19 May From the Pastor’s Desk
May 19, 2020
You know that saying, “You live by the sword, you die by the sword”? I’ve pretty much always felt that way about technology—when it works, great, but when it doesn’t, we’ve become so dependent on it that it can really disrupt our lives. On Sunday we attempted to hold Sermon Talk Back, only to be thwarted by ZOOM’s global outages. While this was certainly not catastrophic in the sense of a power grid going dark, or banking access being denied, or any number of ways our daily lives rely on computers, it was a reminder that technology is a modern-day sword. I’m grateful that our Sunday worship services have mostly been free of major technological glitches thus far, but please be aware that we are ever only a power surge away from difficulty.
While on the subject of technology, I want to say a huge word of thanks to David Maley and Judy Viccellio who have stepped in to fill wide gaps in our technology know-how by “learning on the fly” and spending dozens of precious hours recording and splicing together our pre-recorded worship services. They have both gone “above and beyond,” and we are all the beneficiaries of their generous gifts of time and energy. We are still working out some kinks—just in time to try something new! Gene Kendall is graciously taking the lead on researching, organizing, and implementing a team of people who can install and then use the equipment necessary to live-stream from the sanctuary. Due in large part to our very sturdy cinder block walls, our internet connection has never reached to the front of the sanctuary—to the back, yes, but not to the front. So, there are technical challenges to address, but then the real fun begins when we attempt to broadcast our services in real time each Sunday morning from the sanctuary. We have no exact timetable for this project, but I’m hoping we can launch in July. Stay tuned…..
To update you on a couple of other matters: first, on Friday I will have the privilege of officiating a small funeral followed by a graveside service for Rebecca Yeboah. Due to health department regulations, only 10 people at a time are allowed in the funeral home chapel or outside their cars at the cemetery, so out of necessity, this will be a family affair. Of all the adjustments we are making during this strange time, grieving without the benefit of community is, in my estimation, one of the hardest. It feels so unnatural and detached, at precisely the moment when we most need connection, so please continue to keep Kofi and Hannah in your prayers, as well as others who are on our grieving list.
Second, as you will see from the financial summary included in today’s e-letter, Calvary continues to maintain solid finances. April was an unusual month in that we paid two big property maintenance bills, one for the boiler and the other for mold remediation in the “scary room” (as Erika has appropriately dubbed it) in the basement. The mold had seeped into the choir room, making the room unusable, so we are grateful to have the source of the problem identified and dealt with.
All of which leads me to say a profound “thank you” for your ongoing generosity and commitment to the life of this church and the ministry we do together. The needs in our community have not abated; if anything, the coronavirus pandemic has intensified those needs and shown a bright spotlight on them. Beginning this month, our ministry partners, Torre Fuerte, who worship each weekend in the fellowship hall, will be halving the monthly contribution they make to Calvary’s budget for the duration of this crisis. Not only are they, like us, unable to hold in-person worship, they have at least five church members who have tested positive for COVID-19. These individuals are under medical care and receiving treatment, but this news highlights how very close this pandemic is and the devastating impact it is having. The Session unanimously and enthusiastically supported the decision to decrease (by $950 per month) their financial strain as it relates to the building. It was, of course, the right decision to make from an ethical standpoint, but it is a testimony to you, Calvary, that we were able to make that decision without worry that it could be a devastating blow to our budget. Your faithfulness inspires and humbles me. Thank you.
One final note: the Little Free Pantry is doing a very brisk “business” these days. Non-perishable food appears and then disappears almost as quickly. Donations continue to be needed and welcomed. Please remember to cross out the bar code and write “donated” on the item before placing it in the pantry. This is yet another way we continue to serve our neighbors—and do it while safely social distancing! Thank you, Anna Rissi and friends, for helping us help others!
Yours for the Kingdom,