In light of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we encourage you to consider the following:


Do Not Be Afraid

  • The Lord is our Shepherd, and he is in control.
  • God is with us (even in isolation).

Exercise Wisdom and Prudence

  • Please stay home as much as possible. We will not be having in-person gatherings for the immediate future.

Love One Another and Love Your Neighbour

  • If you are healthy, consider how you might help serve those affected by the virus.
  • If you are sick, consider how you might best love others.
  • (Ideas for both of these are included in the longer letter below)

Pray and Worship Faithfully

  • Our in-person worship services and other events will be cancelled at least through the month of April. We will be livestreaming our services on our Facebook page at 9:00 every Sunday. (Also available on our home page here at calvarybaptistchurch.ca
  • Our weekly Small Groups will be meeting via Zoom video calls at their regularly scheduled times. Please contact your small group leader for info. If you want to join one of these groups, sign up here.
  • As causes of anxiety increase, so does the need for prayer. We will be hosting a live prayer meeting daily on Facebook live. Please join us!

If you are in need of care due to COVID-19, please email calvary@calvarybaptistchurch.ca.


If you desire to care for the needs of members of Calvary and those in our community, but you are not certain who or how to help, please contact Pastor Matt or Pastor Kenny and they can direct you.

Ongoing Online Ministry

Until the lockdown is lifted, our usual in-person or on-site events have been suspended. We must respect the social distancing measures being set out for us. But that certainly does not mean we need to be spiritually distant from one another! To that end, we have established a weekly schedule of online ministry, which you can see below. You may want to bookmark this page so you have quick access to all these links! 


SUNDAYS @ 9:00 am: We are live-streaming a stripped-down worship service each week--from our home to yours. This is available right here on our home page or on our Facebook page. The archives of the past few weeks can also be found there.

(Parents, stay tuned for more information coming soon on our Children's Ministry moving online!)

Each week, we are doing a post-service hangout on Zoom, which can be accessed anytime between 10:10-11:40 by following this link.


SMALL GROUPS (M-T-W-Th-F-S): All 8 of our small groups are continuing to meet via Zoom. If you are not part of a group yet, this could be a lifeline of community for you in this time of isolation. Sign up here.

(Youth: FusionYouth has moved online as well. Wednesdays at 7:00 here.)


DAILY PRAYER @ 12:00 noon: We are hosting a daily prayer meeting via Zoom and Facebook Live. You can join in this prayer time by Zoom video conference, by praying along with the livestream on Facebook, or even by calling in by phone. Watch for videos on our Facebook group, and join the zoom link from there. (Or email us for the link)


WEDNESDAY WORSHIP @ 4:00 pm, Wednesdays: Our worship leaders and musicians at Calvary will be leading us in a time of "sing along" worship each Wednesday on Facebook live. The videos will appear here.


PASTORS' BOOK READING @ 4:00 pm, Thursdays: Pastor Kenny will be reading a chapter of a book we think we can all benefit from, Evangelism as Exiles by Elliot Clark. Pastor Matt has read it, and found it excellent and challenging. The videos will appear here. (Chapter 1)

Letter from Pastor Matt

March 13, 2020

(Updates for March 27 in red)

Hello church family!

Now that the coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19 has officially arrived in Ottawa, we want to make you aware of our plans as a church family. We would encourage you to respond in the following four ways during this season:


Do Not Be Afraid

In a time like this, it can be so easy to capitulate to worry and anxiety, or even panic. As believers in the Sovereign God, we know this is not the way we should respond. Jesus explicitly told us to “not be anxious about tomorrow… or about your body…” (Matthew 6:25). God intimately cares for birds and lilies, and we are of far more value than they are. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, a painfully apt description for today, we need fear no evil, for he is with us; his rod and staff comfort us. Even death itself has been transformed by Christ. So trust in the Lord and do not be afraid.


