Monday, October 19, 2015

Getting the Evangelistic Fervor Right for Church Revitalization

Lately I've started reading in the area of church revitalization.  One of the resources I picked up is Bill Henard's Can These Bones Live? A Practical Guide to Church Revitalization.  I was immediately struck by the following statistics cited by Henard:

  • 1,400 pastors in America leave the ministry monthly
  • Only 15% of churches in the United States are growing
  • 10,000 churches in America disappeared in a five-year period
  • The number of people in America that do not attend church has doubled in the past 15 years
  • The vast majority of churches have an attendance of less than 75

Elsewhere in the book, Henard notes the following:

Without new people coming into the church, the church will eventually die.  On average, churches will lose people:
  • 2% by death (older congregations obviously will have a much higher percentage)
  • 4% by transfer to other churches
  • 6% by inactivity or by dropping out
Thus, if a church is not replacing 10 to 12 percent of its membership each year, it then begins to plateau and eventually fall into decline, especially as these percentages increase due to age or demographic changes.

This data is all the more sobering when we see that The Episcopal Church's average Sunday attendance dropped by over 25% in just 12 years.  We've declined from 3.6 million members in the mid-1960s to 1.8 million today, even as the population in the United States has more than doubled (see Jeffrey Walton's "Episcopalians Continue Bleeding Members, Attendance at Alarming Rate"). 

Clearly, we're doing something wrong.

So in light of all of the data on decline, what's the next big thing on the docket for The Episcopal Church now that General Convention has officially launched the project of revising the theology of marriage?  Why, Prayer Book revision, of course!

I've already shared some curmudgeonly thoughts on why Prayer Book revision at this time and with the ideas proposed would be a disaster.  I'll simply repeat here a fact of history: every time Prayer Book revision has been undertaken, it's been divisive and people have left The Episcopal Church.  Pushing for Prayer Book revision at a time when The Episcopal Church is in free-fall decline is suicidal.  It's a strategy for accelerating ecclesial decline unto death.

Instead of driving off this cliff of destruction, we need to invest our time, talents, and money in church revitalization.  Among other things, that means taking evangelism seriously.  Here's what Bill Henard writes about this:

Evangelism is the barometer of our theology.  In other words, if a person's theology does not lead to having a passion for doing evangelism, that individual needs to get a new theology.  The same idea holds true for the church.  If the church does not have a strong theology that leads to evangelism, the pastor then knows some of the preparatory work that must be done before the church will begin to reach those outside of Christ.  This one thought may be the entire reason that the church has declined and is in need of revitalization.  Without a strong theology of evangelism, the church finds itself on the precipice of a slippery slope that affects every work and every ministry of the church.  Get the evangelistic fervor right and the church begins to head in the correct direction.

The correlation between having a "strong theology that leads to evangelism" and church vitality or revitalization strikes me as dead on.  How can any church or organization grow and thrive if the members don't passionately believe they have something unique that should be shared with anyone else who doesn't have it?  

I don't believe that progressive revisionist theologies that jettison the Nicene Creed and downplay the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the problem of sin, and our need for salvation are going to help us "get the evangelistic fervor right."  On the contrary, such theologies tend to reinforce the norms of self-expression and self-fulfillment worshiped by our culture as self-evident truths.  And those truths are central to the creed of a Moralistic Therapeutic Deism that marks a decisive shift to a post-Christian (and at times anti-Christian) posture towards the Church.  

Instead of pushing ideological agendas that violate the Baptismal Covenant promise to "continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship," and rather than promoting the culture's Moralistic Therapeutic Deism in the attempt to appear relevant, we need to recover a passion for the basics of the Christian faith.  We need to recover a passion for Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  And in line with the Baptismal Covenant promise to "proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ," we need to be able and willing to share with people outside the Church why they need a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our survival depends upon it.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sermon for the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist 2015

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

That short verse from the book of Proverbs sums up a whole world of wisdom. It reminds us of the importance in our daily lives of having purpose and direction. To have that, we need to articulate the core values that ground our identity. And we need to align our actions with those values. Otherwise we run the risk of wandering aimlessly through life and failing to utilize the gifts God has given us

We need to know who we are.

