Small Groups and Classes

Registration is open for all classes and GriefShare, Covenant Bible Study, Lectio Divina, and Truth Seekers.  Visit the website at stjconnect.org.  Choose the Resources pull-down menu, then click on Registrations.

Mondays

Prayer Shawls

Share your gift of knitting or crocheting—or come and learn one of those gifts—as you create shawls bathed in prayer.  These prayer shawls will then be given to people in our church, community, and around the world who will be blessed by knowing they are wrapped in God’s love.

Led by Lynn Gammell on Zoom

lynngammell@gmail.com

GriefShare

Losing a loved one to death takes a toll on us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  This group will help you get through this difficult time guiding you from mourning back to joy in Christ.  You can join GriefShare at any time and come for as many or as few sessions as you want.

The cost of the series is $15.00.  Scholarships are available; please email Joyce Day at joyce@stjconnect.org. 

Led by Dane Sergeant, Janet Berry, and Jennifer Corbett on Zoom

tsgt1@suddenlink.net

Tuesdays

Caregiver Support Group

Monthly on the Second Tuesday of the month, 1 p.m.

The St. James Caregiver Support Group continues to meet once a month. If you have a loved one who depends on you for care–either at home or in a nursing facility—you may find great benefit from this group whose purpose is to provide encouragement and support and to share ideas for dealing with the challenges of caregiving. 

If you are interested in participating, please contact Kathy Dosser at kdosser@suddenlink.net or (252) 916-2374.

Wednesdays

InStitches Quilters

This class is for persons of all skill levels, including beginners who want to learn.  The group makes baby quilts for church families, items for Spring Fling, and other items.

Ongoing, 10 a.m.-Noon on Wednesday mornings, via Zoom

Led by Elizabeth Collins

elizabeth.b.collins@gmail.com

For Zoom, contact Carolyn Bagley

qbangley@gmail.com

Lectio Divina

Who is My Neighbor? The Gospel of Luke

Wednesdays, Noon to 1 p.m.

Do we really want to encounter the living Lord Jesus Christ?  If the answer is “yes,” we must be prepared to seek him among the people we are not likely to consider as our neighbors.  It will be there that he will reveal himself and the Father.  Join Marianne Leventry at noon on Wednesdays as we follow Jesus through the Gospel of Luke and move among the people He encountered.  Lectio Divina means “sacred reading,” in which Scripture becomes a conversation between God and the reader.  By devoting time and space to the Gospel of Luke we can hear and learn what God is saying to us through that Scripture. This 30-week study will begin on September 9, 2020 via Zoom. 

For more information, contact Marianne Leventry at marianne@stjconnect.org 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

TGIW (Thank God It’s Wednesday) CLASSES

Hymn Studies

Hymn Studies will take a look at traditional Methodist hymns, uncovering stories and scriptural background. In cooperation with the Worship Planning group, we will look at hymns scheduled for upcoming traditional services to add depth to your worship experience. (Singing is encouraged but not required.)  Sessions will run from 6 to 6:40 p.m. on Zoom

For more information, contact Lizabeth Collins at elizabeth.b.collins@gmail.com  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Faith and Fear

In this class, participants will explore the dynamics between the fears we face and how our faith can be a resource to overcome them.  Pastor Ben will use Following Jesus In a Culture of Fear by Scott Bader-Saye as a primary text but make ties to the Bible and draw on other resources, ancient and modern.  Classes will end by October 28.

For more information, contact Ben Alexander at ben@stjconnect.org 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The Write Stuff

This is a writing workshop with the focus on your journey. The main thing each individual will do is write and each may share what they have written if they choose to. The main purpose is to explore this simple question: how does writing bring me closer to God? We will not do a literary critique of each other’s work, but rather focus on how the writing helps us on our individual journeys.   The Write Stuff is an ongoing class that can be joined at any time.  The platform for sharing writing is a private group on Facebook. 

