CORONAVIRUS CHURCH UPDATES

A SPECIAL NOTE FROM PASTOR CRAIG ON NEW ARIZONA REGULATIONS REGARDING 30 DAY MANDATE BEGINNING JULY 1ST

Dear Church Family,

No doubt by now we have grown somewhat accustomed to updates from the governing authorities in our state related to the Coronavirus, and this week was no exception. Again, I know that one of the questions that comes to our minds in the wake of these updates is, “How does all of this translate to the church, and more specifically, our Calvary East Valley church home?” After spending time this week seeking the Lord in prayer, reviewing the recent executive order, and gleaning additional wisdom from others, the elder board has made the decision to continue to stay the course with our weekly in person option for our Sunday morning service. We acknowledge according to the attorney general of the state of Arizona that the church is an essential activity, and that according to the recent order implemented by our governor, “Nothing in this order shall inhibit a person from engaging in constitutionally protected activities such as speech and religion…provided that such is conducted in a manner that provides appropriate physical distancing to the extent feasible.”

I want you to know we do not make this decision lightly, and with this decision, we feel the weight of the responsibility that comes with it. As I have mentioned previously, it is not possible for us as a church to eliminate the risk of contracting the Coronavirus if you and your family choose to attend our in person option, but we do want to do all that we can to minimize these risks. Our efforts to do so include providing the cleanest, safest environment we possibly can, asking if you are sick or have an underlying health issue that would make you more susceptible to contracting the virus to take advantage of our online service option, and overall to practice healthy hygiene while among us, practicing social distancing to the extent feasible and taking advantage of our hand sanitizing stations as you enter and exit the building.

More recently, the discussion of masks have come into view, and arguably this is the most difficult and uncomfortable aspect of our in person meeting option. And one for the time being that I am going to humbly ask we continue to go the second mile to adhere to. According to guidelines put out by the Town of Gilbert regarding this order, masks are strongly recommended when social distancing guidelines cannot be adhered to, and on a Sunday morning this primarily involves making our way onto the campus, checking our children into the children’s ministry, and navigating the narrow hallway heading in to the MPR for our service. Again, once inside, the chairs have been set up in accordance with social distancing guidelines, and so you are free to remove your mask once you are seated with your family for those who are comfortable doing so. These same considerations for masks would apply as the service concludes and you make your way back out into the courtyard and to your car.

Will this be a perfect process? It will not. Are we asking those who have a health condition to wear a mask, or children under 6 years of age? We are not. Will there be times when that language “to the extent feasible” is in operation? No doubt it will. But at the end of the day, these guidelines represent our best efforts as a church to operate under our constitutional rights, but to do so in the most responsible, God honoring manner we possibly can. Again, we will continue to provide our livestream option for those more comfortable connecting with us from home at this time.

What does the future hold with all of this? I am not sure I have an answer for that, but as we talked in our recent video update this week, what an encouragement to know that when we “are lost in the mystery, to You my future is a memory, because You’re already there” (Casting Crowns). Along with each of you, I continue to draw strength and encouragement from the truth that God is sovereign and working all things together for the fulfillment of His purposes and the imminent return of Christ; our Spirit filled, Spirit enabled challenge is to continue to abide in Him one step at a time, one day at a time, while God has given us the gift of this time. If our hearts are willing, His grace is sufficient, and last time I checked, grace changes everything!

I love you all and pray you have an amazing rest of your week. Lord willing, I look forward to connecting with you either in person or online for our upcoming Sunday morning service as we continue our study through the book of Jonah!

Yours and His,

Craig

A SPECIAL NOTE FROM PASTOR CRAIG ON NEW ARIZONA REGULATIONS REGARDING MASKS BEGINNING JUNE 21ST

Dear Church Family,

As we continue to press forward through these unique and ever changing times, we have come to another checkpoint in the process, with the town of Gilbert releasing an emergency order yesterday to help guard against the spread of the Coronavirus. As many of you know by now, this order has as its focus the role of masks, and in particular, the importance of wearing a mask when social distancing guidelines cannot be adhered to. So the question becomes, how does all of this translate into the church and a CEV Sunday morning gathering that is fast approaching? In a few ways. In keeping with the language and intent of the new order, we are strongly recommending that masks be worn as you make your way from the parking lot into the MPR for the service. Once inside and at your seats with your families, the MPR has been set up in accordance with social distancing guidelines, so the option to remove your mask for the duration of the service would then be made available for those who choose to do so. Once the service has concluded, it is once again strongly recommended that masks be put back on as you make your way back out through the courtyard and into the parking lot, again, and especially, if and when social distancing guidelines cannot be adhered to.

