St. James is planning many outdoor events this summer to facilitate worship, VBS, concerts and events in a safer and more engaging manner. St. James will not require masks for outdoor activities on our campus. This is primarily due to the dramatic drop in infection rate in the North Atlanta Metro as reported by the Brown University Department of Public Health statistics used for guidance by the North Georgia Conference.
For the current time, masks will still be required for all indoor functions.
The CDC recently updated its guidelines on relaxing mask requirements both indoors and outdoors for individuals that are fully vaccinated. The new guidelines have led to confusion and frustration as states, business establishments and schools have tried to implement the changes. Your safety and peace of mind are paramount during this pandemic.
Our Reopening Team which includes medical and public health professionals is recommending that we continue to use our in-place mask and social distancing protocols to eliminate any concerns on the St. James campus.
We are planning events off campus and will encourage mask and social distancing at those events.
The Reopening Team will continue to monitor the vaccine rate and Covid 19 statistics and adjust our protocols accordingly.
The recent increase in Covid-19 infections throughout the nation has caused me and the Leadership Team to reconsider the timing of reopening the building for Sunday Services and other activities. Worship plays an integral role in our lives personally, emotional, and spiritually. I know you are excited about returning to in-person worship and we will do so when it is safe. So, while we cannot worship together physically, we can continue to worship as the body of Christ virtually. This pandemic cannot stop us from worshipping God because we can worship anywhere together.
We will keep you informed of our plans as the control of the pandemic and CDC guidelines allow us more flexibility. We will continue to pray and seek God’s guidance for the correct time to reopen St. James United Methodist Church.
Until then, we look forward to continuing to praise God through virtual services on Sundays at 8am and 11am, Bible studies, safe ministry initiatives and support of our local partners, such as North Fulton Community Charities, Hosea Helps, the Drake House and many others.
Remember WE are the Church together and at St. James, WE STILL BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!
On July 18th, St. James UMC hosted a successful Covid-19 testing event for the congregation and the community. More than 340 tests were administered with some participants arriving as early as 6AM for the 10AM start. We would like to thank the more than 30 healthcare professionals, servant workers and staff that assisted with this event.
First, I want to thank you for your continued prayers and support of the ministry here at St. James. We have so enjoyed interacting with you each Sunday during our virtual services and Bible Studies throughout the week. Your participation, comments and feedback are reminders of why we are here, and the importance of the work being done. Because of your faithful financial support, we have continued to be a blessing to our members as well as our ministry partners who are in critical need of financial assistance. We’ve been able to expand our virtual capabilities and conduct powerful and informative webinars such as COVID-19 Facts Not Fear and The Race Forward. We have grown and been stretched in many ways during this time, but we are thankful for God’s faithfulness through it all. That said, let’s talk about the next few weeks…. As you are well aware, our nation has been affected in so many ways since the start of the pandemic earlier this year. A few weeks ago, I informed you that our Bishop, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, announced that we were not to gather in person again before June 22. Amidst actively planning for reopening with proper social distancing and safety protocols in place as well as feedback from you, our target date for in-person worship was scheduled to be Sunday, July 26, 2020 assuming there were no dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases. Unfortunately, over the last couple of weeks, we have seen a dramatic increase in positive cases as well as an increase in hospitalizations. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to delay our reopening until Fulton County moves from a “Red Zone” County to an Orange or Yellow Zoned County!
We recognize that there are, and will continue to be, many questions around best practices for safe returns to worship. We also know how much we ALL want to be in the sanctuary singing, worshipping and fellowshipping face-to-face. During this season of social distancing, I want you to remember while the building is closed, WE THE PEOPLE ARE THE CHURCH and we are STILL OPEN, to share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone we encounter each and every day!
As we continue to navigate through this global pandemic, I am asking you to: Pray for the individuals & families affected by COVID-19; Pray for all front-line Health Care Workers; Pray for the government, the Church universal and the world.
Right now, we have exciting “New Things” happening in our St. James virtual church. We have online studies that we are currently offering at St. James on our website. We are developing new Zoom online bible studies designed to adequately equip you to handle the challenges of navigating in our “new normal” environment. I encourage you to participate and stay connected with us and each other during our streaming services each and every Sunday at 8 AM and 11:00 AM via our website, www.stjamesumc.org or any of our social media platforms. We will provide updates and more details regarding in-person worship protocols as we get closer to reopening. Until then, I ask that you continue to be in prayer as we maneuver through this new normal. Remember We Are the Church, Together and we still believe in Miracles! I Love you and I am constantly Praying for Each of You.