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

 

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.

What’s Happening? Glad you asked!

Be with us through this season, Lord, and
all our earthly days, that when the final
Easter dawns, we join in Heaven’s praise.

From O Lord, throughout These Forty Days (LBW)

The season of Lent (these forty days) seems to have some lessons for all of us during the current pandemic. Ash Wednesday starts our forty-day journey, through the stations of the cross, to Easter. We pray to God to give us clean hearts, along with our meticulously clean hands!

What’s happening with Mount Calvary? Glad you asked! 

As we stated in our email yesterday, we are complying with the recommendation of the CDC that all gatherings of 10+ cancel for the next eight weeks, which has put all of our planned activities through May 10th in a state of suspension.

 

So, what CAN we do?

 

Worship

We were so excited about our Lenten “Voices of Grace” series this year. Those that were able to attend the first two Lenten services to hear the speakers know that they were wonderful. We had three more people to hear from, and since we’ve had to discontinue our Wednesday night services, we have already asked them to be a part of our program for next year. We can’t wait for you to hear their stories!

We have big plans for worship in the coming weeks. Hopefully many of you saw our Facebook video yesterday. (If not click here) We’ve set up a recording studio in the Fireside Room and our productions will only get better! Stay tuned to Facebook, Email, YouTube, and our Website. Each day we will continue to evaluate activities based on official recommendations. We will always use special concern for our diverse population and close gatherings.

Outreach

Families Moving Forward
Beacon Interfaith has made the tough decision to house all FMF participants in motels for the coming weeks. They are requesting that hosting congregations still provide meals for families. More information will be coming soon on how this will work logistically.  If you have volunteered to be a meal host, please stay in that role if at all possible.  We are still in need of a few more dinner hosts! Sign up here.  More communication will be out soon regarding the needs and process for our FMF week.

Basic Needs Collection at Mount Calvary
MCLC and His House Foundation along with several other area churches are collaborating in an effort to help our neighbors during this time. His House Foundation will do a collection of “basics” including bathroom tissue, soap, and laundry soap at local churches. When you make your next grocery run, drop by Mount Calvary and drop off your donation.

Youth and Family

As Steven Colbert said on NBC this morning, “we all have to work together…by staying as far apart as possible.” Luckily, our youth are the most tech savvy members of our families! Since we can’t meet in person for Sunday School, our Youth Faith Formation Team has already begun work on a new online Sunday School curriculum. 

Watch for more on our confirmation program. There will be some new dates coming your way! In the meantime, YFF is planning new ways of getting our youth together without actually getting together!

What can YOU do?

First, and always, we ask for your prayers. We’ll be praying for you. Second, keep in touch. If you, or someone you know needs something, or wants to share an idea, we want to hear from you. If you feel called, and are able to lend a hand with outreach activities, please contact Heidi Busch to get connected. Watch for more info coming soon on developing programs. 

And, please remember your church in your giving. We’ll need your help to keep our programming going. Your online gifts are more important than ever!

O God, where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen. (LBW)

Well Wishes and What’s Next at Mount Calvary

The peace of Christ be with you always.

There are a lot of unknowns in this situation, so we hope this email helps. Waiting and not knowing are situations addressed frequently in scripture and are at the heart of what it means to have faith.  We await, not knowing, but trusting that God is at work in the moment and in the people of faith and those of expertise for good.  We look and hope for that work and we commit to being a part of God’s movement in creating hope and compassionate care.  Information and guidelines seem to change by the day and we want you to trust that we are paying attention to and implementing best practices and we are also concerned with supporting and encouraging you through the challenges this places on you and your loved ones. 

Following the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation that all gatherings of 50+ cancel for the next eight weeks, Mount Calvary Leadership has decided to officially cancel all programming through April 3rd.

The eight week recommendation goes through May 10th. During the eight weeks, all activities that are currently planned are on hold. If a gathering between April 3rd – May 10th is officially cancelled, you will be informed. Each week we will evaluate activities based on the WHO, CDC and MDH. We will always use special concern for our diverse population and close gatherings.

As this all unfolds, we invite and encourage you to keep in touch. We pledge to keep in touch with you, as well. We will be rolling out Mount Calvary-designed options for families and members to use at home. Stay tuned! As we continue to stay in place and practice social distancing, we are honored to know many of you are already looking for ways to help Mount Calvary and your community.

Let’s pray together. Now, and often. For our church, for those who are fearful, or alone, or in need of healing.

Living God, grant comfort in suffering to all who are in need of healing. When they are afraid, give them courage; when afflicted, give them patience; when dejected, give them hope; and when alone, assure them of the support of your holy people. ~The Lutheran Book of Worship

Mount Calvary’s Covid-19 Response

We are all receiving more and varied accounts of the effects of the COVID-19 virus. The news never seems to stop, and we each have our own level of anxiety. The key for us as a faith community is to respond with thoughtfulness, grounded in good, common sense. Your church will be here. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to Pastor Dave’s e-newsletter. His message this week and for the foreseeable future will be around current events.
 
Mount Calvary wishes to assure you that, as always, the health and safety of our members is our top priority. We are monitoring closely with special concern for our diverse population and close gatherings. Mount Calvary will follow the guidance and recommendations of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Minnesota Department of Health. We will remain vigilant and are prepared to make decisions based on current needs, as well as in response to changing conditions.
 
For now, worship and all activities at Mount Calvary will proceed. You will notice changes in our routines that are for the safety of all. We are evaluating each event daily and responding to recommendations and modifications of our behaviors. Any closures or cancellations will be made public through email, Facebook, and our web site.
 
We are committed to providing a clean and safe environment and are taking increased precautions throughout our building. You can help by being diligent about washing your hands frequently throughout your day.
 
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of age or a health problem, and you choose to avoid larger gatherings, remember that our pastors’ sermons are available each week on our website and you can learn about weekly activities by subscribing to our weekly e-newsletter. We will continue to take every precaution during this uncertain time. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
 
Health-related modifications:

  • If you feel at all sick, please stay home.
  • If you are concerned with larger gatherings, consider our smaller services at 8am or even Saturday at 5pm. Both allow for more space between family groups within the sanctuary.
  • In worship, we will ask the ushers to facilitate the offering without passing the plate. We will also continue to share the peace verbally only, and we will not practice communion.
  • After worship we ask you to wash your hands. We will not be offering coffee, donuts or pastries.

We pray for those currently affected by COVID-19, their caregivers, and all those whose lives are impacted by the ripple effects. Time and again throughout Scripture, God advises us, “Do not be afraid!” We always rely on the bedrock of God’s love and grace while taking wise precautionary measures. God will lead us all through this trying time, and for that, we give God thanks and praise.
 
As this all unfolds, there may be other ways we respond to support our life together. We will keep you posted, especially if your help is needed within the ministry we share as God’s beloved people.

6th Grade Service Day at Second Harvest

Peer Ministry Training 1/20

Peer Ministry Leadership training from this past weekend: 20+ 8th graders and high school youth practiced welcoming, listening, and helping skills.

Celebrating 10,000 Quilts in 2020!

10,000 wishes for warmth, 10,000 prayers for better things ahead, 10,000 quilts stitched with love for the homeless and the hurting. This year our Mount Calvary Quilters will sew their 10,000th quilt and it’s something to celebrate! The pastors and some of the office staff threw them a little party yesterday.

Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas!