Today, in our Staff Huddle and other meetings, we heard so many fresh stories of how God is working and about challenges our Calvary family members are facing right now.
We welcomed Michelle Tumes to our worship arts team. Michelle will be helping to coordinate music, technology, vocal, instrumental and other behind the scenes preparation for our worship services each week. She comes with a great deal of experience in worship and Christian music. An Australian by birth, Michelle had an international Christian Music career touring and singing. She has written original music for Disney and other labels. Michelle brings a love for the Lord, a heart for worship, experience with Christian musicians, and an eye for detail to her new role as Calvary’s Music Director.
We prayed together for the needs of hurting folks in our body. We prayed for Bible Center Church in Charleston, WV. This is the church where I previously served for over a decade as Senior Pastor. Their current Senior Pastor announced he would be leaving. He is a good man and dedicated servant of the Lord. He indicated his departure was due to a misfit in terms of his leadership style and the culture of the church. Praying for this dear body of believers during this time of transition.
We celebrated the dozens of baptisms from this past weekend in our main services and even this summer in Student Ministries. We talked about how great it was during this weekend’s family services to have teens in the band and serving communion. What a great weekend for the Calvary family!
One of the highlights of our Monday was to celebrate what God did with our Special Needs Ministry Beach Day. A kind supporter of Calvary’s work with special needs families opened their beach house this past Saturday to our team. God did some amazing things! Checkout this brief report from our Special Needs Ministry Director, Gina Spivey (Gina and her team did a fabulous job with this opportunity!
On Saturday, August 15th Calvary’s Special Needs ministry put on their first Family Beach Day. When we began to entertain the idea of a relaxed, unplugged, easy-going beach day we guesstimated an attendance of 30-50 people. Never in our wildest dreams did we anticipate the over 200 people and volunteers that came out to experience this with us.
Our goal was to provide a place where families affected by disability could just be relaxed and rejuvenated all while growing a deep unity and community with one another. We understood that the beach is often an insurmountable task for these families as it is notoriously inaccessible and overwhelming. The sand is unforgiving for wheelchairs, the sounds and textures can prove to be overstimulating and the effort required to simply pack the car makes it just too much work for the reward. In planning for the event we took into account every detail that makes the beach so difficult and tried our very best to remove the bulk of those hardships. We provided the towels, the sunscreen, the food, the shade, the water, the toys, the wheelchair access and the snacks. The best part was that we also provided the people! We sent guys in wetsuits out into the ocean to help kids body surf, boogie board and flop in the waves so the parents could simply lay back and enjoy.
At the end of the day we heard multiple comments like “we have never been to the beach before” or “it’s been years since we last attempted the beach” and even things like “I never knew the beach could actually be fun!” As we looked around we saw families sharing blankets, laughing, telling stories and building a community built on mutual understanding and love for one another. I think for me, personally, the best part of the day was at the very end when one of our young boys with Autism who has a very limited vocabulary came up to us and, in his monotone and unemotional way, said “Best. Day. Ever.” The Holy Spirit was so thick. He blessed us with perfect weather, happy hearts and a love for Him that was evidenced by the smiles on everyone’s faces. What an answer to prayer it was.