Dear St. Lukers,
I can’t tell you how exciting it was to watch the pictures on social media and texts as our Trunks, Treats, and More community event was happening. There was an amazing turn out with more than 1500 wristbands given away and hundreds of you helping to welcome our guests. Your creativity was over the top as you decorated your cars and showed up in full St. Luke’s fashion, radiating our values of hospitality and community. Thank you to the team who helped create such a wonderful event and for all of you who donated time, candy, and your welcoming spirit. We have registrations from every guest and are already beginning to follow up with invitations to our Christmas Concerts and our presentation of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
We have another community event happening this weekend sponsored by the Military Friends and Support Cluster Group. On Sunday, October 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. join us in welcoming keynote speaker former U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Robert A. McDonald, and his wife Diane for an inside look at issues facing our veterans and their families. This event will be held in Founder’s Hall and special guests including Congresswoman Val Demings (District 10), Director of the Orlando VA Medical Center, Tim Liezert, and the City of Windermere Mayor, Gary Bruhn are expected to attend.
This event is one of the many ways our Military Cluster Group continues to connect with local veterans to ensure they receive the services and support they so richly deserve for their gift of serving our country. The Cluster Group will also be inviting attendees to join them at regular group gatherings to receive St. Luke’s warm hospitality and welcome. This is a wonderful example of the purpose of St. Luke’s Cluster Groups. The Cluster Group ministry started for two reasons 1) to help our congregation get connected in fellowship groups for communication, care, and community and 2) as an entry point for the community to be connected with our church. Thanks to the Military Cluster Group leadership for this event.
This weekend is exciting as we move into a new series in worship based on the life of Joseph. “I Wish You More” is a series reminding us how God continues to offer us more than we could ever ask for or imagine and the invitation to participate in God’s wishes. We begin the story of Joseph with a celebration of All Saints in all worship venues. We will honor the legacies of St. Luke’s Saints who have passed away this year and have left us their wishes and legacies of what it means to be a St. Luker. The celebration of the Saints will include glorious music, processionals, brass players, candles, flowers and culminate at the communion table with all the saints who have gone before us. We invite you to begin to read the story of Joseph found in chapters 37 – 50 of Genesis (and I promise, no more questions or surveys!).
I Wish You More is the title of a children’s book I discovered while at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Hartwell, GA for my father’s funeral service. The book is a series of the parents’ wishes for their little boy. The wishes include more treasures than pockets, more will than hill, more give than take. As I read it in the sanctuary, trying to lose myself in the crowds greeting my mother, I was profoundly moved by how my father wished for me every day of my life. Not because he was a perfect father, but because he was a faithful disciple, who wished the same for everyone. In essence, this child’s book is a prayer God has for each of us. As I read this book, which I gave our leaders at Christmas, I realized this wasn’t just my father’s prayer for my life, but God’s prayer for each of our lives. As we read the story of Joseph, we will also hear the prayer of our Heavenly Father, for us, his beloved children. May it embrace and envelope you as it did me just one year ago.
To that end, I missed being with you last Sunday and bring you greetings from Knock Methodist Church in Northern Ireland where I worshipped with our very own Britt Gilmore, who is the pastor. Britt, Allison and their precious children send their love and greetings, as do their lovely congregation.
Britt and Allison Gilmore
This Sunday, I will be returning to FUMC in Hartwell where I was invited to honor my father’s legacy by preaching their fall revival in memory of him. Needless to say, I couldn’t say no, especially because my mother is beyond excited! Thank you for allowing me this precious way to commemorate my own saint! I look forward to seeing you next week.
Grace, peace, and know that I too, wish you more!