St. Luke's United Methodist Church


4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
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A Note from Mariam Mengistie-March 23, 2023

Posted on March 23, 2023 at 11:44 am in .

Dear St. Luke’s family,

I love Lent at St. Luke’s! I feel all the parts of the church – worship, fasting, deeper prayer, discipleship, serving, giving – come into sharp focus simultaneously. I love that we practice additional giving as a spiritual discipline through our special Lenten Offering so we can show up for our neighbors in more impactful ways.

I got a deeper appreciation of what it means to be intentional about spiritual practices during the devotion time Pastor Jenn led at our staff meeting this week. It’s about each of us being known, named, and unafraid through our baptism.

  • The unafraid are open to the neighbor, while the frightened are defending themselves from the neighbor.
  • The unafraid are generous in the community, while the frightened, in their anxiety, must keep and store and accumulate, to make themselves safe.
  • The unafraid commit acts of compassion and mercy, while the frightened do not notice those in need.
  • The unafraid are committed to justice of the weak and the poor, while the frightened see them only as threats.
  • The unafraid pray in the morning, care through the day, and rejoice at night in thanks and praise, while the frightened are endlessly restless and dissatisfied.

If you want to read the whole text click here, it’s powerful!

Unafraid people turn the world upside down (or right side up) – Acts 17:6. Have you ever thought of your openness to neighbor, generosity, compassion, and commitment to justice as being unafraid and turning the world right side up? Our special Lenten Offering is one way of turning the world right side up. With hiking food prices, uncontrollable rent increases, and emergency benefits being pulled back in the midst of the inflation are challenges St. Luke’s Missions Team is trying to address through our Restoring Hope Initiative. Your faithful giving this Lenten season, whether it be an extra $2.30, $23, or $2,300, will go to ministries which ensure that our neighbors don’t fall through the cracks after working so hard to stabilize themselves financially. Thanks to your generosity and dedication to a 23 & We vision for our community, we have already received over $12,000 to help in these efforts. You can still help us hit our goal of $20,000 by clicking here to give your special Lenten Offering online.

As most St. Lukers know, training is one of the major ways we are turning the world right side up, by challenging our assumptions and biases about hunger, homelessness, and poverty, and the people who face it. When we know better, we do better! I invite you to join St. Luke’s Youth this coming Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in The Treehouse to participate in the Racial Wealth Gap Learning Simulation, and save the date for our next Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE) on Sunday, April 23 at 5:30 p.m. Click here to learn more about these and other training opportunities coming up soon.

Our presence to do tangible things for others also helps us stay committed to justice. We are excited to partner with Sleep in Heavenly Peace to build beds for children who don’t have beds. Our first build day is on Saturday, April 29, and we need over 50 volunteers (ages 12 and older) to pull off our goal of building 10 twin bunk beds! Click here to learn more about this serving opportunity and to sign up.

We hope to see you in worship on Sunday as we continue our Lenten journey together with the element of “bones.”

Hope & Peace,

~ Mariam

Mariam Mengistie

St. Luke’s Executive Director of Missions

Click here to read the full Weekly Update

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