March 2021 Updated Protocols

The COVID-19 task force met this week and after thoroughly reading and discussing all the new information shared by the CDC, the governor, and St. John’s family members within the medical community, we are excited to announce the following changes to the St. John’s protocols. Please note, we continue to follow our first Wesleyan rule, Do No Harm, as well as all mandates by the governor. 

Worship:

Until further notice, masks are required during service for everyone, even people who have been fully vaccinated. 

We have moved to using every other pew vs. every third pew. This change allows for a larger number of congregants during each service while still maintaining social distance guidelines.  

When attending church in person, please refrain from sitting in pews with “Do Not Sit Here” signs.  Available pews are rotated between the 8:30 and 11:00 service.  Also, please refrain from sitting next to people who are not in your pod.  

We continue to uphold the expectation of maintaining social distancing between people who are not in the same pod.

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.

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

Protocols for small group gatherings have significantly changed.  We are unable to address every scenario in this update. If you have a question or a group that is not addressed in this update, please contact anyone on the COVID-19 Task Force and we will quickly address any questions.

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. 

You can download these updated protocols as a PDF here.

Friday January 15, 2021

Dear St. John’s Family,

Thank you for your patience, support, and continued patience as we learn how to live and worship in a COVID-19 world.

Due to the rising numbers of positive cases and hospitalizations, our state is continuing in Phase 2. In light of those facts, along with our call to do no harm, we would like to remind everyone to continue 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.

Again, thank you for your support.

With Grace,
The Covid-19 Task Force

Friday December 18, 2020

Returning to Worship in the Sanctuary

The COVID-19 Task Force has determined we can safely return to the sanctuary for worship without compromising any of the safety protocols established during our original return to in-person worship.  

Like Abram, who lived in Egypt for a while (Gen 12), we too have been gathering in the Family Life Center to worship for a season. In the New Year, however, we will be returning to the sanctuary AND to our “usual” worship times at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. beginning January 3, 2021. 

It will be so good to return to some of our routines, but we will continue to practice social distancing, wearing masks, self monitoring our health, and maintaining protocols to keep each other safe. For those unable to worship with us in-person, we will continue to livestream our services online

An overview of our protocols for worshipping in the sanctuary can be found here. We will enter the sanctuary through the Narthex. Seating will look different, as we will utilize every third pew. We will also adjust seating between services to ensure different pews are occupied during the 8:30 and 11:00 service.  

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.

If you are considering worshiping in-person with us, please be aware of your health and the well-being of others before arriving. If you have been traveling or have expanded your “social bubble” recently, worshiping online is advised. We are so thankful for how everyone has been careful to follow our protocols.

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.

With Grace & Peace,
The COVID-19 Task Force

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.