Return to Calvary Update

The response to last week’s Return to Calvary survey was wonderful. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond.


What we learned is that some of us are ready to return to worship and some of us are not. This is very much to be expected. Please know that we are committed to continuing online live-stream worship indefinitely. And our plan to return has been carefully developed and approved by our task force and vestry, which include not only four Calvary physicians, but people with a broad array of experience in public, private, and nonprofit administration and human resource management.

Read a fuller description of what a return to worship at Calvary will look like.

View frequently asked questions about Calvary’s return to in-person worship services.


Bishop Phoebe’s directives for when and how congregations can return to in-person worship


Here is what the survey tells us:

On readiness to returning to worship as early as June 7, seated at 6’ distance from other households, with all worshipers using masks:

  • 31% responded “Yes.”
  • 45% responded “No.”
  • 24% responded, “I’m not sure yet.”

We also asked about worship times, and we intentionally did not include any of our regular pre-COVID-19 service times. Physical distancing guidelines will mean that the church’s capacity will be severely restricted, allowing for only a small percentage of a “normal” Sunday congregation to attend the same service for quite some time. And extra cleaning and sanitizing protocols may require more time between services than we are used to. This means we may need to let go of our traditional hours of Sunday worship in order to accommodate those who are ready to worship in person.

On service times:

  • 27% would prefer 9 a.m.
  • 38% would prefer 11 a.m.
  • 8% would prefer 5 p.m.
  • 2% would prefer 7 p.m.
  • 41% would prefer to continue worshiping at home (Note: some preferring to continue at home also checked a preferred time for when they do return.)

Taking into consideration the desires of some to be together safely, and the wishes of others to continue to worship from home, our Return to Calvary Task Force has proposed Sunday, June 14, as the first Sunday for which parishioners can sign up to attend in person Morning Prayer. On the Sunday prior, June 7, our Task Force members will serve as ushers, and those who have volunteered to serve as ushers in the coming weeks will form a small congregation so that all will better understand how to carry out their ministry safely. And, as we have emphasized before, live-streaming of Sunday worship will continue indefinitely.

A link to a sign-up form will be emailed to you on Thursday, June 11, to sign up to attend worship at Calvary on Sunday, June 14.

These dates are subject to revision should there be a change in the public health situation. But our task force physicians see our plan as careful, conservative, and responsible given the most up to date COVID-19 data for Shelby County. As you will see in the more detailed plan for our return, we are not simply opening up Calvary for worship.

We knew that any decision about when to return would necessarily be contrary to some of our congregation’s wishes and concerns. This is unavoidable right now, as some of us would rather Calvary remain closed and others feel ready to return if it can be done safely. Our prayer is that we can each extend all the empathy we can muster to one another, honoring the different hopes, fears, and perspectives that are precisely what make us a fuller expression of the Body of Christ together.

Faithfully yours,