Dear Friends of Calvary,
Recently a Calvary parishioner told me of a church that he and his wife had visited while on holiday. They were surprised that there were no announcements during the Sunday morning service. During coffee hour they asked why this was so, and were told: “There are no announcements because there is nothing to announce -- no activities; no events; no ministries. We just do Sunday mornings.” Puzzled and in disbelief, they left an otherwise pleasant parochial visit while on holiday.
Being busy isn’t necessarily a good thing. A church filled with frenetic activity is not a healthy church. But, we should acknowledge with pride that Calvary Church is not a church with nothing to announce. Ironically, the following week another parishioner commented, after reading our newly formatted Crossroads (thanks to the journalistic skills of Grace Davis Marcellino): “We do everything at Calvary. We are a complete church.”
1. We have an engaging adult education program: This year 40 parishioners participated in the seven week Christian education curriculum, “Living the Questions”. Additionally we have our weekly Rector’s Forum where we explore congregational growth and what makes a healthy, progressive, inclusive Christian community.
2. We also have robust outreach into the community that has provided shelter for hundreds this year. We fed 8,000 individuals a hot meal on Monday nights and distributed over 50,000 pounds of groceries to those in need.
3. We have youth activities with a regular Sunday School of 5-8 children, a ski trip with over 20 young people and their families last winter; and a Christmas pageant with choreography and music preformed by our own Calvary Youth Ministry.
4. We have been in the news: On the front page of the Sentinel this past month, as well as being featured in the Good Times for our outreach ministries.
5. We have traditional and innovative worship services and baptized 6 new members into our church and confirmed 8 new communicants in 2012.
6. Our pledge drive grew with 12 new pledges, and we met our goal of $153,000 for the 2013 budget. The annual Crab Feed raised $6300 for outreach ministries and it looks like we have donations to nearly cover the cost for the new floor in the Parish Hall.
7. We have established strong ties to our city government and were mentioned in the inaugural speech by Mayor Don Lane. The candidates forum held in our church prior to the November election was the largest of nine forums in Santa Cruz.
During the first part of my sabbatical, several Calvary parishioners joined me in visiting churches in the San Francisco Bay Area to consider how to make our life and worship together more engaging.
My sabbatical has been more than just a time for personal inspiration. Calvary parishioners also came back with new ideas for this year’s Christmas pageant and Emerging Sunday worship services.
Enthusiastically I look forward to the Jesus Seminar we will be hosting in part at Calvary Church, on February 8 and 9; the new “Living the Questions” curriculum that will be offered over Lent; and the Congregational Development workshop that will be held at Calvary on February 15-16. This is all happening because of a hard working vestry, creative ministries and competent and skilled parishioners. There is plenty to announce at Calvary Church. I am deeply grateful for you and the wonderful work you have done and are doing.