Calvary Gamber COVID-19 Response
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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