With regard to the Children’s and Middle School Sunday morning programs, our infants and toddlers are not required to wear masks, but volunteers who will be caring for them will be. For our Elementary and Middle School programs, we are once again strongly recommending that masks be worn as children and youth make their way onto the campus and get checked into their classrooms. As noted above regarding the main service, at points during the Children’s and Middle School programs where social distancing guidelines can be maintained, such as during the worship and teaching time, our volunteers will allow the option for masks to be removed. A limited number of masks will be made available for children and middle schoolers who have not yet acquired one. As checkout time nears and children and middle schoolers will be released to their parents in the courtyard, it is once again strongly recommended that masks be worn as families interact in the courtyard and make their way back out to the parking lot.

If you are simply more comfortable having your kids join you in the service, you are welcome to do so. If you have a health condition that would put you at risk for wearing a mask, of course you are not required to wear one, and certainly you will see some among us on Sunday where this exception will apply.

No doubt there are a range of preferences and convictions with regard to applying these new guidelines to our church setting. I am sure the idea of wearing a mask is not a favorite for many, but knowing this church family like I do, I also believe serving and honoring God and one another is a passionate desire for all, and the steps listed above represent our best efforts as a church to do both. As always, we trust that the Lord will guide each one of you to do what is best for your families, and will continue to offer the livestream option for those who feel more comfortable watching from home at this time.

Thank you for your flexibility and enduring commitment to follow Jesus in these ever changing times. In all that is unfolding, I am thankful for the reminder that we CAN do ALL things through Christ, who gives us strength! (Philippians 4:13) This new order issued by the town of Gilbert is in effect for the next 30 days, at which time we can see how the Lord will continue to guide us from there.

Keep reading below for new and ongoing opportunities to connect and grow together, a wonderful privilege I am profoundly thankful for! Lord willing I look forward to seeing you Sunday morning in person or as a part of our livestream service, and in advance, a happy Father’s Day and special honor to our dads and all the men who comprise our Calvary East Valley family!

Yours in Christ,

Craig

 

A SPECIAL NOTE FROM PASTOR CRAIG ON CALVARY EAST VALLEY REUNITED, BEGINNING MAY 31ST

Dear Church Family,

Working in conjunction with local governing authority guidelines and Gilbert Christian Schools, Calvary East Valley is blessed to offer an in-person option for our Sunday morning service starting May 31st at 10:00 AM. Our leadership team has been working diligently to develop a reintegration plan that we pray will reflect our heart to provide the warmest, safest environment we can at this time. We will continue to offer a livestream option for those who are sick, have underlying health issues that could make them more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, have been exposed to someone who has had the coronavirus in the past two weeks or are simply not yet comfortable returning to group gatherings. Here at Calvary East Valley, we trust that the Holy Spirit will lead each family and individual in a way that reflects His perfect will as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, and will respect those decisions.

For those who feel led to join us, I want to be the first to welcome you back! And while we certainly cannot eliminate all of the risks related to contracting the coronavirus, the following steps reflect our best efforts to minimize them:

  • Enhanced Cleaning Protocols: Working in conjunction with Gilbert Christian School, Calvary East Valley will be working diligently before, during and after the service to keep all campus common areas and equipment clean and disinfected, including all items related to our Junior High and Children’s ministry programs.
  • Sanitizing Stations: Look for hand sanitizing stations at various points throughout the campus. In addition, while not requiring that masks or gloves be worn, both will be made available for those who are more comfortable wearing them.
  • Social Distancing: In an effort to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, Calvary East Valley will continue to work to implement social distancing guidelines at this time. Our greeters will be there to greet you, but without that typical hug or handshake. Our chairs will be setup differently to provide more spacing, allowing families to sit together while at the same time maintaining a respectful distance from others. And some of the typical elements of our service may be modified. While we realize the true goal of social distancing involves maintaining 6 foot spacing between individuals, we also recognize according to the language of the social distancing guidelines, that it is to be practiced “to the extent feasible.” That is a way of saying, in spite of our best efforts, there will just be some instances such as checking your children into the children’s ministry, or passing by someone in the hallway, where that 6 foot distance will not be able to be maintained. In this regard, we are mindful of the “letter of the law”, while at the same time embracing the “spirit of the law”.
  • Social Graces: We ask that those who join us for our in-person service be sensitive and respectful to the varying comfortability levels of others at this time. It will be a joyful occasion to be back on campus together, but not all will be ready for that hug, handshake or high five, so together, let’s be mindful and respectful in this regard.
  • Children’s Ministry/Middle School Ministry Programs: Lord willing our Children’s and Middle School Sunday morning programs will resume on Sunday, June 14th. In the meantime, children and middle schoolers are welcome to join their families in the MPR for the service. Please look for additional details to come as we work diligently to re-launch these exciting ministries!
  • Giving: Calvary East Valley will not be passing an offering at this time, but will have an offering box available for those who would like to give in person versus online, on the app or by mail.

