First, I want to thank you for your continued prayers and support of the ministry here at St. James. Your sharing, caring and prayers and finances have allowed us to be in ministry both here to our own members and some of our ministry partners who are in need of financial assistance.
However, today I am informing you that our Bishop, Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson has indicated in the information to follow that we are not to gather again before June 22, 2020. On a personal note, I want you to know that the staff and leadership here at St. James will not open the doors until we are assured by our health care professionals that you are coming back to a very safe and sanitized environment. So, it appears that we will be in this “season” well after June 22 and so while we are in this Covid-19 environment here are a few things that I am asking that you do:
Pray for the families of the COVID-19 victims.
Pray for all front-line Health Care Workers.
Pray for our President, Church and our world.
Pray for people to come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Pray for the safe return of members as we prepare to gather again in our church.
And I want you to prepare for the following exciting “New Things” that will be on the not too distant horizon:
We will be posting the current online studies currently at St. James on our website.
New Zoom online bible studies and information are being developed that will equip you to handle areas such as:
d) Home Schooling
And we will add many more studies to make sure that you are adequately equipped to handle the challenge of navigating in our “new normal” environment.
Finally, we hope that you have been tuning in to watch our services each and every Sunday at 8 AM and 11:00 AM via Facebook Live and Live Stream on or website, www.stjamesumc.org. If the services and messages have been a blessing to you please let us know via the Web.
So, I look forward to joining you for this Sunday’s Communion Service!
Dear brothers and sisters of the North Georgia Conference,
We, your bishop and cabinet, greatly appreciate how you have followed the guidance we have shared regarding in-person worship. We know how much you miss each other and long to be together. After talking with medical experts and reviewing data today, we are asking you not to gather before June 22, 2020. This is the date current models predict that we in Georgia can begin safely relaxing our shelter-at-home strategies. We are, however, permitting drive-in worship as long as it complies with the guidelines set forth below.
We encourage you to take this time to prepare to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 when we do gather again for in-person worship. The cabinet will continue to meet weekly and will offer regular updates to our guidance.
Each of our churches is encouraged to continue providing expressions of church remotely. Your innovation and creativity through technology, phone calls, letters, and responding to practical needs is in keeping with our mission and our need for Christian community.
Please begin to consider the guidelines that follow. They were developed through conversations with public health and medical experts and, while they will not eliminate risk, they may help us mitigate risk.
Even in this uncertain time, what we are certain of is that loving our neighbor is the way of United Methodists. We give thanks for you and the ways you are loving your neighbors.
You are in our prayers, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson The North Georgia Conference Cabinet
As we do our best to do no harm, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the Conference Cabinet continue to urge churches not to gather through May 13, 2020. On Monday, April 27, the bishop and cabinet will offer more guidelines on how to evaluate and plan for re-opening our church facilities when the time comes that we can safely do so. For now, know that you are appreciated and have been prayed for by your bishop and cabinet Bishop and Cabinet
Bishop and Cabinet Ask That Church Buildings and Property Remain Closed Through April 30
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the North Georgia Conference Cabinet are grateful to clergy and congregations
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the North Georgia Conference Cabinet are grateful to clergy and congregations for all you are doing to be the Church in your communities while keeping people safe and connected through this season of hardship and inconvenience. We thank you.
In order to live out John Wesley’s first general rule to “do no harm,” the Bishop and Cabinet strongly recommend and expect that all church buildings and properties remain closed until April 30, 2020. They will offer updated advisement on April 27, 2020.
Any specific questions about regulations for sheltering in place in local communities should be directed to local authorities of those municipalities.
UPDATE ON ST. JAMES UMC RESPONSE TO COVID – 19 VIRUS
Dear St. James Members, Family and Friends, We previously communicated to you that we were following guidance of the CDC and health professionals as it relates to the COVID -19 (Coronavirus). As St. James and the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church have learned of increasing numbers of infected individuals in the State of Georgia, we have decided to follow guidance and cancel all large gatherings thru the end of March. Unfortunately, this includes Sunday and Wednesday Services. We recognize that the spiritual inspiration of worship service is important in our Christian walk and therefore we will be streaming an abbreviated service at both 8A and 11A on this Sunday, March 15th. Please plan to join us via Facebook Live or the St. James Website (www.stjamesumc.org) as we continue to worship thru song and an inspired message. We would ask that each Ministry Leader, Bible Study Facilitator or anyone planning a meeting carefully consider options during this period. The church will still be open should you choose to have your scheduled small group activity. We ask that you contact the church if you plan to cancel as we must insure appropriate security and administrative support. St. James has been a leader with infrastructure that allows us to stream during this difficult period, likewise we have infrastructure that allows us to continue financial support. We will be forwarding specifics on giving options in a subsequent communication. The link to the message from Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson is https://www.ngumc.org/newsdetail/message-from-bishop-sue-regarding-worship-services-13441842 We will evaluate our response after March 22nd and communicate with you via social media, website, eblast and ShelbyNext as we monitor the situation. Should you need to contact the church, please call 678-762-1543 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I remain prayerful for you all as individuals and St. James as a Family.
UPDATE ON ST. JAMES UMC RESPONSE TO COVID – 19 VIRUS
St. James UMC family,
In light of heightened concerns regarding the spread of the Coronavirus, I‘d like to reiterate precautions that I mentioned yesterday in service.
First, if you’ve been exposed to a person with the Coronavirus or the flu or have recently traveled to a CDC Level 2 or 3 country (China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong, or Japan), we kindly ask that you take a couple of Sundays off. If you or your family members are experiencing or have recently experienced symptoms associated with the flu or the common cold (fever, persistent cough, headache, chills, or unexplained rash), we ask that you insure all is well before coming to church.
Second, we’re taking measures to ensure our church environment is clean and safe for you and your family. This includes the following steps to prevent the spread of germs:
Staff and volunteers follow hand-washing procedures and children are instructed to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating.
Volunteers follow safe and sanitary diaper-changing procedures.
Hand sanitizer (as availability allows) is located within our building.
Staff will remove children from the classroom if they appear to be sick. Parents are immediately contacted to pick them up.
Signs with CDC facts and guidance are placed throughout the church.
Increase the cleaning frequency of our maintenance team.