Being Caring and Careful

by the Rev. Scott Walters


If the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it is that our lives are deeply interdependent. I am proud to be a part, along with our bishop, of a diverse group of interfaith leaders who speak as one, encouraging congregations to be caring, careful, and to go slow in their plans to reopen.


Memphis Faith Leaders Stand Together


In line with this wisdom, Bishop Phoebe announced last week that in-person Sunday worship would not be allowed until Trinity Sunday, June 7. Our Return to Calvary Task Force met the past two Sundays, and on Monday, thanks to our own Dr. Henry Sullivant, we walked through our initial plans for a return with Marianne Ivie and Tom Kurlick, infection prevention specialists for the Baptist Hospital system.


We were helped immensely by the gift of their expertise and knowledge. We will communicate our plan in full as soon as it is finalized, but here are a few elements it will almost certainly contain:


      • Our live-streaming of Sunday services will continue indefinitely to give access to worship to people who are not ready to worship in person for any reason.
      • Since physical distancing is crucial, seating in the church will be greatly reduced and carefully controlled by ushers. We are developing a sign-up system so that people are assured they have a seat if they choose to worship at Calvary on a Sunday.
      • Worshipers will be asked to wear a mask or a scarf to church. We will have them available for anyone without one.
      • If we are able to return on June 7, we will only have one morning service, to ensure that the protocols and cleaning procedures we are planning can be implemented safely. After that, we hope to add services, possibly at new times, to make in-person worship available to more people.
      • There are many more details to come, but I wanted to give you a sense of the care and attention our task force is giving this planning on the behalf of all of us. We are blessed beyond measure to have people like these among us.


Returning to Calvary will require a good deal of grace, patience, and undoubtedly a little forgiveness as we do our best to care for one another and for our world as we gather. But I have seen all these gifts alive and well in you as our common life was disrupted so deeply this spring. I know they will guide our return as well.