Sister and Brothers in Christ,
When I was a student in seminary, I prayed every day in a chapel that had a beautiful large Icon of Christ the Teacher above the altar. His left hand held the Scriptures open to the Book of Revelation, with the words, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5). If my formation in seminary, and my life in general has taught me anything, it is that the process of being made new is life-long. We are not finished products, and God’s response is to keep working on and through our lives to make them new again and again! Long before the Book of Revelation was written, the prophet Ezekiel revealed the same work of God who says, “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:26).
The last few years have magnified the truth that change seems to be the only constant in life. I have struggled to acknowledge and adapt to many of these changes. I have resisted some changes, and I have grieved other changes. But I also look out at all of you who have remained connected to St. Luke’s in-person or virtually, and I look at the new people who have connected with us in-person and virtually, and I cannot help but sense God’s presence and work, creating New Hearts, New Spirit, and New Life at St. Luke’s!
We have experienced New Hearts, Spirit, and Life breathed into our relationships with the Bay View Community Center through our Giving Garden, Malaika Early Learning Center as we provided all the school supplies for their entire third grade class, and St. Joseph’s Academy as we are exploring opportunities to deepen our relationship with them in 2023!
We have experienced New Hearts, Spirit, and Life breathed into ordinary parish life with nine baptisms this year, new members taking on leadership of new events like a very successful rummage sale fundraiser along with everyday ministries like altar guild, finance, and buildings and grounds. We continue to welcome new energy and new voices not only in the pulpit, but in opportunities for formation as well. We have new energy and new voices coming together to support young adults in their journeys of faith, as well as new formation opportunities like a Mindful Advent Group that you will hear about more as Advent approaches!
All of this holy work builds upon the Hearts, Spirit, and Life that has been part of St. Luke’s for over a century, as we continue to find stability in meaningful prayer, worship, formation, and pastoral care on Sunday and throughout the week.
The Newness God is creating here would not be possible without the generous stewardship of all of us! By sharing the gifts we have and are, the gifts of energy and time and talent, we continue to become beautiful instruments of God creating New Hearts, Spirit, and Life in this corner of God’s vineyard!
As you know, a foundational piece of stewardship is our financial giving. St. Luke’s depends upon your financial generosity to continue to be a place where people can find support, hope, healing, encouragement, opportunities to serve, and opportunities to evangelize a world in desperate need of Gospel compassion and peace.
I know that the changes of the past few years have been difficult to navigate, both personally and financially as we all deal with all sorts of instability. I also know that in the midst of instability and uncertainty, stable communities of faith, hope, and love are vitally important! I remain so incredibly grateful for all the many ways (time, energy, talent, and finances) you give to help make St. Luke’s a stable community of faith, hope, and love!
Once again, I invite you to spend time in prayer for St. Luke’s, reflecting on what St. Luke’s means to you and to the greater community. After prayer, please consider financially pledging to the mission and ministry of St. Luke’s for 2023! Thank you for your faithful generosity and your courageous support of the New Hearts, New Spirit, and New Life God longs to continually create at St. Luke’s!
Click here for a secure, electronic pledge card
Peace and Abundant Blessings,