St. Luke's United Methodist Church


4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
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A Note from Mariam Mengistie-June 6, 2024

Posted on June 6, 2024 at 10:22 am in .

Dear St. Luke’s Family,

I remember my very first summer in Florida when my family and I moved to Orlando in 2000. Just when I thought we survived the Y2K hype, it felt as if I was thrown into an inhabitable land. If you are thinking…”But you grew up in Sub-Saharan Africa!”, yes AND I grew up in a California-like lovely climate. So, no, I wasn’t prepared for scorching heat. I am now a pro in enjoying the Florida summer.

Through my Mission work at St. Luke’s, I also learned inequities summer exposes in two specific areas.  First, it’s a terrible time for children and their families who rely on school breakfast and lunch; second, hurricanes impact our most vulnerable worse than the rest. The good news is, as a church, we can prepare well together, show up for our neighbors during these challenging times and get serious about Creation Care (check out our webpage for the St. Luke’s Creation Care Ministry). To alleviate food insecurity for 25 Mollie Ray families staying in motels, we are planning weakly meal distributions. If you are interested in helping, email me at

Hurricane Resources

Now to hurricanes…. The prediction for this year’s hurricane season according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is 85% chance of an above-normal season (June 1 – November 30).

Preparing for a hurricane during the summer can be a bit daunting, but it’s essential for staying safe. Here’s a mix of relaxation and preparation tips to help you through:

  1. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on weather updates and warnings from reliable sources like the National Hurricane Center. Knowing what’s happening can help you prepare effectively.
  2. Stock Up: Ensure you have enough supplies such as non-perishable food, water, batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit, and any necessary medications to last several days in case of power outages or limited access to resources.
  3. Secure Your Home: Trim trees and bushes, secure outdoor furniture, and consider installing storm shutters or boarding up windows to protect your home from potential damage. Do you need help/can you help with this? E-mail Saniye Kazan, Director of Mission Engagement, at We are putting a team together to help.
  4. Create a Plan: Develop an evacuation plan with your family, including a designated meeting place and contact person in case you get separated. Practice the plan so everyone knows what to do if a hurricane approaches.
  5. Relax and Unwind: Amidst the preparations, don’t forget to take breaks to relax and recharge. Spend time doing activities you enjoy.
  6. Stay Connected: Keep in touch with friends and family, especially those who may be in the path of the hurricane. Offer support and assistance where you can, and check in on each other regularly.
  7. Prepare Your Pets: Don’t forget about your furry friends! Make sure you have enough food, water, medication, and supplies for them as well. Have a plan for their safety in case you need to evacuate.
  8. Stay Calm: While hurricanes can be stressful, try to pray, and stay calm and focused. Remember that you’ve done everything you can to prepare, and now it’s a matter of staying safe and following your plan.

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we continue to explore our “Super Power” of St. Luke’s core value of HOSPITALITY.


With hope and grace,

Mariam Mengistie

Executive Director of Missions

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