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Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Junior High Sunday School is sponsoring a coat and backpack drive to benefit AIDNW-Advocates for Immigrants in Detention. AIDNW is a non-profit organization located here

The Junior High Sunday School is sponsoring a coat and backpack drive to benefit AIDNW-Advocates for Immigrants in Detention. AIDNW is a non-profit organization located here in Tacoma. People are released in the clothes they were originally wearing when they were detained. Some come out in January in t-shirts.

We are collecting coats and backpacks now through Nov. 12. Please bring new or gently used clean coats and backpacks for men and
women to the collection bin in the Parish Hall.

STEWARDSHIP FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION

We have been blessed to have been members of this parish community and family for over 40 years. We have raised our children, seen chil-dren and grandchildren baptized, children mar-ried, and said goodbye to loved ones in this, our church home. During our years at St. Luke’s we have seen not less than seven rec-tors come and go and been a part of over 40 stewardship campaigns. As we participate in this year’s Consecration Sunday campaign and reflect back on previous campaign, we are reminded of how Christian stewardship, and particularly stewardship at St. Luke’s, has evolved and changed our lives over the years.

Beginning at St. Luke’s in the early 70’s as what would be now known as millenials, we were just starting our family and our careers. Though both raised in church-going families, we had very little personal experience with stewardship or giving in general. It was simply not a topic discussed around our dinner tables growing up. As with most young parents with new jobs and family responsibilities, our lives were hyper-busy and our focus was inward. Though we attended church semi-regularly and tried to get the kids to Sunday school, there was precious little time for being “active” members of the parish. Though we would reach into our purse or wallet and drop a few dollars into the plate as it was passed on the Sundays we did attend, we had no real sense of commitment and certainly no concept of the relationship between our financial resources and what it means to be a Christian. We are writing this today so that the younger members of our parish community do not make the same mistake we did.

It took many years and stewardship campaigns for us to understand that our financial support is not about our money at all but about how we view our relationship with God. For years our focus was only on the budget, both ours and that of the parish; how we were going to pay the light bill or repair the roof, or pay the rector’s salary. Though it took far too long, at some unidentifiable moment the light went on for us.

We realized that the budget was not the reason we give; our focus should no longer be on where the pledge was going to come from or how the money might be spent. Finally, we realized that we give for the simple reason that we love God and are thankful every day for his grace and the countless blessings he has bestowed on us. With that realization, we no longer dreaded the annual stewardship drive but welcomed it as an oppor-tunity to look back over the year and count the many blessings God had once again provided.

This is the message we feel compelled to pass on; especially to the young families in our parish community. Don’t wait like we did until you have gray hair and join the “old fogey” club to transform your thinking about your relationship with money and God. A healthy understanding of stewardship should begin as soon as you have expendable income at any level. Whatever your chronological age, your family situation, or your financial re-sources, you are a recipient of God’s blessings including the joy associated with being a member of this loving parish community. We ask that you prayerfully consider what your relationship to God and your parish community is calling you to do on Consecration Sunday, November 19.

The Right Reverend Greg Rickel, Bishop of the Diocese of Olympia, will be making his visitation to St Luke’s Church on Sunday, December 3, 2017.

At the 10am service that day, ten of our members will be Confirmed in the church by the Bishop. These ten people have been preparing for Confir-mation for the past 7 months and will continue to prepare this fall.

It is also appropriate for the Bishop to Baptize dur-ing this service. If you are thinking about Baptism for an adult or child or infant, please contact Mar-lene.

We hope to maximize our time with the Bish-op. He will officiate and preach at 8am service , then go to coffee hour. At 9:15 he will meet with those candidates about to be Confirmed. At the 10 am service we will have 1 or 2 Baptisms and 10 Confirmations. After the service, the Bishop will spend a brief time at coffee hour and then meet with the Vestry.

We hope you will make every effort to be a part of this important day and support our members who are being Confirmed in the church.

November 2017

In the last Bridge I wrote about spiritual practices. Prayer, fasting, corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Following on those ideas, and long held recognizable traditions in Christianity, I would like to explore what it means to be the church in the world. Most would agree that we have been richly blessed as a parish community. St Luke’s is thriving and vibrant with amazing children’s ministries and music. We have an amazing and inspirational worship space which is well cared for. This is our home base.

Yet when we read the Gospel we find God’s mission in the world to be much more expansive than the walls of the church. Therefore to fulfill that mission, to engage and participate in it, we need to turn our attention outward. Now is a good time.

We can begin by talking to one another about how we do this. Acknowledging those practices that are already realized, and finding in them the inspiration to look further.

On St Luke’s Feast Day we hear the Gospel story of Jesus returning to his home town of Nazareth and going to the synagogue as was his custom. He got up to read and was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He turned to the place where it is written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. We may note here that Jesus does not say that his mission is to build a church, to have beautiful worship services, or even to build Christian community. All important things. He does point to a mission outside the walls of the synagogue. This may be one of the times when we ought to take and read the scriptures literally. We can ask: Where are captives in Tacoma? Who are the poor in Pierce County? Who are bruised? The brokenhearted? Who has had a bad year and needs a year of favor?

Many parishioners do this kind of Gospel work in their chosen vocation, teaching underprivileged children, helping people find work, or working in healing professions are a few examples. Others volunteer. Let’s find a way to talk about this, and hold up these Christian practices for inspiration; and together to discover further the expansiveness of living the Gospel and engaging God’s mission in the world about us.

All of the spiritual practices, even including prayer, are outward focused. In all of these practices we suspend our own desires in favor of a higher purpose and calling, By following Christ in this way, we engage God’s mission in the world.

(Refresher on works of mercy:)
Corporal Works of Mercy:
feed the hungry
shelter the homeless
clothe the naked
visit the sick and imprisoned
bury the dead
give alms to the poor

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of com-passion by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs.
instruct
advise
console
comfort
forgive
bear wrongs patiently
We hope you will make every effort to be a part of this important day and support our members who are being Confirmed in the church.