“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
June 3, 2020
Dear St. James Church Family,
Over the last two and a half months, we have experienced the most unexpected challenge of our lifetime. We are now entering a new and more complicated phase as our state and country gradually move toward reopening without a vaccine. Many of you have expressed concerns and questions about what this means for St. James and in-person gatherings for worship. Our Session and staff are working hard to find the safest and best ways forward for our church family. Your voice is essential as we navigate this together.
The State of Colorado is issuing first phase requirements and guidelines this week for churches wishing to “reopen” in-person gatherings for worship and ministry. These requirements and guidelines include:
- No more than 50 people gathered in the sanctuary.
- Wearing masks and social distancing of six feet between individuals or families.
- No “fellowship times” of informal conversations in the narthex.
- Staggered entry and exiting of the building and sanctuary, maintaining at least six-foot distance between parties.
- Limited restroom availability.
- No food or beverages (e.g. St. James coffee and donuts).
- There is allowance for outdoor services (with required masks, social distancing and self-provided lawn chairs).
Our task now is to make the best decisions for St. James as we move into this next near-future phase. It may be that we continue as we have the last couple months; it may be that we try new steps or experiments. We’re in this together. Your voice matters! We ask for your help in four ways:
- Survey. Please complete a brief survey to voice your preferences, thoughts and feelings regarding next steps by CLICKING HERE. Please complete the survey by Monday, June 8th. Our Session and staff will be taking the input we receive to prayerfully make the best decisions for moving forward into this next near-future phase. [If you are aware of people at St. James who do not have access to a computer, please have them call the church office to complete the survey over the telephone. Again, every voice matters.]
- Prayer. Please be praying for the Holy Spirit’s continuing movement in our church’s ministry and decisions. God is at work! The Corona virus prevents some forms of what we have known, but God is opening new opportunities for ministry to reach and serve people.
- Care and Discipleship. Please continue connecting with and caring for one another. We don’t want anyone to feel alone. We encourage you to meet weekly with others in small groups, either virtually or in-person.
- Finances. Thank you for your continuing financial support. Our ministry leaders have worked hard to keep costs down, while striving to grow our ministry impact. Our continuing costs maintain our crucial staff salaries, mission partnerships, worship, facility and church operations. Unfortunately, financial giving to the church during the pandemic has reduced. This is expected due to job losses, prevention of in-person worship services and economic uncertainty. As you are able and led, would you prayerfully consider how you can help bridge the gap in this critically important time?
We have all had to adapt. You have done well. We have also adapted as a church. We have continued to gather virtually for worship each week; we have found new ways to connect with one another; we have continued our outreach ministries to serve those in our community, city and around the world. We are grateful to those who have worked to make these happen. The Corona virus cannot stop the Kingdom of God! Praise the Lord!
We are reminded regularly that “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). The Holy Spirit is at work through us as we continue to walk, worship and serve God together at St. James for the glory of God.
In Jesus’ Love,
Pastor Wayne (on behalf of the Session and Staff)
— St. James Church Leadership
Dear St. James Church Family,
We are writing to offer an initial response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its implications for our St. James church family. We are aware many are concerned about personal health and safety; your health and safety are always a high priority. Many wonder what the appropriate response is. We have 6 “P” words in response to the Pandemic that we hope will be an encouragement to you. With these handles, we are planning to have one worship service this Sunday, March 15th at 10:00 am. We are postponing discipleship hour this week and on a week-to-week basis. For some, the idea of gathering for worship feels right; for others it does not. As a church family, we respect and support one another’s decisions.
Peace. Jesus said (and continues to say to us), “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). It is helpful to have up-to-date information available; it is sometimes not helpful to focus our time on continuous news or feeds that heighten our fear and anxiety unnecessarily. Genuine peace does not come by denying our circumstances; real peace comes by trusting God in the midst of our circumstances. God is faithful; you belong to Him.
Prevention. The CDC and others have provided helpful information to keep ourselves and others safe. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based (60%+ alcohol) hand rub. Stay home when you are or feel sick. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and/or mouth, especially with unwashed hands. To date, there are no known cases in Littleton and the risk remains extremely low.
Preparation. St. James has taken proactive steps to raise the already high standards of sanitation and disinfection throughout the church campus. We are working closely with our custodial contractor to maintain this high level of disinfectant. We continue to have hand sanitizers throughout the campus for your protection and the protection of others. We encourage you to wave, nod, elbow bump as you greet one another for now rather than our usual hugs and hand shakes.
Prudent. It is up to each of us to take prudent steps appropriate for our unique circumstances — and feel good about those decisions. For example, if you have underlying medical issues or compromised immune system, it is not wise to gather in large groups with others. However, if you are in good health, you may find it more helpful to safely gather for worship and fellowship for mutual encouragement in challenging times. Pastor Wayne will be addressing the Coronavirus as a part of his sermon this Sunday. As a church family, we respect one another’s decisions.
Prayer. Continue praying for each other, our community and world. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill us and those around us with His peace, grace and compassion.
Proactive. Lets proactively serve one another, our neighbors and our community in Jesus’ name. How is God calling us (as individuals and as a church family) to be vessels of His love, compassion, peace, and care during this unusual crisis? While everyone is moving away from others with “social distancing,” how can Jesus followers appropriately move toward those who need care? This care for others can take many forms. How can we be instruments of peace by relating to others with a non-anxious presence?
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or ways we can serve one another.
In Jesus’ Love,
— St. James Church Leadership