Update to the plan to regather (June 25, 2020)
The Elders and staff want to thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement as we work toward in-person worship gatherings. It is no small task to merge a meaningful Christ-centred worship experience with the logistics of physical distancing and COVID-related safety measures.
After putting out the notice of meeting together on June 28, we heard from a number of you who expressed their intentions to worship online for the foreseeable future, while others were eager to be in community. I want to say how much your feedback means to us as a team; we know that there is diversity in comfort levels, and the fact that you shared your hearts in kind and thoughtful ways has meant a lot to us as we navigate this process.
In my letter I mentioned that information evolves quickly, and in it I said, “If we are not ready to open or are unable to provide a good online and in-person worship experience, we will remain online only until we can move forward.”
Tuesday evening we received some clarification about meeting in the church building and the requirements to be in one room as a church family. Upon closer examination of these guidelines it is clear that it would be prudent to take a bit more time to ensure we’re doing all that we can to provide a safe and Christ-centred experience for everyone who worships – whether online or in person.
For this reason, after meeting with the Elders, we have decided to defer our first in-person gathering for now, and we’ll be online only on June 28, 2020.
Don’t despair! God is sovereign and we trust in His timing as we navigate these uncharted waters. God has all power and authority over all of creation, including COVID-19 and our plans to regather. “Nothing is too hard for the Lord”, declares Jeremiah. And God is “able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think” (Eph 3:20). God’s power in infinite and we trust in Him for the way forward.
This Sunday we’re introducing a new series titled, Faith Fails. The Bible is filled with stories of people who failed but then found forgiveness and new life when they repented of their sins. This series will engage every age level as our Kids Min and worship services will learn the same Bible lessons, but with age-appropriate applications. Mike Sanders and I are working together to give your household a rich and well-rounded Bible experience, so please be watching for our weekly “Make It Stick” sheets that will be applicable for all ages.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, concerns, or you just want to talk. I might not be having my “Monday Nights with Pastor Aaron” sessions in-person, but I’m available for a phone call, FaceTime or Zoom call if you want to chat.
I do look forward to the time when we can all meet together again as a church family, and I’d ask that you continue to pray to this end.
Pastor Aaron Groat
covid-19 updates (June 12, 2020)
Recently the government of Ontario announced that churches and faith groups are able to gather again at 30% of their building capacity. In consultation with the elder board, we wanted to respond to this news to keep you informed as to Calvary Burlington’s current plans.
As a church our primary goal is to make disciples who love God, love people and serve the world. Loving and serving each other well during COVID-19 means erring on the side of caution with regards to resuming in-person gatherings. A survey was released to the church family when the 30% announcement was made. While a few are ready to return immediately, most expressed some reservations in their comfort level with meeting in-person. As a result, for the next few weeks at least we will continue to gather online and not in person. While we wait we will be actively developing a plan for resuming our in-person gatherings while at the same time building our skills for our online presentation.
Before we are able to resume gatherings in person we will need a lot of people committed to working together to make it possible and safe. We will need to prepare our building. We will need to train our Frontline Ministry team to communicate the expectations for those who gather. We will need to develop an entirely new team to maintain our online presence for those who are not able to attend in person or are not comfortable doing so. We will need to augment our cleaning and sanitization before and after our Sunday worship service. These are only the foreseeable volunteer needs and more will be likely as our understanding of the provincial requirements increase.
Over these next few weeks our elders and staff will be reviewing the survey responses and provincial guidelines in order to determine appropriate ways forward for Calvary Burlington to resume gathering on-site. We will also be working on the specifics of the volunteers who need to be in place before we can reopen. Watch for your chance to volunteer as a team leader or to be a part of a team taking care of the various opportunities that will be coming as we reimagine what it will look like to gather together.
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and prayers for wisdom.