"a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise..." Psalm 51.18
The physical return to public worship @ St. James will be a gradual one, beginning with Morning Prayer on June 07.
Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we live with, and into, physical re-entry at the church. The psalmist reminds us that true worship of God is one of honesty and humility, no matter the form of worship or where you are.
With direction from Governor Edwards and Bishop Jake, and input from the Vestry and Worship Committee, Fr. Tim is publishing the directives below for the respect and safety of all parishioners and newcomers as we return to worship in the church.
Morning Prayer will take place in the Nave (main church), as this space allows for the most room in which we can abide by appropriate physical distancing, and we will provide space for both families and individuals. These individual or family spaces will be clearly marked and we ask you to abide by all guidelines and directives to sit where you should.
If you fall into one of the risk demographics, be that age or any underlying health issue, you should stay at home and not risk your health or that of others.
A return to public worship is your choice, not a command from Fr. Tim or God. Think seriously about your health and the health of others. Do not feel guilty about staying at home and not "being in church." You don't have to. God and Fr. Tim understand.
For an indefinite period, the choice to pray the Daily Office (Morning Prayer & Evening Prayer) on Sundays rather than offer communion has been made for 2 significant reasons:
1. Continuity. The church has gathered for Morning Prayer in a virtual way for a number of weeks now and many have grown accustomed to this pattern, and many are familiar with the Daily Office from previous years at St. James or in the Episcopal Church. Our Zoom prayer time now has traction. Praying the Daily Office for just a few more Sundays while we make this physical transition seems to be a logical and prudent transition.
2. Logistics. It will take a few Sundays for us to get used to the new seating arrangements and how that impacts distributing communion. A handful of Sundays praying the Daily Office, which requires just a few "worship leaders," will also give us an idea of who is comfortable in returning. This will give us a better feel. A number of moving parts and people are responsible for any communion service, from the Altar and Flower Guilds, acolytes, to ushers, and it's important that everyone is comfortable serving. Your safety is most important and we want to get this right.
The 10:30 AM Morning Prayer service will be recorded and uploaded to our church Facebook page as soon as possible, following the service. You can find our Facebook page by clicking here.
Childcare is not available.
1. While we are taking every safety measure possible, including cleaning between services, returning to St. James is your choice and you should not feel guilty or compelled to attend. If you fall into the risk demographics, be that age or any underlying health-related issue, you should not attend.
2. If you attend, use one of 4 entrance/exit ways at the church and do not all enter through one door. The 4 entry/exits are: 1. through the main entrance on Bolton Avenue; 2. the alcove entrance at the corner of Bolton Avenue & Albert Street; 3. the Chapel door on Albert Street; and 4. the door closest to the office on Murray Street. You may wish to consider a new way to enter the church!
3. Signs will be posted at entryways with instructions and a team of ushers will be on hand, from a safe distance, to point you to a seat.
4. Hand sanitizer will be available for use at all entry/exit ways. You MUST wear a mask if you enter the church and you MUST wear it at all times.
5. Keep a physical distance of at least 6 feet with non-family members, both when entering the Nave (main church) and when leaving. Please wear a mask before entering the building and wear it until you have returned to your car.
6. Seating will be marked in a way for the safest protection. Ushers and clergy will be available to point you to a seat or section that is marked either for individuals or families. Please abide by these marked areas.
7. When seeing friends, regulars, or even visitors in the weeks ahead please remember to maintain physical distancing and know that appropriate and friendly ways to communicate a "hello" or the exchange of peace is through a slight bow, wave, or the tried and true peace sign.
8. We will provide instrumental music only for an indefinite period. The choir will lead us in music only when it is determined to be safe for choir and congregational singing.
9. Fr. Tim will distribute additional information and guidelines once we return to the Eucharist and receiving communion.
Please contact the church office at 445.9845 if you have any questions.