This year has been a year of trying new things! No where is this more true than in our St James family ministries. From virtual Easter egg hunts and Zoom VBS to Online Youth Christmas Party the family ministry team has worked to make meaningful connections and ministry happen.This year I am extra grateful to work alongside of Meredith and C.J., as well as all our Sunday school teachers, leaders, counselors, volunteers, and parents. This year was different for sure, but with all of you and your support we’ve have continued to find ways to connect our children and youth to one another and to God.
As we begin a new year and reflect on all of the things that we have learned along the way in 2020, it is nice to think about the new ways that we have seen our St. James community exemplifying the values that our Lord holds so dear. Through the lens of love, we witnessed folks reimagining the ways that they connect with each other, as they printed photos of beloved St. James families and stuffed the photos in eggs for an at-home Easter egg hunt. Celebrating the gift of technology, we gathered around our screens to give praise for the fact that He is risen. Week after week, children met staff and volunteers for Sunday school Zoom to learn more about a loving God that certainly exists outside the church walls. For a week in July, parents made special plans to assist their children in a virtual VBS that reminded us how God’s creation is for all people and creatures. As we patiently awaited improved Covid numbers, we celebrated back-to-school with a drive through parade and eventually began to meet in person for a volunteer-led St. James Hiking club. As the point person for this group, Matti Knight led St. James friends along new and fun family-friendly hikes around the Atlanta area. Monthly Worship Readiness meetings also began in-person with Jennifer Entrekin teaching an outdoor, masked, and social distanced lesson on prayer beads. Our usual Trunk or Treat was reimagined and became a walk-through Trick or Treating event that relied on over 20 volunteers and welcomed countless children in a safe, fun and festive way.
We kicked off Advent with an outdoor family Advent Wreath making event in the parking lot, and Children’s Zoom Sunday School continued on to a series of valuable Advent lessons through the leadership of staff and devoted volunteers Jim & Nancy Sutterfield, Brenda Holmes, and Mary Griessman. Families once again gathered safely in-person to witness the Live Nativity presented by some of our St. James children and families, who also continued to celebrate the season with their at-home Advent kits. Though Christmas Eve was different this year, families joyfully made the adjustment by volunteering to participate in a virtual Children’s Christmas Eve Service that aired at Noon on Christmas Eve. Looking back, though we may not have had many opportunities to share the same physical space, we are thankful that the St. James community has consistently taken the chance to be present in our children’s faith journey. Through words and actions, adults communicated to the children that, though adversity is inevitable in life, we can find ways to adjust our process for giving and receiving the love of Christ. Thank you, St. James, for being the church no matter where that “being” takes shape. Happy 2021, and may God bless you!