Kim and I were delighted to be “home,” again for worship last week. It was especially good to return for the first Sunday of the Advent sermon series, “Come Home for Christmas.”
The past couple of months I have been traveling both in the US and internationally bringing together some of the important components of the St. Luke’s Center for Congregational Leadership, which I will be sharing with you in more detail after the first of the year. In preparation for this aspect of our Teaching Church ministry, I introduced our Florida Bishop, Ken Carter and Dr. Jonathan Strom, Professor of Church History and International Initiatives from Candler School of Theology at Emory to the peace and reconciliation work being done by Dr. Gary Mason in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. It was in Belfast that we met with the First Minister (President) and the Deputy First Minister (Vice-President) of Northern Ireland as well as the Lord Mayor of Belfast, all of whom are very supportive of Gary’s work and our St. Luke’s partnership and support.
After we returned home, I was invited to preach at Candler School of Theology as a part of their Centennial Anniversary events, and then a month later Gary was a featured lecturer. (Candler is our largest United Methodist seminary.) In between these two speaking events, Gary was the honored guest at a dinner reception I attended for about 20 key Irish-American leaders at the residence of Barbara Jones, the Consul General for Ireland in New York City. Leaders from The United Methodist Church Board of Global Ministries were also in attendance. Once again Gary’s work and our support were lifted up.
I am currently working with Candler as we move toward being their first smart classroom distance learning site in a local church in the coming year, as well as being a partner with them for their very well regarded high school age summer program, the Youth Theological Initiative, that some of our St. Luke’s youth have attended in the past.
Finally, after caring for seven months for Kim’s mother as she convalesced with us at our home after hip surgery, we took a much-needed vacation right before Thanksgiving. All of this narrative is meant to let you know that while you may have been missing me on Sundays more than usual, I really have been working!
Lots of special things are happening around here these days, and I encourage you to take the time to check out some of them in the announcements section below.
This week we will be urging you to “Bring Peace Home for Christmas.” If you were traveling or not able to start the Advent season in worship with us last Sunday, you can click here to watch Sunday’s sermons. Both the traditional and contemporary worship locations have been transformed to reflect the theme. You will find the settings warm, welcoming, and “homey.”
So, we’re glad to be home. Come join us. I remember a ruby shoed girl who once said, “There’s no place like home.” As far as we are concerned, there’s no place like being home at St. Luke’s for Christmas.
With faith, hope, love, and peace,
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