Grace in the Garden

This summer we are maintaining our regular Sunday morning schedule with three services at 8:00, 9:00 and 10:30am.  I want to highlight the 9:00am service, which is unique in a number of ways.

We call this service Grace in the Garden, because when it was introduced a couple of years ago it was held in the Memorial Garden, which features a stone altar. The only problem was the sun. Even at 9:00 in the morning, the sun could be quite oppressive. So, last year we moved over to the garden opposite to the Memorial Garden where there is plenty of shade, and a more intimate setting for the congregation to engage each other.

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The Ministry Fair Continues!

This past Pentecost Sunday we enjoyed a wonderful service -- with special music, a children's sermon, thanking our Sunday School teachers, and commissioning new members of the Daughter of the King -- followed by a pot lunch brunch. At the brunch 18 ministries were represented at our Ministry Fair. Many people were present, but we know many other parishioners could not be there due to other commitments.

 

So, the Ministry Fair continues electronically. Below the various ministries are listed with a brief description and who to contact to learn more. All these ministries are important, because each and everyone gives you the opportunity to serve others in the name of Christ and to experience firsthand the love and grace of God.  --Fr. Abshire

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Summer

The summer season at St. Luke's runs from the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (May 27) through the Sunday of Labor Day weekend (August 26). This summer we will continue with three Sunday morning services  -- the big change is that the 10:30 service will stay at 10:30. Meanwhile, the 9:00 service will move into the garden.

Special note: On Sunday, August 26 we will have one service at 9:00 followed by a pot lunch brunch. Save the date!

So much for practical planning, now here is a prayer to carry with you for summertime: 

--Fr. Abshire

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Pentecost Sunday Ministry Fair

The Day of Pentecost is the culmination of the Easter Season. It commemorates the gift of the Holy Spirit, as dramatically recounted in the Acts of the Apostles (chapter 2). It is the Holy Spirit that constitutes the Holy Church (remember, the word "holy" means set apart for divine purposes). God's Holy Spirit brings people together, in the name of Christ Jesus, and imbues them with talents for a multitude of good works (ministries).

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John Bell, Psalms and Iona

Last week, the clergy of the Diocese of Colorado gathered in Avon for the annual clergy retreat, hosted by Bishop Rob O'Neill. Our spiritual director for this three-day event was Rev. John Bell, a Scottish Presbyterian minister, hymn-writer and author. The retreat was titled "The Engaged Spirituality of Jesus."

John lead us through a of series talks, meditations and a sermon that showed how the Bible and Jesus Christ reveal how intimately involved God truly is in the lives of people, meeting them where they are. For me, it was John's session on Psalms, which are typically dismissed or avoided for being off-putting or unduly negative that was particularly eye-opening. For example, read through Psalms 5, 58 and 88. Psalm 88 especially conveys a sense of utter hopelessness; the final verse concludes: "...darkness is now my only companion."  Wow! That's not helpful...or is it.

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Getting to Know You

Of all the things Jesus teaches in the Gospel, one imperative ranks toward the top, welcoming and engaging the stranger. It's not just Jesus; as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds his community, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." (13:2).

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The Meaning of Easter

A few Sundays ago I confessed to a number of parishioners that I did not know what the word "Easter" meant. (Actually, I once knew, but forgot!) Then people began asking me, "So, have you found out yet what Easter means?" Fortunately, a resourceful member of the church took it upon herself to do the research, and then presented me with the results.  Here's what she found:

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Making Good on Our Baptismal Promises

This past Easter Vigil we baptized two very young children, a girl and a boy.  These baptisms occasioned our reciting The Baptismal Covenant.  This is a covenant the entire congregation pledges to uphold.  There are also two sets of promises that the parents and godparents commit to, which begin the Baptismal Rite.  These read as follows:

"Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is brought up in the Christian faith and life?"

"Will you, by your prayers and witness, help this child to grow into the full stature of Christ?"

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Your Church, Your Voice!

This Sunday we will introduce a new opportunity for parishioners to communicate their suggestions, appreciations, aspirations, feedback, and prayer requests to the Rector, Wardens and Vestry.  A attractive wood box will be affixed to the wall next to the reception area with cards that say Your Church, Your Voice!  Please make use of this new way to contribute to the mission and ministries of St. Luke's.  You'll have the option of including your email address and/or phone number, if you'd like a reply.

