United Methodist Church 480 S Highland, Memphis, TN 38111
THE EPISTLE The Monthly Newsletter of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
480 S. Highland St. • Memphis, Tennessee • 901-452-6262 • www.stlukesumc.org St. Luke’s,
THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS. ROMANS 8:1
Easter teaches us that God alone transforms awful realities into awesome opportunities. As we move through Lent, headed for Easter, let us never forget this. There is a true story about a kindergarten teacher in a Christian school who was determining how much religious training her new student had. While talking with one little boy, to whom the story of Jesus was obviously brand new, she began relating the story of Jesus’s death on the cross. When he asked what a cross was, the teacher picked up some sticks, fashioned them into a crude cross and then explained how Jesus was actually nailed to a cross and then dies. With downcast eyes, the little boy quietly acknowledged, “Oh, that’s too bad.” In her response, the teacher related how he rose again and came back to life. Then the little boy’s eyes got as big as saucers. He lit up and exclaimed, “Totally awesome.” St. Luke’s, I have four years of theological training, but that is one of the greatest definitions of Easter that I have ever heard. Psychologists have discovered that the most immobilizing emotion is the fear of death. The great enemy that was spoken about in the Old Testament book of Isaiah has been conquered and defeated by the Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus can always transform fear into faith. There is no need to be afraid of death, because Jesus Christ is your passport to forever. In the tradition of the ancient Russian Orthodox church, the day after Easter was devoted to telling jokes. Priests would join with people in the unveiling of their best jokes for one another. It was an interesting tradition of imitating the cosmic joke that God pulled on Satan in the Resurrection. Satan thought he won on Friday, but God had the last laugh on Sunday. And St. Luke’s, that is a marvelous and awesome perspective to have. Happy Easter, Pastor Jim
window on worship from your
Worship: A Time for All Seasons Spring is here—or so the weatherman announced on March 21—and now Easter is here, too! Easter 2022 is Sunday, April 17. You might, however, say that there are multiple Easters. Easter, the Hallmark holiday, is one of cards, chocolate bunnies and egg hunts shared with friends, neighbors, and family. Many of those same families will also celebrate Easter as the day of resurrection in houses of worship with the Christian faithful all around the globe. While the Hallmark Easter cards will be gone by Monday, the Easter celebrated by Christians around the world will continue. The 4th century bishop, St. Augustine, is credited with a famous saying about Christians:
“We are Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.” In the UMC Hymnal is a special hymn reminding us of St. Augustine’s message: Easter People, Raise Your Voices “Easter people, raise your voices, Sounds of heaven in earth should ring. Christ has brought us heaven’s choices; Heavenly music let it ring. Alleluia! Alleluia! Easter people, let us sing.” Reverend William Marceus James, born in Meadville, Mississippi in 1913, wrote this hymn for his congregation at Metropolitan Community UMC in New York City in 1979.
The triumph of the resurrection over evil is the theme of this hymn. In stanza two, the poet reminds us that the “fear of death” cannot stop us from doing all we can to overcome evil “here below.” The final stanza insists: “Every day to Christians is Easter” because our God is one who “rights the wrong.” Reverend James’ ministry and his 97 years of life reflected his belief in the power of the resurrection to make a difference in the lives of those whom he served. We can all be Easter people. Worship at St. Luke’s both in person and online is available in ALL seasons. We hope you will join us as we worship together as Easter people 52 weeks a year.
Glorifying Jesus On Transfiguration Sunday in Children’s Church, the children were asked to help create a “trophy or reward” showing why we praise and glorify Jesus. Pictured is what they created, and here are a few of the children’s ideas of what they wanted included and why: Ashton’s idea was an angel with wings and a heart signifying love for Jesus and his angels watching over us. Henry said blue and green for the world with rain drops coming
from clouds because God sends rain. Fitz said there should be a cross and a heart of love for Jesus. Eli wanted wings for all of the angels. We are blessed with such a sweet group of children, and a dedicated team of youth and adult volunteers who lead Children’s Worship in the Lighthouse. The real blessing is being able to worship, pray, and learn together each week!
Beth Ryan, email@example.com • 452-6262, ext. 119
St. Luke’s Youth is currently working to prepare to lead the congregation in worship on April 24! Sunday nights have been a full time of being together, growing our life in Christ, and focusing on “The Big Questions.”
