for the week of March 15-21, 2020

  3. We will provide you with a Live Stream of the Sunday service at 10:00AM through our YouTube channel (CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR CHANNEL)

  4. You can also listen to sermons online by clicking here.

Further Consideration

Dear Church Family, The coronavirus is in the news daily. We are all wondering how this crisis will unfold. I want us to think about this threat from a biblical perspective.

First, Christians do not live in fear even in the face of great danger. Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything…”  God, in Christ has conquered the dangers of this world, even death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55). We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.

Second, Christians live in love. The dangers and even tragedies of our broken world are opportunity for us to minister the grace of God in the power of the Spirit. In China, some Christians instead of fleeing the areas of greatest virus infection, have gone into those areas to serve and help in the name of Jesus. This is walking in the footsteps of Jesus.

Third, Christians do respond to dangers of our world by taking practical steps to avoid the danger when possible. We don’t want to overreact but neither do we want to under react.

Consider what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1: 8-11:

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

We do not know what Paul’s affliction was. It was probably persecution but perhaps was some form of sickness. Whatever it is, Paul felt he might die from the affliction. I want you to note two things about this affliction:

Through the affliction Paul learned to rely not on himself, but on God who raises the dead. Every affliction is an opportunity for us to learn to rely on God and to serve those around us. In this moment we must learn not to rely on ourselves (not even, ultimately on modern medicine) but on God who raises the dead.

We should also note the role of prayer in affliction (vs. 11). Paul asks the church to pray because he knew that prayer makes a difference. In prayer we cry out to the sovereign God for ourselves and for the peoples of our world. The coronavirus (and all other afflictions) is a call for the church to pray.

We live our lives, we take reasonable and practical steps recommended by medical specialists, we do not walk in fear, we learn to rely wholly on God, we pray fervently, and we seek to serve our community in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is living in Christ and by the Spirit in a broken world.

Best Regards,

The Elders at Calvary