Mcc Updates on coronavirus

(5/27/20)

MCC Service & Meeting Plan

Church family,


I'm thrilled to be able to write to you about our plan for how we will meet this summer! This decision hasn't been made lightly and not without recognition that not everyone will be able to join us for different reasons. Our hope is to serve as many people as we possibly can.


Here is the framework for the outdoor service plan starting Sunday June 7th:

  • If there was confusion in my first email, this is a service for anyone who desires to come. Families with kids are more than welcome! The service will be family-friendly. We will be starting a new summer series called No One Greater that will hopefully connect to young and old. We are asking that families sit together and stay together throughout the service. If a kid needs to let out some energy in the back of the field with a parent, that is fine!
  • We will start our services on Sunday at 9am to avoid some of the summer heat. In case of rain, we will have our normal online service through livestream starting at 10:15am. That decision will be made by 7am on Sunday morning and posted on the home page of our website.
  • We are asking families to practice social distancing. Please do not sit within six feet of another family.
  • There is enough space on the field to allow our church family to be six feet apart or more. Therefore we will not require you to wear a mask. You are welcome to wear one if you would like, which will allow those who aren't wearing masks to know to keep their distance so that you can worship in person while potentially reducing risk. If you are uncomfortable with others not wearing masks, feel free to sit as far apart as you'd like.
  • We want this to be a touch-free service, as much as possible. We will post the lyrics on our website here. We will not have bulletins and we will not pass offering plates. If you prefer to give your offering during service, we will have a box you can drop it in on your way out. For those who don't have access to print the worship lyrics, we will have a few copies available for you to pick up before service.
  • We will have a men's and women's bathroom open on the far end of the school building. We will have cleaning wipes for disinfecting after usage.
  • If you are in a high-risk group and do not feel comfortable in meeting, or have had any of the following symptoms, please worship with us at home:
    • Fever Over 100
    • Cough or Sore Throat
    • Shortness of Breath
    • Contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19 (in the past 14 days)


Here is the framework for all other meetings (women's ministry, men's trail groups, adult only life groups) starting after June 7th:

  • For all indoor meetings, we are asking you keep the groups to 25 or less with no children and that you follow CDC guidelines which includes proper cleaning, social distancing, and wearing face masks.
  • We would be happy to coordinate our lobby as a clean place to meet for your group, just let us know you'd like to use it! If you do use this space, we will ask your group to clean the space after usage (supplies will be provided).
  • If you are in a high-risk group or have had any of the following symptoms, please stay home:
    • Fever Over 100
    • Cough or Sore Throat
    • Shortness of Breath
    • Contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19 (in the past 14 days)


If any of this makes you uncomfortable for any reason, we are glad that we continue to worship together with our live stream. Thank you for showing grace  and we look forward to worshiping with you on June 7!


Pastor Matt




(5/20/20)

MCC Summer Update

Church family,


As we look ahead to meeting again, I thought it would be appropriate to first remind ourselves of Jesus' famous High Priestly Prayer. Jesus had just finished his final teaching with his disciples and he is less than 24 hours away from his betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion. Most believe that Jesus prayed this prayer out loud for his disciples to hear. I imagine Jesus praying this prayer as he made the walk to the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. I imagine that the intense anguish and sorrow famously associated with the Garden had started to well up in his prayer walk here in John 17.


Of all the options on the table for how to pray for these disciples and those that would follow, what would Jesus choose to focus this final prayer on? He could pray for boldness in the upcoming Great Commission. He could pray for strength for challenges of the weekend ahead. Jesus, instead, prays this:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, [21] that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:20–21).


Jesus does pray for the success of the Great Commission, but not through their individual proclamation. Instead, he prays for the unity of believers as the vehicle by which the world will believe. If there was ever a time for the church to cling to and aspire to live up to this prayer, that time is now. For the sake of the Gospel, we must not fight each other, but fight for one another, for our solidarity.  If Jesus prayed for unity, that means we are prone to the opposite -- disunity, fractions, disagreement, and fighting. May we, even with our strongly held positions about our current situation, be willing to lay down our views for the sake of the Great Commission and unity of the Church.


