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The Light is an urban ministry of St. James Church that is located in the Rocksprings neighborhood near Clarke Central High School.

The vision of The Light is to reach the lost with the Good News and fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples of Jesus Christ while ministering, through relationships, to the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of the community.

For more information about The Light, please call (706) 340-4001, email thelight@sjumc.org, or Al Epting – alepting@att.net

The international missions outreach at St. James Church continues to go into the world to take and   share the gospel, and to serve fellow believers in the work of ministry. At St. James, we always   do this in the context of relationships with the people we serve. We don’t just send money. We go.

We are currently connected with and serving churches in Estonia, Montenegro, and Tanzania. We continually pray and seek the Lord for relationships and opportunities He may direct us toward.

You’re invited to be a part of these mission efforts, either by serving on a team or through your prayers and financial contributions. If you would like to make a financial contribution to a specific mission team, or to our International Mission efforts as a whole, you may send a check made out to St. James UMC (and mail to: 111 West Lake Dr., Athens, GA, 30606) with the name of the specific mission trip in the “For” line, or simply designate it for “International Missions”. We appreciate your generosity—your contributions are instrumental in lives being changed around the world.

For more information about our International Missions, please call the church office at 706-548-1680 or send an email to: info@sjumc.org.

Upcoming Mission Trips:

  • Two trips are in the early planning phase. Information will be provided soon.

St. James supports missionaries Mike and Olga Cantrell, who live in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Mike and Olga’s primary ministry is to support others in the work God has called them to do. Their involvement with ministry partners stretches from the far north of Russia, to St. Petersburg, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, and Montenegro.

To find out more about Mike and Olga’s work, click here.

Renovate. Renew. Restore.

We’re not only renovating our new home at The Bigger Vision, we’re renewing and restoring the lives of those affected by homelessness. The Bigger Vision treats guests of the shelter as if they were our own family. We invite guests into our home, offer a warm meal, and listen with a sympathetic ear. We treat guests with the respect and dignity that we would extend to any other human being, and we offer help to anyone seeking to make a positive change.

We’re Making a BIGGER Difference!

This past year, there were over 400 individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Athens-Clarke County on any given night. Despite the efforts of many organizations, over 200 families were left without a bed during the night. This is a significant number of people who lack shelter space, which is where Bigger Vision fits in. Established in 1998 as a response to the needs of the homeless in Athens, The Bigger Vision dedicates its services to sheltering those individuals who lack permanent housing. Our mission is to provide the individual who is temporarily homeless a warm, dry place to sleep each night on a first-come, first-served basis.

WE HAVE BIG NEWS! The Bigger Vision has purchased a new facility to serve as our permanent home. After moving from 5 different locations since 1998, we will now be located just on the outskirts of downtown. This new facility will allow us to accommodate 35 guests each night, which is double our previous capacity. In the future, this building also has enough space to fulfill our “Bigger Vision” of providing case management, life skills training, job training, a food/clothing pantry, and more!

Want to Help Us Out or Learn More? Contact Us At: www.BiggerVisionofAthens.org 706-340-6062

Fast Facts

  • Formed in 1998 to shelter the homeless
  • 5 different locations in 12 years
  • Over 6,000 meals donated annually
  • Over 4,300 volunteer hours per year offered
  • Over 2,500 bed nights provided annually
  • Purchased new facility in 2010
  • 100% of funding from local community


Our goal of renovating and paying for our permanent home is a huge step in fulfilling our mission, but we cannot get there without the help of our friends. You can help out! We need:

    • to do evening visits,
    • provide warm meals,  &
    • overnight supervision.
  •  DONORS who are willing to make a DIRECT impact on homelessness in Athens by pledging support to The Bigger Vision.
  • PRAYER for the homeless individuals we assist.