Journey to the Cross with Calvary Gamber
The Christian faith is best understood through Holy Week - a week filled with holy mysteries. Join us this year for "Journey to the Cross," a video offering a multisensory experience of the week leading up to the crucifixion. A colleague of Pastor Beth's, Rev. Karen Jones of Buncombe Street UMC in Greenville, South Carolina, will be our guide as we prepare our hearts for Easter by walking in the footsteps of Jesus as he journeys to the cross.
This service can be viewed anytime Thursday or Friday and is best experienced by gathering a few things before you begin.
As we observe the National Day of prayer this week, we take time to pray for the over 570,000 Americans that have died as a result of COVID-19. Our world has been forever altered in a matter of months and our prayers of strength and comfort go with the families of these victims, the caregivers and healthcare workers who stood by their sides in those last days. May the light of Christ be with us all in these coming months. Each pinwheel represents 100 people who lost this battle against COVID.
Beginning November 4th we will start a special study series titled, ALPHA. This study will be held primarily online via Zoom but depending on the level of interest there may be opportunities for small groups to form from our Wednesday evening online study. No matter where you are geographically, you are welcome to join us. Check out the video below for more information. Register by clicking here....
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 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. Nurture 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. Finance 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. Trustees 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. 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 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. SPRC 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. Worship 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. Church Re-opening 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 . We’d love to talk with you. The continued prosperity of our church depends on you! SUMMARY 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.
Outreach/ Missions Update July, 2020 Hello Everyone! We hope all are doing well & staying healthy!! We wanted to update you on Calvary UMC’s Outreach/ Missions programs. Despite our not being able to worship & meet together in person, we have been busy assisting our neighbors in need. As you know, we have been responding to food insecurity needs in our community by hosting Drive Through Food Pantries. We have successfully held seven since April. We have served approximately 40-50 households at each event. Our clients express sincere appreciation for the generosity & kindness that they receive from our church & community. We will be hosting our eighth & final Food Pantry on Sunday, July 19th from 11AM to 12:30PM. Charities are reopening & our recipients are in need of longer term solutions to their challenges. We will be providing each household with a Carroll County community resource list including organizations that can assist with food & many other needs. In addition to the resource list & food, we will be providing each family with a Weis Market grocery gift card, all due to the generous monetary donations we have received. We would like to thank everyone for their involvement! The outpouring of assistance from Calvary UMC congregants & the Gamber community has been incredible!! It definitely has been a team effort!! We thank everyone who contributed food, monetary donations ($1,340.00 with final total pending), time & prayers. A special thank you goes out to: Judy Marsiglia Amy, August, Ethan & Thea Selby Lisa, Brian, Dalton & Tiffani Mount Michelle Myers Bette & Lee Ward Mary & Lee Taylor Cindy & Russ Klunk Colleen, Chris, Kayla, Kara, Kerry, Kiley & Connor Kelly Pastor Beth Hutton, Brody, Mariah & Parker Williams Andrew & Ava Flynn Dorothy, Kyle, Colby & Jake Cotoia, Chris Rusk Troy & Lissa Matthews Robin Hoke Brittney King We have made some incredible community connections through all of this, creating partnerships that have allowed us to serve our Gamber neighbors in need. We would like to express our gratitude to: FDCA-Freedom District Citizen’s Association Carroll COAD-Community Organizations Active in Disaster IONHoCo-Indian Origin Network of Howard County Carroll County government Carroll County Public Schools Babylon Vault Company, New Windsor Together We Own It, Westminster Coldsprings Farm, New Windsor First Fruits Farm, Freeland, MD Westminster Rescue Mission Weis Market, Westminster Texas Roadhouse, Westminster St Joseph’s Catholic Community, Eldersburg Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church, Eldersburg Mount Zion United Methodist Church, Finksburg Roaring Run Lions Club, Finksburg Westminster Lions Club Together we have been the hands & feet of Jesus Christ! Thank you & Bless you!! We intend on staying current with the needs of our neighbors. You can assist us by keeping us informed. We invite questions, suggestions & assistance! Contact Renee Yingling, Outreach Chair at , 410-596-7562 or Calvary UMC at , 410-795-9343. We have a potential household repair project for a regular Calvary UMC attendee. Details will be forthcoming. Please let us know if you would like to assist. In addition, we have been continuing with our monthly Love Offerings. Our projects & item collections that have accompanied the monetary donations in the past have been limited due to the COVID-19 crisis. Again, many thanks & may God bless you!! Calvary UMC’s Outreach Committee
Join our Calvary Kids in creating your own heart map!
