Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Guidelines for the Re-opening of Calvary Community Church of Tampa
Prepared by Pastor Arnold and Pastor Martinez
Beginning Sunday May 10th, 2020

Why we closed:
We agreed with the governmental authorities that because of the unknown seriousness of the virus that it was our responsibility as leaders of the church. If we did not close, there could be individuals that might take unnecessary risk due to their overzealous faith, age or medical conditions. This closure has been faithfully followed during this whole episode. We have continued all services with Bob Gilbert for Sunday School, Jesse Martinez for Sunday night and me on Sunday morning and Wednesday night. Special music has been provided by Jesse, Warren, and Larry. Donation giving has been faithfully sustained with all bills being paid, workers being paid and missionaries receiving full support.
There have been several times in the last two weeks when I have been curious as to when would be a proper time that we could safely began coming together as a body of believers.  I have received conflicting reports that churches cannot meet yet and could be fined or prosecuted if we did so. I then heard the governor of Florida say that they did not tell the churches that they could not meet, but that people outside their families should maintain a social distance of 6 feet. I was informed that certain businesses could start phasing into services this May 4th while maintaining social distancing. We are all in agreement to open the church when it is not in violation of Federal, State, and local government. Opening the church may be as difficult a decision as the President’s for the nation or for governors of each state. We have determined to open in stages and let the people decide what they believe is best for them. Cannot we do as much?

Reopening is a difficult decision that has not come without substantial prayer, concern and planning. It is not a decision we take lightly. We have reviewed the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control, our Insurance provider, the Federal, State and county, and the Christian Law Association. Because our congregation is primarily made up of elderly saints, we believe perhaps they should continue meeting in an online capacity for a while longer. If any one doesn’t believe it would be wise for them or their families to attend at this time, then by all means, wait until you believe it is safe for you to do so.

Prior to your return we are making sure that all areas have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected: sanitize pews, bathrooms (floors, sinks, toilets, faucets), doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, and any other high-touch surfaces.

So, next Sunday May 10th, Calvary Community Church of Tampa will open on Mother’s Day for Morning Worship Service only with Pastor Arnold at 10:30am and Pastor Jesse Martinez on Sunday night at 6:00pm. Families are encouraged to please sit close together; others sit 6 feet apart. Seating is only permitted on every other pew. If there is an overflow, chairs will be provided in the Fellowship Hall. We are taking every precaution to ensure we keep our congregations safe. As such, our attorneys have prepared a list of recommended guidelines for us to adhere to when we reopen. We are doing our best to ensure that these guidelines are communicated and announced to our members and visitors before they enter.

We are initially seeking to open with a smaller service to ensure all procedures can be adhered to, and slowly “scale up” attendance once all guidelines are being provably followed; guidelines may vary as weeks progress. You can still watch our services online at www.biblelineministries.org/cam.cgi and on Facebook at Calvary Community Church of Tampa.

You are not required to attend if you do not feel comfortable.


1. We are encouraging all high-risk individuals (and/or caregivers of high-risk individuals) to stay home and utilize distance options to attend.

A.   Medical experts find those at highest risk for life-threatening illness
from COVID-19 are: 
• People 65 years and older.
• People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; and
• People of all ages with underlying medical conditions.
B.   Underlying medical conditions include, but are not limited to:
• People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
• People who have serious heart conditions or immunocompromised. 
(Many conditions can cause greater concerns, such as: smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications, people with diabetes, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and/or liver disease.)

2. COVID-19 is a deadly disease that must be handled with extreme care, diligence, and planning. It is very important to understand that many early carriers of COVID-19 are entirely asymptomatic and will show absolutely no signs of the virus. Entrance will be refused to anyone (with our knowledge) who has been in contact with an infected person or who is exhibiting the following symptoms that have been associated with COVID-19: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell or other neurological issue.

·      If you are showing any of these signs of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has PLEASE STAY HOME.
·      Please refrain from touching others while in the church auditorium.
·      Keep 6ft between you and remember to be respectful of people’s space.
·      Church service times are as follows:
o   Sunday Morning 10:30a-11:30a
o   Sunday Night 6:00p-7:00p
o   Wednesday Night 7:00p-8:00p
·      There will be no Sunday School classes held at the church. Mr. Bob Gilbert will continue to teach the adult class online at 9:15a-10:00a via live stream.
·      Every other pew will be closed for seating in order to follow social distancing guidelines. (Limited to 75 in main church building.)
·      Pews will not have Bible, hymnals, tissues, pens, offering envelopes, or pillows in order to reduce sanitization procedures.
·      The water fountain will be closed due to sanitization procedures. Feel free to bring a water bottle. Anything left in the church will be discarded.
·      All children’s services will be remained closed. This includes AWANA, Sunday School, and Ranch. 
·      The church library, church office and bookstore, church kitchen, will be closed.
·      Offering plates will be in the foyer and at the front of the pulpit. We still encourage people to donate online if possible. http://www.calvaryoftampa.org/donate/
·      Please be sure to bring your own Bible and writing utensils.
·      There will be no printed materials like bulletins, daily bread books, firehouse five lyric books, or tracts.
These are necessary precautions that the church must take in this first phase of reopening. We will make decisions for the next phase as we see the governor of Florida respond to the reopening of the state. If you have any questions, please call Pastor Jesse Martinez (813) 521-7483.

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