Dear St. Lukers,
On Sunday, I shared how Pentecost is a time to look back and look forward as we celebrate the birthday of the church. As we celebrated the work of the 4D vision, we shared about our ongoing work in East Winter Garden. One of the goals was to partner with the residents and understand the history of this community in order to help strengthen their voice in the growth of Winter Garden. This work has led to the pillar in our 2020+ Vision to reduce homelessness and hunger through advocacy.
We now have an opportunity to stand with our neighbors in East Winter Garden to celebrate as the Winter Garden commission makes decisions this week. Please read the following information from Lynette Fields, Executive Director of Community Transformation, for some great news and a way for our Winter Garden St. Lukers to get involved:
Last summer, the City of Winter Garden hired Dover, Kohl, and Partners to create an overall plan for the East Winter Garden community. In July, these urban designers invited input from community residents through a series of public meetings. Over 100 people (including St. Lukers as supporters/Allies) participated in the week-long process. The public process was designed to identify items everyone involved could agree on. In March 2018, the final plan was revealed in a community meeting held at Maxey Community Center. This week this plan will be voted on by the City of Winter Garden City Commission.
We are excited to share some of the highlights from the plan:
- The plan recommends the creation of an ACTON PLAN TEAM representing a public-private partnership. This team would have representation from the City, faith-based organizations, community representative, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, and funding agencies.
- A commitment to honor and celebrate the unique history and contributions of East Winter Garden to the larger city of Winter Garden. Residents have expressed a strong desire to find a new use for the former Maxey Elementary School, one of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood, after the new school building opens this fall.
- A strong recommendation to financially support a Façade Repair Matching Grant program that would go hand in hand with code enforcement. Rather than leaving elderly or low-income homeowners with violations requiring payment, a program of this type would recommend funding sources to help them with exterior repairs and yard clean up. This program is very similar to the St. Luke’s Door to Curb program. Over the past two years, through Door to Curb we have helped more than 20 homeowners with these types of repairs, improving the curb appeal of homes in this neighborhood. Supports an effort for more safe and secure pathways for students walking to school.
- Annex in unincorporated County lands that are currently under-resourced.
- Identify private-sector and Community Redevelopment Authority projects that could help incubate locally-owned businesses at below-market rates.
Please express appreciation to the City for their generosity of land currently being used for the ambitious and integrated collaboration of the new Shepherd’s Hope building with a Community Kitchen and the Community Garden. This innovative corner seeks to improve access to fresh vegetables and provide nutrition education and health care for the most vulnerable in the community.
If you are a St. Luker and a Winter Garden resident, we encourage you to show up in person to offer your support of this ambitious plan. The Commission meeting is held in City Hall, 300 W Plant Street, at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday, May 24, 2018.
Join us Sunday as we begin a new sermon series. 24/6 is an opportunity to study and develop the discipline of Sabbath in our lives. I am famous for saying there just isn’t enough time in the week, and asking simply for one more day. We live 24/7 lives but are called by God to understand the importance of a 24/6 faith. I’m excited to start a personal experiment with my family to live into a true Sabbath observance. I’ll tell you more about it on Sunday after we try the first attempt (by the way, I’m writing this at 1:24 on Wednesday morning, so this experiment will probably come with some laughs as I learn to put away the work for 24 hours)!
I’m so proud to be a part of the a church family trying to not only accomplish amazing things to reveal the kingdom of God in our community, but also to be disciples who follow the call to rest, renew and trust fully in God. Come join us for worship on our Sabbath and find out just how these counter-intuitive ideas can somehow work in God’s economy of time.
Grace and Peace –