When can we re-open the church?
Unfortunately, that is a nearly impossible question to answer in the midst of the changes that keep coming every day. We simply cannot plan ahead. We are truly living one day at a time just now and even when we can return to church, it is likely to be incremental changes rather than a grand re-opening.
The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area is advising churches when we can re-open based on discussions with the Minnesota Council of Churches, and the Minnesota Department of Public Health. They are currently saying we should not plan on returning to “normal” anytime during the month of May and perhaps much later. But again, time will tell. As Rev. Jeff Japinga, our Executive Presbyter recently wrote: “To be honest, while we all have opinions, nobody really knows what next week, or next month, or next year will look like.” ¹ (¹ Jeff’s Jottings, April 24, 2020)
The Minnesota Department of Public Health put out a very thoughtful document on April 14th: Guidance for Faith-Based Communities. It is worth looking at because it includes links to a number of other helpful resources. You can reach it from the link through the Presbytery website at: http://ptcaweb.org/images/Documents/Guidance_Faith-basedCommunities_1.pdf
Basically the state advised doing what we are already practicing: stay connected to your faith community; make phone calls to other members; participate in worship services offered online (or in our case alternatively available on an audio CD); no gatherings of over 10 people and then ensure there is at least 6 feet distance between people (which we have been practicing in our pre-recorded services).
These are difficult times. We need to continue to be patient with ourselves and with one another. Be supportive of one another. Stay connected; phone calls mean a lot. Keep praying for those who are struggling in a myriad of ways just now. And keep believing that God is traveling with us through all the changes we are all experiencing.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your
gentleness be known to everyone…Do not worry about anything, but in
everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made
known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard
your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:7
UPDATE – Sunday, May 3, 2020
Sunday worship services are available to watch online at calvinchurch.net/watch
UPDATE – Friday, April 10, 2020
Watch our Easter Sunday worship service available after 8:00am on Sunday, April 12th.
Virtual Service – Easter Sunday – 4/12/20
UPDATE – Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Watch our Maundy Thursday worship service available after 10:00am on Thursday, April 9th.
Virtual Service – Maundy Thursday – 4/9/20
UPDATE – Sunday, April 5, 2020
Virtual Service – Palm Sunday – 4/5/20
UPDATE – Friday, March 27, 2020
Join us for worship from the comfort of your home on Sunday March 29th, 2020 at 10am.
Virtual Service – 3/29/2020
UPDATE – Wednesday, March 25, 2020
When we first cancelled Sunday worship services in the sanctuary on March 15th, we hoped we would be re-opening on Palm Sunday. We keep learning as we are going, but the likelihood we will be back in the sanctuary to worship anytime soon is simply not great.
Meantime, we are all finding new and creative ways of staying in touch. The church office is now running remotely from your staff member’s homes and church leadership has been on a steep learning curve with new technologies like video conference calling and online giving. On the other side of this pandemic, at least the church will have learned how to make use of many different forms of technology!
Remember to watch on the church’s website (calvinchurch.net) or on the Facebook page to see Sunday worship, albeit led by a remnant few. If our governor issues a shelter in place order, we will still have worship, just led from our various homes. We are working to get audio versions of worship services out to our members who do not have any sort of computer in their homes. Let us know if you hear of someone who would appreciate a CD dropped off at their home or in the mail.
None of us know what the next day will bring, and this has never been more evident. What we do know is that we can be in prayer together, wherever we are.
Stay in touch,
and stay connected to God!
Pastor Carol Reed
UPDATE – Sunday, March 22, 2020
Virtual Service – 3/22/2020 (Psalm 23)
UPDATE – Monday, March 16, 2020
All church activities (Sunday worship, Wednesday soup & worship, confirmation class, Community Meal, music practices) are cancelled through Saturday, April 4th, 2020. As of today, our plan is to hold our Palm Sunday worship service and brunch as scheduled. As things progress and new information is known, we will keep everyone informed of any and all changes.
UPDATE – Sunday, March 15, 2020
Virtual Service – 3/15/2020 (Woman at the Well)
UPDATE – Saturday, March 14, 2020
No worship service Sunday, March 15th due to concerns over the health and safety of our members. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation and recommendations from the CDC, MN Dept of Health, and the Presbytery; and will keep everyone informed of any additional closures.
UPDATE – March 13, 2020
We are living in unprecedented times with the sudden spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), alongside ongoing outbreaks of influenza. What is written today will likely be outdated by tomorrow, but here is an update of where we stand – at least for today!
The Session and the staff are in contact with neighboring churches and considering reports coming from the Presbytery, the school district offices, the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health.
As of Friday (March 13th) we are still gathering for worship on Sunday, March 15th. There will be some adaptations in worship: the choir will not sing (as we avoid close contact with one another), no hand shaking or hugs, no passing of the offering plate.
After Sunday decisions will be made regarding upcoming events and services and will certainly keep the congregation informed. Meantime there is extra cleaning happening around the building in an effort to keep everyone healthy.
Some precautions we should all be practicing especially in this time of raised awareness in this health crisis:
- Stay home if you are feeling unwell or have had contact with someone who is sick.
- Follow the directions for washing hands often and carefully
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and limit physical contact with others.
This is a difficult decision to make during the season of Lent, but we certainly want everyone to remain healthy and prevent further spread of disease.