Dear St. Lukers,
If you’ve driven by the church lately, you probably noticed a festive transformation happening on campus. We are excited to open our free “TwELF Days of Christmas” drive-thru experience tomorrow night. You can still reserve tickets for the event that runs nightly December 11-13 and 18-20 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Through our partnership with We Bring the Funny and countless volunteers, event guests will experience extraordinary holiday lights, bright colored costumes, and eye-popping sets that illuminate the way for live music and comedy acts as vehicles drive alongside North Pole Elves on a journey to create the greatest gift for Orlando. The arts, entertainment, and theme park industries have been some of the hardest hit sectors in our area and this event reconnects artists and entertainers, many of whom have lost their “home stage,” with audiences eager for some Christmas cheer.
And now for the information we’ve all been waiting for…
Based on discussions with St. Luke’s Church Council, Executive Council, Campus Reopening Task Force, and staff, we will offer the following worship opportunities on Christmas Eve:
- 4:00 and 5:30 p.m. – Outdoor Christmas Eve worship service for all ages (in the parking lot behind the Coleman Gymnasium)
- 7:00, 8:30, and 11:15 p.m. – Live streaming online Christmas Eve worship service (pastors only live in the Sanctuary with virtual music recorded from the Sanctuary)
The health and safety of our community, congregation, and staff are our highest priority and in considering all the options for Christmas Eve worship, we remained committed to providing worship opportunities that are as safe as possible and that align with the church’s core values. With the number of COVID-19 cases in our area on the rise and expectations that they will continue to increase, combined with the usually large crowds on-campus for Christmas Eve, we made the difficult decision not to hold in-person Christmas Eve worship services in the Sanctuary this year.
A registration system for limited indoor seating on Christmas Eve would not have provided St. Luke’s the ability to share acceptance, hospitality, and community with our neighbors. Most St. Lukers who responded to the recent worship survey indicated they prefer to worship online and worship on December 24. St. Lukers and guests wishing to worship in-person on December 24 are invited to RSVP for one of our family friendly outdoor worship experiences.
We are drawing on the success of our recent outdoor concert and family Advent worship services to create a moving outdoor Christmas Eve worship experience that can be inclusive of everyone. These services will feature “traditional” elements including music recorded by St. Luke’s Sanctuary Choir, Children’s Choir, and Praise Team as well as a sermon to help make this experience feel like home. Children are welcome to come in costume to help tell the nativity story, and flameless lights will be provided to worshippers to help usher in Christmas.
This Sunday we will hear in Isaiah 61:1-4;8-10 that through healing we can be renewed and lifted out of despair. I look forward to continuing to worship with you this Advent season as we wait expectantly for a baby who brought with him all the hope, joy, peace, love, and light needed to illuminate the world and drive out the darkness.
Grace and Peace,