Dear St. Lukers,
We have exciting news to share about how your generosity is changing lives through St. Luke’s. First, our Director of Missions sent this email out to all our mission volunteers and I want to share it with all of you to restore a little hope and light.
BECAUSE YOU LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE:
- We collected more than 200 Bags of Grace
- We filled Joy MCC’s food pantry
- We have given out more than 1,700 meals to East Winter Garden families
- We have averaged 250 meals per week with the Arts Community/4Roots meal distribution
- 9 families are participating in our 7th Circles Empowerment Cohort
- We sent extra love in the form of food to 4 families during our Family Promise weeks
- We are pen pals with inmates
- We are delivering food to seniors
- We donated 2 cars to amazing families and have begun a new cars ministry
- We (now) have 8 families with computers and another dozen in the works
- We sewed thousands of masks for vulnerable communities
- We continue to provide meals and donated items to the Coalition for the Homeless
- We continue in long-term relationship through Circles, ESOL advocates, Restoring Hope Family Advocates and Jobs Partnership coaches
- We have picked okra, corn, peaches and cucumbers (for donation)
- We advocated for global nutrition programs
Your generosity of time, resources, and compassion is such a gift of hospitality for our community. St. Luke’s understanding of “Hospitality” comes from of Old Testament hesed, where we are faithful to others and treat them as family, the way God is faithful to us and calls us beloved. This is the core value we will be exercising and stretching this week in worship. Hospitality defined and stretched in new ways to stand for and hold up one another because we are one in Christ Jesus. This kind of hospitality when we exercise it in our daily life, awakens something in us and helps us become shaped in the image of God.
In other exciting news, your staff members have been using these last two weeks to be back on the campus and practice social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing rooms. We are training staff on how to ensure rooms are clean before and after groups meet and new protocols for working with children and youth. St. Luke’s Campus Reopening Task Force will be meeting next week to continue to look at data and ensure we open slowly and safely.
Next week we look forward to offering limited opportunities for small groups of children and youth to meet on campus and off, using established time limits and other guidelines for safety. You can view details and sign up here as well as watch the webinar with our youth leaders here.
We will also have open Sanctuary hours next week for moments of prayer and personal worship. These times will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. as well as between 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. The Sanctuary will also be open Wednesday nights between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. During these times, liturgy, scripture, and prayer will be available on the screens and music will be playing. Face coverings are required for your care and the care of those around you. Please sign in and spend the time you need at the altar, in the pew, and in the quiet presence of holy space. We have much to pray about in our world, nation, and city and we hope you will offer prayers up for our congregation as well during your time.
I leave you with this prayer from Paul at the end of Ephesians:
This is why I kneel before the Father. Every ethnic group in heaven or on earth is recognized by him. I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.
Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.
Grace and Peace –