For more information, contact Donna Davis at computerprose@yahoo.com 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The Cross and the Lynching Tree

“They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.” (Acts 10:39)

In his powerful book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, the Rev. Dr. James Cone—a Black theologian and an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal church—asks the question: Where is the gospel of Jesus’ cross revealed today?  Cone makes the case that modern Christians in America cannot understand the horror and the saving power of Jesus’ cross without understanding the horrors of lynching in America. By guiding the reader to face the painful history and ongoing legacy of lynching in America, Cone opens up the possibility of a more faithful Christianity.  Join Pastor Garrett for a challenging and transforming conversation about race and faith.  Because Cone’s book covers such weighty topics, Pastor Garrett will offer two group options. This will allow groups to stay somewhat small in order to facilitate fruitful conversation: Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., beginning October 14 and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 p.m., beginning, October 18.  Participants are asked to purchase the guidebook, which will be ordered by the church and left there for pickup. 

For more information, contact Pastor Garrett at garrett@stjconnect.org   

REGISTER WEDNESDAY SESSION, REGISTER SUNDAY SESSION.

Lectio Divina

Who is My Neighbor? The Gospel of Luke

Wednesdays, Noon to 1 p.m.

Do we really want to encounter the living Lord Jesus Christ?  If the answer is “yes,” we must be prepared to seek him among the people we are not likely to consider as our neighbors.  It will be there that he will reveal himself and the Father.  Join Marianne Leventry at noon on Wednesdays as we follow Jesus through the Gospel of Luke and move among the people He encountered.  Lectio Divina means “sacred reading,” in which Scripture becomes a conversation between God and the reader.  By devoting time and space to the Gospel of Luke we can hear and learn what God is saying to us through that Scripture. This 30-week study will begin on September 9, 2020 via Zoom. 

For more information, contact Marianne Leventry at marianne@stjconnect.org 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Fridays

Truth Seekers

Exodus: The Book of Redemption

Fridays, 10-11:30 a.m.

In Covenant and Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks presents a series on the first five books of the Torah.  In our 12-week study, we will read and discuss his second book, Exodus: The Book of Redemption.  With unique insight from the Jewish tradition, we discover the birth of the nation God promised to Abraham, with teachings about justice, freedom, the rule of law, and about the sanctity of life and human dignity.

For more information, contact Lynne Garrison at lynnegarrison@gmail.com 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Sundays

St. James Book Club

Monthly on Sunday afternoons, 5-6 p.m.

Come join us on Zoom for some lively discussion of great books:

October 18: Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the beloved children’s classic written in 1865 that turned logic on its head and changed children’s literature.

November 15: Plant Life, by Pamela Duncan, the story of a North Carolina town and a group of women who cope as the focus of their lives and income for generations, the local textile plant, falters.   Winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction.

January 17: Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover of overcoming her isolated survivalist family living in the hills of rural Idaho and going on to Brigham Young and Cambridge University. 

For more information, contact June Parker at jdparker48@hotmail.com


2020 Luminary Form



Luminaries and Chrismons 2020

As August turned to September, our thoughts turn to . . . CHRISTMAS!

 

It is not too early to consider joining the tradition of lighting a luminary to honor a loved one and welcome Jesus.  We are promoting the sale of luminaries now, well in advance of Advent and Christmas, to have them in place on time for December 24 when the church grounds and walkways will be filled with the light of the luminaries. 

 

Besides the luminary illumination on December 24, folks can come to the church and walk through a Chrismon Garden.  A Chrismon, which means “Christ monograms,” traditionally are white and gold designs made from Christian symbols that signify Christ.  They will be placed in the space behind the parking lot—the grassy area across from Wilkerson’s along 5th Street.  Each Chrismon will be illuminated by a garden light and its symbolism will be explained in a short message on a sign.

 

Please purchase a luminary or luminaries by sending in a check for $10 per luminary to the church.  Write “Luminaries” in the memo line.  Please click the button below to complete the attached form and return it to the church or  indicate in a note if you are making the purchase in honor or in memory of someone.

 

For more information, please contact Tommy Shaw at tommy@stjconnect.org
 
 


Meet Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang

Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang, the new Interim Director of Children’s Ministry and Remote Learning, was born and spent his early years in Seoul, South Korea, in a very faithful church family.  His mother was so involved in the life of the church that Daewon spent many hours there—so much so that he considered their church a second home.
 
