We all have many questions in the face of COVID-19. St. John’s UMC remains an active worshipping body, and we encourage you to participate even when we can’t be physically together. While we don’t have all the answers yet, here are some things we do know and hope you find helpful:
How do I participate in online worship?
-We will worship online together on Facebook Live (click here) on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. As always, you can find our sermon videos on our website and Vimeo page. Here is a screencast help video to show you how to sign up for notifications for our weekly worship videos.
-Our pastors will offer prayer and meditation on Facebook Live (click here) on Sundays at 6 p.m. and Wednesdays at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. If you miss them live, they can be viewed anytime from the church’s Facebook page by going to Videos.
You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch! Just click “not now” when it asks you to log in. Here is a screencast help video to show you how that works.
What is postponed?
-All in-person worship and church-related small groups, studies, covenant groups, meetings, and face-to-face gatherings are suspended or postponed until further notice. As of Monday, March 23, the church office is closed until further notice.
Can I still participate in my small group?
-Yes! You can participate in a small group that is meeting virtually or via phone and encourage you to do so. Gathering virtually is one of the best ways for us to stay connected.
-Small groups, Sunday School classes, and other groups, including our committees, are encouraged to meet virtually, via Zoom, an online meeting platform.
– Check our Church Calendar for details about which groups are meeting when. The event descriptions include the person to contact for Zoom login information, and those same details are included in the Tuesday and Friday emails sent from the church.
What about children and youth?
-For those of you raising children at home, we invite you to join the new Faith Friends Facebook Group. This group will provide tools, ideas, and helpful hints on how to share meaningful and faith-filled experiences with your family. Join us as we share resources for keeping the faith and making it through homeschooling and long days of isolation.
-Pastor Deirdre’ is hosting an online storytime on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. This interactive online experience will include original stories from Pastor Deirdré that encourage kids’ participation, singing, and virtual fellowship for our youngest St. John’s members. Email email@example.com for the Zoom meeting information.
-We have scheduled other Zoom gatherings for both Children & Families as well as Youth so our younger disciples can stay connected, too. Check our Church Calendar and your email for details.
What about The Shepherd’s Market?
-Due to very high demand from our neighbors, and at the request of the Baton Rouge Food Bank, The Shepherd’s Market will be operating on a limited basis on Tuesday and Thursday each week from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. until it becomes apparent it is not safe to do so because of COVID-19 concerns. Distribution will be done by drive-thru method. Please contact Theresa Sandifer (text or call: 225-337-1306 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to volunteer.
Can I still contribute to St. John’s?
-Yes please, and thank you! Please maintain your regular tithing and giving, and if you’re able, consider giving more to help offset those who can’t during these uncertain times. You can mail your contribution to St. John’s UMC (230 Renee Drive; Baton Rouge, LA 70810). Or contribute online with credit/debit cards or your bank account info by clicking here. Now would be a great time for you to set up recurring online giving.
Where can I find updates?
-We will be regularly communicating with you through our Facebook page, Inside St. John’s, which is sent on Tuesdays, and Friday newsletter emails, text blasts, and our website.
Facebook Live Troubleshooting
-We are learning as we go, and one thing we have learned is that watch parties and Facebook Live events don’t mix. Our pastors cannot see comments/prayer requests posted within a “watch party,” so jump on the main Live stream on the church’s Facebook page to fully participate in a Live event.
-Once a Live event has ended, watch parties are perfect to gather with others to re-watch (or watch for the first time at a later point). If that changes or we can figure out how to make watch parties work with Live events we’ll let you know. Remember you can always submit prayer requests for the prayer team to email@example.com.
– You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch! Just click “not now” when it asks you to login. Here is a screencast help video to show you how that works.
-Don’t want to miss a video? Here is a screencast help video to show you how to sign up for notifications for our weekly worship videos.
COVID-19 Crosses at St. John’s
As a prelude to Holy Week, we have placed a number of small wooden crosses on the front lawn of the church in memory of those who have died from COVID-19 in our state. For every life lost to this coronavirus, we placed a cross on the St. John’s lawn near Highland Road, along with a banner that says, “In Memory…Each cross represents one life lost to COVID-19 in Louisiana.”
The crosses serve as a prayerful, heartfelt witness to our community that our church family recognizes both the collective and individual grief and loss we are experiencing.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
– If you have general questions, you can call the church office (225-766-4594) and leave a voicemail. We will check it regularly, and the appropriate staff member will return your call. The church office is closed until further notice, and staff are working from home.
-If you have questions about communications, please contact Lynn Cooper. This includes: “I’m not receiving Inside St. John’s/the Friday newsletter but I would like to,” and more.
-If you would like to set up a Zoom meeting for a church small group, email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.
-If you need help with finances, please contact LeAnn Davis.
-If you need assistance with groceries or errands, please contact Pastor Deirdré. We have wonderful church members ready to help out those who do not feel up to leaving the house.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with more questions. You are not the only person with that question, and we will update this FAQ with new answers as we go.
Read Pastor Lane’s COVID-19 related messages here.