Dear St. Lukers,
We are so excited to share some great news!
The rolling average for percentage of positive cases in Orange County has been in the single digits for three weeks and has been at 5% for one week. We waited until school was in session for a few weeks and now we are ready to move into the next phase of St. Luke’s campus reopening plan, keeping the health and safety of our congregation, staff, and community as our top priority.
Starting Tuesday, September 8, the church office and prayer Chapel in Building C will be open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Small groups and ministries with 25 or fewer participants may request an on-campus meeting space throughout the week, following St. Luke’s Health and Safety Precautions. (Please contact your ministry area director for assistance in reserving a space.)
Tuesday we will also welcome our 12–step support groups back to campus. A number of these groups have been meeting and will continue to meet online. Many of our spiritual formation and support groups will continue meeting remotely to ensure accessibility for those in high risk categories.
We look forward to offering opportunities for families, children, and youth to engage on campus as well, so watch your emails for dates and times. Registration will be required to help maintain a safe and socially distanced experience.
A couple of things to know as we open with safety and sanitation in mind:
- Face coverings will be a part of the regular attire for everyone on our campus.
- Please maintain 6 feet distance – and it’s true – we also have to learn new ways of greeting one another!
- Each time you visit campus, complete the required Health Declaration Form to expedite notifications if anything unforeseen arises.
- We will be scheduling week–to–week to ensure there is plenty of time for sanitation between groups, groups are spread across the campus, and traffic flow is easy to manage.
- Additional hand sanitizing stations have been added around campus. Please be sure you are washing and sanitizing your hands as you come into the building, and throughout your time.
All of these precautions help ensure we can continue to meet on–campus and do not have to close because of exposure. The more diligent we are about keeping one another healthy and safe, the easier it will be to continue with our phased reopening.
We also have great news to share about two St. Luke’s clergy.
Pastor Jeremy has received his license as a Local Pastor, which is his first step toward full ordination as an Elder. This license allows him official rights to sacramental authority at St. Luke’s.
Pastor Jad will be officially ordained as an Elder in Full Connection at a special outdoor service at Warren Willis Camp on September 12 at 3:00 p.m. St. Lukers are invited to watch a live stream of the service by clicking here. This is the final official step of Jad’s work toward ordination and we celebrate with Jad, Shelly, and the family. If you would like to send congratulations you may drop off a card at the church office.
We start a new sermon series this week called “Love Matters More.” With so much push and pull of siloed groups, politics, even sports and arts with students…how do we make sure we don’t break off into boxes or silos and stay in the generous middle as people of faith? How do we not get conformed by this world into red and blue boxes and instead, intentionally choose to live into the Kingdom of God color: purple, because Love Matters More than anything else? We will be studying Matthew 18-20 where Jesus responds to the question of who will be the greatest in the Kingdom by teaching about what the community in God’s Kingdom requires of us.
Speaking of worship, in the coming weeks you will be seeing some changes during our online services as we make decisions based on your feedback in our listening posts and our worship survey. (Haven’t filled out the survey? You can do so here.) This is all in preparation to move into future phases of our campus reopening plan and return to a limited capacity on–campus worship experience as the case numbers in our community allow.
We will be exploring ways to invite St. Lukers and friends back to campus for worship in limited numbers in the coming weeks. Being able to do that means keeping each other safe not just on campus, but in our community. So, wear your masks, wash your hands, and if you are sick please take care of yourself because it’s not St. Luke’s without U!
Grace and peace,