Calvary East Valley Reunited! It sounds great to me, and I hope it does to you too! While I realize it is neither realistic or practical that we would all be able to return to church on May 31st, at the same time, I want to encourage us to continue to pray toward that end. God has designed the body of Christ to dwell together with one another in fellowship, we were created for this, and it comprises a vital part of the church in any generation. All that to say, don’t get too comfortable at home, but together, let’s pray that one day sooner than later, our entire church family can be back together again. And who knows, we may even have the privilege of welcoming some new families to ours!

The Lord continue to bless and keep you all, and may that same Lord continue to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20), strengthening our relationships with Him and one another like never before, and preparing us for the season ahead as we await the imminent return of Jesus to this earth!

I love you all, but more importantly, He does!

Yours in Christ,

Craig

###
PREVIOUS UPDATES

Tuesday, July 7

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

 

Tuesday, June 30

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Tuesday, June 23

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Tuesday, June 16

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Tuesday, June 9

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

 

Tuesday, June 2

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Tuesday, May 26

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Tuesday, May 19

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Tuesday, May 12

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Tuesday, May 5

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Wednesday, April 30

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Saturday, April 25

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Wednesday, April 15

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Friday, April 10

Please check out all the latest updates via our newsletter.  CLICK HERE!  If you don’t receive the newsletter in your email inbox, please let us know and we will add you!

Tuesday, April 7

Weekly Encouragement from Pastor Craig

Saturday, April 4

KEY UPDATE(s): things to know

A NOTE FROM PASTOR CRAIG | I pray you are doing well! Praise God, for many of you, you were able to make it through your first week of online learning for school, great job! I wanted to get in touch with you all briefly to let you know of some of the growing opportunities you and your families have to stay connected and stay encouraged here at Calvary East Valley in this time of social distancing. I want to thank the many faithful servants among us who are working hard to provide these opportunities for us, and I want to invite you to take advantage of them as God leads and directs your families!

WEEKEND SERVICES | Everything is ONLINE. Sundays at 10:00am. Click HERE to view our live stream. Be sure to share and tag us in your Social Media posts. ##320strengthfromwithin

CALVARY KID’S CORNER | Visit the homepage of our website to click on links to weekly teaching for our Cal Kids, as well as additional resources to minister to your families. Look for these videos to be posted each week by 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.

PRAYER | Monday evenings prayer meeting via zoom: 7:00-8:00 p.m. Contact us through our website if you would like to join the call!

CALVARY YOUTH | Starting this Wednesday evening youth Bible study via zoom: Junior High will meet from 6:00-6:45, and high schoolers will meet from 7:00-7:45 p.m. Check our website, and watch for a video update coming soon through our youth e-newsletter!  If you don’t receive out youth e-newsletter, send us your info! If you need Zoom link, please contact us.

CORE GROUPS | These virtual groups are now up and running, and are intended to provide a means of prayer and care for the body during this time. If you have not been contacted by a leader and would like to be a part of one of these groups, please reach out to us and we would be happy to get you connected! #320strengthfromwithin

LOVE IN ACTION | If there are any practical needs you may have at this time, from prayer to grocery shopping to basic car repairs, please don’t hesitate to let us know, we would be blessed to serve in any ways we can!

GIVING | How do you continue to give?
Online: calvaryev.org/give
By Mail: Calvary East Valley, 582 W Reeves Ave Queen Creek AZ 85140 Thank you for your ongoing faithful support.

Tuesday, March 31

A Video Message from Pastor Craig

Friday, March 27

Dear Calvary East Valley Family,

How are you? I pray this email finds you well! I wanted to reach out to you all with a few quick updates and reminders.

Sunday Livestream of our service at 10:00 a.m.  (YouTube Link)
Lord willing we plan to livestream our service once again this weekend on YouTube, so I want to invite you and your families to join us online and worship together with us. We praise God for some of the encouraging reports we have received of how special this time was for your families, and even some pictures of your families watching the service that brought a smile to our faces and joy to our hearts! Feel free to send us more of those pictures if you feel led, they are a blessing! And below please find the link for our upcoming service on Sunday.

Core Groups
I sent out a short video this week highlighting what we are calling “Core Groups”. I believe these are times more than ever where through the grace and enabling of God, we need to stay focused on Jesus and stay connected with one another. “Strength from within” in the sense of God’s Spirit filling us and empowering us personally, and as well, flowing through us to care for and share the love of Christ with one another. And that is the heart behind the vision for these groups here at Calvary East Valley. There is not an expectation that these groups will meet in person, but I want to let you know God has raised up an amazing team of leaders to oversee these groups, and they are excited to begin reaching out to you all within the week to let you know we are here for you and praying for one another. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”, and the heart of these groups is to do that very thing. So Lord willing look forward to some fun, creative, and meaningful interaction to come. And if you have not heard anything from a group leader in the next week or so and would like to be a part of one of these groups, please contact us through our website and we would be happy to help get you connected!