The family emigrated to the United States when Daewon was 11 years old.  They moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, across the street from the oldest Korean United Methodist Church in the state, Christ UMC.  Daewon became very active in the youth program at church, and his youth pastor was “very influential in my faith walk,” he remembers.  With his guidance and “the influence from my mom, I thought of ministry as what I would do sometime in my life.”
 

Daewon left Hawaii to attend undergraduate school at Ohio Wesleyan.  He sought out the campus minister, Jon Powers, and dove into campus ministry there.  He co-led a college mission trip to Washington, D.C. to work with people of very limited resources.   “This experience of homelessness and poverty planted a seed in me,” Daewon said.

 

After his junior year at Wesleyan, Daewon worked as a counselor at a summer camp, Camp Asbury, in southeast Ohio.  That was another step in his path to ministry.  “It opened my eyes to see how much joy I received in ministry with children and youth.  You could see children and youth making affirmations that they wanted to follow God.  They had an openness to what God could be in their lives and they responded to that.”

 

Daewon had a double major at Wesleyan—Economic Management and Psychology.  He added a minor in Religion.  It was both his avocation and his growing vocation.  He enjoyed reading Scripture and began to consult with Jon Powers, the campus minister, about going into ministry. 

 

Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey, accepted Daewon’s application.  “It was an amazing environment,” Daewon said.  “They focused upon how to be a community, how to look into social justice, how to reach out to the poor and do what God calls us to do.  I loved my time there.”  He worked part time as the Children’s Minister at the Korean Church of Westchester in Sleepy Hollow, New York, the setting of Washington Irving’s “The Headless Horseman.”  (The mascot of the local high school is the headless horseman!)

 

Laura Goldenbaum was another reason Daewon Yang enjoyed his years in seminary.  They met at Drew, where Laura was also studying.  One summer they worked together at the camp that Laura had attended, Camp Aldersgate in Rhode Island.   When they married, they decided to take each other’s names “to be equal,” Daewon said. 

 

Daewon’s first fulltime job in ministry after graduating from Drew in 2009 was as the Youth and Young Adults Pastor at the First Korean Methodist Church in Tarrytown, New York.  He and Laura enjoyed their time in Westchester County, taking advantage of their proximity to New York City and its offerings of theater, restaurants, and other cultural activities. 

 

Moving to New Bern was “a bit of a culture shock,” Daewon remembers.  He and Laura moved there when Laura took the job at Camp Don Lee as Assistant Director for Faith Formation and Environmental Education.  Yet, quickly Daewon and Laura “recognized how warm and welcoming people were,” despite the change from living only 25 miles from New York City.

 

Daewon became the Director of Education and Youth Ministry at First Presbyterian Church in New Bern.  “I remained Methodist,” Daewon explained, but First Presbyterian became “our family’s first church.”  Both of their children—Sophia, who is entering second grade at Wahl-Coates Elementary School, and Drew (Andrew), age 4, who is entering pre-school here after Labor Day—were born when the family lived in New Bern.

 

Daewon comes to St. James to fill two needs—to replace Sara Chriscoe as the Director of Children’s Ministry and to run the Remote Learning program for After School, made necessary by COVID and the presence of children who must maintain connections with their schools during their weeks of virtual learning.  “I am glad to be part of ministry here at St. James UMC—a community willing to engage in fellowship, learn together, be a community of faith that God is calling us to be,” Daewon said.  “I am looking forward to being with the children of the church once we are together again.  Being together allows the Spirit to move in and between us to spread love.”

 

About 64 children are signed up for After School here at St. James.  The program follows the Pitt County Schools’ schedule of Week A and Week B of school attendance and virtual learning.  For children whose parents cannot help them with virtual learning at home, St. James After School provides eight staff members who will help students who are here from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. do remote learning here at church, have a devotion time, eat lunch, and enjoy a variety of safe activities in the afternoon.  After 1:30 p.m. when “live” schools get out, another set of children arrive for the After School program.  The staff helps them get homework completed and guides them in safe activities as well.  “We practice the 3 W’s [Wear (masks), Wait (six feet apart), Wash (hands)].  We follow the guidelines of the CDC.” Daewon said.  “This can end up being a ministry for families in Greenville.”