To that end and after much prayer and discussion, the Elders of Mount Calvary Church have made the following decisions about the summer:

  • Starting Sunday, June 7 and continuing through the summer, we will have an outdoor, socially-distant, and live worship service on the soccer field at 9am. We will continue to livestream this service so those who prefer to stay home can continue to worship with us. We hope to pull together a more detailed plan this week and will email that out as soon as we have it all together.
  • Starting Sunday, June 7 we will begin having groups of 25 or less, without kids, begin to meet, whether that is indoors or outdoors. This includes women's ministry groups, men's ministry trail groups, and other Bible studies. As a church, we are so grateful for our families and the number of kids. This does, however, present challenges for social distancing. At this time, we will hold off on having life groups with kids meeting. For those groups that decide to meet, we ask that you follow CDC guidelines.
  • Starting on June 14, we will offer two Bible classes through Zoom on Sunday nights. Pastor Dan Gilbert will teach through the book of Revelation and RC Fraley-Hogg and Ryan Martin will teach through the book Habits of Grace.


I'm grateful for each of you! Thank you for being a church marked with generosity, kindness, and love -- even in difficult times. As always, we are here to care for you. Let us know whatever need is in front of you, and we will do our best to help!


Prayerfully,

Pastor Matt




(4/3/20)

Easter Update


Church family,


I hope you are doing ok this week as you settle into your new routine. We look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday on Facebook and our website. We will be reminded from Exodus 17:8-16 that God has won and that in Christ we have victory. If you are interested, we also posted a few devotionals here on our website.


We are also excited to celebrate Easter next weekend, even if our circumstances are not ideal. Just think about the first Easter weekend and the roller coaster of emotions the disciples would have experienced! Yet, we will find unspeakable and unshakable joy in the empty tomb even when things are different.


Here are a few things to keep in mind for the week ahead:


We will have a live-streamed Good Friday service starting at 6pm. If you want to watch the service later Friday night or even Saturday, feel free to do that. We are planning on partaking in Communion. There are several options for your family in celebrating this. If you are making a trip to the grocery store and want to pick up some crackers and grape juice, that would be great. If that can't happen, feel free to choose any bread/cracker you already have with any type of drink. Don't feel bad doing this! Remember, these are merely symbols and are not inherently holy in themselves. We can give symbolic meaning to anything, too!


We are planning to live stream our Easter Sunday service at 10:15am as we have been doing on Facebook and our website. I'd like to include an element where we have a chance to see some familiar faces through a video I am making. So here is what I am looking for, if you'd like to participate:

  • Record a short (5-7 sec) video of your family saying "Happy Easter from the Watson family,  You won't say Watson though, but you already knew that, of course! Then tell us what you are praising God for as a family this Easter.
  • Add your video to my shared Google Album - https://photos.app.goo.gl/VaZ1Kb6C1jFgmUuw8 or send it to me in an email by end of day Thursday, April 9.

Plans may change and traditions may have to shift, but our Lord God never changes. May that be our hope this week!


Pastor Matt





(3/27/20)

Devotions and Resources


Church family,


I'm looking forward to our time Sunday morning, even if it's not face-to-face. We will be live streaming at 10:15am on Facebook and on our website. I thought I'd send a quick email to point you towards some of the resources we have put together that can hopefully encourage you and your family:


  • We plan on posting devotions done by staff members here on our website every week on Monday and Thursday by 9am. Take a look!
  • We have a church subscription to RightNow Media which provides access to a huge library of Bible studies, devotions, and kids shows. Request for access here on our website.
  • Parents, make sure you check out the kid's ministry page and student ministry page on our website every Friday for resources to use for the weekend worship service. Melissa just posted a great video for the kids!
  • Ladies, if you want to be able to connect with one another and are on Facebook, join the closed Facebook Group for MCC Women’s Ministries. You’ll find daily posts designed to help encourage one another and our Tuesday morning Bible study will be live-streamed at 9:30am. Click here to request to join the group.
  • Lifegroups, here is a link with some ideas about how you can continue to meet virtually!


Prayerfully,

Pastor Matt





(3/20/20)

Ways to serve and give (3/20/20)


Church family,


Many have asked how they can be giving, helping, and serving both our church family and those in our community who have needs. I love our MCC body! As things change with the virus, so will the needs. If you aren't in a position to do any of these right now, that is ok! For those who can, here are some thoughts about how you can help now.