Young Adult Ministry Young Adults will meet to go to lunch together on April 10. We hope you will join us at worship that day and meet in Hospitality Hall afterwards to pick a place to go eat. Please let me know if you have any questions or know someone we should invite! I recently read an article about Young Adult Ministry from Fuller Youth Institute:
“Your faith community has what young adults want: YOU Many ministry leaders we worked with felt that they had nothing to offer young adults because they don’t have a young adult ministry pastor or wellattended program. Too often, leaders’ focus on what they don’t have blinds them to what they do have. Faith communities are rich in experience, wisdom, space, and sometimes even resources
if they’re willing to share them in a relationship with young adults. You have more to offer than you think. Young adults are searching for wise mentors and communities who take them seriously, consider their ideas and support some of them, mentor them with their wisdom, mutually grow, and seek to make a difference together.” How might God be calling our community of faith to connect with Young people? If you are interested in talking more about this or have ideas, please call or email me! I’d love to talk about it with you. —Beth
Sign up for Boys & Girls Soccer Stars! ages 4-7
Register at stlukesumc.org/ recreation.
• 5 weeks beginning April 23 • Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. on the field • $75. Register by April 18. Call Micah Breckenridge at 901-833-7625 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Children’s Ministry Day School News
Please welcome Mary Page Contreras as our new Children’s Ministry Director! Amy Pearson will continue in her role as Day School Director. You may reach Mary Page at marypage. email@example.com.
Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday, April 16
Once again, we will offer two egg hunts at 9:30 and 10:15. Please sign up at stlukesumc.org. Families are invited to decorate a cookie, play some games, do crafts and end the morning with a fun egg hunt for all ages (new eggs and hiding spots for both hunts!).
The days are flying by in the Day School. The kids are growing so fast and learning so much, it’s hard to keep up!
School Easter Egg Hunt VBS “Jerusalem Marketplace” is Coming!
We are so excited to have VBS June 13-16 (please take note of our date change!). We are doing something a little different this year and offering VBS from 5-7 p.m. A light supper will be provided for those coming straight from camp, daycare, or work. If you’ve never participated before, this is your year!
Classes will have egg hunts on Thursday, April 14 (rain or shine) before our Easter break (off Good Friday and the Monday after Easter).
Pastries for Parents Tuesday, April 26
Parents are invited to stick around during arrival to enjoy pastries with their children. We will gather in the Fellowship Hall, 8:15-8:30 a.m. This will be a great time to visit with other families and enjoy time as a community.
St. Luke’s Challengers Summer Camp 2022 May 31-July 29
St. Luke’s Challengers offers dynamic camp programming by combining field trips, in-house activities, and various visits from professionals. We provide engaging and unique experiences that will challenge your child to make new and exciting memories. We partner with a variety of local venues to bring the best of Memphis to St. Luke’s! During the summer, Challengers is open MondayFriday from 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (except for Memorial Day and Fourth of July). We welcome students entering kindergarten through 7th graders. We offer a junior counselor program for our 8th10th grade students as well. 4
Vic Feisal from Anna Anderson, Betty Green, Glenda Sharp, Laurie and Brooks Monypeny, Herman Heuberger, Maryanne and Don Macdonald, Mark A. and Terri Aycock, Adele Bryan and Family Peggy Miller from Barbara Caldwell, Carole Feisal, Rita Richardson, Janie Hendrix, Harry and Bette Colter, Mary R. Todd, Catherine D. Swan, Joel Alexander, Rev. Martha and Jerry Wagley, Hal and Betty Padgett, Miller Delgadillo Beverly Poletti from Seekers Sunday School class, Rita Richardson, Barbara Caldwell, Janie Hendrix, Mary Lou Cushing Al Simpson from Jim and Shirley Robinson, Vickey Hobbs, Janie Hendrix, Rorie Read, Barbara Caldwell, Marilyn Sadler, Denton and Amy Pearson, Carole Feisal, Rita Richardson, Miller Delgadillo, Harry and Bette Colter, Hal and Betty Padgett, Tom and Patty Burkett, David and Olivia Robertson, Mary Lou Cushing, Sid and Nan Simpson, Marilyn Sadler, Willie C. Livingston, Renee & Darryl Murray, Marcy Mittelstadt, Gary Webb Bill Stewart from Deborah “Deb” Sanders, Vickey Hobbs, Janie Hendrix
“Level Up” Prayer Ministry
By Pat Anderson For more than 3 years I have prayed for a new level of prayer at St. Luke’s. The Lord is faithful and does provide, thus we are leveling up! We have 14 Prayer Warriors to date who are praying daily for the needs of our congregation. If you would like to volunteer, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 901-489-3757. We will maintain a current list to be published in the bulletin each week. At the end of each month we will level up those individuals who need our continued prayers. They will stay on the Prayer Warriors list until you tell us prayers are no longer requested. I am so excited to start this new, added dimension to our Prayer Ministry.
