Time to Sign up for Sunday School and Confirmation!

Registration for Online Sunday School is still openPlease register today.  Our online Sunday School this year will consist of drive-by events, printable activities to do at home, Bible story videos and some animated videos. Supply pick up for the lessons is always available, just reach out to Ketti.Spehar@mountcalvary.org anytime and I will have everything you need for your child’s lesson. 

Registration for Online Confirmation is now open as well.  If your child is entering 6th Grade sign up

Read Pastor Dave’s Letter on Reopening

Dear Friends:

For the past five months, we have all been adapting to the changes necessitated by COVID-19. From the beginning, we have looked to the counsel of the CDC and epidemiologists and to direction from the State of Minnesota and local schools when making decisions about when and how to open our facility safely. The health and well-being of members, guests, teachers and students are our primary concern. That has not changed and as a result we have made the decision to postpone worship in the sanctuary until after Christmas 2020. If and when changes offer us new insights, we will keep you informed. So, briefly, here is what you need to know:

  • Worship will continue online each weekend. Our Studio M has some great new offerings coming your way this fall!
  • Our Outdoor Summer Worship worked so well that we’re continuing on into fall. Outdoor Worship will be offered on Sunday mornings beginning September 20 at 10:30am. 
  • We are excited about our new fall programming! Sunday School, Confirmation, Crosspaths, Adult Bible Studies, The Vine, and more will be bringing Mount Calvary into your homes via the world wide web.
  • The church office will be open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm. Come on by! Just keep in mind that whenever entering the building, face masks will be required.
  • We invite you to reach out for pastoral care needs by emailing one of the pastors or Pat Kamerud or by leaving a message on the church voicemail. 

We believe that the body of Christ is called to be both a faithful presence and prophetic witness. Followers of Jesus have worshipped historically and globally under every and all circumstances, threats, wars, and even persecution. Following our rich Christian history, we are able to take any form to express our worship of Jesus Christ, from filling sanctuaries to gatherings of two or three people, and now even through the gift of technology, Jesus has promised to be among us. In this moment, our primary gatherings will be in homes and virtually. We look forward to gathering again in person, and yet, we are seeing God work in powerful ways as the Holy Spirit draws God’s people into places of service and care.

This was a difficult, but very clear-cut decision for us to make. We appreciate the complexity and unprecedented challenges and decisions our elected officials, school boards, business owners, and families are facing. We together applaud our frontline workers who carry the burden of this moment in ways few of us can imagine. We grieve with those who have lost loved ones during this season. We pray for those who have lost jobs and businesses, and all those who have suffered financially in this time. We pray for our homeless neighbors, those with food insecurity, those who are home but not safe, and all others who are dramatically and negatively affected by this moment. 

While our bias will always be towards choosing face-to-face relationships and gathered worship, we will not risk compromising the safety and health of our community or neighbors. Our understanding of worship is not limited to a certain place or time and our understanding of what it means to be the Church has more to do with the many ways we are engaging the world than in our gathering in one facility at a point in time. Mount Calvary continues to share God’s unending grace, inclusivity, love, and service in, with, and through you!  Thank you!

Blessings and peace,
Pastor Dave

Invitation to Outdoor Worship

   
We hope you will be as excited as we are about a new summer worship opportunity at Mount Calvary! Our online worship services will continue every weekend, but we also would love a chance to see you face to face. We are planning a series of outdoor worship services that will be held at 5pm and 7pm on six designated Wednesday nights throughout the summer. Our hope is that everyone will have the chance to attend one of the services.
 
Of course, we’ll be considerate of social distancing recommendations. Health and safety of parishioners, staff, and others continues to be of paramount importance. In order to maintain distancing guidelines, we’ll keep the attendance at each service limited 100 people. To coordinate this, we’ve developed a system that will allow everyone to reserve a spot at one of the services. Take a look at your calendars and pick the one date that works best for your family, then make your reservation. You will be assigned to your own, physically-distant space in the parking lot.

