Dear St. Lukers,
My dad became a pastor before my sophomore year of high school, then we moved to the outskirts of Florida between Tallahassee and Quincy. In St. Pete I attended a large school downtown where everyone knew my family, including aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. My father was now a pastor to a small country church with no youth group, because there was only one other youth besides me – another girl who shared my birthdate (weird, huh?). She had been the only church child, so let’s just say she wasn’t too keen on sharing the spotlight.
Moving was a huge adjustment for me. However, two women who lived down the street were leaders in the church and made all the difference. Pat and Patsy (believe it or not, their husbands were Don and Donnie – you can’t make this stuff up) took me in, let me swim in their pools and helped me get to know kids from my future high school. They let me spend time just talking, listening as if I had the most interesting stories in the world. I am almost their age now, so I know how busy they really were with children, a house to take care of, and outside work. I realize how intentional they were about sharing my life and making me feel at home. To this day, these women are in touch with my family, Patsy and Donnie even drove up to my father’s funeral in Georgia, at a moment’s notice.
To be honest, I’m not sure if I would have been as involved in the church without these two women. But because they made me feel at home and believe in myself, I started a youth group for the community my senior year of high school. Pat was the SPRC chair and suggested to my father that I would get paid a salary! I was 17 years old and these women gave me my first job in ministry.
This Sunday we celebrate the Growing Young Pillar: a Vision for Children and Youth. It will be an exciting day of ministry celebrating children, youth and their families. Children and student Sunday school kicks off this week at 9:30 a.m.! We will dedicate our newly renovated children and youth buildings, and you will tour through them at the end of each worship service. These spaces look amazing and are only possible through your COMMIT funds. A huge thank you to our Building Committee led by Doug Dannen, Tom Runnels, and a dedicated team of staff and volunteers for making it all possible.
But this Pillar is not just about new spaces. This Vision calls every St. Luker to hear God’s call to become a Pat or a Patsy in the life of a St. Luke’s child or student. This fall we’ll be talking more about how every 1 child needs 5 adults in their life to help them learn and grow in faith and character. Wherever you see this logo you’ll know there’s an opportunity to “B 1 in 5.”
Melissa will be sharing a message this Sunday in all worship venues helping us claim those vows we make when children and youth are baptized and confirmed here at St. Luke’s. Children and youth will also help lead the service in special ways, and as you tour the new Youth Center, the Youth Praise Band will be sharing their talents showing off the new equipment!
By the way, thanks to all of you who have made the same difference in the life of my children. Because as the Growing Young Pillar says – it takes a village, and a swing set.