 

For Children’s Ministry now—“until we are able to safely open up the church and have children meet here”—programs will continue virtually, Daewon said.  “We will have Sunday School virtually.  We will worship together virtually.  For fifth graders, the Wild Ones program, we will have virtual meetings until we are safely able to meet physically on campus.”

 

Besides being well organized in leading two separate ministries here at St. James, Daewon also brings a variety of spiritual gifts to our community.  “My mom instilled in me the importance of prayer.  I still try to emulate that—being able to be grounded in prayer.”  Daewon cites verses in 2 Thessalonians 5 that his mother taught him to memorize and that he has made a hallmark of his faith walk: “Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”  Daewon believes in continual communion with God—“not for what we want, but in getting rid of our false self, asking God to have our true self reflect God as we meet God in others.”

 

When asked to summarize his approach to ministry, Daewon answered quickly and simply: “Loving.”  “We are on this earth to love, to embody love.  God is love.  Jesus said to strive to be perfect, Christ-like, to love everyone—giving love to those unlike us, different from us, even to love our enemies.  What are the ways we can see the good in everyone since each person is a child of God?  That is what I hope to do with the kindness of the Spirit.”

 

Also, Daewon’s experience with GriefShare after his mother’s death three years ago has provided him with tools to help others who are grieving.  He took the time during our interview to combine these gifts of prayer and grief counseling to pray for me as I continue to grieve for my brother. 

 

What a gift we all have in Daewon!


Fall 2020 Classes

TGIW – Wednesday Evening Classes

Registration is open for all TGIW classes and GriefShare, Covenant Bible Study, Lectio Divina, and Truth Seekers.  Visit the website at stjconnect.org.  Choose the Resources pull-down menu, then click on Registrations.

Practicing Compassion

In a world damaged by polarization, hate, and fear, followers of Christ are meant to be a light showing another way of life.  We can be a part of God’s work in the world by practicing compassion toward others—family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and even our enemies.  This group will discuss the book Practicing Compassion by Frank Rogers, Jr., and will learn techniques, including guided meditation, to grow the seeds of compassion God has planted in us all.  Wednesdays, 6:00-7:00 p.m., from September 2 to October 7.  For more information, contact Joyce Day at joyce@stjconnect.org CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

   

Hymn Studies

Hymn Studies will take a look at traditional Methodist hymns, uncovering stories and scriptural background. In cooperation with the Worship Planning group, we will look at hymns scheduled for upcoming traditional services to add depth to your worship experience. (Singing is encouraged but not required.)  Sessions will run from 6 to 6:40 p.m., beginning August 26.  For more information, contact Lizabeth Collins at elizabeth.b.collins@gmail.com  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

   

Faith and Fear

In this class, participants will explore the dynamics between the fears we face and how our faith can be a resource to overcome them.  Pastor Ben will use Following Jesus In a Culture of Fear by Scott Bader-Saye as a primary text but make ties to the Bible and draw on other resources, ancient and modern.  Classes will run from 6 to 7 p.m., beginning August 26 and ending by October 28. For more information, contact Ben Alexander at ben@stjconnect.org  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The Write Stuff

This is a writing workshop with the focus on your journey. The main thing each individual will do is write and each may share what they have written if they choose to. The main purpose is to explore this simple question: how does writing bring me closer to God? We will not do a literary critique of each other’s work, but rather focus on how the writing helps us on our individual journeys.   The Write Stuff is an ongoing class that can be joined at any time.  The platform for sharing writing is a private group on Facebook.  For more information contact Harvey Estes at rainman1950@gmail.com  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The Cross and the Lynching Tree

“They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.” (Acts 10:39)

