St. James' Episcopal Church - Potomac 301-762-8040

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Limited In-Person Worship Begins June 6!


Each Sunday until we open on June 6 Rev. Meredith will post a message about what to expect at our limited in-person worship. Read her weekly messages below.

Update 5-16-21 from the Senior Warden During Rev. Meredith’s May vacation:

The good news is that Montgomery County case rates are at the lowest they have been since the end of March 2020. The CDC has announced that vaccinated persons need not wear masks and the state and county are reassessing their restrictions. Thus, Rev Meredith, the Wardens and Vestry will reassess the re-gathering plans after Rev Meredith returns from her vacation. For now, we will proceed with plans for our limited, in-person worship on Sunday, June 6 as planned. Thank you for your patience.

Lori Minasian

Rector's Message May 31, 2021: Worship Registration is Open for June 6!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am happy to announce that registration is open for in-Person worship at St. James’ on Sunday, June 6. During worship, there will be many announcements, a warm welcome, and more information. Here is what to know when you come:

Arriving at church for worship: Please be early and then be patient! This is the first time the ushers will be guiding us into church in this manner and it may take some time. Though we want to hug and congregate, we must keep six feet distance from one another’s families. Of course, waving and smiling under our masks is allowed!

Entering the church: Ushers will be carefully escorting parishioners through assigned front doors to keep traffic well-spaced. Therefore, please do not attempt to enter through the back doors. We will only use the doors at the front of the church.

Leaving the church: Please exit as directed by the ushers. The back of the church will exit first.

On the St. James’ website Registration page you’ll also find all the available information on how in-person worship will work at St. James.’ Some important things to note:

  • Register online each week. Beginning June 6, each Sunday’s email to the parish will include the link to sign up for the next Sunday’s worship service. You can also visit the St. James’ website at any time to view the signup. Registration for each service will be open Tuesday through Saturday before the service date.
  • Space is limited. Attendance is limited to 80 people at worship during this phase. If you are unable to secure a seat, you’ll be placed on a waitlist and offered a seat for the next Sunday. If you are unable to attend, please cancel your registration so others may have your seat.
  • We can help you sign up. If you are unable to use the signup, please send email to by Friday before the service and we will help you sign up.
  • Be sure to read and agree to the Covenant for Regathering. Signing up for worship includes agreeing to the Diocesan Covenant on Regathering for Worship. This information will also be included in your registration confirmation.

Remember, we will still email the recorded worship service on Sunday, and will stream worship online as well for those who cannot attend.

I’m looking forward to seeing you in church (and online too!).

Rev. Meredith

Rector's Message May 30, 2021: Sign-up email coming May 31

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In one week I’ll be worshiping with you again in our beloved sanctuary. I can’t wait!

As we prepare, I remind you to review all the Sunday reflections, in order prepare yourself for what to expect next Sunday. A signup email will be sent to you tomorrow and on Sundays hereafter.

Some have wondered why we are having a limited in-person service at all—especially since worship won’t look like we want it to—the way it was before COVID-19 changed our world.

Well, first, there is nothing like worshiping God together. Also, we know the social aspect of Church is important, and we look forward to seeing each other.

Next, we are intentionally opening slowly so that we are prepared as we move forward with safe and comfortable changes, and eventually to full in-person worship.

Finally, even though we cannot be fully gathered and physical contact is restricted, we are the Body of Christ known as St. James’, and we look forward to celebrating God’s love with one another—in person and online. This has been a difficult year, and we give thanks to God for getting us through. We also give thanks for the way God’s presence has been made known to us through one another. Moving forward we trust that God will continue to be with us no matter where or how we worship.

Don’t forget: for those at home, the worship link will be emailed to you on Sunday morning, just as it has since the pandemic began.


Rev. Meredith

Rector's Message May 23, 2021: What In-Person Worship Will Look Like

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Happy Pentecost! This is the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church. Here’s where you can learn more about the history of Pentecost in scripture and its significance to us today. Our worship today includes a Pentecost surprise that we hope you will enjoy!

Over the last few weeks I’ve shared our plans for gathering on June 6 for limited in-person worship. Many of you are wondering what worship will look like!