We need to know where we’re going.

We need to know what it takes to get there.

And one of the best ways for staying focused on these core values is by articulating a clear and memorable mission statement.

Even Jesus had a mission statement to keep him on track with his identity as the Christ. We see what that looks like in today’s Gospel reading.

Jesus has returned home to Nazareth where he’s attending Sabbath worship in the synagogue. Handing him a scroll of the book of Isaiah, he’s invited to read a passage of scripture. And out of all of the possible parts of that lengthy book of Isaiah, Jesus chooses the following verses to read aloud: 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

This passage from Isaiah serves as Jesus’ mission statement. It reveals Jesus’ true identity and purpose as the Christ. So if we want to know what Jesus is all about, we have to take a closer look at his mission statement. 

Using the words of Isaiah, Jesus starts out by saying that the Spirit of the Lord has anointed him “to bring good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18). Luke’s gospel always refers to “the poor” in a literal sense. So these are people who simply can’t make ends meet. These are people who don’t have enough food, adequate clothing or shelter, or other basic necessities of life. In Jesus’ day, many regarded poverty as a sign of God’s wrathful judgment and wealth as a sign of God’s blessing. By bringing good news to the poor, Jesus overturns popular opinion to reveal the generous scope of God’s care. Offering the hope of God’s love and the promise of God’s deliverance to the poor lie at the heart of Jesus’ mission.

Jesus has also been anointed by the Spirit “to proclaim release to the captives” (Luke 4:18). Throughout the Gospels, Jesus transforms the physical and spiritual conditions that bind people and hold them captive. As a healer, Jesus frees persons possessed by evil spirits and held in bondage to physical ailments. “Captives” also include those who are so imprisoned by sinful habits and desires that willpower alone cannot enable them to do good and avoid evil. People held captive move our Lord’s heart with compassion. Releasing them from bondage is a top mission priority. 

Jesus also provides “recovery of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18).  Jesus heals persons who have literally lost their sight, thereby freeing them from a desperate situation. For blindness carried a religious stigma in Jesus’ day, with many believing that blindness was a sign of God’s judgment for sin. And in a society with no safety nets, the blind often had to beg for their survival.

But the problem of blindness in the Gospels goes beyond literal sight. There’s also the problem of spiritual blindness. This happens when, through ignorance or willful rejection, persons cannot see the truth even when it’s right in front of their faces. Failing to see the truth, the spiritually blind lack purpose, meaning, and direction, and thus are easily tossed around by what St. Paul calls “every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).

God loves those who suffer from blindness. He wants to open their eyes and their hearts to see the truth that gives meaning, purpose, and direction to life. And for those who have eyes to see, that truth is most fully revealed in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.

Jesus rounds out his Kingdom agenda by claiming the Spirit’s anointing "to let the oppressed go free" (Luke 4:18). Oppression was rampant in Jesus’ day, including the Roman occupation of Israel, unfair taxation, and the extortion of widows and orphans by mercenary religious leaders. But the God we meet in the Bible is a God of justice. God cares about what’s right and fair. Abusing, manipulating, and taking advantage of people demeans their dignity, and that arouses God’s righteous anger and God’s desire to do justice.

Good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom for the oppressed: it’s a comprehensive Kingdom-of-God agenda that sends the powerful message that in Jesus Christ, God has come into this world to save, to heal, and to set things right. Through Jesus, God cares not just for our souls, but for us as whole persons. God wants abundant life for everyone right here, right now. 

Jesus shows us that no one is beyond the scope of God’s mercy and love. People who don’t fit into society, people who have suffered injustices, people who need help but cannot help themselves, and people who are looked down upon for their moral failings – these are precisely the people that move God’s heart with compassion. And they are the people Jesus actively seeks to befriend by offering them what they most deeply need but cannot give themselves: healing, hope, purpose, and freedom. 

Those are the core values and driving motives of Jesus’ ministry. And every person who has been baptized into his death and resurrection has been gifted by the Holy Spirit to share these values by joining with Jesus in the work of ministry. We do that by offering our gifts of time, talent, and treasure to promote Jesus’ Kingdom-of-God agenda. 

