An Update from the Elders
April 24, 2020
Dear Calvary Bible Church Body;
The Elders of Calvary Bible Church have been meeting weekly (via Zoom) to Pray for our congregation and stay vigilant to its needs, as we all continue to observe state and local mandates requiring shelter in place and strict social distancing. This has truly been a trying time for all of us, having been burdened by the Covid-19 and its effect on our jobs and our ability to make ends meet, provide for our families and loved ones, and to be able to meet and worship together as church family. Some of you have dealt with the coronavirus first hand, some in a more serious way than others, but thankfully God is merciful and He is always in control.
During our most recent time of Prayer, Pastor Ron referenced Philippians 4:4-7
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
These are comforting words during this time of uncertainty. We need God’s peace in our lives now more than ever.
During our last meeting this past Wednesday, the Elders directed much time and Prayer to two major topics:
- Church Finances and budget
- Developing a timeframe to resume church services and worship together
The discussion and subsequent decisions for each of these topics would, under normal circumstances, be posted on the information wall in the hallway of the church for all of the church body to read, and if necessary ask pertinent questions. Since that method of communication is not relevant at this time, the Elders wish to share the information with you through this letter.
The onset of Covid-19 has had a major effect on churches throughout the country, and not just in a physical and spiritual way due to the ceasing of our meetings together, but also in a financial way. Since mid -March, when most churches around the country stopped meeting together, approximately 75% of churches experienced a measurable drop in giving. Calvary Bible Church is no exception. Our most recent financial report indicates a drop of up to 50% in tithes and offerings for March and April. This is understandable given the severity of the economy and what is happening to many of our congregation during these trying times, and also because we are simply not meeting together at the church. We have instituted online giving, as have other churches, but some studies indicate that many people still prefer writing checks and giving cash in the offering plate.
The Federal Government recognized the financial impact that churches would feel when mandated to cease all church services and so they made funds available to them as part of the CARES Act, which help pay salaries, health benefits, retirement savings as well as utilities for a short period of time. After much discussion, investigation and Prayer, the Elders unanimously approved moving forward with the application for relief funding from the CARES Act. As a result, Calvary Bible Church received $16,249.35 in the form of a low interest loan/grant that may possibly be forgiven at the end of its term. We intend to utilize these funds in accordance with all guidelines; salary, retirement, insurance and utilities for the next two months.
Calvary Bible Church is currently carrying an additional $49,000 in reserve funds which should carry us through at least the next five months if giving remains the same. We anticipate operating with fiscal prudence during this time with spending occurring only for essential needs. The Elders will continue to meet regularly to Pray and monitor the situation as we go forward. We covet your prayers on this matter during this time.
On the issue of resuming church activities, we continue to monitor State and Local guidelines regarding meeting together in large groups. We are currently under very strict social distancing rules which do not allow for person to person meetings as yet. The Governor has released a plan for Idaho to begin phasing in a return to some social gatherings, including places of worship, beginning May 1. The Elders will monitor and pray about how this may work for us, and strive to establish guidelines with health and safety for our congregation our prime concern. We will keep you updated with any potential opening date as more information becomes available.
As we continue forward, I am reminded of Jesus’ words to his Disciples as His time with them was nearing the end:
John 16:32-33 “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
We too shall overcome!
In His Service,
Elder Board Chairman