March 16, 2020, 2:30pm
Dear Church Family and Friends,
In an abundance of caution, St James Church is closing effective immediately through April 15 for all public worship, Sunday school classes and small groups, Wednesday night dinners, the Sunday Night Prophecy Study, and essentially anything that involves a group of people. Also, the gathering that was planned for Bishop Nunn on Sunday, March 29 has been cancelled due to current information. During this time, the office staff will report to work as usual to serve you.
This decision was made after learning this Monday morning that the Feds are "urging everyone to stay at home." The CDC reports that there are to be no meetings of more than fifty people. This sentiment was echoed by Governor Stitt, who declared a state of emergency, as well as by Tulsa's Mayor. It is important that we remain a responsible member of the community. This fluid situation will be reviewed regularly for St James Church.
Sunday sermons will be posted online weekly although there will not be persons present in the sanctuary. The staff will be meeting tomorrow to discuss creative ways to navigate through this season. And, remember, it is just a season. This is not a permanent arrangement.
I hope you will continue giving your tithes and offerings, please. Expenses, including salaries, continue even though we will not be receiving a weekly offering during worship. Plus we, as Believers, have a need to give. Your support matters. Your gifts may be mailed to the church at 5050 East 111th Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74137 or online giving is available at www.sjc.church. Click on the box in the upper right corner. I am asking staff and others to curtail all non-essential spending during this time.
What can you do during this time? Do not panic. Do not be afraid. Join me and your church staff in prayer that storms Heaven. Pray that this pandemic will soon be over that the sick will be healed. Pray for grieving families as well as for individuals who are concerned about their loved ones. Pray for individuals and families who will surely suffer financially. Pray, asking the Lord what you can do to help others. Pray for our country and its leaders during this season of chaos and conflicting information and opinions. Pray that we will no longer be divided and that revival will replace godlessness in this nation. This is not a time to be indifferent. Stay informed. Check on your friends, especially elderly folks, to inquire how they are doing. You, Christian, have work to do. The building might be closed but the Church is alive and well. This is a great time for our light to grow brighter as the darkness grows darker. Be The Church!
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Gary Harber, Interim Pastor
March 15, 2020, 10pm
Notice from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
March 14, 2020, 12:30pm
SERVICE UPDATE FOR SUNDAY, MARCH 15
Our Sunday services and classes will still meet this Sunday. SJC's attendance per service is less than the 250 person threshold referenced in Mayor Bynum's latest directive. However, our upcoming Easter Egg Hunt is canceled.
Church will look a little different tomorrow. We are putting some new protocols into place, including:
• Suspending communion service
• Our greeters are replacing hugs and handshakes with a friendly wave. We are asking everyone to do the same.
• If you are sick and have experienced symptoms such as a fever, cough or body aches in the past 48 hours, we ask that you please stay home. Take care of your health (and the health of others) by resting and recovering until you are symptom-free. If you need to miss a Sunday, you can access the sermon on our website.
• Prevention is the best medicine! Practice good personal habits such as washing hands frequently (for a length of 20 seconds minimum), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (including cell phones!).
• For the Sunday Night Prophecy Class, no food or drink will be provided. You may bring your own individual snack; however, food will not be placed on the serving tables.
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow at church! For those who are unable to attend or electing not to attend, know that we will be making every effort to find ways to stay connected. Please call the church office at 918-299-1133 if you need anything. God bless you as we move through this challenge, going from faith to faith and strength to strength.
March 14, 2020, 10am
Message to Oklahoma Conference Churches:
As you are aware our world is in the midst of responding to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Earlier this week Dr. Don Kim and Rev. Dr. Joseph Harris and I sent you some resources and preventative recommendations to address concerns about this virus in your worshiping communities. Since then the virus has rapidly expanded in this country. We have been asked how churches might respond to growing concerns about worship services. We think the following guidelines might be helpful in arriving at a decision about holding worship services in your church:
Churches are encouraged to use their best judgment in making decisions on whether or not to hold Sunday worship services.
Factors that may influence this decision are: age of congregation, underlying health conditions of individuals in the worshiping community, ability to offer live streaming of services, social media ability (Facebook Live, etc.) and risk factors as described by the CDC and the Oklahoma Health Commission.
Any recommendations put out by the Governor’s office or state health officials should be followed as much as possible.
Make weekly assessments as to where we are as a state and country in dealing with this virus and base your decisions on what is best for keeping your community safe and protected from harm.
Please direct any additional questions you might have to your District office.
If you choose to have services a few other tips for churches include:
Use disinfectants on surfaces that are touched often. Examples are elevator push buttons, doorknobs, push plates and bars, copy machines, group printers, refrigerator door handles, microwaves, computer keyboards, desktops, phones, remote controls.
Be ready to temporarily suspend physical contact, including shaking hands and hugs, as part of church services.
Devise alternate methods of providing spiritual care to those who cannot attend worship. This may include offering church services via the Internet and creating phone networks of prayer partners.
This is a challenging time for all of us and we feel confident that each church will make an informed and prayerful decision in how it will proceed in the days ahead that we are dealing with this pandemic.
Bishop Jimmy Nunn
March 13, 2020, 3pm
With concerns over the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want our church family to know that the spiritual and physical health of our congregation and community are very important to us. As we approach this concern, we place our ultimate trust in God for protection, wisdom, and healing for those who are already affected. We know that God is on the Throne!
"And He shall be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is your treasure," (Isaiah 33:6 NASB).
Due to the current situation, we want to be cautious, and to also follow the guidelines of our state and local Health Departments, our state and federal government and our Oklahoma Bishop's office. We are taking the following actions based upon recommendations from these sources and the CDC:
* We will be suspending communion service for the care and benefit of our family and friends.
* For the Sunday Night Prophecy Class, no food or drink will be provided. You may bring your own individual snack; however, food will not be placed on the serving tables.
* If you are sick and have experienced symptoms such as a fever, cough or body aches in the past 48 hours, we ask that you please stay home. Take care of your health (and the health of others) by resting and recovering until you are symptom-free. If you need to miss a Sunday, you can access the sermon at our website on Monday: www.sjc.church
* Prevention is the best medicine! Practice good personal habits such as washing hands frequently (for a length of 20 seconds minimum), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (including cell phones!).
* Consider temporarily replacing hugs and handshakes with a friendly wave or an elbow 'bump'. We are asking our greeters to do this as well.
Should it be made necessary to suspend church services, we have a contingency plan to keep our church family and services connected online. Tithes and offerings can be given online through the sjc.church website. We will continue to monitor information from appropriate health agencies.
Reach out to your fellow church family, especially those that you know who do not receive email messages. Keep the pastors and staff updated with the needs of our church family. And please join us in praying for God's wisdom and mercy throughout this challenge.
March 13, 2020, 2pm
With the heightened awareness and public concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to assure you that we are carefully monitoring this situation and are taking a proactive approach to ensure our environments are clean, safe and that your health and wellbeing is a top priority.
Our church leadership has been and is currently monitoring word from our local, state and federal authorities, and Pastor Gary is also in communication with our Bishop. At this time, we are still planning to meet this Sunday.
We want to care for our SJC family in all respects, including the physical well-being of our community. To that end, we are asking you, our congregants, to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe. Please be mindful of the guidance from the Tulsa Health Department (THD) along with Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If we are directed not to meet, we have a plan in place to stay connected as a community and will keep you updated as new information unfolds.
In Psalm 46, we are reminded that it is God who is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, let us not fear, but with confidence use this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus through our prayers and our care for others.