Grace and Peace St. Luke’s Buddy Break Buddies,
It’s hard to believe it was six years ago that St. Luke’s United Methodist Church partnered with Nathaniel’s Hope to launch our first Buddy Break. We have provided respite one-on-ones more than 450 times for VIPS and their siblings. Christmas celebrations, crafts, furry animal friends, games and singing made Saturdays in the Attic a fun and safe spot for these kids. You generously gave your time, energy, and compassion to be friends with VIPs and their siblings. You are the hands and feet of Jesus whenever you wear your Buddy name-tag. We are so grateful for each of you.
The St. Luke’s Leadership team continually seeks ways to support Buddy Break’s mission and listen as God speaks to us as your Buddy Break Leadership team. While our group is one of the smaller Buddy Break sites, our hearts are big. We are grateful for the support and guidance from church staff, lay leaders, and members since our beginning. However for ministries – as with individuals – there is a change of season. So it is with heartfelt emotion that after months of evaluation, discussion, discernment and prayer, Buddy Break at St. Luke’s will be coming to an end. Our last Buddy Break will be our Christmas celebration on December 1. This decision was based on many factors and was not made lightly. Those of us in leadership have had changes in our lives that do not allow us – as a team – to continue to lead.
We are excited that St. Luke’s will continue to support VIP families as they experience Christ’s love through a renewal of our “Opening Doors” ministry. “Opening Doors” will seek to provide support and care for persons with special needs, as well as their family/care-givers. It will join with other St. Luke’s ministries to welcome and accommodate VIPs through church wide special events, sports and family recreation, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and other programs not yet created. We want to participate in community wide outreach ministries including Nathaniel’s Hope.
As a Buddy you have displayed your spiritual gifts of Serving and Mercy. These gifts are easily transferrable to the programs and events of “Open Doors” at St. Luke’s as well with Nathaniel’s Hope. I hope that each Buddy will prayerfully consider where and when you are being led to serve our VIPS. We will keep in touch with our VIP families and with you as God moves us in creative ways to reach out. As a Buddy you are still able to serve at other Buddy Breaks throughout central Florida, assist at the Nathaniel’s Hope Toy Store and other events. The needs and opportunities are many.
We are grateful for the little boy Nathaniel with the huge heart and how God still holds his hand as He guides others along His path. We are grateful for the Nathaniel’s Hope staff who faithfully spread God’s love and understanding.
We pray you will find some ways to love and support VIPs who walk through any door on St. Luke’s campus. We welcome your comments. Please contact anyone of the Leaders.
With Grace, Mercy and Love,
The Buddy Break Leadership Team