Phase 2 - Lead Pastor Update | June 10, 2020

Full transcript below:

 

To our Calvary Community Family,

I want to first affirm my love for each of you and also to express my appreciation for the amazing way that you have responded during this COVID 19 crisis. Due to your faithfulness to God and your care and concern for others, the ministry of Calvary Community has gone on very strong. Our reach through the online services has increased and we are in a very good position to maximize the opportunities before us.

Yesterday in Stage 2 of the Alberta Relaunch, the government further relaxed the gathering restrictions for churches. Church gatherings are now limited to the amount of people that can be seated in the building while following the social distancing protocols. We have done an experiment with a small studio congregation for the past three weeks which has gone really well.

This Sunday we will be using both the balcony and the main floor auditorium to seat as many people as possible within the social distancing capacity. Children are invited to attend the gathering with their parents or guardians. The guidelines for children’s ministry are very complex and our team is in process of evaluating how to best reopen children’s ministry in the future. We will keep you posted on that. 

While the guidelines for social distancing remain in place, our Gathering will be a free ticketed event. Free tickets are available on our website at calvarycommunity.ca/tickets. or if you do not have online capabilities you can call the church office at 780-462-8444 to order your tickets.

I am very thankful for the ongoing dialogue, as well as the town hall conference call that was made available to faith leaders for input into the relaunch by our government. I believe they have both considered and attempted to accommodate that input in the Relaunch. It is now our responsibility to honour and follow the government guidelines and protocols that have been put in place for churches as we gather to make the Relaunch successful.

Joie Shapcott is leading the team to implement the guidelines which are listed on our website at calvarycommunity.ca/guidelines. I have a high level of confidence in our staff, volunteers and you as a congregation in implementing and following the guidelines, and I believe with God’s grace and protection that we will be able to re-launch in a safe and responsible way.   

I also want to affirm the online experience of Gathering. Moving forward we will permanently have both the in person gathering, as well as the gathering broadcast online. I want to encourage those who are not able or not comfortable with gathering in person, that the online gathering is an equally valid option and you have our blessings in that.

This Sunday would be a great time to invite a seeker to join you in our in person service or to join our gathering online as I will be sharing a message entitled, “Am I Good Enough?” Our mission is to make disciples who make disciples and I would encourage you to continue to do that.

We will be celebrating communion with prepackaged elements on Sunday during the in Person service and for those of you who will be joining us online I would encourage you to prepare some elements ahead of time so that you can participate with us when we come to that part of the gathering.

Jesus said that he would build his church and the gates of hell would not withstand its advance. I believe that he is continuing to that. I am believing and praying for a powerful move of his spirit in the days ahead. Thank you for your ongoing partnership in His church. I love you and I pray his blessing upon you.

Pastor OJ Zerbin

Lead Pastor


Past Updates:


Calvary Community COVID-19 Update | May 22, 2020

Greetings everyone!

Happy rainy Friday! Hold on, Saturday and the sun are coming...

As promised, here is the quick update that we promised you last week:

We had a great telephone town hall last night with our premier, health minister and over 1000 Alberta pastors and religious leaders. The government acknowledged and responded to the great feedback they had received from hundreds of faith leaders and congregations throughout the province.

It was a very positive and engaging dialogue and a lot of great questions were asked during the conversation in addition to some clarifications provided.

Based on those clarifications and the guidelines we have received, we will be having a limited service this Sunday for no more than 50 attendees composed of our approximately 12 production crew members, and 38 additional people including elders, worship leaders, and some staff along with their families (should they want to attend as well). It will give us the opportunity to do a test run of the recommended health, safety and preventative practices that we are required to put into place.

After this Sunday's test run is evaluated, we will bring forward our strategy for re-launch.

The government also believes that we are on track for a second stage opening on June 19 but have not provided any further details on this and will keep us updated.

Please be in prayer for us and our team as we consider the best way to start allowing our congregation to re-gather and engage going forward. While this has been an unprecedented time with the opportunity of getting the gospel out very widely, we sense in our spirits that the enemy is attempting to bring apathy into the church worldwide.