So here's the update that you all have been waiting for. It's been a crazy couple of months since we have been out of church and definitely a learning curve for most if not all of us. Working remotely, figuring out online school, online church, and caring for our people has been a challenge for sure. All things being equal, it has had it's silver linings as well. Faith communities have been searching for a way to make an impact on their people throughout the week and not just an hour on Sunday. Due to these circumstances and the slowing down of life we have been able to do just that. Would I much rather gather with our confirmation class and play a good round of dodge ball? Sure! Absolutely, in a heartbeat! But just as much, I've enjoyed each time I have connected with our students, both young and old, through youth group, kids time and our weekly Bible study. We have made it possible to make church more a part of our everyday life than ever before and I attribute that to the possibility of bringing church to the people. Just as Jesus met people where they are. So we press on.... despite the announcement from the Governor this week on allowing worship at a 50% capacity, we are simply not ready and prepared for that at Calvary. The vast majority of our congregation fall within the vulnerable population of elderly and immune compromised. We are also responsible for collecting data from each and every visitor for contact tracing, as well and planning logistics like personal protective equipment. We have formed a task force of individuals with varying different backgrounds in the medical field, hospitality, and business to begin this preparation. NEXT STEPS FOR WORSHIP That being said, we plan on continuing online worship on Sundays and encouraging house churches as people feel comfortable and restrictions are lifted. My recommendation is to being with extended family. Plan a brunch and watch church together. We want to be especially diligent to invite those who may not have been connecting with the online services (although that number is very few as I am understanding from our Phone Tree.) CREED WORKSHEETS AND ASSIGNMENTS I have met with most of the Confirmation class via Zoom and worked through all that they need to prepare over the next few weeks. Everyone seems to be at differing places in their Creed which is fine! I understand with the closure of schools and church life became somewhat unpredictable and we all found ourselves just figuring things out as we went. Therefore each student has been encouraged to revisit the Creed Blog and specifically the worksheets... Week 1 - What I believe about God.
Week 2 - What I believe about Jesus
Week 3 - What I believe about the Holy Spirit and the Trinity
Week 4 - What I believe about the Church and the Communion of Saints
Week 5 - What I believe about the forgiveness of sins
Week 6 - What I believe about resurrection and life everlasting ... to complete their work and begin to compile their notes into their own personal Creed. This is simply going through each worksheet and summarizing an "I believe" statement for each topic. ex. "I believe God is faithful, forgiving, accepting and loving. I believe God cannot be limited by race, gender, age, or being, but rather is that which remains a mystery and bigger than the box we have created." ~Pastor Beth.... Don't plagiarize, but you get my point. :) This should be a fairly easy task IF the worksheets and notes are done. You all have talked about it, I have preached about it, all of the sermons on these topics are on the Pastor's Blog if you need to revisit anything. Also, it should not be a long assignment, preferably a one pager. (I have to read them all. :)) Once complete and typed up students should email me and their sponsor a copy of their creed. From that Creed each student has been asked to highlight ONE statement that is a completely a deal breaker for them. The one statement that hits home for them in their faith. As I explained to them they will not have to share their personal creed for the whole church, it's personal, but I will compile a statement from each of their creeds to present a "Class Creed" during our confirmation service. MEETINGS I have scheduled two meetings for the Confirmation Students only. One this coming Monday and one the first Monday in June. I already sent an invite to the meeting, it's important that they make these two last meetings to prepare for their Confirmation. PLEASE let me know if you cannot as I will reschedule for the entire class. Sponsors and Parents need not attend these meetings. Please use the church