In his powerful book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, the Rev. Dr. James Cone—a Black theologian and an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal church—asks the question: Where is the gospel of Jesus’ cross revealed today?  Cone makes the case that modern Christians in America cannot understand the horror and the saving power of Jesus’ cross without understanding the horrors of lynching in America. By guiding the reader to face the painful history and ongoing legacy of lynching in America, Cone opens up the possibility of a more faithful Christianity.  Join Pastor Garrett for a challenging and transforming conversation about race and faith.  Because Cone’s book covers such weighty topics, Pastor Garrett will offer two group options. This will allow groups to stay somewhat small in order to facilitate fruitful conversation: Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., beginning October 14 and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 p.m., beginning, October 18.  Participants are asked to purchase the guidebook, which will be ordered by the church and left there for pickup.  For more information, contact Pastor Garrett at garrett@stjconnect.org    REGISTER WEDNESDAY SESSIONREGISTER SUNDAY SESSION.

 

Other Fall 2020 Offerings

GriefShare

Monday nights, 7-9 p.m.

Losing a loved one to death takes a toll on us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  This 13-week video-based program will help you get through this difficult time guiding you through mourning back to joy in Christ.  You can join this group at any time and attend as many or as few sessions as you want.  This fall the group will meet online via Zoom.  If you are interested in participating but need help getting set up with this service, please contact Joyce Day at joyce@stjconnect.org or (252) 752-6154.  The group will meet Mondays, 7-9 p.m., beginning on September 14.  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Covenant Bible Study

Tuesday nights, 6:30-8 p.m.

We are called to be in a covenantal relationship with God.  How amazing is that?!  But what does that mean?  How do we do it?  Join us for this Bible study to learn the answers to these questions.  This is the second part of a three-part Bible study, but even if you weren’t in this summer’s group that studied the first part (Creating the Covenant), you can join us now.  Sessions run from September 1 to October 20.  For more information, contact Joyce Day at joyce@stjconnect.org  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Lectio Divina

Who is My Neighbor? The Gospel of Luke

Wednesdays, Noon to 1 p.m.

 

Do we really want to encounter the living Lord Jesus Christ?  If the answer is “yes,” we must be prepared to seek him among the people we are not likely to consider as our neighbors.  It will be there that he will reveal himself and the Father.  Join Marianne Leventry at noon on Wednesdays as we follow Jesus through the Gospel of Luke and move among the people He encountered.  Lectio Divina means “sacred reading,” in which Scripture becomes a conversation between God and the reader.  By devoting time and space to the Gospel of Luke we can hear and learn what God is saying to us through that Scripture. This 30-week study will begin on September 9, 2020 via Zoom.  For more information, contact Marianne Leventry at marianne@stjconnect.org  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Truth Seekers
Exodus: The Book
of Redemption

Fridays, 10-11:30 a.m.

In Covenant and Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks presents a series on the first five books of the Torah.  In our 12-week study, we will read and discuss his second book, Exodus: The Book of Redemption.  With unique insight from the Jewish tradition, we discover the birth of the nation God promised to Abraham, with teachings about justice, freedom, the rule of law, and about the sanctity of life and human dignity.  The sessions begin on September 11.  For more information, contact Lynne Garrison at lynnegarrison@gmail.com  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

St. James Book Club

Monthly on Sunday afternoons, 5-6 p.m.

Come join us on Zoom for some lively discussion of great books:

October 18: Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the beloved children’s classic written in 1865 that turned logic on its head and changed children’s literature.

November 15Plant Life, by Pamela Duncan, the story of a North Carolina town and a group of women who cope as the focus of their lives and income for generations, the local textile plant, falters.   Winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction.
January 17: Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover of overcoming her isolated survivalist family living in the hills of rural Idaho and going on to Brigham Young and Cambridge University.  

For more information, contact June Parker at jdparker48@hotmail.com

Caregiver Support Group

Monthly on the Second Tuesday of the month, 1 p.m.

The St. James Caregiver Support Group continues to meet once a month. If you have a loved one who depends on you for care–either at home or in a nursing facility—you may find great benefit from this group whose purpose is to provide encouragement and support and to share ideas for dealing with the challenges of caregiving.  If you are interested in participating, please contact Kathy Dosser at kdosser@suddenlink.net or (252) 916-2374.



