This certainly are challenging times for churches everywhere. The pandemic and polarization in the culture have intensified trends that were already present. Out of concern for safety, many older members chose to stay at home as well as families with younger children. Even so, Calvary UMC has seen consistently higher participation in online and in person worship than many other congregations over the same period. And in recent weeks, the number of persons coming to worship in the sanctuary has been going up.
I long to see much higher participation! This is my daily prayer and the goal around which much of my work is focused as pastor. There are three hopeful notes I want to share about what is happening here at Calvary Church.
First, we are consistently seeing new guests participate in the worship service and we are following up with these folk to let them know that they are welcome here and that we offer other ways that they can grow Christian discipleship through this church. We’ve seen more visitors over the last six months than we typically saw over a similar period in 2018 or 2019.
Second, in January we restarted the Sunday school program for elementary aged children and opened the nursery on Sunday mornings. Two weeks ago, we restarted the Children’s Church on Sunday mornings. We are also planning to restart the VBS program and offer something this June after a two-year hiatus. Having a robust and meaningful children’s ministry draws and connects people to the church.
Third, we have hired Dr. Adela Peeva as our new full-time Director of Music Ministries and organist to begin in April. She will be bringing experience, artistry and passion to the church’s music ministry. Having full-time director will enable us to offer the quality program that has been missing over the last two years. And the choir is back with on a limited basis for now but will be increasing in frequency over the next two months. It will be fantastic to see this part of our worship life flourish once more.
These are concrete and clear steps that will enable us to attract and engage more people in the church’s worship and ministry.
Yours in Christ,