Dear St. Lukers,
I want to take a moment to congratulate our Child Development Center on another great year. Today was the annual CDC graduation for 72 VPK students moving on to Kindergarten. It was precious to watch the video where the children talk about what they want to be when they grow up. There’s always one that ends up being my favorite, among the typical firefighters, pilots, doctors, teachers, mommies and princesses. This year, my favorite was the little boy who wants to work at Menchie’s because he loves ice cream. A huge thank you to our CDC teachers and Debbie Shellhorn and Cindy Wunderlich for another fantastic year, not only with the students, but with the families.
This week, a project one year in the making has come to fruition. Last year, before the opening of Founder’s Hall, I was looking to find meaningful connections between the new worship space and our other worship spaces on campus. I like using history and stories to connect what is new to what has come before us. As some of us were walking the campus, I found that the inside of what had become a storage room in Fellowship Hall, still had the original doors complete with the original handles and wood. We also found a kneeler from the Sanctuary that wasn’t used anymore, in a corner. With those two pieces we worked with some St. Lukers to design a new altar table and baptismal font for Founder’s Hall. The two pieces are very unique and hold a lot of St. Luke’s history in them, tying each of our sacred worship spaces together across generations.
Let me share some unique ways we have built these two pieces.
- The top of the altar table is one of the original doors in the first Sanctuary of the church.
- The glass in the front is the actual window portion of the door, which will be used to change out themes and designs for the Christian year.
- The wood used to hold those items in place within the window is a piece of the original set from our first Founder’s Hall show, “Beauty and the Beast.”
- On both the altar table and baptismal font you will see what looks like long carved wooden pieces. Those are the original handles from the doors of the first Sanctuary. Lukers throughout the decades have opened those doors.
- The altar base is one of the original kneeling rail pieces from the Sanctuary. It lived in the transcept most recently.
- On both the altar and baptismal font, the metal supports are the metal from the kneelers in the Sanctuary.
- The top piece of the altar is the very top of the kneeler and now candles will fit into the place where St. Lukers have placed Communion cups after receiving Communion in the round.
What this means is not only are there pieces of history in our new worship space, but Communion and baptism in Founder’s Hall have the handprints and blessings of all the saints who worshipped in our other sacred venues. The bowl which receives the blessing of water and the Spirit is held up by the handles of doors covered in the handprints of the saints of St Luke’s. Literally, those baptized with this water not only are receiving through water and the spirit the claim of God as beloved children, but the hands of the St. Luke’s original family members are embracing them and holding them up as they are initiated in Christ’s holy family and this body of the church. Every worship service, the table that holds the Light of Christ, Bread and Cup of Christ’s grace, holy items that center us in meaning, are resting on the very doors where from the beginning, St. Lukers have entered to worship in order to go forth and serve. Those altar gifts are resting on the prayers of St. Lukers who gathered to receive Communion in the round or where they knelt to be blessed in marriage, commissioned in ministry, confirmed in the faith, or received healing and anointing for everyday life. The altar rests on the sacred place where generations have bowed before their Lord to offer their most heartfelt, and private prayers of gratitude and longing. Not only do these pieces tell a beautiful story, but they connect us in the full circle of St. Luke’s worship for all those who will worship in this new space.
This Sunday, as we celebrate Sabbath by understanding why we personally need this gift from God, we will pause to gather at the table to remember as well as to be “re-membered” into the community of faith in need of grace. This will be the first opportunity to use the new altar table. Before a congregation uses any sacramental pieces of worship, there is always a prayer of consecration. We thought it would be fitting to let our new Minister of Worship, Melissa Cooper, write and lead us in this consecration. So, those of you who worship in Contemporary with Corey this week will be a part of this special moment. Those of you in Traditional with me, will have an opportunity to have Melissa serve you during Communion as we lead liturgy together. It will be a special day and I hope you will make time in your Sabbath celebration to be with us during this special Communion.
See you Sunday and may your Sabbath preparation be blessed.
Grace and Peace –