Google Calendar to access the links to the Zoom meetings. STOLES Each student will be receiving a package from me. Don't do anything until we meet Monday. I will answer questions and give instructions then. Please plan on sending back all supplies so we can use them next time. Sponsors and Parents, the packet with instructions can be found here if you want to see what they are working with. Feel free to talk about the symbols and meanings as the student begins to choose what they want on their stole. However, it is the students responsibility to complete these last few assignments. CONFIRMATION In each of their interviews I have gone over the questions and expectations of confirmation and membership within the church. When we meet on Monday, June 1 the entire class will be answering the covenant questions together via Zoom, this meeting will be recorded for later use in the Confirmation Service. Next we will schedule each student an individual time to meet with me at the church. Those in attendance will be immediate household families, and their sponsor (if the sponsor is comfortable with this.) We will also be masked and to the best of our ability social distancing. If anyone in your family is unwell in the days leading up to our scheduled time please let me know so we can figure out alternative plans. These meetings can happen at your family and sponsors convenience anytime between June 2 and June 6. Please just schedule a time with me by emailing . These confirmation services will all be individually filmed and compiled for the online service on June 14th. I will discuss dress code with the students in our Zoom meeting but Moms, Dads, it's dressy. I am fairly informal most of the times but for this it's a special occasion. Gentlemen, shirt and tie ladies knee (or longer) length dress, skirt or dress pants. JUNE 14TH SERVICE As mentioned with all the preparation that goes into this service it will only make sense all things considered to plan on this being an online service. One that you will want to celebrate. Families are asked to invite the family over for brunch, share in the service together and celebrate your confirmand. It is definitely an occasion for cake! BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE FLEXIBLE Keeping all things in mind my hope is that we see a continued plateau of Covid-19 cases in our area. If that is the case over these next two weeks we will begin to reevaluate gathering in person at the church. Until then we will proceed with caution and care for all of our members. If we need to reevaluate to take into consideration an increase in cases and further Stay At Home orders I will make that call as well with the guidance of our Re-Entry Task Force. As always, PLEASE let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you all! And
"see you" on Sunday! PB
So here I am going to start posting the materials we will use for our Calvary Kids time on Thursday mornings. We had to adjust the time a little bit on Thursday to accommodate some of our kids school class schedules. We hope you will still be able to join us at 9 a.m. Ms. Joanna is planning on joining us Thursday so lets practice the Awesome God song for her this week! Video link Bible Lesson for the Week! The story this week is "The Road to Emmaus" where Jesus appeared to disciples. The coloring sheet is pretty cool! I did it this weekend with the markers and oil and it's a really fun craft. I'll let you see your own results and I will share mine on Thursday. Hear and Tell (Extra At-Home Activity) SAY: I will whisper a sentence about Jesus to one of you. Then you will whisper what you heard to the person on your right and continue until the sentence reaches the first person again. ASK: Do you think it will be the same sentence after it has been whispered to everyone in the group? Choose a family member to start with and whisper a sentence in her or his ear. Then allow the group to pass that sentence around. Each time you start a new sentence, choose a different family member to whisper it to. The following are some sentences you can use: o God and all the people recognized Jesus as a prophet. o The people hoped Jesus would deliver Israel from the Roman rulers. o But the people crucified Jesus. o Some women went to the tomb and didn’t find Jesus’ body. o The angels told the women that Jesus is alive. SAY: Jesus told the disciples what was going to happen to him. They heard the words, but they didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. The disciples saw Jesus die, but they still didn’t understand what Jesus had said to them about his death.