Each service will be a traditional Mount Calvary worship service with Liturgy, Sermon, Communion, and the singing of some of your favorite hymns. To ensure the safety of everyone in attendance, we’ll ask you to bring along your own lawn chairs (if you are able), communion supplies (crackers or bread and juice) and anything else you might need to be comfortable sitting outside. If you have any questions, please email Trina Volbrecht. We can’t wait to worship with you!

    Reserve Your Spot Now

Mount Calvary Outreach Response to Minneapolis

Dear Friends, 

Like many of you, I watched heartbroken over the last week as our city has torn itself apart in response to the murder of George Floyd. As the crisis escalated, it quickly became apparent that communities in and around Minneapolis would soon be in great need of basic resources. With stores closed and transportation shut down, thousands of individuals and families have been left stranded in a food desert. 

Ever present champions of social justice, our brothers and sisters of Gethsemane Lutheran were some of the first to identify need and organize aid. Amidst looting, rioting, and daily drug trafficking, they set up their grill and established a secure food distribution on the corner of W Broadway and Lyndale Ave N late last week. Pastor Jeff Nehrbass reached out to Mount Calvary asking for us to walk alongside them in this mission, to step outside our circle and into a potentially uncomfortable space most of us do not experience daily. 

Often in crisis scenarios, we find ourselves without the luxury of time to ponder the perfect solution or provide a comfortable lead time to plan and execute. This was certainly true this weekend as hundreds of people lined up at Gethsemane’s distribution site. However, last Friday, through an amazing and generous response, Mount Calvary was able to provide 720 lbs of charcoal to keep Gethsemane’s grill cooking brats and burgers throughout the next several days. 

Then, on Sunday and Monday as the need grew, you responded. A call for aid went out, and within hours, we filled 9 vehicles with food, supplies and volunteers (3 on Sunday and 9 on Monday). Volunteers who arrived on site Monday afternoon were immediately put to work filling boxes and distributing supplies to the long line of people. 

Moving forward, we have established a sustainable system for supplies and volunteers that will hopefully bring a bit of stability to these communities. 

Donations 
Donations will be received at Mount Calvary Monday-Thursdays, 9:00am-4:00pm and Fridays, 9:00am-12:00pm. Click here for the list of requested items. 

Volunteers 
Every Thursday Mount Calvary will send a team of volunteers to the distribution site (Cub Foods parking lot on the corner of W Broadway and Lyndale Ave N) from 12:00pm-5:00pm to help organize and distribute donations until the local stores reopen. Interested in volunteering? Look here for more information and the volunteer sign up. 

To everyone who has called, emailed, donated, shopped, delivered and prayed, THANK YOU. You are making an incredible difference. Please continue to respond as an allied voice to demand justice and equality. Change must come. 

Peace, 

Heidi Busch 
Director of Outreach and Global Vision 

Our Prayer

Gracious and heartbroken God, we hurt and we are feeling a range of emotions today. Hear our prayers, both vocalized and silent, for help, guidance, comfort, and courage.

For the family, friends, and loved ones of George Floyd as they live with their unspeakable loss; the pain of seeing his life taken over and over again as the video airs; and their grief, that is personal, visceral, and real. 

For all who live daily with the anxiety and fear created by systems that and people who disrespect, devalue, and diminish people simply for the color of their skin, religion, or their country of origin.

For the relationships between our communities and those in law enforcement, we pray for healing and change that reflects our best selves and serves all. We pray with gratitude for those who commit to daily risking their own safety for the public good and do it with great integrity and courage. We pray for the identification and removal of those who violate and disgrace their oath to serve and protect; and for efforts to support, train and equip all who serve with systems and leadership that bring out the best of who we aspire to be.

For our nation, that we would be able to heal divisions rather than deepen them; that we could listen to, and act upon, the injustices and indignities being called to our attention yet again. That we would be honest about the rigor mortis that personally, and collectively, keeps us from a willingness to acknowledge our complicity in the racial, economic, and spiritual divisions that infect us.