Have a blessed day everyone, and Lord willing I hope to see you online for our service on Sunday. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus, and a living expression of the body of Christ at this important time. God has presented us with an amazing opportunity, and may that same God continue to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20), to further build and strengthen this precious church that bears His Name!

Yours in Christ,

Craig

Tuesday, March 24 12:00pm

A Video Message from Pastor Craig

Saturday, March 21 12:45pm

Good morning Calvary East Valley,

I wanted to remind us that Lord willing our first livestream service is under 24 hours away. I truly look forward to spending this time with you and your families as together, we lift up the Name of Jesus through worship and the study of His Word! Details are included below. We are presently unable to livestream through Facebook Live and YouTube at the same time, so we will be utilizing YouTube. The link below will take you there!

Service time : 10:00 a.m.
Link:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_waiF4PgCUtp6AMusj8eqA
Website:  Stay tuned here for the latest church updates

I look forward to worshiping together with you tomorrow morning, please join me in praying that all of the technology will work, and that the Lord would truly be glorified through our time!

Yours in Christ,

Craig

Friday, March 20 1:00pm

Calvary East Valley will not be meeting for Worship this Sunday but will be steaming the service live on Sunday at 10:00 am. Please join us from the comfort of your own living room!

Links to stream the service live via both Facebook Live & Youtube will be provided here within 24 hours.

We are working diligently and available for you during this crisis so please feel free call the church office at 480-442-9724 or email through our Contact Us page.

We will continue to post updates here as we have them.

Wednesday, March 18 4:45pm

Dear Church Family,

How are you? I pray this note finds you well! I wanted to get back in touch with you all with a few updates. As I mentioned previously, our heart was to continue to gather together as a church as long as it was wise to do so, or unless we were told we were unable to do so. With the recent updates passed down to us from our federal and state governments this week, along with the decision from the school to hold off with our on-campus gatherings, I believe both of these factors are beginning to bear impact. Our heart as a church is to play our part in helping to aid in the efforts to safeguard our community and slow down the spread of this virus. And so with that goal in view, and through much prayer and wise counsel, the elder board has decided to make the following adjustments to our upcoming schedule.

  • Starting Sunday, March 22 at 10:00 am we will be going to an all-church online service: 

What this means is that we are planning on streaming our service live, giving you and your loved ones the opportunity to worship along with us from home. Lord willing you will be able to catch this live broadcast on both Facebook and YouTube, and we invite you to stay connected with us in this way. Our service time will remain the same at 10:00 a.m., and a special thank you to Gilbert Christian School for making an exception for us to live stream from the campus, as well as some special CEV servants who have been working hard behind the scenes to get this technology up and running for us. This is a new venture of faith, so please pray for God’s wisdom and provision!

  • We will be canceling the upcoming women’s retreat.
  • We will be postponing all youth and adult Bible studies until further notice.

So, in the light of all of these adjustments, what are some of the opportunities we do have to stay connected? I want to invite you to take advantage of some of the opportunities listed below.

  • View our weekly service online
  • Know that our pastoral and ministry teams are available to serve you throughout the week. You can call us at 480-442-9724, or get in touch with us through the “contact us” icon on our website. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for prayer or any other practical needs you may have at this time. We would be honored to serve you in any way we can!
  • Prayer Ministry: We will continue to meet on Monday evenings for prayer via zoom. We will be praying from 7:00-8:00 p.m., and if you would like to join the call to call on the Lord, please reach out to Jim Heeney at jheeney62@gmail.com.
  • Check our website, Facebook page, and weekly e newsletter for the latest updates.
  • Giving: You can continue to give to CEV during this time by mailing checks to 582 W. Reeves Ave, San Tan Valley, 85140, or simply go to our website (CalvaryEV.org) or church app to give online. Thank you for your faithful support!

We are praying through additional vehicles for connection as well, but at this point are taking things one step at a time as we seek the Lord and monitor how this situation unfolds. One thing is certain; I believe God is moving through it all to accomplish something much greater than we can see at the moment. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 3:20-21,

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

That is a way of saying, TOGETHER, with the power of God working in us, we can get through this! And not only get through this as endure or get by, but come out the other side stronger, more united, and more spiritually fit for the Kingdom than ever before. Wouldn’t it be just like God to do something like that for the glory of His Name? TOGETHER, we can care for one another. TOGETHER, we can overcome. TOGETHER, we can make a difference. “…according to His power that is at work within us.”

I love you all and will keep you posted with updates as they become available. Please keep your eyes open for additional information regarding how you can join us online for our service this weekend, and if you should need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

TOGETHER with you, looking to “Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”, for His honor, and His glory!

Yours in Christ,

Craig