From Your Rector:
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The Season of Lent is just around the corner, starting with Ash Wednesday on February 10th. The tradition of marking the repentant with ashes reminds Christians of their need to prepare their hearts and their minds and turn to the Lord. Theologically, repentance means to turn away from our sins, those things that separate us from God, and to turn to God, allowing Him to be the focus of our attention. Lent is therefore a time when we prepare ourselves to be fully restored to God, to have all barriers and impediments in our relationship with God removed. These barriers and obstructions that keep us from God are pulled down and destroyed through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. While we repent, we still look forward in great anticipation to Easter.
Traditionally at St. Luke’s we set aside Wednesday evenings as a time of holy study, where we learn more about our faith and about ourselves. This year Deacon Phyllis and I will be sharing the leadership of a Lenten study on the Letter to the Ephesians. Tradition also has it that we will enjoy a simple meal fel-lowship of soups and sandwiches, prior to our study. Deacon Phyllis and I want help bring this beautiful letter to the Ephesians alive, and explore how it helps us find meaning in the “church” as the Body of Christ, and in the varied ministries of the church. Ephesians brings us much delightful imagery that we will explore, such as Building the Body of Christ; Living as Children of the Light; and arming ourselves with the Power of God.
The Lenten Study will begin on February 17th, and continue on February 24th, March 2nd, March 9th, and March 16th. The soup meal fellowship will begin around 6:40 p.m., following the Wednesday night Eucharist, with the study of Ephesians, concluding around 8:00 p.m. There will be a sign up sheet for soups and sandwiches posted in the Parish Hall.
If you should have any questions, please see either me or Deacon Phyllis.
We have had good news from Cuba and Fieles A Jesus this past month. They finally received the windows that they have been trying to get for the past 2 years!! Now we just have to wait till the man who will install them gets well enough to do it. He needs our prayers! Also the women of the church are making handmade articles to sell in Cuba to raise money for new doors. Some of the money was donated from St. Luke’s, but the major part of it will be raised by the congregation there. They’re so happy to have grown enough to take on this project.
Our English classes have started again and we have 5 teachers!! I never thought I would see the day! It is so wonderful to have enough teachers to meet all of the students needs better. We also have a great team of hosts and hostesses to keep everybody happy. We have a great church family who makes all these things possible.
The Diocesan Cuba Committee met after the Convention last weekend and learned some of the effects of the loosening relationship between the U. S and Cuba. The one that affects us most is that there are now kazillions of people going as tourists to Cuba. They, of course, are hosted by Cuba and sent to luxury hotels, but are never allowed to see the real Cuba.
Cuba. When we go with religious visas, we are allowed to stay in the homes of real Cubans and see the real country. When our Youth Group goes, we will be going on religious visas and expect it to be an incredible educational experience as well as a chance to visit our sister church and share in their ministry to young people there.
We also heard about an Episcopal cruise that will go around Cuba and stop at places where we have sister church-es. There are already several Bishops lined up to take the cruise, so it should be really good. There are 60 spaces still available if anyone from St. Luke’s wants to go. You will be going on tourists visas, but we have permission to get off the ship and visit our sister church-es. The ship leaves from Jamaica on Dec. 30, 2016. More later...
2016 Annual Parish Meeting
On January 24th, the people of St. Luke’ gathered in the parish hall to conduct the St. Luke’s Parish annual meeting. Approximately 55 people attending the meeting and enjoyed a wonderful covered dish luncheon, while they conducted the business of the parish. Hal Airth, Bully Helvenston, and the Rev. Phyllis Doty gave reports on the 173rd Annual Convention of the Diocese of Florida, which they attended on Friday and Saturday, January 22nd and 23rd. Father George reviewed
both the completed budget for 2015 and the proposed budget for 2016.
The proposed 2016 budget was adopted by unanimous vote of those attending. Two new vestry members were elected to fill three year terms, Roger Bouchard and Marion Harvard. Lydia Bush and Diane
Stiles were elected to be delegates to the 174th Diocesan Convention (2017), with Hal Airth, Janet Airth, and Marie Brian being elected to serve as Alternates, if for some reason Lydia or Diane can’t attend. A special thanks to all those willing to serve.
Note: St. Luke’s also gave ten units of blood to the Life South Blood mobile on this very chilly morning.
This year Deacon Phyllis and Father George will be sharing the leadership of a Lenten study on the Letter to the Ephesians. Following tradition, we will enjoy a simple meal fellowship of soups and sandwiches, prior to our study. The Lenten Study will begin on February 17th, and continue on February 24th, March 2nd, March 9th, and March 16th. The soup meal fellowship will begin at 6:30 p.m., following the Wednesday night Eucharist, with the study of Ephesians, concluding around 8:00 p.m. There will be a sign up sheet for soups and sandwiches posted in the Parish Hall.
Each morning is God’s way of saying one more time, go make a difference, touch a heart, encourage a mind, inspire a soul and enjoy
the day he has given to you!
