Dear St. Lukers,
I have huge moments that shaped who I am in just about every inch of St. Luke’s. During this week’s Shalom session, my imagination transported me back to sitting in the Sanctuary at 8:15 worship and looking around. I couldn’t have been more than about four years old and I was wearing my, then characteristic, white tights and patent leather Mary Janes. I had sat in the Sanctuary hundreds of times before and I couldn’t tell you who preached that week, but I know for sure it was the first time I remembered realizing that no one shared the cocoa complexion of my family.
Countless times over the last few weeks, some of you have approached me and before you began speaking, I already knew what was coming…“So you have a new job here? What does that mean? Director of Adult Engagement.” It feels like a big question and it has an equally big answer. As the Director of Adult Ministries, I worked on helping our congregation and small groups find ways to grow deeper in relationship with Christ. As Director of Adult Engagement, I now work with what comes next. I work with our ministry areas to take our sermon series themes, core values, and vision objectives to create engagement opportunities, from elements of worship and mission experiences to leadership training and devotions. My everyday task is to answer the question: “How do we as St. Lukers move from continuing to learn how Christ would use us to actually being who Christ calls us to be?”
During February, we celebrate Black History Month and I hope that you will visit Santos Welcome Hall to learn more about contemporary Americans making an impact on our nation’s history. This year, we chose persons who embody this month’s worship themes: humble, hungry, moral, and shalom. While history is often a reminder to look back on where we have been, we chose this group because they are an invitation to look at what we are currently achieving and to inspire the next generation of history-makers.
While arguably at the pinnacle of her sport, Serena Williams continues to act with humility and grace toward new generations as they continue to succeed and elevate competition.
Mariya Russell transcends race, gender, and heritage to become a renowned authority on Japanese food in the Midwest and was the first black woman to be awarded a Michelin star in October 2019.
Mari Copeny used her voice at just eight years old to bring national attention to the Flint, Michigan water crisis inviting President Obama to engage in the crisis, all while continuing to ensure access to clean water for her whole community.
Bryan Stevenson sought ultimate reconciliation and justice for wrongfully convicted death row inmates in Montgomery, Alabama reversing years of racial inequality in their justice system. The new feature film, “Just Mercy,” depicts Stevenson’s pursuit of justice on the big screen. Each week in worship, you will hear how these icons live out the weekly theme.
In my life, St. Luke’s core values were small things that I experienced every time I was on campus. Acceptance of letting a wiggly preschool version of myself sit with you in worship and showing me how to sing using a hymnal. Hospitality of inviting me to be an honorary member of your families celebrating births and just this past week, a sweet one year old’s first steps during contemporary worship. You have been my Community as I walked through grief and you led my Discipleship by teaching my Sunday School classes and engaging in Service alongside me.
This week we find that Love is…Hungry. One thing that I know for certain St. Luke’s is that Love is…U.