Meet New Associate Pastor Garrett Rea

Rev. Garrett Rea, St. James UMC’s new associate pastor, unwittingly began to prep for his future as a United Methodist Church minister when he was eight years old.  At that age his family began to move frequently for his father’s job with Costco Wholesale.  Garrett had spent his first eight years of life in Riverside, California.  Garrett still remembers their first move—across the country to Tennessee.  “We were squeezed into a pickup truck while my Dad drove a 26-foot moving van,” he said.  “We drove across the desert and we broke down a couple of times.  We had two dogs and one died on the trip.”  The family spent a year in Tennessee, one year in Chicago, and then they moved to Kansas City, Kansas, where Garrett attended middle school and high school. “My formative years, establishing friendships, were spent in Kansas City,” he said.

Garrett and his family lived in the “uncool” part of Kansas City, he said—suburban Kansas City, Kansas, not the more famous Kansas City, Missouri, noted for baseball, food, and culture.  Garrett finished high school before the family moved again—back to Chicago—where his three younger siblings graduated from high school.  The job transfers continued as his parents moved to Kentucky then to Charlotte where they now live, close to Garrett’s grandparents and aunt.
 
Garrett’s faith journey has taken him to diverse settings.  Garrett was raised in a non-denominational mega-church culture, attending Harvest Church in Riverside.  “I was in that space until college.”  Garrett did not go to college immediately after high school, “which led to a conversion moment in which I started to take my life seriously,” Garrett remembered.  His friends and his girlfriend (now wife), Andie, left for college while Garrett worked at a Costco “pushing carts for 40 hours a week.”  Garrett spent his free time reading.  He read Scripture daily and was inspired by Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution, a memoir of Claiborne’s “Simple Way” of incarnational living among people similar to those who Jesus lived among—outcasts, the sick, and the poor. 
 
“Growing up in the suburbs and my (stable) home life, I had taken things for granted,” Garrett said.  “I wanted to get involved in service because of my faith to live among the disenfranchised.”  Garrett decided to check out the City Union Mission, the largest homeless shelter in Kansas City, Missouri.  He played guitar and helped in the chapel service. 
 
One day he met a homeless man who had not gone to chapel.  As Garrett drove home, he saw the man on the street.  “I felt the Holy Spirit call me to get out of my car and talk to him.  I parked and met Gary who lived on the streets with his girlfriend Crystal.  I got him a hot chocolate, a bagel, and a banana, and talked to him for about an hour.”

Garrett would go downtown every couple of weeks to hang out with Gary and Crystal.  “Over a few months I spent an hour at a time getting to know them—how they ended up on the streets (Gary had been hit by a car, lost his job, and went into debt).  It changed my worldview.”

His work at City Union Mission and meeting Gary and Crystal was a “pivotal moment.”   He decided to join Andie at Greenville College, a small Christian college in Greenville, Illinois, affiliated with the Free Methodist Church.  He entered the ministry program to pursue a degree in philosophy and religion:  “I felt a call to ministry.  I had grown up in a church with no ecclesiology and no ordination.  Pastors were hired, but there was no pathway to get a theological education.  I went to Greenville looking for answers.”
 
Garrett was uncertain what form that call to ministry would take—a position in the non-profit world, in church work, or university teaching.  At Greenville, Garrett was exposed to Methodism for the first time through Free Methodist professors who taught him and who took turns preaching at a Free Methodist chapel—St. Paul’s—where Garrett worshiped.  “They opened my mind to thinking critically about my theological worldview that I had taken for granted.  I was introduced to John Wesley and his theology.  I felt at home in it.”  St. Paul’s Chapel was the first place Garrett experienced communion by intinction.  “Receiving the bread in my hand and dipping it was a moving, emotional experience.  We had communion every Sunday there, which made communion more, not less, special.”  Growing up, Garrett had received communion only two or three times a year.  Worship and communion “solidified my trajectory toward Methodism,” Garrett said.