Just as Jesus had a mission statement to keep him on track, we who call St. Luke’s our spiritual home also have a mission statement. I believe it is consistent with the values of Jesus Christ, and that it accurately reflects who we are as a church family. It says: 

“Saint Luke’s is committed to caring for one another, to spiritual growth, and to bringing others closer to God through Jesus Christ.”

We are committed to caring for one another. 

We are committed to following our Lord’s example by befriending the friendless, reaching out to the lonely, the sick, the suffering, and to those who mourn. We do this in countless ways, with Lay Eucharistic Visitors taking the Blessed Sacrament to the sick and the shut in, Stephen Ministers befriending persons facing difficult challenges, clergy and laypersons visiting persons in the hospital, meals prepared and delivered to families who have lost loved ones, prayer shawls knit and delivered to the sick .... The list could go on and on of the acts of love and care we extend to one another and beyond our church family in the name of Jesus Christ. And your support makes it happen. 

We are committed to spiritual growth. 

As you can see in your bulletin announcements, we have a full array of Christian formation offerings for all ages on Sunday mornings. We have an active youth group that lately has been collaborating with the youth from Trinity Episcopal Church. We have several Bible studies that meet during the week, as well as a Men’s Fellowship and a recently launched Young Adult Ministry. We have special seasonal offerings, such as our Wednesday Lenten Series. We are blessed with numerous opportunities each week for spiritual growth. And your support makes it happen. 

We are committed to bringing others closer to God through Jesus Christ. 

The things I’ve already mentioned bring people into closer relationship with God. Foundational to it all is what we’re doing right now: worship. Offering praise and thanksgiving to God in this holy space, hearing God’s Word read and proclaimed in preaching, gathering at the altar to be fed by God, and joining our voices with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven as we sing in joyful response to the Good News of God’s amazing grace and love. What a wonderful thing it is to come together each Sunday to give thanks to God for all that He has done for us in Jesus Christ. And your support makes it happen. 

Our parish mission statement provides a blueprint for answering God’s call as a church family. Living the core values of our mission statement, we share in the healing work of Jesus Christ by bringing faith, hope, and love into other people’s lives. And it’s only possible because we are willing to offer our gifts for the work of ministry.

I pray that you will join me in making a financial commitment to insure that St. Luke’s has the resources needed to equip us for God’s work. As we make that commitment, may we know the joy of belonging to a loving spiritual home that touches lives with the love of God, that nurtures spiritual growth for all ages, and that brings people into deeper relationship with the One in whom alone we find our true identity and purpose.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Prayer Book Revision Disaster

Since the the last General Convention initiated the process of Prayer Book revision, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific held a symposium on "Imagining a New Prayer Book" on October 8, 2015.  The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers led the forum.  Here are some highlights of the forum as reported by The Living Church:

The Rev. Ruth Meyers predicted this week that a revised Book of Common Prayer will most likely reflect changes in creation, baptism, and trinitarian theology. ...

Drawing heavily on the work of Mary E. McGann, RSCJ, of Franciscan School of Theology and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Meyers advocated for more robust attention to ecological issues in the church’s worship. The church must move beyond the “tepid prayers” of the current book, which focus mainly on conservation of natural resources, to more “robust forms of confession and lament … giving voice to the cries of our wounded planet and its creatures.” 
She urged more extensive use of language identifying God as Creator, and for prayers that acknowledge new scientific insights, the beauty and goodness of creation, and our fellowship with all created things. A more effusive use of symbols, she noted, may also be an opportunity to restore reciprocity between the theologies of creation and redemption in the prayer book’s account of Christian belief. 
Meyers said a “baptismal consciousness” has clearly developed across the Episcopal Church since the introduction of the 1979 Prayer Book. But the baptism liturgy might be deepened to bear witness to the insights of its creators. Influenced by baptismal revisions in other Anglican churches over the last few decades, Episcopalians might consider using water and oil more extravagantly, reciting the Creed during a baptism, and developing new Baptismal Covenant petitions about environmental stewardship. 
Meyers urged continuing use of “expansive language” for God, including a return to “more concrete images of the Bible and the liturgy” in place of the arcane philosophical language of the fourth-century creeds. The texts of the 1979 book, while using a more inclusive language for humanity, are “overwhelmingly masculine in language and imagery.”  
She described the Nicene Creed as “a stumbling block for many,” and wondered if a creed is necessary during the Eucharist, given the Great Thanksgiving’s robust affirmation of God’s work in Christ. The use of modern creedal texts alongside the Nicene Creed might be a creative opportunity for engaging worshipers.

