On the last Sunday of May, St Luke will journey over to Grace United Methodist Church for morning worship service and a pot-luck luncheon following. St Luke and Grace have many things in common - size and demographics being obvious similarities. But more importantly we share a passion for service in our community and around the world. Additionally, both congregations are affiliated with Reconciling Ministries Network, a group of UM churches and organizations working for full inclusion of all believers, especially the GLBTQ community, in the life and ministry of the United Methodist Church.
On May 26, St Luke will journey to Grace UMC for morning worship followed by a pot-luck luncheon. St Luke and Grace have many things in common - size and demographics being obvious similarities. But more importantly we share an ethos - a passion for service in our community and around the world. Additionally, both congregations are affiliates of Reconciling Ministries Network, a group of UM churches and organizations working for full inclusion of all believers, especially the GLBTQ community, in the life and ministry of the United Methodist Church.
asked to speak today about Gifts, and since I’ve been the church Treasurer for
10 years now, none of you will be surprised that I’m focusing on monetary
I’ve got 3
sub-topics: gifts through St. Luke; gifts to St. Luke, and the Gift (capital G)
of St. Luke.
need to recognize that many of our donations to St. Luke are really donations
through St. Luke: funds that we pass on, whether to Hope Food Pantry, for fans
or school supplies or Thanksgiving baskets, or to the Conference for
Apportionments or Advance Specials.
And given what we accountants call Transaction Costs, each of these
pass-through gifts includes a little bit of St. Luke with it, whether it’s a
paper check or a postage stamp or an increase in our bank service charge.
does this little bit of St. Luke come from? You guessed it – contributions to General Budget. Dick and I utilize the automated giving
program, and except for $100 specified for loan repayment, all of our gift goes
to General Budget. Now part of
this is because of what I do as Treasurer. We all see candles aflame on Sundays and Wednesdays, but I
know the minimum order of oil costs $70.
And the bulletins we have at most services are important to me; I know
our monthly fee for copier rental is over $200.
But what I
really want to stress is that these gifts to St. Luke – the gifts that pay for
stamps and copy paper and candle oil – are really how we give the Gift of St.
Luke (and again, that’s Gift with a capital G). One of my favorite numbers in our red hymnal is #408, “The
Gift of Love”, and it reflects how I really feel about this church. St. Luke to me is not only a place to
worship and to do good works, and a community of love, but also an entity unto
itself, and gifts to General Budget are how we give the Gift of St. Luke to
each other. So your gifts to
General Budget are how you all give St. Luke back to me. I’ll end by saying “thank you” for that
wonderful gift of this place and community.
The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is coming up soon, so you'll want to make a note of the annual Fat Tuesday Pancake Supper in Fellowship Hall. Serving starts at 5:30pm and lasts until everybody's fed, usually around 6:45 or so. There is no program, no liturgical significance, no request for funds -- it's just a bunch of carbohydrates your body will need the next 40 days (Lent) to burn off. Bob Newell is Prince of Pancakes and organizing the event and he makes GOOD pancakes!
What does it mean to be
present at church? For me being
present at church is not just about how many times we walk through the
sanctuary doors. It’s not about
counting the number of times a month we made it. Being at church for me is about being here spiritually and
emotionally. As we all know the
world can be a tough place. We all
deal with pain, frustration, and stress.
So where do we go? Who do
we turn to? How do we make sense
of what sometimes feels like a senseless world? I strongly feel if you put your heart and mind with god that
you’ll at least be able to put things in perspective. It’s easy to get distracted by the everyday details in life
and too often we let life get overwhelming causing us to forget what’s really
important. The best way I know to
center myself is to be present.
To be present at church for
me is to be part of a community of people that care deeply for each other and
for growing spiritually. Rebecca
and I have always made a commitment to be at church as much as we can when
we’re in town. What literally drives
us to church Sunday mornings though is that desire to be present with god and
with the wonderful St. Luke family we’ve grown so close to. So I encourage everyone to think about
what presence at church means for them. If you can find that passion and
connection with church and with god then I think you’ll find yourself walking
through those sanctuary doors more often.
For eight weeks, St Luke is highlighting the four areas of church commitment necessary to our spiritual growth: prayers, presence, gifts and service. A lay person makes a brief presentation during worship on one of these emphases. This week, Mark Troutfetter spoke of the importance of presence in worship and being present to God, especially in stressful times. Next Sunday, Lacey Richter will offer an interactive expression of the importance of prayer in our lives. And more will follow!
St Luke will observe the Baptism of Our Lord this coming Sunday with a Service of Renewal of the Baptismal Covenant during the 10:50 worship service.
Join us on Sunday Dec. 30 at our usual worship hour (10:50 am) for a worship service with Rev. Eric McKinney. We always find his sermons and insights interesting and inspirational!
Please celebrate the Eve of Our Lord's birth with carols and candlelight and moments for silent reflection about the mystery of the season. December 24th at 6:00 PM in the Sanctuary. Invite a friend to share in this time. Children are welcome.
St Luke is once again helping celebrate Jesus' birth by hosting a shower for the Baby Jesus. Any new items appropriate for a new-born or infant can be brought to the church by Sunday, December 16th, without gift wrapping. If you would rather make a cash contribution, make your check to St Luke, with the memo: Birthday for Jesus.