Serve and Give

A group of Elizabethtown churches are banding together to help provide bagged lunches for families in the EASD who need food assistance. It looks like most help is already accounted for at this point, but they could use bananas on a few days or donations. If more weeks open up, I will send out the link. To learn more or to sign up, you can do that here. (https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050448aaad2eab9-2020)


Our local food bank, the Community Cupboard, is more than likely going to be overwhelmed with families that have needs. Here are some specific donations that can be dropped off at their food bin at 61 E. Washington St:

Canned fruit, canned vegetables, instant potatoes, pasta sauce, spam, baked beans, canned soup (not chicken noodle or tomato), Chef Boyardee products, crackers, cereal, oatmeal, snacks, beverages like bottled water, juice, coffee, or tea, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes


Several have asked about giving their regular tithes and offerings to Mount Calvary Church. This is important for us as we support missionaries, ministries, staff, and benevolence. Here are a few ways you can give -


We've also added a COVID-19 Benevolence Fund that you can give to if you'd like to give specifically to those in need in light of the coronavirus. Since we expect more financial needs from our families and our community, this fund would go directly to helping them. You can give towards that here. If you want to give your regular tithe and offering and to the COVID-19 Benevolence Fund you can do that at the same time by clicking the "+ ADD DONATION" button.


As needs come up, I will be in touch. 


Keep your eyes focused on Christ today. Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


Prayerfully,

Pastor Matt


(3/18/20)

Devotional & MCC Service Update (3/18/20)


Church family,


It has been another week of the unexpected, exhausting, and often disappointing twists and turns of this situation we are in. Many people are discouraged that this has altered what they had hoped for this Spring. High school seniors can't take their senior trip. Vacations and conference are canceled. School and work has changed. This discouragement is legitimate and fair; there is a certain pain that should come when things we love are taken away from us. But in your discouragement, I want you to know this and let this frame wherever you find yourself today: God is using and will continue to use this virus and its havoc for good and for His glory.


I've already seen hints of this here at Mount Calvary Church. One friend made a long overdue phone call to another friend who would be at risk for the virus to share the Gospel. I was told that it was a good and hopeful conversation. We had over 2,000 views of our service from Sunday, many of which don't attend Mount Calvary or any other church. A group of Elizabethtown churches are providing lunches for EASD kids who need help.


Just like God took Joseph's extreme hardship--the pain, betrayal, and isolation--and used it for the good of saved lives, so we must  have hope for God to do the same today. We pray and hold on to Joseph's declaration in Genesis 50:20, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.


With this firmly in our mind and hearts, here is the plan through Sunday, March 29.  For the next two Sundays (March 22 & 29) we will meet online through live stream both on Facebook and on our website. The elders have decided that it's prudent and wise to follow the recommendations made by the CDC and local health officials regarding public gatherings.


In following those recommendations, life groups, Bible studies, and other gatherings larger than 10 people will not be meeting as usual. Our ministry leaders have some great ideas on how we can use technology to continue to encourage one another, so expect to hear from them soon.


Groups less than 10, with no kids, elderly, sick, or people who have traveled out of the country, can still meet, at their discretion. We would be happy to coordinate our lobby as a clean place to meet for the group, just let us know you'd like to use it! Whether you use the lobby, meet in homes, or outside, we are still recommending that you avoid physical contact, maintain at least 3 feet between family groups, and regularly wash hands and surfaces (including doorknobs).


Remember, God is using and will continue to use this virus and its havoc for good and for His glory. He has this! Trust his grip and his plan!


As always, if you have questions or a need that we can meet, send me an email! You'll hear from me soon with some practical ways that we can care for our community, but until then, continue to care for those around you!


Prayerfully,

Pastor Matt



(3/13/20)

Church family,


What a week it has been! We are in a situation none of us have been in before and things are changing day by day, hour by hour. It's confusing to know what to believe, who to listen to, and how to react. People are skeptical, unsure, worried, afraid. As I was praying through this confusion, God encouraged me with Philippians 4:5-7:

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; [6] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


In crisis and confusion, God calls His Church to model a hope, peace, and love that transcends any circumstance.


What does this mean for us going forward?


Healthcare officials believe the coronavirus (COVID-19) should be taken seriously. Governor Wolf recommends churches and large gatherings postpone meeting. The safety and health of everyone, especially those who are vulnerable, is incredibly important to us. To that end, the Elders have decided that we will not meet in person this Sunday, March 15 for Bible classes, worship service, or student ministry.  Instead, we will have an online only service starting at 10:15am available on our website and through Facebook. We will be canceling all meetings and activities this week, including our Women's Weekend scheduled for next weekend. Mount Calvary Christian School has also decided to extend Spring Break for one more week. We hope to meet together at MCC as soon as possible. The elders will monitor the situation and email out any other changes.