Read it all.

As an advocate of Christian orthodoxy and liturgy rooted in the catholic faith, I find this deeply troubling.  It's a reminder that with so few orthodox Episcopalians remaining in The Episcopal Church (particularly among the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies at General Convention), progressive revisionists are now free to change the content of the Christian faith in whatever ways fit their ideological agendas.  Citing new revelation, it starts with redefining the theological understanding of marriage as outlined in the Prayer Book's marriage rite and the catechism (last summer's General Convention made a decisive start on achieving that goal).  Next will be a severing of the relationship between Baptism and Eucharist.  I recently read somewhere that there are those who wish to regularly omit the confession of sin from the Eucharist, while others wish to eliminate the language of "Lordship" for Jesus as too patriarchal and oppressive.  

God only knows what other changes folks like Meyers have in mind when it comes to "creation, baptism, and trinitarian theology."

Orthodoxy and catholicity are on the chopping block.  And the smell of heresy is in the air.

In a posting on the Prayer Book at The Living Church, Fr. Jordan Hylden and Fr. Keith Voets hit the nail on the head:

We fear that a revised prayer book would not be written for the church committed to the Bible and the faith of the apostles, but for the church of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, with all particularistic and judgmental edges shorn off. It is less and less culturally necessary for young people to attend church now, and this trend will likely continue. If one can worship the god of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism from the comfort of one’s own home, and perhaps also from the shopping aisles at Whole Foods and the local yoga studio, then why bother with church? A prayer book written to suit such a god will be an exercise in futility, not to mention idolatry.

Futility and idolatry, indeed.

But back to the "Imagining a New Prayer Book" symposium.  Of particular interest to this creedal Christian is Meyers' quip that the Nicene Creed is "a stumbling block for many."  I've written before about instances of banning the creed to be "inclusive," letting go of the creed in the liturgy, dumping the creed for Easter, and dishing the creeds because they are "defective."  I won't rehash all of that here.

But I would like to point out that this business of eliminating alleged "stumbling blocks" to be more "inclusive" could put us on a dangerous slippery slope.  I recall that no less an authority than St. Paul notes that Jesus is both "a stumbling block" and "foolishness" (1 Corinthians 1:23).  So if The Episcopal Church is now in the business of removing stumbling blocks, what are we do to with this Jesus and the scandal of particularity he forces us to face?  Perhaps this is why some are calling for abolishing the language of "Lord" to talk about Jesus.  Shall we now avoid the name of Jesus altogether lest we offend secularists, atheists, and adherents of other religions who may find Christian claims about Jesus problematic?

If the Nicene Creed is eliminated in a new Prayer Book, it becomes much easier to water Jesus down to be more palatable for an increasingly post-Christian society.  Since the Nicene Creed defines a robust orthodox Christology over against Arianism (no "tepid prayers" going on here!), omitting this creed makes it easier to downplay or deny that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.  If he's not fully divine, Jesus was just another human being like you and me.  And as merely human, he can be invoked as the champion of our politically correct causes, conforming to our expectations and agendas.  He can be commissioned as just another liberal social justice prophet who says what our itching ears want to hear.  And we can dream up all kinds of liturgies that use this Jesus to advance the cause of our politically-correct righteousness.

Part of that cause may be to purge the last remaining orthodox Christians from The Episcopal Church.  It's a brilliant strategy.  Instead of launching a frontal assault that from a PR angle would look really bad for those who purportedly champion "inclusion," just change the Prayer Book to eliminate orthodoxy.  That puts orthodox laity and clergy in the predicament of having to decide to either participate in liturgies that affirm heresy or leave The Episcopal Church. 