Needless to say, in light of the guidelines, it won’t “look normal” quite yet. For now, we will continue with Morning Prayer, similar to the format we have used online this past year. In the future we will explore safe ways to offer Holy Eucharist. Until then, we will continue using the Prayer for Spiritual Communion.

Arrival and Bulletins: When you arrive, after you are screened, you may pick up your bulletin in the church entrance. The bulletin will include all the music and readings from the service. There will be no hymnals or other books in the pews.

Reading, and Singing, and Passing the Peace: Worship leaders will be allowed to remove their masks when reading or preaching. Otherwise we require masks to be worn by everyone in the sanctuary. Readers and intercessors will sit up front, close to the altar. The Clergy will process in from the sacristy (behind the altar) during the opening hymn.

Speaking of hymns, we are allowed one singer—but no congregational singing, as singing spreads the virus much further than talking. And although we will be blessed to exchange God’s peace with one another, handshakes and hugs are not allowed. Nods and waves are encouraged!

Exiting: Finally, the clergy will exit through the sacristy, in the same manner in which they entered the sanctuary. There will be no greeting line, and ushers will direct participants as they exit the church.

Don’t forget! FaithTalk, Coffee hour and video worship will still be available online, keeping us connected to God and to one another!

Rev. Meredith

Rector's Message May 16, 2021: What to Expect when Arriving for In-Person Worship

Part II: What to Expect when Arriving for In-Person Worship on June 6

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On June 6, when we gather for our limited in-person worship, in order to follow CDC, County, and diocesan guidelines, there are some check-in requirements and procedures we must follow.

For Phase 1 regathering, in addition to requiring masks, we will follow strict distancing guidelines. When you sign up you will receive a confirmation email telling you which door to use to enter the sanctuary in order to limit physical contact between people in different households.

We ask that you arrive at St. James’ by 10:45 a.m. so you can be admitted, screened, and directed to your seat. Screening will include mask and temperature checks.

To avoid crossing paths, we will fill the church starting in the front. When worship is over, those in the back will exit first. This allows the least contact between people and families.

In order to maximize air flow, our HVAC will be on and windows will be open. Bathrooms will be available for use, but will be monitored so there is as little contact as possible. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building.

Remember, if you are not signed up to attend, you can still join us for online worship!

Rev. Meredith

Rector's Message May 9, 2021: Worship Attendance and Registration

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we plan for Phase 1 of in-person worship on June 6, the first thing to know is that space is limited. Although the county allows 50% capacity, in this phase of our regathering plan we are starting on the smaller scale of 25%. This is to ensure that we are being as safe as possible. This means 80 people will be allowed in the sanctuary for worship, including clergy, worship leaders, and ushers.

Each week a signup will be made available by email. When we reach maximum capacity, any further signups will be placed on a waitlist for the service the following week. Those having difficulties with the signup may call the office for assistance. Unfortunately, walk-ups will be turned away.

In signing up, you agree to follow the guidelines and abide by the Diocesan Worship Covenant, in order to keep one another safe, as an expression of the love we share.

As we begin to gradually regather, with continued online worship everyone is assured the chance to participate!

Rev. Meredith

Rector's Message May 2, 2021: Introducing In-Person Worship at St. James'

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As COVID numbers decline and more and more people are vaccinated, we have decided to plan our first in-person worship in over a year. Our first service will be a service of Morning Prayer at 11:00 on June 6.

Our hope is to continue with in-person services from then on, gradually returning to our regular worship as CDC, County, and diocesan guidelines allow.

What You Need to Know

  • We are opening in phases. To begin, Phase I will allow 25 percent capacity (80 people), with individuals or families masked and socially distanced.
  • We will continue to provide online worship by video, livestream, or both. Sunday School, FaithTalks, and Coffee Hour will continue to be virtual so that we can remain connected and no one will be left behind.
  • Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing more information so that you know more about what to expect.

I am sorry we cannot yet fully open and worship as we used to; however, we celebrate the chance to glorify God—even in this limited way—together!


Rev. Meredith