SPRC Open Letter to the Congregation
In every Methodist Church, the Staff Parish Relations Committee focuses on building strong relationships between the church staff and the congregation. SPRC produced this report on Calvary UMC activities highlighting the exciting things that have been happening since we became affected by the Covid-19 pandemic after March 15, 2020.
Calvary UMC Staff
We are blessed with an excellent Church Staff.
Brittney, our Office Administrator, in addition to handling all of the Church Office administrative duties is instrumental in designing the Calvary Mini- Crier and the Friday Crier as well as organizing the music library. She has helped take inventory and reorganized storage of our music library, office supplies, coordinating with building management contractors in all aspects of maintenance and cleaning. She has been a joy to have on our team and makes everyone feel welcome and valued. She has gone above and beyond her job description to help Gail Evans with the counting each week as well as facilitate as one of our youth leaders.
Joanna, Our Music Director, displays her musical talents by leading our young people in song and choosing musical selections for each Sunday service. She collaborates with Chan and Pastor Beth in planning and execution of our online worship services, and when we re-open, she will be enthusiastically be conducting the Calvary choirs, expanding our children’s music program, and continuing the tradition of excellence in music here at Calvary.
Chan, our Accompanist, continues to work with Pastor Beth and Joanna for music planning, recently from South Korea where he has been visiting relatives. Currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute, he is accomplished pianist, and his virtuosity is second to none.
Pastor Beth is focusing on high quality online worship opportunities and small group gatherings such as Zoom meetings with the older youth, Calvary Kids, adult Bible study groups and the Administrative Council, trustees, nurture & missions. She has continued during this pandemic to care for our staff and members through family crisis, deaths, and the ongoing change we all are experiencing.
Collectively, our staff produces and enhances internet online religious services for YouTube and the various Zoom Meetings as well as numerous virtual connections and mailings.
Communication with the congregation has been outstanding, including:
Continuing e-mail and text messages between the pastor and church leadership and volunteers.
The Telephone Tree, started by our Pastor and organized by Brittney & Gail Evans.
Extensive use of social media including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
Two Calvary Criers! Previously, we received one Calvary Crier per month. Now we get a Mini-Crier on Mondays and a full-blown Calvary Crier on Fridays. That’s two (2) Criers a week, or eight (8) Criers a month!
If anyone isn’t feeling connected to our church, take the responsibility to get connected. There are many ways to do this. Contact the SPRC, Brittney or Pastor Beth.
While most people have smart phones and PCs with internet connections, some of our congregation may not, and for those a mailing has been accompanied with the Crier at least once a month. We don’t want anyone feeling left out.
Gail Evans, Chair
Gail has been on every Zoom call and has dedicated her time for months as a Calvary counter. She has participated in Zoom meetings with the Calvary Kids from 5th grade and under as Pastor Beth brings the lesson and Joanna brings the music.
Calvary Middle and High School Youth have been meeting via Zoom on Tuesdays afternoons through the Spring and early Summer. As weather permits, they will be meeting in the Grove with Brittney, Gail and Pastor serving as leaders.
When Deer Park decided to cancel Vacation Bible School this summer, Calvary decided to get creative and plan as much as anyone can during this pandemic to have some form of VBS. Right now, it’s a work in progress as it will be virtual this year due to the recent spike in Covid cases.
The Camp Hope Team is planning to have a work day and fellowship at Calvary sometime in August led by Brian Mount.
Our Phone Tree in the spring was very well received, so a Summer Phone Tree will be forthcoming. Be on the lookout for a friendly call from your friends at Calvary!
Our church office is working on developing an updated Church Directory in house.
The Mini Calvary Crier and The Friday Crier provides much information each week by all of our leaders in ministry and overseen and compiled by Brittney.
Nurture would like to thank all our Calvary Staff who have stepped up to the challenges of keeping Calvary active, alive and well during these uncertain times.
Scott Cotoia, Chair
While still running a budget deficit, the church's finances are in reasonably good shape, all things considered.