Creed: a brief authoritative formula of religious belief. From the Latin, "credo" Credo comes straight from the Latin word meaning "I believe", and is the first word of many religious credos, or creeds, such as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. But the word can be applied to any guiding principle or set of principles. Of course, you may choose a different credo when you're 52 than when you're 19. Which is why our church has taken on the task of creating a multi generational confirmation and reaffirmation experience in which the whole church has been invited into. Our confirmation students and their sponsors began yesterday in class working through a creed workbook. This workbook will be available to everyone to participate in throughout these next number of weeks. Each Monday another chapter will be posted here for you too! I encourage you to work through the questions individually, or with your partner, a friend, or someone, who like you, is seeking more in their faith journey. Week 1 - What I believe about God. Week 2 - What I believe about Jesus Week 3 - What I believe about the Holy Spirit and the Trinity Week 4 - What I believe about the Church and the Communion of Saints Week 5 - What I believe about the forgiveness of sins Week 6 - What I believe about resurrection and life everlasting This concludes our workbook. You can now begin to compile your creed from the notes you have taken and discussions you have had. Take your time and create more than one draft.
We will be having worship online for the foreseeable future. Yesterday's link is below. I am also offering Family Time each evening with a story to our little ones. Feel free to share those links on Social Media with other family and friends. The kids need to feel safe and connected to their faith community too! The Confirmation worksheet has been posted for the week so I encourage you to connect by phone or video chat to talk through those questions on forgiveness. Please contact the church office if you need anything. We have a small group of volunteers to help deliver grocery, prescriptions and other necessities should you need anything. If you are able, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Wash your hands and keep your distance. With Gov. Hogan's announcement this morning we need to be doing all we can to help contain the spread of COVID-19 by abiding with the guidelines set forth by our government leadership. Feel free to reach out to me via email or social media! Would love to see what you are doing in these days of containment. Blessings to you all! PB Sunday morning worship - What's So Great About Grace! Message begins around 17:00 For more reading on Grace.... For more on the history of "Amazing Grace"
During this time of fear and anxiety I hope that your emotional and physical health are well. Many persons are concerned with the spread and impact of the corona virus that causes COVID-19. Here at Calvary Gamber we are taking this threat to our public health very seriously. We realize that a significant portion of our church family is in the corona virus's high-risk group, and we want everyone who comes to Calvary healthy, to remain healthy long after they leave.
Governor Hogan has called for the closing of all Maryland Public Schools for two weeks, and has banned all gatherings of 250 or more. While we typically do not have an average attendance above 100 our own Bishop has directed all United Methodist Churches to close for the next 2 weeks. This is out of an abundance of caution and sense of responsibility to our public health care systems who will be extended in dealing with this virus. Until March 25th all worship, activities and meetings at Calvary will be cancelled. This includes all scouting activities, per the Baltimore Area Council Commissioner, Jeff Seymour’s announcement this afternoon. Alcoholic’s Anonymous will make their own call on holding their regular Monday meeting. Please contact Craig for more information regarding AA. We are working on ways to worship together online and via social media. Our plan is to have worship together this Sunday at 10:30 via live stream on YouTube. A link will be sent out through this email distribution and Facebook. We recognize that everyone may not have access to a device that can view our worship so we encourage neighbors and families to gather in small groups on Sunday and watch with those who may need that technical help. Confirmation lessons and worksheets will be posted online and students and sponsors are encouraged to connect via phone. We will continue our progress towards confirmation at the beginning of May so this may give you extra time to work on your creeds. Our Spring Pancake Breakfast scheduled for April 11, WILL BE POSTPONED for a Saturday in May. Please be on the lookout for that date we will have out as soon as possible. We have instructed our cleaning contractor that all areas of the church building are to be cleaned and disinfected. Extra precautions are being taken with regard to the disinfection process. Soft surfaces, such as the seats and backs of chairs, cannot be treated in the same manner. It is our understanding from the CDC that the virus can remain active on surfaces up to 3 days. So, this two-week closure will aid in making certain we will be safe upon return. When we reconvene in two weeks, we will continue to pass the peace of Christ to one another and to greet one another, however, as practiced in worship last week, we are requesting that you do not shake hands or hug during this time. As humans we long for contact with one another, but during this time of potential illness we ask you to abstain from contact. Since hard surfaces seem to be most vulnerable in transmitting the virus the morning offering will be taken by making the offering plates available at the front of the sanctuary. Persons will be engaged to monitor the offering plates and to assist anyone needing help. Thus, we will not be passing the offering plate but remain very much appreciative of your giving. Hand sanitizer will continue to be available for use by all in various areas around the church. Please take advantage of this opportunity. Since bathrooms are also close by regular and thorough hand washing is strongly encouraged. I am is available to offer pastoral care and conversation via phone, email, text, or even FaceTime. I will continue to visit and be personally with you as you desire and will visit when able. Keeping in mind institutional policies at hospitals or care facilities may prevent this. Please call the office 410-795-9343 and leave a message, Brittney and I will be checking the messages on a regular basis. Please feel free to forward me any prayer concerns you might have and I will add those to our prayer chain as well.
