At St. James we create unique worship and service opportunities for our friends with special needs and their families. Learn more about each of these below.



Each week, anyone from our Special Connections community (That really just means anyone. If you're wondering if this is for you, it is) who wants to, will be given the name of someone else (at random) to check in on (like to talk to...verbally or not...and maybe on a Tuesday...get it?) And then someone else will also reach out to you!


You might do one (or more) of these things:

- Make a drawing or piece of art for them, take a pic of it, send it over.
- Call on the phone to check in.
- Send a message via social media to find out how they're doing.
- Message a picture of yourself waving and smiling at them.
- Find out how you can be praying for them this week.
- Ask if they need help with anything tangible (groceries, errands, etc.) - let us know if you need help meeting that need.


Join our adaptive adult Sunday school class. After streaming our Sunday service, we'll gather digitally via Zoom video call. This is just a short gathering to be with friends, share prayer requests, have a short study, and pray. We will me remotely until we can gather again physically. No registration or prior attendance required. If you need help navigating the technology e-mail Zach Grant.

Sundays at 1pm.

Meeting ID: 597 858 209

If joining by phone, find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/ak5KmtXW1


As long as our friends want to dance, we are determined to put a red carpet under their feet. However, in the interest of the health and well being of our community, we will be postponing the Red Carpet Affair. 


Because of how much we look forward to this event, it is understandable that there would be some grief around its disruption. While we cannot avoid the disappointment involved, we are committed to celebrating with that much more joy when we are finally able to. 


We are unable at this time to set the exact timing of this event as we are working cooperatively with the rest of the church calendar that has shifted in the same manner. As soon as we are able to, we will issue a new date. Then we can celebrate together with a renewed appreciation. 


All registrations will be held active, and we will email you all again once we have a solidified date for the Red Carpet Affair. At that time, if you so choose, you can withdraw your registration, but we will worry about that part later. 


For now, know that we are working diligently to reschedule the Red Carpet Affair. If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to reach out to Melissa Ewen or to Zach Grant directly.



The centerpiece of our adult programming is our monthly “Joys” gathering. We typically meet on the second Friday of every month from 7pm – 9pm. The first hour, Joys of Jesus, is focused on worship with great music, a practical biblical message and additional elements such as skits in which our guests are encouraged to be part of to reinforce the message of the evening. We also have guest artists visit of various genres to share their talents such as worshipful dance and contemporary Christian bands.

At 8pm, we close worship and begin the social hour of the evening with everything from dances, to movies and more! Attending both hours is not necessary to be part of the Joys experience, but if you do, you are guaranteed to have fun! Periodically throughout the year, Joys will also go off-campus for social activities such as seeing a Rays game or a water ski show. Each year, come experience our annual “Red Carpet Affair” dance which attracts many from the community. Joys is open to those who range in age from 16 years to ageless.

Upcoming Dates:​

  • June (no programming)

  • July 10

  • Aug 7

  • Sep 11

  • Oct 9

  • Nov 6

  • Dec 4


FriendZone Monthly Respite

FriendZone is a monthly 3 hour special needs respite program that provides parents and caregivers a time of refreshment on designated Saturday mornings from 10am-1pm. Through art, music, games, therapy pets and other activities, children ages 2-16 enjoy a fun, social opportunity facilitated by trained and background checked adult and youth volunteers. Siblings are not left out of the fun as they are able to participate in the SuperSibs program! Sibs ages 4-7 years can stay on the church campus to enjoy the FriendZone experience. Older sibs can be part of off-site fun, participating in such activities as bowling, mini golf, movies, etc.​

A parent orientation is required prior to your child’s/family’s enrollment. FriendZone is an outreach program of St. James open to ALL families in the Tampa community and beyond, regardless of religious affiliation.

Upcoming Dates:​

  • June (no programming)

  • July 11

  • Aug 8

  • Sep 12

  • Oct 10

  • Nov 14

  • Dec 5


St. James realizes the importance of families being able to attend Sunday worship TOGETHER.  Therefore, accommodations are available at the 11am Sunday worship service that will allow those living with disabilities the opportunity to worship in community and learn about the love of Christ.

In addition, St. James provides special needs Sunday School programs for all ages. Children's Sunday School, appropriately called “God’s Party”, has structured curriculum and provides an environment that fosters success for children ages preschool through elementary. Through song, Bible stories & more, God’s Party is about celebrating God’s love for all of us. 


Youth and Adults (middle school and older), the “Joys” Sunday School class, reaches out to provide exciting, adaptive curriculum that teaches about God’s love, acceptance, and His desires for our lives. This Sunday School class begins in a classroom, takes their attendance, and then joins in typical worship service before beginning the day's lesson.


Both of these Sunday School programs are self-contained, but integration into a typical classroom setting or service is available with a companion for those who would succeed in such an environment.


Contact Zach Grant, Director of Special Connections Ministry, to learn more or to just say hi and let us know you're coming. All are welcome!


Zach Grant

Director of Special Connections


At St. James UMC, we are just a group of people seeking Christ and trying to bring others along for the ride. We are a United Methodist Congregation part of the Florida Conference.



16202 Bruce B Downs Blvd
Tampa, FL 33647


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