St. Luke's United Methodist Church

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

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Blog Post from Pastor Jenn-May 14, 2020

Posted on May 14, 2020 at 4:30 pm in ,.

“The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. A sense of awe came over everyone. All the believers were united and shared everything.” Acts 2:42

Dear St. Lukers,

“Just look what God can do!” I’ve shared this quote before from my friend, Rev. Terri Stead Pierce, who serves at Joy MCC. All this week I’ve been hearing this statement in my head as I’ve watched how the Holy Spirit is shaping us and focusing us as an Acts 2 church.

“Just look what God can do!”

SHARED MEALS

We had two food distributions this week. In East Winter Garden we served 100 hot meals and produce to 250-300 people continuing the work we began several weeks ago. This partnership of meals is connecting with Cheers Restaurant, Society of St. Andrews, and Shepherd’s Hope. Based on the produce distribution, the American Heart Association and the University of Florida IFAS Extension share nutritional benefits and recipes. When we partner with others to fill the gaps of our communities, we create stronger, interdependent webs of mutuality as Dr. King taught us.

This same kind of partnership has created a second distributions site for meals on our own campus. Working with your generosity, 4 Roots (the non-profit foundation sponsored by 4 Rivers Smokehouse) and Feed the Need Florida, joined forces with St. Luke’s leaders in the arts community to distribute more than 250 hot meals as well as produce on Tuesday. These meals went to local theme park workers and artists of all kinds who were overwhelmed with the love they received as a thanks for all they do for our city. St. Lukers received this open letter of thanks from one of our guests on Tuesday:

“In the past 2 months… well… let’s just say it’s been tough. For a person who is used to gratitude via applause, hugs and smiles, the loss of those things has completely rocked my world and many of my fellow entertainers worlds as well. How are we supposed to function without such normal parts of our lives as smiles and hugs?!
Not gonna lie- I wasn’t going to come today. I saw the flyer but I had procrastinated work and school due dates and decided to leave it be- I’m a vegetarian anyways so no big loss right? Wrong. A friend called me at 12:30 and said “you need to get in your car and go to St. Lukes- they are gong to give you a meal and some produce and you need to do it.” I brushed it off but she insisted that it was necessary and that everyone would be so nice to me and I wouldn’t regret it.
Here’s the thing about performers (my apologies in advanced for the stereotyping that’s about to happen): We are proud. We are proud and we work hard and we don’t do well asking for help because in general you just have to deal with it. Your foot hurts? Deal with it. Shin splints? Heres some IB Profin, deal with it. Didn’t sleep well? Coffee… deal with it. Having a bad day? Paste on that smile and deal with it. We are trained to deal with “it”. Today I drove through your parking lot that was strewn with signs telling us how much we mattered, people waved and cheered and smiled from under their masks pointing us up the driveway. The volunteers in your setup asked no questions, just met us with giant smiles you could see through a mask, they danced and cheered and gave meals and loaded my backseat with produce (that watermelon was bigger than my dog!) I could feel the lump swelling up in my throat before the door was even closed. I thanked everyone not nearly enough and drove away.
Before I even left the lot I was crying- the good kind of tears. I had no idea how much I needed that, how much my soul needed that. My stomach is grateful for real food and I’m excited to cook BUT my soul… my soul needed that so bad. I have never before been on the receiving end of a more clear depiction of what the church, any church, should be. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving on our community and for filling my soul today. For reminding me that what we do is special and that sometimes we need to accept the love back that we are used to giving so freely. You are all appreciated more than you know.”

St. Luke’s will continue distributing meals through the summer and increase days as the need and funds arise.

You can be a part of this incredible movement of the Spirit making us an ACTS 2 Church!

SHARED EVERYTHING

So many of you have stepped up and given with incredible generosity to St. Luke’s Coronavirus Emergency Help Fund. Whether through a gift given online or through the 10% donation we receive from the weekly 4 Rivers food truck meals you purchase, we have raised over $50,000 to help our community.

This week your Coronavirus Emergency Help Fund giving has started to help people in our community. We have guided people through systems of assistance already in our community and state. Others we have helped with mental health co-pays, rent and pharmacy costs. Information on how to receive assistance was given to everyone who received a meal this week at our two food distributions.

You can be a part of this incredible movement of the Spirit making us an ACTS 2 Church!

  • If you know someone in need of assistance or willing to participate in a micro loan as they wait for federal assistance, please share this link.
  • If you have some experience and gifts in walking with people through budgeting, filling out assistance, and navigating systems, you can sign up to be a part of the team here.

APOSTLES TEACHING AND PRAYER

Sunday we turn to Paul’s sermon to the people of Athens in Acts 17:22-31. Fred Craddock writes “the readings for today (Sunday) announce the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to persons who live in a variety of difficult circumstances.” This would normally be a season of graduations and celebrations for high school and college seniors. Saying goodbye and moving on to new dreams and visions is what graduation is all about. But as we know, celebrations have been cancelled or have moved online and no one quite knows what the fall will bring for colleges or jobs.

Sunday we are going to celebrate more than 40 St. Luker graduates. We will celebrate their accomplishments, they will lead us in liturgy, and their stories will be our eyewitnesses to love. Paul’s teaching in Acts will invite us, as they did for Athens, to meet God who has been at the center of their lives all along as Creator and Preserver. We will offer words not only to our graduates, but to all of us as we graduate into new visions and dreams with God as our Creator and Preserver.

During worship we invite you to post pictures of you holding signs of congratulations or post your own senior pictures using the hashtag #stlukesjustlove to celebrate our graduates with us!

Just look at what God can do when the church focuses on what we are called and empowered to be as eyewitnesses to love. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Grace and peace,

Jenn.

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