May 21, 2021

Thank you to all who completed the St. John’s Comfort Survey. We had 109 people participate in the survey. Some highlights from the survey include: over 56% of respondents are ready to resume some form of Coffee Time in June; 85% of respondents said they would feel comfortable attending worship if some people did not wear masks; 64% stated they would like the choice whether or not they wear a mask to worship. Additionally, over 90% of respondents are fully vaccinated, which is incredible! 

The COVID-19 Task Force met yesterday, May 20.  After reviewing statements from the CDC, results from St. John’s Comfort Survey, our guiding principle to do no harm, and our move from corporate responsibility to individual responsibility, we are recommending the following changes to COVID-19 protocols at St. John’s:

The Task Force recommends wearing masks in service, small-groups, and meetings be optional. We encourage anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask to do so.

The Task Force recommends Weekly Coffee Time resume on the first Sunday of June with the church providing coffee, hot tea, and water. 

The nursery will resume on the first Sunday of June.

Children in attendance in the sanctuary during worship will be invited forward for the Children’s Moment beginning in June.

Beginning in June, weekly (8:30) and monthly (11:00) communion will change format. The option for receiving elements in sealed cups will remain with the addition of a more personal experience.  More details will be forthcoming in the upcoming weeks. 

As always, we encourage anyone who is not feeling well to worship with their St. John’s family via livestream.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact anyone on the COVID-19 Task Force.

Thank you for your continued support.

Grace and peace,
Bonnie Byland
Pat Cobb
Donnie Lambert
John Toney
Rhonda Tucker
Rev. Lane Cotton Winn
Rev. Deirdre Halliburton

May 14, 2021

Dear St. John’s family and friends,

You have probably heard the recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control that those who have received the full course of the COVID-19 vaccine no longer need to wear face masks or physically distance themselves. I am delighted by this news. This announcement is, in my mind, the clearest sign yet that things are returning to a new normal. The past year has been so hard. This is such good and welcome news!

That said, there are a couple of dynamics unique to church life that still need to be addressed. The way in which this guidance relates to unvaccinated children is one. Congregational singing without face masks is another. I expect we will have some answers on these matters very soon. As a result, we will continue to wear masks in worship this Sunday. 

As we make decisions about next steps in the coming days and weeks, your input is vital. The COVID-19 Task Force has created a congregational survey. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey by Tuesday, May 18. 

We are blessed with strong lay leadership at St. John’s I am grateful to serve alongside such knowledgeable and loving people.

Thanks, as always, for your continued faithfulness to God’s vision and your support of St. John’s United Methodist Church. You are a gift.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Lane

COVID-19 Updated Protocols
April 29, 2021

The COVID-19 Task Force recently met to review our current COVID-19 protocols. After reviewing recommendations from the CDC, the Governor, current numbers for East Baton Rouge Parish, our guiding principle to do no harm, along with the realization it is time to move from corporate responsibility to more individual responsibility.  

Worship:

Until further notice, masks are required during service for everyone, even people who have been fully vaccinated.  We will continue to monitor the information and make adjustments as soon as we can safely do so.*

The biggest and most exciting change is that we are no longer discouraging singing.  While singing is now an option, we are encouraging everyone to follow John Wesley’s rule #5 “Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation…” over his rule number 4 “Sing lustily and with a good courage….”

Hymnals and pew Bibles have been returned to the sanctuary.  Hymns and prayers will continue to be available on the screens. There will be a few copies of the worship guide (not a bulletin) available in the Narthex before the start of each service. 

Every pew will be open for seating with the exception of the three pews immediately in front of the Praise Team. With the opening of all pews we continue to encourage social distancing.

Ushers will dismiss congregants from the back to the front of the church. We respectfully ask that you exit the narthex in an expedient fashion.

We are constantly monitoring mandates and suggestions by the CDC and government. As soon as it is safe we will make changes to our worship protocol.

