To our church family:
We are looking forward to resuming in-person worship services at Calvary East on Sunday, June 14. The most recent version of the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders allow for outdoor gatherings of 100 people or less as of June 8 and 250 or less as of June 15. Indoor gatherings are still limited to 10 or less as of June 8 and 50 or less as of June 15. So, we plan to meet outside through the end of June. In the event of rain, we will cancel our public worship service for the day. We will record the service and post it online as soon as possible.
Outdoor Worship has been a normal part of summers at Calvary East, but we will need to make a few modifications. We will hold off on scheduling any cookouts for a while. We all need to work at maintaining social distance. Thankfully, we have plenty of room to spread out and keep the recommended six feet between family groups. Please bring your own chair, if you have one. Rather than hugging or shaking hands, wave and keep some space between yourself and others as you interact. We also ask that you wear a face mask as you arrive and leave, but those can be removed during the service. If you are experiencing fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or have recently interacted with someone with any of those symptoms, we ask that you stay home.
As you know, COVID-19 has been particularly difficult for people over the age of 60 with pre-existing medical conditions. So, we will reserve the first row of parking spots facing our outdoor worship area for anyone who would like to remain in their vehicle during the worship service. You should be able to see the service and hear it by rolling your window down, but we are also checking into the possibility of broadcasting the service over radio. For those who decide to stay home, we will also record the full outdoor service and make the video available online later in the afternoon.
Since other churches in our area have already resumed meeting indoors, you may be wondering why we have chosen this course. Three biblical commands have guided us. First, Hebrews 10:24-25 exhorts us to stir up one another to love and good works by not neglecting to meet together. Next, 1 Peter 2:13-17 calls us to respectfully submit to governing authorities. Third, Titus 3:2 instructs us to speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle, and show perfect courtesy to all people.
As mentioned above, the current executive order from Michigan’s governor prohibits indoor gatherings of more than 10 people as of June 8 and 50 people as of June 15. However, the order also states that a place of religious worship will not be subject to penalty for engaging in religious worship. So, even though it is not technically permitted, some congregations have felt free to gather indoors. It is not our place to pass judgment on our Christian brothers and sisters in other churches (Romans 14). But as we have weighed the passages mentioned above, we decided that it would be best for Calvary East to follow the limits specified in the governor’s orders.
As those limits on indoor gatherings are increased, we will resume meeting in our building. We anticipate that we will need to add an additional Sunday morning service to accommodate everyone in our church family while allowing for adequate social distancing. We are developing a plan for this and will communicate it when that time comes.
We are grateful for how the Lord has sustained Calvary East through this trying time. We pray that he will continue to cause us to grow in faith, hope, and love.
The Calvary East Church Council