For your Church, your world, and for this congregation, that we would grasp tightly and live out your great command: that we love one another as you have loved us and our neighbor as ourselves. We pray that this would be our moral, political, social and community compass in this and all times. Heal us where we are broken, guide us where we have lost our way, and open us to hear where we need to be broken so that we may be fully healed and made new.

Lord in your mercy, please, hear our prayer. Amen.

What You Should Know About Reopening

As many of you know, Governor Walz announced that as of Wednesday, May 27, places of worship will be allowed to conduct services while following certain parameters: no more than 25% occupancy of any large room, continuing to maintain social distancing, and observing proper safety and sanitation precautions. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mount Calvary leadership has been in conversation from the onset of the closure about when and how to reopen for worship services and other gatherings. It was decided that we would follow the guidance of the CDC and abide by guidelines put in place to protect community health. Health and safety of parishioners, staff, and others was of paramount importance. 
 
We will reopen public worship in the sanctuary only when we are convinced that the time is right, and it is in the best interests of the congregation and community health. We will keep you apprised of those decisions and reasons. Even when we do resume worship in the sanctuary, for the foreseeable future we will continue to encourage you to choose worship online as the best and safest choice. If you are part of a vulnerable population, we strongly encourage you not to come. All will be required to wear masks while present, there will be no gathering before or after worship, no congregational singing or celebration of communion, no sharing of the peace or passing of an offering plate. Music sung by soloists and others will be shown on the video screens prerecorded or from behind a plastic partition. The bathrooms will be available for emergency use only. Attendance will be reservation-only and walk-in worship permitted only if space available. Other precautionary measures may be implemented, as well. 

REFLECTIONS: You likely have read many opinions about freedom of worship and closure of places of worship. Hopefully, you also will have read reminders that the church was never closed, and worship was never prohibited ever during this pandemic. Buildings were. In many ways, we are worshipping more broadly and faithfully during this time than before. We are reaching more people than ever before. We are serving more vulnerable persons and making more connections than ever before. To raise the banner of “freedom to worship” is a false narrative, it is Biblically suspect, and it is dangerously divisive. Fortunately, the vast majority of all Minnesota faith communities have shown that love of neighbor and the health and welfare of all are of higher value than demanding a certain way of exercising a personal right. Through this time, we never had our message, visibility, or work impinged. We have enjoyed, and been blessed by, our freedom to worship through it all. We are thankful.

There is no one who desires more to be able to worship face-to-face than the staff and leaders of Mount Calvary. We will pray about and challenge each other regularly on the how-and-when of publicly worshipping together. Biblical writers could never have envisioned the day when technology could assist in creating and connecting people in community. Perfect, ideal, or best? I don’t believe so, but a fabulous gift in times such as these. I pray, and look forward to the day when we can be together in whatever shape that is to be. To God be the glory! 

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor Dave

 

Prayer Around the Cross

PRAYER AROUND THE CROSS

We invite you to create for yourself a peaceful, candlelit space, and to join us for our Prayer Around the Cross service. This contemplative service of evening prayer is a 30-minute liturgy, adapted from Singing our Prayer: Holden Prayer Around the Cross by Susan Briehl and Tom Witt. It includes Scripture, Jan Richardson poetry, and simple songs that bring us together for a time and place of quiet reflection.

Together, we’ll pray together for the healing of the nations and the healing of creation.
Together, we’ll embrace the darkness and take time to acknowledge tears, fears, grief, and longings.
Together we’ll embrace the quiet to invite a deeper connection with God.

We hope you’ll take this opportunity to turn off the noise, light a candle, and be with us in community as we lay our thoughts, burdens, and concerns before God, with a focus on the cross of Christ and God’s redeeming love for the world.

Keep in touch!

View Pastor Dave’s video!
We learned that the link we sent yesterday did not work for most people. Please try again. We promise it’s worth it! We are working hard to improve our ways of keeping in touch in this age of no touching. Do you follow us on Facebook? If not, give it a try! We also have a new YouTube Channel and we’d love it if you would subscribe.