Exercise Wisdom and Prudence

Just because we take courage doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take caution. Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Not being afraid of death doesn’t mean we should put ourselves or others intentionally in harm’s way (Proverbs 14:15, 15:24).

  • If you are sick or running a fever, please stay home from church, small groups, and other church activities. This is especially important if you have potential symptoms of COVID-19. We do have a number of elderly members, young babies, immunocompromised people, and healthcare professionals who attend Calvary. Let’s seek to consider others more important than ourselves in this season (Philippians 2:3-4).
  • If you are particularly vulnerable to catching COVID-19 or developing serious complications from it, please use your good judgment on whether to avoid large group gatherings until the pandemic slows. We will not judge you if you believe the wisest course of action is to lie low for a while.
  • If you have been travelling to areas of the world that have significant infection rates, it can be wise to self-isolate until you are certain you are not infected, in order to keep from unintentionally passing on the disease to others.
  • Everyone, at-risk or not, can practically love their neighbours by following basic steps to mitigate the spread of disease: thorough and frequent hand-washing, using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue, etc. We’d also encourage refraining from the usual kinds of greetings like handshakes, hugs, or kisses for the time being.

This point about prudence overlaps quite a bit with the next:


Love One Another and Love Your Neighbour

What does loving one another look like when we’re part of a church community that includes people of all generations, many transient and globe-trotting people, and individuals who have underlying health conditions? Yes, this is your pastor saying this: It may very well involve staying home from church! Of course we place a high priority on regularly gathering together as a church for worship. But if you are feeling sick or running a fever, likely the best way to love your neighbour is by avoiding them! You may also want to consider ways to still reach out to others by calling or writing to check in on, pray with, or encourage them.


The other side to loving your neighbour is for those who are healthy: How might we care for the suffering in our neighbourhoods and city during this season? How should we “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) or “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4)? Great questions! Historically, Christians have often not fled the scenes of a crisis or hidden away in fear, but instead, sought to serve in the midst of the distress. We should be less concerned with self-preservation, and more concerned about the welfare of others. So if God blesses you with health, how might you use that to check in on your at-risk friends or neighbours, seeing how you might serve them? Can you make grocery or pharmacy runs? Can you write them a card or give them a phone call to encourage them or pray with them? Is there a way we can serve Ottawa’s healthcare workers who may be exhausted and under-resourced in the near future? How might we witness about the risen Christ to those around us who are more aware of and worried about death at the moment? These are the types of questions we should be asking and seeking to answer. (To that end, if you have practical ideas of how we might put these kinds of compassion into action, please let us know!)


Pray and Worship Faithfully

In Philippians 4:6, the solution to anxiety is to “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” There are many reasons we could be anxious right now; therefore, there are many reasons to pray! (See point #6 in this article for some great practical tips on what to pray)


While we are canceling our in-person services until at least through April, we want to ensure that we are still regularly involved in community worship as much as we are able. We need to look to God as much as ever right now. We will be livestreaming our 9:00 service every Sunday on our Facebook page which will also be linked to the front page of our website.


Our weekly Small Groups will be meeting via Zoom calls. If you are already in a group, wait for instructions from your leader. If you would like to join in one, please let us know here!


Regular gatherings that will be cancelled or postponed include Sunday School, Fusion Youth, Newcomers' Lunch, Membership Class, and food preparation for the Ottawa Mission. We will keep you updated on May-June events as we continue to reevaluate.


If you are in need of practical help or prayer, whether you are sick or at-risk, we want to be there for you as best we can. Please email the church to let us know of your needs, and we will be in contact with you.


Trusting the Lord’s mercy,

Pastor Matt

 

Additional resources:

World Health Organizations’s Q&A on COVID-19

Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Update Page

Ottawa Public Health’s Pandemic Preparedness Page

8 Things the Coronavirus Should Teach Us  (This is an especially excellent take)

Taking Church Online in a Coronavirus Age

Battling the Coronavirus Panic

The FAQs: Coronavirus Explained by an Infectious Disease Expert and Pastor