But considering the fact that The Episcopal Church continues in free fall decline, such a strategy strikes me as almost comically misguided.  Consider the following statistics as reported by Jeffrey Walton in an article entitled "Episcopalians Continue Bleeding Numbers at Alarming Rate":

The church’s domestic U.S. membership dropped 2.7 percent from a reported 1,866,758 members in 2013 to 1,817,004 in 2014, a loss of 49,794 persons. Attendance took an even steeper hit, with the average number of Sunday worshipers dropping from 623,691 in 2013 to 600,411 in 2014, a decline of 23,280 persons in the pews, down 3.7 percent. 
The numbers are significantly worse than 2013, when the church reported a 1.4 percent decline in membership and 2.6 percent decline in average Sunday attendance. 
Other measures of Episcopal Church vitality also saw decline: the denomination reported the shuttering of 69 parishes and missions, down from 6,622 in 2013 to 6,553 in 2014. Children’s baptisms declined 4.8 percent from 25,822 to 24,594 and adult baptisms declined during the same time-frame from 3,675 to 3,530, a decline of nearly 4 percent. 
Overall, the church has declined from a high of 3.6 million members in the mid-1960s to 1.8 million today, even as the U.S. population has more than doubled. The church has lost more than a quarter of its attendance since 2003.

Read it all.

At a time when attendance in The Episcopal Church has declined by over 25% in just 12 years, it's foolish to seriously think about changing the liturgies that shape the most basic ways in which we relate to God and to each other.  Our efforts would be better spent on evangelism and revitalization.  

Prayer Book revision a la Ruth Meyers may be a perfect way to encourage remaining orthodox Episcopalians to leave.  But there are many moderate and moderately progressive Episcopalians who may also take offense and decide to go elsewhere if things like the Nicene Creed, the necessity of Baptism for receiving the Eucharist, a theology of sin and redemption, and the language of "Lord" for Jesus are dumped.  Liturgies grounded in utilitarian religion and self-fulfillment will run out of gas.  Pursuing this agenda, the progressive revisionists may be sawing off the limb on which they sit.  

Whether we look at it from the angle of including the witness of a Christian orthodoxy that connects us to Anglicans worldwide and to the Church throughout the ages, or from the angle of addressing the serious institutional decline afflicting The Episcopal Church at a time when many younger persons crave traditional liturgy, Prayer Book revision at this time and in this manner would be a mistake.  Put both of those concerns together and Prayer Book revision would be a disaster.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Answering God's Call: A Stewardship Sermon

It was Sunday morning and a little boy didn’t want to go to church. He did his best to resist but in the end his parents won out. Everything seemed to be going just fine. But then, during the service, the pastor’s sermon dragged on and on. It felt like it would never end. The little boy grew more and more restless with each passing minute. Finally, he leaned over to his mother and whispered: “Mommy, if we give him money now, will he let us go?” 

Many of us may have felt like that little boy at one time or another. And perhaps especially so when it comes time for the Annual Giving Campaign, which we’re kicking off here at St. Luke’s this morning. It’s perfectly understandable. Talking about money and giving to the church can make some folks feel uncomfortable. And depending on our history, we may have been involved in churches in the past that used guilt to inspire giving. 

It’s so very sad if that happens. Because giving to the church is not about guilt; it’s about stewardship. And stewardship is really just another way of talking about discipleship. To talk about discipleship is to talk about answering the call to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. And by following Jesus we know the way to the truth that sets us free to receive the priceless gift of abundant life. 

What could be better than that? 

I’m reminded of a hymn we sang at the 9 o’clock service last Sunday. It’s one of my all-time favorites. The words were written by the Anglican priest and poet George Herbert, and they sum up the beauty and the joy of answering the call to follow Jesus. 