Giving is up, bills are paid, our apportionments are current (paid through July 2020), and our financial house is in order.
Scott Cotoia, Brian Cowman and Robin Hoke arranged for the Church to receive the government-subsidized (forgivable) PPP Loan ($23,300) to cover Staff compensation which has been used completely.
Pastor Beth is responsible for getting Calvary a micro grant from the BWCUMC to purchase a Sony video camcorder and a microphone kit to record Sunday services and continue to provide virtual services even when we do gather in person.
Pastor Beth and Brian Cowman worked within days of the state mandated shut down to the establishment of on-line giving. That alone has contributed significantly to Calvary's financial stability. The two took the initiative, came up with the idea, did the research and grunt work.
Our finance team has done a tremendous job keeping things going.
Dorothy Cotoia, Chair
The trustees oversaw the installation of two new 3 ton air conditioning units that served the office areas as well as the entirety of the education wing.
Brian Mount, Ad hoc trustee, facilitated the repair of the roof leak in the bell tower of the church.
Trustees have been contact with Chesapeake Door regarding repair of the doors in the fellowship hall.
The Parsonage is rented and serviceable.
Many projects have been tackled in the basic upkeep and organization of the facility to prepare for new ways of doing ministry in light of our constantly changing circumstances.
Missions & Outreach
Renee Yingling, Chair
Besides the Pop-Up Food Pantry, Renee reached out to local schools, government, citizens associations, fraternal/charitable clubs, other churches (Methodist & other denominations), private businesses, farms, and disaster relief agencies as partners to help our needy neighbors.
An SPRC Outreach Report would be a poor substitute for Renee’s video Missions Report included in your digital Calvary Crier for July 24, 2020, so we’ll simply point you to it. https://www.calvaryumcgamber.org/post/missions-update-on-pop-up-food-pantry
There you’ll find a complete list of participants and a list of all of the folks assisting her. It’s very informative and comprehensive and is an indication of how active Calvary UMC is in Carroll County and in our community, and the truly wonderful work our church does.
Pastor Beth has effectively marshaled the resources of Calvary, working collaboratively with the congregation. Our members support her and are actively participating.
She has made the effort to connect with individuals and families throughout the week, not just on Sunday.
Pastor Beth and Renee coordinate Calvary’s Love Offering, an efficient way of segmenting our congregation’s charitable giving.
Pastor Beth fostered implementation of the new Simple Structure of church governance which is working well, giving the Ad Council the ability to exercise efficient leadership and decision-making.
She began The Phone Tree and recruited volunteers.
She held Confirmation Classes as well as performing Confirmation with each individual confirmand.
Working together, she and Renee Yingling joined the South Carroll County COAD to help leaders across the county address issues of food scarcity. This partnership helped start Calvary's Pop-Up Food Pantry to serve the local Gamber area during this pandemic—a tremendous success. Our mission work is just beginning in the county.
Pastor Beth recruited her mother to handcraft banners for the walls of the sanctuary, adding warmth and color to the walls and complimenting the beautiful stained glass windows.
With the trustees a veteran's memorial altar space was created near the bell tower where parishioners can honor and remember our veterans.
Brody, Mariah and Parker helped their mom organize the craft closet, Christmas decorations and worship closets throughout the church. They painted most of the upstairs rooms in the education wing of the church, including the hallway, with the help of other youth in the community. Projects including outdoor gardening are underway as we plan for our Camp Hope work day.
She has overseen the establishment, organization and control of a solid financial team.
During this period of church closure, Pastor Beth is focused on how to make the most efficient use of her time regarding Calvary’s future and direction.
She is intent on retaining existing members while attracting new members to our Church.
She is trying to ensure the continuation of religious services that are attractive, appropriate, relevant and serve the needs of the congregation.
She has brought to Calvary three exceedingly important things: organization, management, and leadership.
