Dear St. Lukers,
I hope you had a chance to be a part of one of our three combined worship services last Sunday – what a joyous “tour de force” of our entire Worship Ministries team! We are so richly blessed with all the gifts and talents our Lord has provided here at St. Luke’s, amen? Amen!
Now we enter the season of Lent, traditionally a time when we turn our thoughts and hearts to the final stage of Christ’s ministry here on earth, and the victory He gave us over our sin and death itself on that first Easter Sunday morning. We need to stay centered in that love and sacrifice as we think about what brings us together here at St. Luke’s and in our denomination. As Paul writes in Romans 8:37, “in all things we are more than Conquerors through Him who loved us.” Paul reminds us, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” and, in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”
Many of us are saddened and troubled by the decisions of the UMC General Conference a week ago. Others are heartened that the denomination affirmed what they believe the Scripture teaches them. We do not all think or feel the same about this, and many other convictions and beliefs. Our commitment to inclusiveness and diversity means that we knowingly accept that we will not all think, believe, or be alike. Praise Jesus! Our common “glue” is the redemption we all share through Jesus our Savior, and the mission He charged us with: to love everyone as they are – images of Him and sacred parts of his creative masterpiece.
I invite you to please join your pastors and lay leaders this Sunday, at 7:00 p.m. in Founder’s Hall for the first of a series of congregational conversations, “The Heart of St. Luke’s: A Panel Discussion with St. Luke’s Leaders.” If you have questions about what happened at General Conference, what it means for our denomination and our congregation, or how we start to move forward given the decisions made last week, we invite you to submit them beforehand by clicking here. We won’t have all the answers, or probably even address all the questions on Sunday, but we know one thing for certain: last week’s vote was not the final word on this. Together we will work to discern the best course and actions for St. Luke’s and regularly come together to work through this as one body.
As always, the coming week is filled with tremendous opportunities to learn, grow, celebrate, share, and serve here at St. Luke’s! Don’t miss the next installment in our sermon series “God’s Garden” in worship this Sunday, and I’ll also extend a personal invitation to join me on Friday, March 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the Building C Attic when we screen the unusual story of how even cows can get into border trouble in the film “The Wanted 18”! There are many more opportunities to get involved this week – check out the latest Ministry Guide for more ideas!
Peace and Love,
St. Luke’s Partner and Co-Chair of our Committee on Inclusiveness