We pray a blessing on you and your families and that God's peace would prevail during these times of uncertainty and anxiety. Remember that God is still in control and that his plans and purposes for us are full of great hope for the future!

Sincerely,

Your pastoral team.

 


Calvary Community COVID-19 Update | May 14, 2020

Greetings everyone!

We are so thankful that God has kept all of you safe during this pandemic time and that many of you have been able to join us weekly online as we worship together.

By now, you may or may not have heard the exciting news that things are beginning to open up in Edmonton, including the opportunity to be gathering together again in the next few weeks.

While there will be the opportunity to re-open to some degree, the guidelines are very strict and therefore we need to carefully consider the wisest approach to the re-opening. There have been ongoing conversations happening to figure out all of the specific details including a recent Zoom meeting with 150 pastors from all across Alberta, as well as an upcoming town hall with the premier and health minister this Thursday.

Some of the strict re-opening guidelines that we are sorting through include:
- No more than 50 people gathered  (including our approximately 10 leadership and technology team members)
- No congregational singing
- No children's gathering
- Proper social distancing and no touching of any sort
- No food or beverage service
- No individuals displaying any Covid-19 related symptoms.
While we strongly desire to begin meeting together as soon as possible, the safety of our congregation is our top priority and therefore we will only proceed once we are confident that we can do so safely and wisely.
In the meantime (and even after we start gathering in person) we will continue our on-line ministry for those of you who aren't comfortable to, or unable to, meet in person. We have heard incredible stories of people who have engaged with us online, who normally wouldn't attend a church service anywhere, and we consistently have between 1500 - 2000 viewers joining with us to watch at least a part of our services.
Thank you for your continued prayers and generosity as we carefully consider what our next step looks like. We will reach out again next week to give you an update.
Have a blessed May long weekend!

Sincerely,

Your pastoral team.

Calvary Community COVID-19 Update | March 31, 2020

To our dear Calvary Community family,

We pray that daily you are finding grace, peace and hope in our amazing Lord and Saviour and His wonderful promises.

During this pandemic time, it’s important that our focus isn’t just on the latest numbers and how much worse the situation appears to be getting but rather we must make an effort and take the time to “change the channel” and focus on the goodness of God towards each and every one of us and especially towards his people throughout history.

We can’t help but see the encouraging parallels between the time of Moses and the children of Israel and the protection God provided for His people as the plagues “passed over” them and similarities today. Each family was gathered together in their homes and applied the blood of an innocent lamb to their doorways so that disease, death and destruction did not touch them. Let us today remember the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for our redemption and protection as well. Until we resume our regular gatherings, we encourage families to take communion together to remind themselves of the power of our Savior’s sacrifice. There are many great resources online that you can follow along with.

We have all seen how rapidly society is reacting in regards to the COVID-19 virus and we encourage everyone to, be aware of, and follow the published and announced recommendations so that we can slow the spread and help return everyone back to a state of normality.

As a ministry, we have diligently endeavoured to lower costs and save money by shortening hours, taking wage cutbacks, and reducing spending however we are also encouraged that many have made it a priority to continue to give and be generous. Although we are not gathering on Sundays and during the week, we still have costs and overhead associated with facilities to heat and maintain, staff to run the ministries and continuing to generously help those in need.

We’d like to especially recognize our technology and digital production members who have worked tirelessly to help us move to online connections to enable us to connect with each of you on Sundays and through the week.

Our Community Care Network is reaching out by phone to make sure everyone is being prayed for and cared for. Should you be aware of a neighbour or relative or friend that is in need of assistance, please contact us if you are not able to help them yourselves. We also want to express our appreciation to you, Calvary Community Church, for the ways we see you stepping up to help others, with offers of assistance to individuals and communities in need.

All ministries will continue to take a pause from public gatherings until such a time that societal laws and restrictions allow us to do so.

We continue to encourage small groups to meet and connect online using creative solutions, such as Skype or Zoom meetings, Right Now Media with Facebook interaction, etc. Please contact us if we can be of assistance in setting these up.