Commit to praying over the worldwide impact of the coronavirus. Pray for the many families impacted by the virus and pray that many would put their faith in Christ.


As God was encouraging me with Philippians 4, I felt compelled to change my sermon to reflect on this passage. Join us on Sunday at 10:15am with the live stream to think more how the Gospel calls us to respond to a virus like this. You can watch here on our website or here on Facebook.


Prayerfully,

Pastor Matt

(3/18/20)

Church family,


It has been another week of the unexpected, exhausting, and often disappointing twists and turns of this situation we are in. Many people are discouraged that this has altered what they had hoped for this Spring. High school seniors can't take their senior trip. Vacations and conference are canceled. School and work has changed. This discouragement is legitimate and fair; there is a certain pain that should come when things we love are taken away from us. But in your discouragement, I want you to know this and let this frame wherever you find yourself today: God is using and will continue to use this virus and it's havoc for good and for His glory.


I've already seen hints of this here at Mount Calvary Church. One friend made a long overdue phone call to another friend who would be at risk for the virus to share the Gospel. I was told that it was a good and hopeful conversation. We had over 2,000 views of our service from Sunday, many of which don't attend Mount Calvary or any other church. A group of Elizabethtown churches are providing lunches for EASD kids who need help.


Just like God took Joseph's extreme hardship--the pain, betrayal, and isolation--and used it for the good of saved lives, so we must  have hope for God to do the same today. We pray and hold on to Joseph's declaration in Genesis 50:20, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.


With this firmly in our mind and hearts, here is the plan through Sunday, March 29.  For the next two Sundays (March 22 & 29) we will meet online through live stream both on Facebook and on our website. The elders have decided that it's prudent and wise to follow the recommendations made by the CDC and local health officials regarding public gatherings.


In following those recommendations, life groups, Bible studies, and other gatherings larger than 10 people will not be meeting as usual. Our ministry leaders have some great ideas on how we can use technology to continue to encourage one another, so expect to hear from them soon.


Groups less than 10, with no kids, elderly, sick, or people who have traveled out of the country, can still meet at their discretion. We would be happy to coordinate our lobby as a clean place to meet for the group, just let us know you'd like to use it! Whether you use the lobby, meet in homes, or outside, we are still recommending that you avoid physical contact, maintain at least 3 feet between family groups, and regularly wash hands and surfaces (including doorknobs).


Remember, God is using and will continue to use this virus and it's havoc for good and for His glory. He has this! Trust His grip and His plan!


As always, if you have questions or a need that we can meet, let us know! You'll hear from me soon with some practical ways that we can care for our community, but until then, continue to care for those around you!


Prayerfully,

Pastor Matt




(3/13/20)

Church family,


What a week it has been! We are in a situation none of us have been in before and things are changing day by day, hour by hour. It's confusing to know what to believe, who to listen to, and how to react. People are skeptical, unsure, worried, afraid. As I was praying through this confusion, God encouraged me with Philippians 4:5-7:

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; [6] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


In crisis and confusion, God calls His Church to model a hope, peace, and love that transcends any circumstance.


What does this mean for us going forward?


Healthcare officials believe the coronavirus (COVID-19) should be taken seriously. Governor Wolf recommends churches and large gatherings postpone meeting. The safety and health of everyone, especially those who are vulnerable, is incredibly important to us. To that end, the Elders have decided that we will not meet in person this Sunday, March 15 for Bible classes, worship service, or student ministry.  Instead, we will have an online only service starting at 10:15am available on our website and through Facebook. We will be canceling all meetings and activities this week, including our Women's Weekend scheduled for next weekend. Mount Calvary Christian School has also decided to extend Spring Break for one more week. We hope to meet together at MCC as soon as possible. The elders will monitor the situation and email out any other changes.


Commit to praying over the worldwide impact of the coronavirus. Pray for the many families impacted by the virus and pray that many would put their faith in Christ.


As God was encouraging me with Philippians 4, I felt compelled to change my sermon to reflect on this passage. Join us on Sunday at 10:15am with the live stream to think more how the Gospel calls us to respond to a virus like this. You can watch here on our website or here on Facebook.


Prayerfully,

Pastor Matt

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