 

“Maybe God was calling me to church ministry in Methodism,” Garrett thought.  His professors encouraged him to consider going to seminary after noting his abilities in theological thinking, teaching, and preaching.  “They noticed gifts in me that I didn’t notice in myself,” Garrett recalled.  They recommended Duke Divinity School—a couple of his professors had studied there—as the most comprehensive place to study.  “If I got in, I thought I’d go,” Garrett said.

Besides his degree in philosophy and religion, Garrett (as well as Andie) received a certificate in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language).  They got married and moved to South Korea to teach English.  “We had a lot to learn,” Garrett said.  “We had to talk about finances using Korean funds.”  In December of that year in Korea, Garrett was lying in bed when he got an email from Duke informing him of his acceptance to the Divinity School.  He and Andie applied online for an apartment in Durham, left South Korea on a Saturday after their classes ended, and Garrett began classes at Duke on the following Monday.
 
At Duke, Garrett took as many field education courses—church internships—as he could, hoping to answer questions he had about his future.  “Is local church ministry where God is calling me?  Or non-profits?  Or further education?”  Again, people at Duke saw abilities in Garrett that he didn’t see in himself.  “Folks affirmed gifts in me that I didn’t recognize in myself.  But I had to claim for myself gifts for ministry,” Garrett said.
Garrett’s third and final year at Duke was the beginning of his candidacy process.  During an internship at Concord UMC in Eli Whitney in northern Alamance County, Pastor David Allen recommended Garrett to the Corridor District as a candidate for ministry.  Garrett and Andie also joined Concord, becoming United Methodists at the same time that Garrett was deciding upon ministry in the United Methodist Church.  “We fell in love with North Carolina; through connections and friendships here, it made sense to pursue ministry here,” Garrett said.  “You have to be recommended by a local church in a given conference and we had no connection in Kansas City.”
 
Garrett now looks back to his time after high school and meeting Gary and Crystal on the street in Kansas City as “a moment that started a winding journey,” that led him to ministry in the United Methodist Church and to St. James UMC.  “I was raised on a theology of a one-moment of experiencing grace.  But conversion is daily.  There is a moment of justification, but only God can do the saving.  It is a matter of daily living into that reality.  It is a journey of daily conversion of being sanctified.  Day by day I want to put myself in a position where God can use me and open doors.”
 
Garrett sees his role as associate pastor to be in three areas of ministry—preaching, teaching, and outreach.  “I am grateful to keep preaching in this role.  It is a huge honor to proclaim a word from God, for God to proclaim a word through me,” Garrett said.  “Teaching I see as facilitating conversation.  The Holy Spirit is driving the teaching rather than me.  I enjoy a conversational setting of exploring a text or a book.” 
 
As for outreach, Garrett said, “I don’t know what that looks like yet.”  He sees it as connecting church with community.  But first he wants to learn St. James’ culture and identity before he can help the congregation, members of which have been in the community for many years.  “I see church as a place where we are sent out—a post where we get needed supplies to go out and do the work God wants us to do.”

 

Garrett and Andie and their almost-five-year-old daughter Arden have already been on the receiving end of God’s work as members of the United Methodist Women of St. James have given generously to the Rea family in “at least ten poundings,” Garrett said.  “We won’t have to shop for the rest of 2020!  Gift cards, food, staples—it has been amazing.   We are impressed and overwhelmed.”



The St. James’ Quarantine Bible

We find ourselves in a strange time of separation.  With the global pandemic of COVID-19 threatening our health and health care systems, we have found ourselves practicing social distancing.  We have not gathered with others, our children have not been in school, many of us have worked from home.  People we know have lost jobs, people in our community have struggled to make ends meet, and the shadow of the virus looms over us. 

 

Yet in the midst of this time, God has remained with us!  Even as we have not gathered for worship, we have persisted to give God glory.  Even as we have felt the shadow of our fears, we have turned to the Lord of light.  Even as we have physically distanced ourselves from each other, we have drawn closer spiritually.  In the years to come, many of us will look back on this time as a time of deepening faith. 