We remain in prayer for our ministry and small group leaders, as well as our congregation as we continue to discern how best to move forward and serve our communities. We want you to know that our pastors and leadership team are fully available and committed to helping anyone who may require assistance. Please contact our office at 780-462-8444 if you are in need.

Always trusting in our heavenly Father,

Your Calvary Community Pastoral Team

 

 


Calvary Community COVID-19 New Update | March 16, 2020

To our dear Calvary Community family,

 

As mentioned in our previous communications, this is a time of ongoing evaluation and discussion.

 

Let us first state that our faith and trust are completely in God and we have been seeking His wisdom as we consider these difficult decisions.

 

As you may have heard during yesterday’s COVID-19 update, the Alberta government has made the difficult decision to close all Alberta schools and places of worship are no longer exempt from the AHS social distancing restrictions. As a result of this change, we want to take action quickly to ensure we do not unnecessarily put vulnerable members of our congregation and communities at risk. We also want to do our part to slow the spread.

 

Effective immediately, the leadership of Calvary Community Church has decided that all ministries will take a pause from public gatherings until March 31, 2020, at which time a re-evaluation will take place. This pause applies to all ministries and church gatherings.

Wherever possible we encourage small groups to instead use creative online solutions, such as Skype or Zoom meetings, telephone shepherding, Right Now Media with Facebook interaction, etc. rather than meeting together at public gatherings.  Individuals and smaller groups may use these and other creative ways to safely interact; praying for, encouraging and blessing one another and our communities during this time.

 

We were very pleased with the participation in yesterday’s online service. On Facebook alone, over 1000 homes participated, with over 800 of the homes “interacting” in some way. Note that these numbers do not include those families who watched the online service via the church website.

 

Should the small groups decide to continue to fellowship in homes in small numbers, we urge them to apply wisdom and proper precautions as per the AHS recommendation for social distancing. You will find a complete list of these guidelines here:  https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-mass-gatherings.pdf

 

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw stated during yesterday’s address:

"Religious communities are a source of strength and comfort, especially in difficult times such as these. I encourage religious leaders to work with their faith communities to determine how they can continue to support each other, but in ways that reduce the risk of infection spreading. We all have a role to play in the days ahead.”

 

Our leadership wishes to express our appreciation to you, Calvary Community Church, for the ways we see you stepping up to help others, with offers of assistance to individuals and communities in need.

 

We remain in prayer for our ministry and small group leaders, as well as our congregation as we continue to discern how best to move forward and serve our communities. We want you to know that our pastors and leadership team are fully available and committed to helping anyone who may require assistance. Please contact our office at 780-462-8444 if you are in need.

 

Always trusting in our heavenly Father,

Your Calvary Community Pastoral Team

 

 


Calvary Community Church COVID-19 New Update | March 14, 2020

 

To our dear Calvary Community family,

As we mentioned in our previous communication, this would be an ongoing evaluation and discussion. Because worship services were exempted from  the Alberta Health Services release Thursday afternoon regarding limiting public gatherings, our announced intent was to go forward this weekend with our service with considerable preparations and precautions in place.
 
However, we are now NO LONGER having a public service.
Even though our faith and trust are completely in God, we are making this difficult decision not out of fear but rather out of love. In light of the latest Alberta government's Covid 19 update this afternoon, we do not want to unnecessarily put vulnerable members of our congregation at risk by continuing with a gathering tomorrow.
As 30 - 40 percent of our congregation falls into this category, and since the 2 cases in intensive care in the province are over 60 years of age, we feel this is the wisest and most prudent approach to this situation.
We still invite you to join us in worship and prayer by watching the service live on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/calvarycommunitychurchedmonton/ or through our website web address https://www.calvarycommunity.ca/live/. We are joining with the majority of churches in our city in worshiping this way. We also want you to know that our pastors and leadership team are still fully available and committed throughout the week for helping anyone who needs assistance.

We will continue to pray and discern a further direction forward and keep you updated. We look forward to you joining us online in worship and prayer tomorrow morning at 10 am.

 

Always trusting in our heavenly father,

Your Calvary Community Pastoral Team