*The Task Force has begun work on a survey in order to gauge everyone’s comfort level. This will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

In-Person Small Group Gatherings
(Gatherings of 15 or less people)

While we are unable to address every scenario, If you have a question or a group, please contact a pastor or anyone on the COVID-19 Task Force and we will quickly address any questions.

We foresee more Adult Sunday School classes resuming class in their original classrooms as more people are fully vaccinated.

If every member of your small group has been fully vaccinated, masks and social distancing are no longer required when in your meeting room.  If members of a small group in which not all participants are fully vaccinated, and the group comes to a unanimous consensus,  everyone in attendance feels comfortable removing their masks then you are free to do so. We ask that when walking to the bathroom or down the hall to enter or exit the building everyone wears a mask, for the safety of others who may be in the building.

Cleaning protocols for rooms are no longer required.  We ask that you continue to be courteous by placing trash in the appropriate containers and leaving your meeting room in the same or better condition than when your group arrived. 

Cleaning protocols for restrooms are no longer required.  Baskets with gloves, wipes, and lysol will be available for anyone who would like to utilize them.

Our custodian will sanitize meeting spaces and restrooms as they are used throughout the week.

If your small group plans to meet on campus, please contact the church office so we can add it to the calendar. Knowing what spaces are being utilized is important for a number of reasons, including ensuring proper sanitation. 

Nursery 

The goal is to have the nursery back open by the beginning of June if not before.

You can download these updated protocols as a PDF here.

We encourage everyone to do a self-health check if you are considering worshiping in-person with us. As always, we encourage anyone who does not feel well to worship with us online, using one of the available streaming services (Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, or our website).

For those who feel comfortable with in-person worship, we are asking you to bring your phone to church! No, we don’t want you texting or playing games, we want you to be able to register your attendance. With your phone, you will scan a QR code found at your pew, which will take you to a brief online form. We ask that you complete this registration form each time you attend in-person, as this helps with contact-tracing.

If you do not have a smartphone, please let a greeter know when you enter the narthex; they will write down your name, email and/or a cell number for contact tracing purposes. Below, please find detailed instructions for our new contactless registration process, utilizing QR codes. (The QR codes will be posted within the pews.)
With iPhones:

  • Please open the camera on your phone. You DO NOT have to take a picture of the QR code. 
  • Hover over the QR code. Once your phone has “captured” the code, a banner or icon will appear at the top of the screen.
  • Please click on the banner/icon. You will be directed to a form to complete.  
  • If you are not redirected to a form, please attempt to rescan the code.

With Android phones:

  • Open your Camera app and point it steadily for 2-3 seconds towards the QR code.
  •  Whenever scanning is enabled, a notification will appear.
  •  If nothing happens, you may have to go to your Settings app and enable QR Code scanning.
  •  If QR Codes isn’t an option in your settings, your device unfortunately can’t scan QR Codes natively. You will have to download a third-party QR Code reader app.
  • Android users can read this article to discover the best way to scan QR codes on your specific android phone.

The 8:30 a.m. service will include Communion each week, whereas the 11:00 a.m. service will include Communion on the first Sunday of each month. We will offer Drive-Thru Communion at a new time of 9:45-10:45 a.m. on the first Sunday of each month, as well.

We have updated our Frequently Asked Questions, which can be found here. We continue to adhere to the Wesleyan tradition of “do no harm.” We remain together in spirit.

Read our updated Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information, and you may download the updated protocols as a PDF here.

St. John’s UMC COVID-19 Task Force Members

Rhonda Tucker (Lay Leader), Bonnie Byland, Pat Cobb, Donnie Lambert, Rev. Latrice Mallard, John Toney, Rev. Lane Cotton Winn, Rev. Deirdre’ Halliburton

Find all Messages from Pastor Lane and the COVID-19 Task Force relating to COVID-19 here.

Read about the COVID-19 Memorial Crosses, which were displayed on our campus during Holy Week and Easter Season 2020 in memory of the lives lost to COVID-19 in Louisiana.