St. Luke's United Methodist Church


4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
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A Note from Pastor Jenn-February 16, 2023

Posted on February 16, 2023 at 3:23 pm in .

Dear St. Lukers,

This past week in worship as a part of Black History Month, we read together as our liturgy the words of poet and playwright Langston Hughes, entitled “I Dream a World.”

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world.

It was the perfect poem to settle our bones into the prophetic words that Habakkuk called us into as we dreamed together of how we will share our salt and light. The votes are in and the top ideas, along with continuing the work through Missions’ Restoring Hope for stable housing and food security/sovereignty, were new visions including being intentional about helping people find their meaning and purpose in life; connecting deeper with children and youth, and the adults who raise them; and utilizing our campus to provide spaces for community, conversation, connection, and service.

It was interesting to read the results because they led directly out of an understanding of our holy discontents as individuals, but also our strengths as a congregation and what the demographics of our community are teaching us about the needs of our neighbors. Finding a place to be coached, to connect and build bridges, wanting to be a part of something for missions and justice, living into our core values because our core values are what people around us are looking for in spirituality; this is what it means to dream of a world. To dream of a world like Langston Hughes, which is rooted in God’s vision of the Kingdom of God’s reign on earth, as it is in heaven.

To make this a reality, it’s going to take all of us, not just once we adopt the vision, but now in 2023. As we talk about the Scripture for Transfiguration Sunday from Matthew 17:1-9, we will proclaim what it means to follow Jesus BACK down the mountain and head to Jerusalem, because revealing God’s Kingdom requires discipline and sacrifice by His followers. This leads us to the need for everyone to turn in their Estimate of Giving for 2023 to help us know what we can build our budget on to be good stewards of your gifts. If you haven’t filled out your Estimate, you can do so online by clicking here by February 19. It is going to invite all of us to find our purpose and calling to serve using our spiritual gifts, use our experience and witness, and be generous with time. To dream like Langston Hughes requires a glimpse of the Kingdom of heaven so deep in our bones, that we are willing to not just dream, but do.

Like Ruby Duncan…do you know her? In the late 1960s, Duncan moved to Las Vegas where her first home was in an abandoned motel. She was hurt in her job working in the kitchen of a local casino and found herself divorced and struggling to support her family. Aid at the time was only given to women if there was a man in the home, which led women of all races to organize and become advocates. Ruby became the president of the Nevada Welfare Rights Organization and a civil rights hero for the poor. To celebrate Black History Heroes and learn more about Ruby Duncan and her work, you are invited to join our Circles West Orange Leaders and Allies at a free preview screening of the documentary “Storming Caesars Palace,” before it premieres on PBS, in Founder’s Hall on February 28 at 6:00 p.m. RSVP by February 22 to let us know you’re coming by clicking here.

May we be inspired to keep dreaming, keep seeing a vision of what God is calling St. Luke’s to accomplish for the Kingdom of God among us, but may we also be inspired and motivated to do the hard work. Because St. Luke’s is not the same without U to help us live into 23 & We.

With hope and excitement,


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