Dear St. Lukers,
Love wins in Hope, Faith, and this week we concentrate on how love wins in our Gratitude.
It has been proven that the intentional practice of daily gratitude changes our brain chemistry, our emotional stability, and our outlook on life. This week as we move closer to Thanksgiving Day, we are invited to consider turning to the practice of daily gratitude. We will talk about this more on Sunday in worship virtually at 9:30 a.m. or in person at 11:15 a.m. (please register here). We will hear about the legacy of faith in the story of the Old Testament promise that God lived into generation after generation found in Hebrews 11. We will also hear from some of our staff about legacies of faith they are grateful having received in their life. As you read Hebrews 11 and the first 2 verses of chapter 12, spend some time considering who handed you legacies of your faith and life for whom you are grateful. If they are still living, consider sending them a note of gratitude for the difference they made in your life. If they have passed, why not consider lighting a candle in their honor, offering a prayer, sharing their story with someone, or even offering a celebration gift in their memory.
This week I am grateful for the opportunity to move forward a bit more with two on-campus St. Luke’s sponsored events. The United Methodist Women have been hard at work to change their format to offer a safe, social distancing, outdoor Festival of the Trees & More holiday market this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I can tell you their work is beautiful and sure to bring a gift of holiday cheer to your home or as a gift to another. All proceeds made from this event will go to local missions as we support our community.
Sunday we still have some space to register for our Tailgate Party with live entertainment. Each car will be parked socially distanced from the cars around them. We invite you to bring your lawn chairs, stay in or near your vehicles with masks (unless you are eating), and it goes without saying, please do not bring alcohol. I know many of you missed the annual Ga/Fl tailgate party (we won’t talk about THAT score), but it’s a church tailgate, folks, not THAT kind of tailgate! (Watch the website and Facebook page for updates if the weather deteriorates.)
Now…I need to take off my pastor’s hat and channel my mother for a moment. Whenever we would get something we really wanted for Christmas and then promptly break it within the first week she would say…(come on, say it with me) “THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!”
The same is true with these and all of our on–campus activities. In all seriousness, St. Luke’s Taskforce is watching our number in Orange County increase each week. We have to enforce our guidelines at these events, even being outside. So you must wear masks. Do not take them down to talk or when you are with your friends. Just keep them on, please. If you bring food, (we will not provide food or drinks) while you are eating please be seated at your car while eating, with your family group and then put your mask back on when finished. Please keep distance from one another. We want to continue to be able to offer these opportunities, but if we have an outbreak, or our city numbers continue to rise we will not be able to have these events. Help us live in community safely and without staff having to police us as we seek to find ways for you to experience a sense of fellowship! For that…I will be forever grateful!
Finally, I am grateful for all of you who are continuing to support St. Luke’s through your giving. While our ministry revenue is down because of people not being able to participate and our not being able to hold certain events, you have continued to give. Many of you are giving extra and others are giving even in the midst of uncertain personal times. Thank you for your faithful stewardship of not just your financial gifts, but your prayers and your presence. Many of you are still volunteering your time in meetings, feeding, gardening, calling people, writing notes and so many other ways. St. Luke’s is not the same without you, especially during these times. Please watch this wonderful stewardship video of St. Lukers and their gratitude for being a part of this church. We’ll also hear stories from St. Lukers in a special online Stewardship Thank You event on Sunday, November 22 at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook Live.
With all of my gratitude,