I encourage you to check in on your neighbors and friends. Please let me know if there are any needs or concerns, we can respond to as a faith community.
The resources of our faith are at our disposal in dealing with this crisis. We live in a culture of fear and anxiety. Instead, Jesus calls us to be people of faith. We should continue to, and perhaps even more so now, trust Jesus for and in all things. However, being prudent and using good thought and practice will protect ourselves and others. Prayer is one of those important habits and practices which can connect us to God and the world. We are able to ask for God’s strength for ourselves, those who are ill, and for the most vulnerable to this virus. God will see us through.
I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Feel free to contact me at any time.
May God bless you all!
Pastor Beth Hutton
This week's message was presented by Calvary's Outreach and Mission's Chair and Certified Lay Servant, Renee Yingling. We are so grateful to Renee for her continued leadership in mission at Calvary. We are excited to lean into yet another year of outreach and partnership with numerous organizations and agencies. If you have yet to see the annual missions update for 2019 you can read here ... Also, please take some time to complete the S.H.A.P.E. Assessment mentioned in the last two week's messages. Courageous and forward-leaning mission congregations practice spiritual disciplines. John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, taught that God’s grace is unearned and that we were not to be idle waiting to experience grace but we are to engage in the means of grace. The means of grace are ways God works invisibly in disciples, hastening, strengthening; and confirming faith so that God’s grace pervades in and through disciples. These means of grace can be divided into works of piety and the works of mercy for individuals and communities. Works of piety include: Individual Practices – reading, meditating and studying Scripture, prayer, fasting, regularly attending worship, healthy living and sharing our faith with others; and Communal Practices – regularly share in the sacraments, Christian conferencing (accountability to one another), and Bible study. Works of mercy include: Individual Practices – doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of others; and Communal Practices – seeking justice, ending oppression and discrimination (for instance Wesley challenged Methodists to end slavery), and addressing the needs of the poor. Making disciples, growing faith communities and transforming the world is part of a spiritual adventure that is empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit as churches engage in the means of grace. Spiritual goals are accomplished by connecting the means of grace with proven vibrant church practices such as planning, strategic direction, prioritization, clear focus, alignment and developed discipleship systems.
S.H.A.P.E. Assessment Instructions Click Here for the Assessment Fill out each section below, and try to be as honest with yourself as possible. The goal of this assessment is to Narrow your God Given “S.H.A.P.E.”, down to Your Top 5 Main Focuses/Priorities in Life Put your name and email address at the bottom of the form, plus add in the email address of a leader at your Church that can help you discover God’s Path, based upon your God-Given S.H.A.P.E., then click “Submit” (Adding a Leader's email is optional, but highly recommended). If you wish contact your Pastor Beth so that you can go over your S.H.A.P.E. Profile Results together. NOTE: This assessment takes 30-60 minutes, and must be completed in one sitting.
ALSO: This Assessment Works Best on a Regular Computer, and not on a Phone.