February 21st: Visit from The Rev Canon Allison DeFoor
On Sunday February 21st, the Rev. Cn. Allison DeFoor, Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Florida will be visiting St. Luke’s and will be our guest preacher. Canon DeFoor has served as a priest for over a decade in the Florida prison system, helping to create the country’s
largest faith based prison at Wakulla Correctional Institution in Crawfordville, Florida. He has also served as Assistant Rector and Pastor at Grace Mission in Tallahassee.
In 2015 Canon DeFoor, lead the effort to establish the first ever national conference on prison ministry, which was hosted by the Diocese of Florida. Canon DeFoor brings to the service of the Diocese, many years of public service, including service as County Judge, Circuit Judge, and Sheriff. He is an advocate for the environment and an ambassador for Christ. Come and hear him preach at both the 9:00 and 11:00 services on February 21st.
New Outreach Ministry
We are happy to announce a new outreach ministry– Shepherd’s Hands Prayer Shawl Ministry. If you area knitter or a crocheter and would like to help, there arepatterns for both. For those ofyou that can not help in this way,we will take a cash donation. Also,if you are sometimes near a store that sells yarn, it takes three skeins to complete a shawl. This is not part of Busy Hands and we have to raise our own funds to support this ministry. If you have any questions please see Sr. Maria Ann or Fr. George.
Youth Trip To Cuba
The youth are working to raise money through T-Shirt sales, car washes and other activities to pay for their trip to Cuba. An anonymous parishioner has pledged a matching gift of up to $1,600 for new donations to the trip fund. If you have questions about the trip, youth fund raising, or giving toward this effort, please see Hal or Janet Airth.
Bishop Howard will be at St Luke’s on April 17, 2016 for Visitation and Confirmation. Fr. George will hold confirmation classes at 10:00am on Sunday, February 21, February 28, March 6 and March 13, 2016. Please let Fr. George know if you are interested. If you would like to be received from another church or want to reaffirm your commitment to Christ, please let Fr. George know. If you just want a short refresher course this will cover it.
We the choir would like to extend an invitation to anyone wishing to sing in the choir. We need Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses! :-). We rehearse on Sunday morning from 9:30am - 10:30am.
An anonymous benefactor fromour parish has very generously pledged up to $8,000 matching funds for contributions to the St.Luke’s labyrinth. This pledge would match contributions dollar for dollar. If fully matched by gifts, this contribution would bring the project very near completion.
Jim Weaver has stepped forward with a great interest and calling to help St. Luke’s grow our food ministry. Jim has a heart for serving and is looking for others similarly disposed to help bring God’s love and assistance to those in need. If you have an interest in this vital ministry of St. Luke’s, please see Jim or call him (386) 330-6856.
A new fitness class, led by Denise Watson, for beginners and seniors is meeting on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10am-10:45am in the parish hall. Bring light hand weights (1-3 pounds) and a bottle of water. Call Denise for more info at 352-239-3772.
If you are interested in serving on the Altar Guild, please contact Kathy Collins at 362-5617 for details.
Daughters of the King
The Daughters of the King will be meeting Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:00. The church will also be open at 5:15 for a time to gather with others for silent meditation.
Please feel welcome to join us for a meal and a refreshing of the Spirit. Anyone with questions can call Maureen Menosky at 386-776-1817.
Men’s Night Out
The Men’s Group will meet on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 6pm. All men are invited for good food and fellowship. It’s very informal, so BYOB.
The ladies of St. Luke’s Busy Hands would like to thank the parish for their support during their December handicraft sale. Without the commitment and love of God that these ladies have, this out-reach ministry would not be possible. Busy Hands now sends new-born caps and blankets to Wolfson’s
Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, and these items go home with the babies upon their release. We also provide assistance to five agencies here in Suwanee County: the Guardian Ad Litem Program, Vivid Vision, Love, Inc.; Healthy Start and the Suwannee School District, The first three receive our hats, handcrafted blankets and various baby items; and for Healthy Start we provide hats and blankets for the homeless children within the system.
If you crochet, knit or sew and would like to participate in this wonderful and rewarding ministry, you are invited to join us on the first Saturday of each month, from 9:30—11am, in the parish hall. The next Busy Hands meeting will be on Saturday, February 6th, 9:30am-11am. Please see Sister Maria Ann with any question or just stop by and see what we are working on.
Busy Hands Saturday February 20th 7am to 1pm
If you have donations you would like to bring before then, please speak to Sr. Maria Ann.
GODLY GAZETTE NOW AVAILABLE VIA EMAIL
If you would like to receive your gazette by email, please notify the church office and we will remove your name from the snail mail list and add it to the email list. Thanks for your help in helping manage our budget. Don’t forget to visit our website. Most, if not all, of the newsletter is posted online. You may let Ellen know @ firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.stlukesliveoak.org.
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