By the grace of God, we have entered into a new month. June is the month for a lot of congregations, including St. John, to return to corporate worship. At St. John, our facilities have been closed for 14 ½ months, so many of us are excited about reopening this Sunday, June 6th. We are preparing for two Worship Celebrations on this Sunday, June 6th: The North Campus at 9:00 am and South Campus at 11:00 am. Be mindful that California is scheduled to reopen on June 15th; therefore, as our state reopens, our church needs to reopen for those who desire to worship corporately.
We envision each Worship Celebration being about 1 hour and 15 minutes, so we encourage everyone to arrive at least 10 minutes beforehand. Temperatures will be checked upon entering, social distancing will be applied where people shall sit and walk, wearing masks will be strongly encouraged, restroom use will be restricted to 2-4 people at a time (depending on the size of the restroom), congregating before and after Services will be prohibited, and other safety protocols will be applied that our county suggests.
Unfortunately, some are not comfortable at this time returning, and we respect their decision. To accommodate these parishioners and friends, we hope to make each Sunday’s sermon available to be heard each Sunday by 2 pm and thereafter via our website (sjmbc.org), and we are considering streaming services in the near future.
Personally, I am excited about this Sunday! After working out the last three weeks, I told myself that, if I can work out publicly in a gym, I can worship publicly in the Lord’s House. I am encouraged when I meditate on the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 16:25 which says: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” I am also encouraged by the words of Paul recorded in 2 Timothy 1:7 which says: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
I envision Sunday being a very Spirit-filled day of worship. God has anointed me to preach, and I anticipate God working through me to be a blessing to each person that shall attend. I also look forward to officiating the Lord’s Supper online Sunday at 7 pm. To participate, each believer will need some bread or a cracker, and each believer will need some grape juice (or something similar). For more information, you may visit our website (sjmbc.org).
Beginning Wednesday, June 9th, our Church School (formerly called Sunday School) will convene online each Wednesday evening at 7 pm after Prayer (6:30-7:00 pm). This means that most classes that were currently meeting on Sunday mornings will assemble online on Wednesday evenings; however, one class will still meet on Sundays at 2 pm. This class will convene online each Sunday for people who are not available on Wednesday evenings, and it will begin June 13th.
Although we are reopening our facilities, this is only to a certain extent. Currently, we are only prepared for two in-person Worship Celebrations (as discussed above). This means that Church Ministries will continue to convene online until further notice. Unfortunately, this also means that we are still not prepared to accommodate indoor funerals and weddings. However, our Administration Building will reopen, Monday, June 7th (Mondays through Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm).
We congratulate our 2021 graduates! If you are a St. John member and interested in receiving recognition from our church, you should contact Min. Peggy Alexander (Minister of Christian Education) at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30th. If you are graduating from High School and you will be attending college or vocational school, you may qualify for a scholarship. Applications are available via our church website at sjmbc.org. Moreover, if you desire to give towards scholarships, you can do so in person at either of our campuses, via mail, or online at sjmbc.org.
Before concluding, we thank those of you who served as greeters and parking attendants assisting the medical staff of Contra Costa County that utilized our North Campus to administer Covid Vaccinations last Saturday (May 29th), Tuesday (June 1st) and Wednesday (June 2nd). Even though they were inconsistent regarding their time to begin and end, you were flexible, and we commend you for this.
Last but not least, we thank so many of you who have been supporting St. John financially, especially in the last 14 ½ months. With everything that we are doing and trying to do, your financial contributions are needed. We currently give in-person during Sunday Morning Worship Celebrations, by mailing or dropping off our Tithes and Offerings at our Administration Building or South Campus or by giving online through our website (sjmbc.org). If you are a member of St. John who is financially able but not supporting our church financially, allow God to bless you with more by giving today your Tithes and Offerings.
May God bless and sustain each of us.
Your Servant In Christ,
Dr. Kevin B. Hall, Pastor