In May, the Session of St. James Presbyterian convened a task for to prepare for the reopening of our facilities with COVID-19 safety procedures in place. Using guidelines set in place by the State of Washington, the Whatcom County Health Department, and Northwest Coast Presbytery, the task force compiled two documents (see below) that provide a framework for our church’s reopening.

These documents are intended to guide us as we move closer to reopening our facilities and will remain “evergreen” as new advice is issued from our state and local governments and the governing bodies of our church.

These documents were updated on January 14, 2021, to reflect new guidance from the State of Washington.

Church Re-Opening Task Force Documents

In-Person Worship – The Rules of the Game

A message from the Worship Team

Are you thinking about returning to in-person worship? The St. James Church Reopening Task Force has put together a set of rules we all need to follow as we gather together again in person. They caution that no guideline or procedure is 100% foolproof in keeping you healthy. Until vaccinated, those at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 are still encouraged to worship from home. (Service will continue to be livestreamed.)

If you’ve had that long hard talk with yourself and returning to in-person worship is right for you, then focus in and read on. These are the rules of the game that must be followed to help keep you and others safe:

Reserve Your Spot

Space is limited to the first 30 people who sign up for a given service on our website. We’ll open up reservations the Tuesday before Sunday Worship at 10 a.m. and close them on Friday at 12 p.m. If you have trouble, don’t despair. Help can be had by calling our church office at (360) 733-1325. Don’t forget to register every single person who’s attending church with you. And if reservations fill up or you need to cancel your reservation, call the church office. We’ll have a waiting list on hand and can free up spaces or consider additional services, if needed.

How Ya Feeling?

Have you been feeling a little “off” lately? Stay at home if you have experienced cough, fever, chills, muscle pain, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, sore throat or a loss of taste or smell in the last 48 hours. And please call the church to cancel your reservation.

Mask On!

Before you step out of your car, put that mask on—and make sure your mask covers your mouth and nose. Everyone who is over 2 years old must wear a mask to help protect others. You’re going to keep that mask firmly affixed (nose and mouth) at all times, even while in the restroom. Please note: Masks are required regardless of vaccination status.

Make a Stop

Get your temperature taken before entering the office door. A volunteer will do a mask check and verify your reservation as well.

Stay the Course

Walk directly to the sanctuary and sit yourself down in a spot with a blue X. Your family unit or bubble should sit right down next to you. Stay at least 6 feet from anyone who’s not in your household or bubble.

Stay Seated

Aside from when nature calls, stay in your pew during the entire service…even the kiddos. There will be no daycare or Godly Play and children should remain in the pew during the children’s message.

Keep Those Tunes to Yourself

No singing or humming since it can spread those tiny droplets. You may notice other things that look different during the service. We won’t have bulletins, pass the collection plate or serve communion.

Visiting After Church

After service, make your way out of the narthex doors. Once outside, keep that mask on and stay at least 6 feet apart while talking with friends. While masks are a requirement, no food or drink will be served during fellowship.


If you’re feeling the need to read more on the subject, visit for the latest guidelines and procedures. And if you’ve got a question, email Jenny Sue LeSchander at