 

The idea of the Quarantine Bible is that we might literally show how our faith story has been illumined in this time.  Our challenge is collectively to provide images that illuminate all 66 books of the Bible.  These images could be in our homes, in nature, of our families.  Our Pastors have suggested passages from each book (see list below), but feel free to share images that reflect your own favorite passages.   Please send your images to Sandra Harvey [link here] and indicate which passages each image is illustrating.  After sorting through the images, we will share the Quarantine Bible online and perhaps create a printed edition.  Please limit your submission to no more than five photographs (one per passage; five total). 

 

In this challenging time, let’s join together to help witness to our faith and illumine God’s presence!  Here are the suggested passages:

 

Genesis 2:2

Exodus 14:21-22

Leviticus 19:1-4

Numbers 15:17-21

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Joshua 6:20

Judges 2:16-18

Ruth 4:13-17

1 Samuel 16:7

2 Samuel 7:8-9

1 Kings 3:16-28

2 Kings 2:13-14

1 Chronicles 16:28

2 Chronicles 1:7-12

Ezra 8:31-36

Nehemiah 8:1-12

Esther 4:14

Job 37:5-7

Psalm 1

Proverbs 4:1-5

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Isaiah 6:1-8

Jeremiah 6:16

Lamentations 3:18, 21

Ezekiel 37:1-12

Daniel 6:1-28

Hosea 11:1-4

Joel 2:12

Amos 5:24

Obadiah 1-4

Jonah 4:6-11

Micah 6:8

Nahum 1:3

Habakkuk 3:1-6

Zephaniah 3:17

Haggai 1:13

Zechariah 9:16

Malachi 3:8-12

Matthew 5:13-16

Mark 16:1-8

Luke 24:28-32

John 8:12

Acts 2:42-47

Romans 12:12

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Galatians 3:26-29

Ephesians 2:8-10

Philippians 2:1-5

Colossians 1:15-20

1 Thessalonians 3:8-13

2 Thessalonians 3:15

1 Timothy 4:12

2 Timothy  2:8-13

Titus 2:11-12

Philemon 1:22

Hebrews 12:1-2

James 1:19-21

1 Peter 5:6-11

2 Peter 1:5-7

1 John 2:8-10

2 John 1:5-6

3 John 1:4

Jude 1:20-21

Revelation 21:3-5

 



SJUMC COVID 19 Video



The New Devotional Guide

St. James UMC will continuing the publication of devotions beyond Easter.  The new Devotional Guide will be available only in an online format—posted to Facebook on the St. James UMC page and sent as an email.

 

The writing of our fellow members in the Lent Devotional Guide has provided comfort and has been a source of encouragement.  It has given our writers a way to express their experiences of faith.  Therefore, we want to continue publishing devotions, hoping readers will continue to gain solace and draw inspiration from the writing of fellow members of St. James UMC.

 

Daily devotions will be published online through the seven weeks of Easter to Pentecost, then possibly through the 25 Sundays after Pentecost, during what the church calls Ordinary Time. Perhaps we will end in the early fall as, we hope, we actually do return to “ordinary time.”  

We will keep sending the devotions via email to those who signed up for that delivery option for the Lent Devotional Guide.  For those of you who did not those that option previously and would like to receive the devotions via email, please register here: ​
 

 

Be in touch with Chris Garcia at chris@stjconnect.org to participate as a writer in this ministry that has been such a blessing to our church.  He will send you simple writing guidelines.


Bible Bingeing

When I conducted a recent poll about topics and interests, one of the highest-rated options was steering people to the Bible as an alternative to binging on Netflix. So I’d like to do a weekly Bible Study called “Bible Bingeing”. What I envision is equipping folks with questions and things to be looking for in a book of the Bible, then speaking about that book the next week via video. At the end of the discussion, we’d do the same for the next book. Fun, right? 

We will be streaming our video discussion groups starting on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at the following times:

Wednesdays at 10 am

Thursdays at 12 pm

Thursdays at 8 pm
 
Click the button below to complete you registration for this event.