May 5, 2020
I am happy to announce that starting this Sunday, May 10, we will be opening the doors for in-person services. Many things will be a little different, but the core things will be the same. We are concerned for your spiritual needs, so we want to gather. We are also concerned for your physical needs, so the following guidelines will help us care for one another for the next few weeks:
- We will have three ways to worship with us. We will have a video service which will be live on Facebook at 9:00 AM and available on our website by noon, as well as a 9:00 AM service, and a 10:30 AM service that you may attend. You should choose which one fits you and your family.
- The 10:30 service will be interpreted for the deaf.
- There will be no nursery service, Sunday School, or children’s church. We ask you to sit together as a family.
- We will plan to have a 45-minute service so we can wipe down the building between services and avoid violating any social distancing protocol.
- We have instructed all greeters, ushers, and welcome desk personnel to practice a "no contact welcome." Cathy and I will not be shaking hands at the door at the end of the services.
- Doors will be open where access is needed to avoid touches.
- Printed bulletins will be available on a table as you enter the building but will not be handed to you. A digital bulletin is available on our website.
- The offering plates will not be distributed by our ushers but will be at the back of the auditorium for you to give your tithes and love offerings. Our online giving is still available on our website.
- The pews will be sectioned off to adhere to the recommended social distancing standards. Please use only the open sections for seating.
- Hand sanitizers are available at our entrance doors and throughout the building.
- If you are sick, have a fever, a cough or have been around someone with these symptoms, please avail yourself of the video service and not attend the in-person gathering.
This year our focus has been to love and care for one another. These guidelines are not only recommended by wise health care professionals, but they are also ways for us to show our concern for each other. I cannot wait to see you! Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together! [Psalm 34:3]
April 3, 2020
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. On a normal Palm Sunday, we would have palm fronds around the church; children would be carrying them and waving them. You would see them waving during our worship service. Unfortunately, this is not a normal Sunday. COVID-19 has changed our schedule. It doesn't have to change our worship. Here is a family project. Make palm fronds out of paper, color them, write verses on them and have them ready for Sunday morning. Maybe you want to pick some up at a florist. (New Leaf Florist has some in stock.) Bring them with you to your personal sanctuary (living room). We can wave all over the county this year and sing Hosanna to the King. Sunday begins passion week. We plan to have something for you every day during passion week. Our Savior died, was buried, and rose again for us. We have much to rejoice!
March 22, 2020
Governor DeWine has placed Ohio under a "shelter-in-place/ stay-at-home" order for the time being. As a result, the church office will be closed after Monday. Tomorrow the staff will be gathering the necessary tools to work from home. You can contact any of us through our email addresses, by phone, or by text. We want to hear from you. We want to pray for you. We want to stay connected to you.
We plan to continue our video services each Sunday. We will also plan to release short video messages to keep you informed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as well as our service that will be released every Sunday. On Wednesday, it will be a Facebook live event at 7:00 PM. These announcements will also be available on our website.
As a staff, we plan to make personal phone calls to at least 10 different families each day. We invite you to do the same. You can have a Zoom (internet app) play date with another family. I have received some videos of your family worship this past Sunday. I loved it! I would love to receive more videos, email, or texts from you. We would also love to post some of your videos to our Facebook or YouTube channel. If you send those to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would enjoy seeing them, and we will post some of them.
We will plan to use our web page, One Call, and email to keep you informed. If you know someone who does not receive our email, please forward this to them and please give us their address and we will include them in future email.
Take time to read Psalm 91 tonight and share it with your family. Here are just the first two verses: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
Jeff Willetts, Pastor
March 21, 2020
Jim A. will be coming home today. His surgery went well, and they were able to get most of the tumor. He will begin home health care radiation soon.
Tomorrow our service will be online and you can access it on our Video Messages webpage. It will be available in the morning and will stay up on our website so you can view it whenever it is convenient for you.
I have had several people ask me why this is happening and what good can come out of it. We don't know yet, and we might never know why God allowed this. But here is some interesting history from one of our missions boards. "In 1968, when our missionaries in South Asia were stricken with a new strain of hepatitis and bedridden for up to six months, that team used their downtime to begin a new Bible translation. As a result, today there is a complete Bible in Bengali."
Jeff Willetts, Pastor
March 16, 2020
Jeff Willetts, Pastor
Over this past week we have heard of plans to respond to COVID-19 and then the adjustment of those plans. It brings to mind Proverbs 19:21, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand." What a great reminder that God is sovereign and His purpose is always accomplished! That should give us peace in these uncertain days. Tuesday night the deacons met and made some plans for Calvary to respond to the COVID-19. Our plans have changed as well. Governor DeWine gave some directives Thursday afternoon that have caused us to reevaluate how we are going to move forward in the coming days. It appears that the State of Ohio saw the value of the church to offer hope in a time of uncertainty and have given an exemption from the mass gathering restriction. I am certain they will continue to monitor the situation and could offer additional restrictions in the future. Any adjustments we need to make will be posted on this webpage and our Facebook page.
In light of yesterday's announcement, the deacons have met and are implementing the following procedures:
- We will continue to meet on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM.
- We will suspend all other services, meetings and activities until further notice.
- We will begin this Sunday live streaming our morning service for those who are unable to join us or whose health finds them in a position of increased vulnerability. The video feed will begin at 10:30am Sunday morning and can be found on our Facebook page at CalvaryBellefontaine and then will be uploaded later to our YouTube channel.
- We have instructed all greeters, ushers, and welcome desk personnel to practice a "no contact welcome."
- Printed bulletins will be available on a table as you enter the building but will not be handed to you. A digital version of the bulletin will be available online as well.
- The offering plates will not be distributed by our ushers but will be at the back of the auditorium for you to give your tithes and love offerings. Our online giving is also available at Tithe.ly.
We do not live in fear, and we are not responding in fear, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. We are confident that He is watching out for us, and we rest in His sovereign care. We also are following His instructions to be in obedience to those whom He has allowed to be in authority over us. Let's be salt and light in our community as we serve our neighbors and bring the peace of Jesus Christ in a time of turmoil.