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
such a way as gives us breath;
such a truth as ends all strife;
such a life as killeth death.  
Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength;
such a light as shows a feast;
such a feast as mends in length;
such a strength as makes his guest. 
Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
such a joy as none can move;
such a love as none can part;
such a heart as joys in love.  
(Hymnal #487) 

Can you hear it? Can you hear the depths of joy and gratitude to God in those words? Can you hear God’s call to feast, to friendship, and to life-changing communion with Him? 

Because that’s what the invitation to give our time, our talents, and our money to our church family is really all about.  It’s an invitation to new life. And the response to that invitation takes the form of ministry. 

Ministry is not reserved for a special class of “professional Christians.” It’s not just bishops, priests, and deacons who are ministers. On the contrary, every baptized Christian is a minister. Every person who has been sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever is called to use their time, their talents, and their money to do the work of ministry. 

St. Paul unpacks all of this in his first letter to the Corinthians. He writes: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone” (1 Cor 12:4-6)

Paul underscores the truth that we all share the same faith. We’re all baptized into the same Lord. We all belong to that part of the Body of Christ that we call St. Luke’s. 

And yet, Paul also highlights the ways in which we are all different. In our baptisms, each of us is uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit to make offerings that no one else can in quite the same way. Regardless of how young or old we are, regardless of whether or not we’re new to St. Luke’s or we’ve been here since this church started in the cow pasture, every single one of us possesses spiritual gifts for ministry. And God calls each of us to use those gifts for the good of St. Luke’s. 

St. Paul continues by noting that “each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits” (1 Cor 12:7, The Message). For “to each is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7, NRSV)

There’s no such thing as a “small” or “unimportant” gift. All of it matters. Everything given to support the ministries of St. Luke’s makes a difference. Each offering gives glory to God. And everything we offer bears witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ. 

It’s a basic stewardship principle that what we keep, we lose; but what we give, we have. 

What we keep, we lose. What we give, we have. 

If we hold on to our gifts, we lose the joy of working with God to touch people’s lives with His love and grace. But if we share what we’ve been given, it comes back to us and to the whole parish with countless blessings. 

Many of us have experienced this in our commitments to the ministries of St. Luke’s. How many times I’ve heard someone say, “I feel like I’ve received more than I’ve given by participating in this ministry.” Or: “I entered into this to share with others, but I feel like I was the one ministered to.” When that happens, it’s a sign that the Holy Spirit is at work - empowering, renewing, and transforming. 

God calls all of us to follow Jesus. God calls all of us to gather regularly for corporate worship. God calls all of us to work, to pray, and to give our gifts for the spread of the Kingdom. Those gifts include not only our spiritual gifts, but also our financial gifts. The money we generously give to St. Luke’s makes it possible for us to worship God in the beauty of holiness. And it makes it possible for us to fulfill our mission of caring for one another, spiritual growth, and bringing others closer to God through Jesus Christ. 

Along with a letter from me, most of you should have also received a copy of a prayer card. We have extra copies of the prayer card in the back of church and in the church office if you need one. This is the prayer on that card: 

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a loving spiritual home at St. Luke’s.  
What do you want to do through me for the good of St. Luke’s? 
Help me to hear your call to serve and to do your will with a grateful heart. 

As we enter into reflection on what it means to be stewards of God’s gifts, I invite you to use this prayer in your daily walk with Christ. I invite you to prayerfully reflect on what St. Luke’s means to you and to your family. I invite you to prayerfully listen for God’s call to serve one another and this community through the ministries of St. Luke’s. And I invite you to prayerfully listen for God’s call to support our ministries with your financial commitment. 

After taking time to pray and to listen for God’s call, all of us will have an opportunity to answer God’s call to make a financial commitment to St. Luke’s beginning on Sunday, October 18. 

As we prayerfully discern how to answer God’s call to give our spiritual and financial gifts, I pray that we will be grateful for belonging to this wonderful church family of St. Luke’s. And I pray that we will answer God’s call with the joy that comes from belonging to Jesus and to a loving spiritual home that welcomes everyone’s gifts for the work of ministry. 

My friends, every single one of you is minister of the Gospel. Every single one of you is gifted by the Holy Spirit. And God is calling you to serve and support St. Luke’s with the gifts of your time, your talents, and your money.

How will you answer God’s call?