Dick Hoke & Linda Payne, Co-Chairs
The Staff Parish Relations Committee has been working with Brittney and Pastor Beth on administrative and communications issues, church operations, and congregational health.
SPRC participated in two (2) video conference calls via Zoom with the District Superintendent, Reverend Edgardo Rivera and with a number of the Methodist churches in Carroll County. Discussions included the state of the churches, pastoral welfare, church re-opening, missions, and general finance.
High quality online Sunday Worship opportunities continue each week at 9:00 AM Live with interactive Chat, prayer and giving section. This worship is also available on various social media. Pastor Beth has been expertly planning, preparing and executing the remote online services, including pastoral messages with video and editing. She has incorporated special guests, special video segments and music by our music director and accompanist.
The planning, preparation and execution of remote (on-line) services, including pastoral messages, video recording and editing, and incorporation of special guests, special video segments, and the music by the Music Director and the Accompanist include all the elements of a full-blown television production.
This effort is much greater than that required for a traditional, in-person Sunday service.
The web-based Sunday services have actually attracted a larger audience than normally experienced in physical (in-person) church services.
New: First Sunday evening Communion Services at Calvary will be held in the Grove at 7:00 PM on August 2, 2020.
Pastor Beth has been leading our Wednesday night Bible Studies. The first Bible Study and Sermon Series was centered around sharing our “God Story” and the second one was on “5 Things God Uses to Grow Your Faith”. The third Bible Study and Sermon Series will be “The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss” and begins Wednesday, July 29th at 7pm.
We are trying to see the Church as a whole, looking for new ways of doing things and engaging the congregation, making strides and connections not done before.
A Calvary Re-opening Task Force has been established comprised of Dorothy Cotoia, Dick Hoke, Deb Klein, Russ Klunk, Judy Marsiglia and Amy Selby. The Task Force and the Pastor will work diligently to re-open Calvary as soon as feasible.
We all agree: everyone wants to return to church as soon as possible.
We want to see our friends, neighbors, fellow congregants, and enjoy the benefits of in- person worship, i.e., the camaraderie, socializing, singing, hearing a live religious message, receiving Communion, and active personal participation.
However, only science and medicine can determine how and when we can safely return to in-person worship.
Emotion cannot dictate.
Rational thinking, reason, logic and common sense must prevail.
Guidance of established, trusted medical authorities must be followed.
We cannot conduct church services where any member or members are excluded for fear of becoming infected.
Christian principles dictate that we think not just of ourselves, but of others.
When the pandemic is under control and things get back to normal, the church may find that it has gained followers whom we might otherwise not have reached. The number of on-line viewings currently exceeds our past physical attendance. As the Brits say, “Every cloud…”.
Lay Leadership – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT and Call to Action
After five (5) years of meritorious service to our congregation, Greg Stewart, Calvary’s Ad Council Chairman, has resigned. Calvary heartily thanks Greg for his service to our Church.
Calvary UMC, Pastor Beth and the SPRC wish to recognize and acknowledge Greg Stewart's leadership and services as Administrative Council Chairman, and as Pancake Breakfast Chair, and for all that he and his family have done on various projects at the Church. We also appreciate his work with the Trustees, Nurture, Lay Leadership, and his invaluable and important assistance to the SPRC, particularly in the last three years.
With Greg’s resignation from this leadership position, the Church is actively looking for his replacement, as well as folks to fill other positions of leadership. If you’re interested, please contact Pastor Beth or Niki Pumphrey firstname.lastname@example.org . We’d love to talk with you. The continued prosperity of our church depends on you!
Sunday worship, although online, is still held.
All customary church activities continue including Sunday School, Confirmation, a probably a virtual Vacation Bible School.
Rock Retreat and Camp Hope have been postponed temporarily.
The Ad Council still meets, and the Nurture, Outreach, Lay Leadership, Trustees, Finance, and SPRC committees continue to operate and function effectively. Committee Meetings are held using Zoom.
Our financial house is in good order.