Many thanks to our co-Junior Warden, Jeni Forbes, for coming up with this great idea and making the arrangements for the suggestion box.  --Fr. Abshire

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Thank You to Bishop Rob from St. Luke's!

Bishop Rob O'Neill will be with us this Easter Sunday at the 11:00am service.  This will be his last visit to St. Luke's before his retirement early next year.  Therefore, we are inviting the congregation to bring cards or notes to church expressing our gratitude for Bishop Rob's faithful ministry. 

There will be a basket at all the Easter services, including the Saturday Easter Vigil, to collect cards, which then will be presented to the Bishop at the 11:00 service. 

Learn more about Bishop Rob life and work.  His biography is below.  --Fr. Abshire

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Building Faithful Families

The spiritual development of our children and teens is a priority at St. Luke's Church. At each baptism we commit to seeing that our children are "brought up in the Christian faith and life" and that we will help them to "grow into the full stature of Christ." These are promises made at each and every baptism. (See page 302 in the Book of Common Prayer.)

The important thing to remember is that this is a community effort. It involves us all as a church family. At the same time it begins with the parents of our st. Luke's children and youth.

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Preparing for Holy Week

Palm Sunday, which falls on March 25 this year, marks the beginning of Holy Week.  At St. Luke's our Holy Week observance consists of three days: Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  These services intimately recollect Jesus' journey to the Cross of Christ.  By participating in any or all of these services, we too make this journey with Jesus.

Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ can be fully appreciated by approaching it through Holy Week.  I encourage you to plan your schedule in advance to ensure your participation in these special worship experiences.  ~ Fr. Abshire

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Rescheduling the Bishop's Visit for Easter

Last week I announced that The Right Reverend Robert J. O'Neill would be visiting St. Luke's on Sunday, March 18.  The heading was "The Bishop is Coming, the Bishop is Coming!" 

Well, no sooner did that communiqué go out, than I received a call from the Bishop's office informing me that an unexpected scheduling conflict had arisen – an out-of-town funeral – and so the Bishop would not be able to visit on March 18. 

News flash: "The Bishop is NOT coming ... until Easter."

We've rescheduled Bishop Rob's visit for Easter Day, April 1.  He will be our celebrant and preacher at the 11:00 service (please note: on Easter there are only two services: 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.).  This rescheduling may work out for the better, because the previous date coincided with Spring Break when many families are out of town.  And, of course, we have full attendance on Easter.

Stay tuned for more details.

~ Fr. Abshire

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The Bishop is Coming, the Bishop is Coming!

The Right Reverend Robert J. O'Neill will visit St. Luke's on Sunday, March 18 at the 10:30 service.  There will be a Pot Luck reception in the Parish Hall, immediately following the service.

Because his visit comes in the Season of Lent, there will be no confirmations.

As many of you know, Bishop Rob has announced his retirement.  This will be his final visit to St. Luke's.  And so, this will be our local opportunity to thank him for his faithful ministry and to learn more about the Diocese of Colorado search process for our next Bishop. 

Regardless, of which service you normally attend, please plan to join us for the 11:30 reception.   

~ Fr. Abshire

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School Shooting and New Politics

On Sunday we prayed for the community of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in the wake of yet another mass shooting. This is the deadliest school shooting since the Sandy Hook Elementary five years ago. Many of you will remember the compelling presentation Sandy Hook mother, Scarlett Lewis, gave at St. Luke's in the fall of 2015. I highly recommend Scarlett's book, Nurturing, Healing, Love: A Mother's Journey of Hope & Forgiveness. Also, see the good work her non-profit is doing at the website, Jessie Lewis Choose Love Movement.

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Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

This past weekend I joined fifteen hundred concerned citizens, activists and political leaders in New Orleans for a conference to explore ways to get untoward money out of politics and get people to transcend their divisions to work together for the common good. 

So focused was I on the event, I complete forgot about Mardi Gras. Of course, Mardi Gras day is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, but in New Orleans, parades, balls and revelry begin several weeks prior...

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