Monday, May 4, 2020

Call for Special Meeting on 05-06-20

     As Calvary's Lead Pastor, I am calling for a special church in conference (business meeting) this Wednesday, May 6, 2020.  It is in regard to the Payroll Protection Program related to the CARES act passed recently by the U.S. Congress.  Below I share the information of when, how, what, why and who.

When and How:

     The meeting will take place via zoom on Wednesday, May 6 at 5:30 PM.  You can click on this link to join the meeting: Special Church in Conference about PPP or you may enter the meeting ID (928 5579 2023) password (079989) manually.

     You will be able to vote in one of two ways:

1.  Vote electronically using this link: Vote here, or
2.  Paper ballot obtained curbside or drive-thru from the church office on Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

     You do not need to attend the zoom meeting to be able to vote.  Voting will close at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, May 6.

What and Why:

     Calvary's Stewardship committee recommends that the church obtain a Paycheck Protection Program loan from Texas Regional Bank in the amount of $167,850, which bears interest at the rate of 1% per year, which has no payments due for 6 months from the date of funding, and which can be forgiven in its entirety if the funds are used in accordance with the provisions of the federal legislation authorizing the loan.

     You can view or download the resolution that would be signed if the church authorizes the loan here.  Also for a summary of what the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is click here to view or download. 

     In March when we started live streaming our services, our offerings were significantly low.  Thankfully April offerings were much better.  And, if the first Sunday of May is an indication, May could be a good month in budget giving.

     Our Pastor for Administration, Paulo Gatan, and the stewardship committee have been closely monitoring our budget giving and our expenditures since we closed our campus on a weekly basis.  Initially the projections indicated that we could be out of operating funds by the end of April or by May, at which point we may have to layoff some staff.

     However, because of the generosity of our people, the projections for our operating funds have been extended through the summer before any drastic measures might be required.  As of today we are $51,111 in giving under budget, which is less of a deficit than what we had in April.  While this is encouraging, we still may experience a shortfall in giving this summer, if not in the fall.

     We believe our congregation has stepped up in generosity toward God in supporting the ministry through Calvary.  We also know that some of our people have had loss of income because of lost jobs or because their businesses are struggling.  This PPP loan/grant allows Calvary to close the gap so that our staff can stay employed through this crisis.

     If our people continue to be faithful in their generosity, and this loan/grant fills the gap, we believe we can retain all our staff and continue to support our missionaries and do the ministries that God has called us to do.  We also expect some increased expenses as we prepare our facilities and our technology for the post-quarantined Calvary.  All in all we are trusting in God's provision.

     When it comes to matters of church and state, we take seriously the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Baptist ideal of a free church in a free state.  Thus, one of our concerns was how this program relates to our ideal.  In our conversations with pastors and denominational leaders, two things gave us confidence (1) the program does not favor any denomination, religion or group over others.  It is offered equally to all groups (2) there are no "strings attached" that interfere with our doctrinal or ethical positions.

     If you would like to read more about Baptist positions on the matter of churches and the CARES or PPP act, I would point you to two articles by pastors whom I respect much:
  1. A Texas Baptist: Dr. Dennis Wiles, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Arlington: CARES Act and a Baptist church
  2. A Southern Baptist: Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC: Do SBA-backed loans violate the separation of church and state?


     The recommendation for this action comes from the stewardship committee of our church, which oversees the financial resources and the church budget.  The coordinating council, consisting of the chairpeople of every administrative committee and of the deacons supports this recommendation.  And, the deacon body also unanimously supports it.

     Calvary's constitution and bylaws provide for the lead pastor to call a special business meeting (Article VII.II.A.).  Since this loan does not constitute mortgage indebtedness, it does not require a two week notice, a special quorum or a special majority.  A simple majority and a 60 person quorum will meet our bylaws requirements (Article VII.V.C.).

     Because of the special circumstances related to COVID-19, we will calculate quorum by adding the number of people on the zoom meeting and the number of ballots cast.  The percentage of votes will be calculated in relation to the number of ballots cast.

     The reason for the short-notice is because the bank's deadline for our resolution in order to fund the loan is this Thursday, May 7.

     We appreciate your prayers and your participation in this important process.

     Please do not hesitate to contact us via email or phone should you have any questions or concerns:

     As one of our deacons wisely pointed out to me: When Israel experienced famine, God, in his sovereignty used Joseph in Egypt to provide for his people.  During this COVID-19 crisis we, as God's people, trust in God's provision.  He will see us through this and we will glorify His name.    

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