St. Luke's United Methodist Church

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8:00, 9:30, & 11:00 a.m. - Traditional
9:30 and 11:00 a.m. - Contemporary

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4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
407.876.4991

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Blog Post from Pastor Jenn-June 7, 2018

Posted on June 7, 2018 at 1:26 pm in ,.

Dear St. Lukers,

School is officially out and the temperature has become warm, so even though it’s not official, let’s just admit that Summer is here. Summer brings a great deal of change to our routines and schedules, even around the church. Just a few updates as we begin the summer season!

The practice of Sabbath is really a discipline. This week as we worship, we have the chance to hear Jesus calling us toward a new meaning of Sabbath. Jesus found himself in trouble over what the Pharisees considered “working” on the Sabbath. But he continued to show us how our rules and legal rigidness makes us miss the heart of God. Pastor Jad and I will be teaching from multiple texts this week including Mark 2:23-3:6 and Matthew 11:28-30.

It is this final text that has meant the most for me over the last months. It may be more familiar to you as “come to me all who are weary” but I want to share it with you from Eugene Petersons paraphrase, The Message.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I used to have this scripture hanging in my office. I’m not sure how, but it got lost in the last move into the Lead Pastor office. I am laughing as I type this because I’m not sure I just lost it as a sign for my wall. The last three years have been a whirlwind in our church life – finishing the 4D vision, staff changes, completing building and renovations, and creating a new strategic vision. During the same time personally, I have also navigated a year plus long journey with cancer, transitioning into this new role, my daughters graduating and heading to college, and the unexpected loss of my father. As I shared in Traditional worship, I have been one of the worst offenders of keeping Sabbath, because frankly, I was just trying to keep up! However, it’s time for me to recover some of those unforced rhythms of grace.

The Florida Conference allows for churches to grant their pastors renewal leaves after every six years of service. It’s been eight years since my last leave and the last three years have proven to be quite a journey for me through cancer, transition to this new position as Lead Pastor, children headed to college and the unexpected passing of my father. Your Staff Parish Relations Committee graciously accepted my request for some renewal time away this summer and it was approved at the April Church Council meeting, with agreement from my District Superintendent and the Conference staff. I will be away from June 18 through the end of July. While I am away, Corey Jones, Executive Pastor and Scooter Leonard, Executive Director of Administration will be leading St. Luke’s. They will keep me informed of any congregational or organization emergencies while I am away. We have also made sure there will be at least two pastors available each week this summer for any needs which may arise.

Thank you for supporting me and my family during this time of renewal. I have some planned time to be away, participate with a Spiritual director, study and read, but I am also going to Sabbath with my husband as we celebrate our 23rd anniversary and 25 years of being together! I’m going to visit my mother, friends and most importantly, going to let God show me how to really rest. I pray your summer is filled with Sabbath rest and through this series, you too are finding new ways to learn how to rest with God.

Grace and Peace,

Jenn.

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