Dear St. Lukers,
It’s my favorite time of year: back to school!! New pencils, desks with name tags, a chance to meet new friends and learn new things! I just returned from a college tour with my youngest, who starts his senior year of high school in just a week. This is my last “back to school” with a kid at home! It’s hard to believe how time flies. Just this week my middle child started teaching kindergarten in the Atlanta Public School System. This has been their dream since they were in kindergarten, to teach “littles” and follow in the footsteps of John’s side of the family, which is full of school teachers.
Being part of a family of educators for the last 27 years has given me a special place of admiration and respect for all teachers, administrators, and staff, as they give of themselves to help young people thrive! It is also in our DNA as Methodists to support the education of children, as this was one of the many acts of justice started by the Wesleys during a time when children were seen only as cheap labor. Teaching children to read, write, and understand their value and worth as children of God is a part of our Methodist heritage. This is why St. Luke’s has been so invested in Orange County Public Schools through Educational IMPACT and volunteerism since this church began.
After one of our performances of Oliver! last weekend, I had a retired elementary school teacher come up to me with tears in their eyes, thanking us for telling the story of children in poverty. She said that St. Luke’s used to help the school she worked at decades ago by ensuring the teachers and staff had everything they needed so the children were not only learning, but were protected, safe, fed, and loved. What a powerful testimony from someone who gave their heart and soul to kids like those on the stage these last few weeks (tickets are still available for our closing weekend, click here to reserve your seats – you won’t want to miss it!).
This Sunday is our annual “Back to School” Sunday, where we invite learners of ALL ages to join us in worship as we seek to bless and pour out prayer for students, teachers, administrators, and all of you amazing St. Lukers who volunteer through Educational IMPACT! It is also All-In Sunday, so we will worship with all ages, having a special time for children, prayers for parents and grandparents who will be supporting these students, and a reminder that being one of five in a young person’s life today makes a lifelong impact on their faith.
We will also gather at the Communion table this week, where through bread and cup we are shaped as one family of God and reminded of the grace and love of Christ Jesus. We are taking a break in our concentration in the gospels to look at how Paul invited us to be shaped into the mind of Christ. Study and pray over Philippians 1 and 2 as you ready yourself for worship!
All-In Sundays are not just a chance to worship with our youngest St. Lukers, but a chance for those of you who have been worshiping from home to join us on campus as we gather at the table. As we kick off this fall, we want to welcome everyone home who has been holding off getting back in the routine of worship! What a powerful way to SHOW UP for our students and educators by filling our worship spaces and the table of grace with faces of love and support!
See you Sunday, and remember, the bell rings at 9:30 a.m. and we will be taking attendance!! We have a seat ready with YOUR name on it and snacks will be provided!