There is a great need for items for move-in kits. A request has been made for cleaning supplies whether for bathroom, kitchen or for general purpose cleaning. St. Luke’s has always been generous in providing and supporting Golden Cross ministries. There is a bin for your donated supplies in the hallway near the steps to the sanctuary. Please leave your donation there and I will be sure that it is passed on to Golden Cross. This ministry works to provide housing for seniors through Wesley Living. Monetary donations are appreciated, too.— Marty Cobb
United Methodist Women Is Now United Women in Faith
Our Mission: We seek to connect and nurture women through Christian spiritual formation, leadership development, creative fellowship and education so that they can inspire, influence and impact local and global communities. Our Vision: We are a powerful, fearless force driven by God’s love and united in sisterhood. With a focus on women, children and youth, we act for justice and transform communities. We face the realities we see in the world, even when they are not the ones we would like to see. However, our goal is not to bear witness simply to harms but also to God’s love by acting boldly to change those harms. “This is an exciting time for our organization!” said Harriett Jane Olson, CEO of United Women in Faith. “Looking back, we see the through lines for our organization—faith in God, love for each other and commitment to putting our faith into action supporting women, children, and youth. These commitments have been expressed in different ways at different times using different names, always calling women to world changing action. This combination of a new look, more accessible resources for members and new ways to participate, positions us for impact in our own journeys and in how we engage the world that God so loves.” See www.umfaith.org for more information.
After worship on March 20, we gathered in the Christian Life Center for pizza, games, crafts, “beach” volleyball, board games, and other arts and crafts activities.
Palm Sunday: April 10, 10:30 a.m.
Palm Sunday, the final Sunday of Lent, commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem.
Maundy Thursday: April 14, 6 p.m.
On the night before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and then gave them a new commandment to love one another as he had loved them.
Good Friday: April 15, 6 p.m.
On this day we commemorate the passion and death on the cross of Jesus Christ.
Easter Sunday: Sunrise Service in the Courtyard, 7 a.m.
Worship, 10:30 a.m. At Easter, we remember that through Jesus’ triumph over the power of sin and death we can have eternal life.
Saturday, April 16
2 sessions: 9:30 & 10:15 Register online
St. Luke’s UMC • 480 S. Highland St. • 901-452-6262 • stlukesumc.org
Easter Sunday Flower Display If you would like to contribute to our floral Easter display in the sanctuary on Easter Sunday, complete this form and return to the Church Office by Monday, April 11. The cost is $25. A list of honorariums and memorials will be published on Easter Sunday, April 17. Name Phone Email In Honor of
In Memory of
Amount enclosed: $_________________
You are Invited
Thoughts on Ministry At the conclusion of April, Sunday Night Live and Wondrous Wednesdays will be five months old. Our studies have focused on Care Talk and Family Ministry with the first Sunday and first Wednesday devoted to a worship service/Bible study. Consequently, an evaluation is in order. As a 5-month-old, the ministry is in its infancy and, at the moment, crawling. Likewise in a similar tone as crawling is all part of that baby gaining strength to eventually walk. Our experiences in these 16 weeks have given us direction on how to strengthen this ministry, especially the Care Talk ministry. We will probably start this again in the fall. The Care Shops will be shared in a traditional instructional format. For those who have questions about certain kinds of situations or desire clarity, there will be built into the session time after the formal sharing to do so. And always a home visit to carrying on the conversation is certainly an option which I would really enjoy. In reference to the Family Ministry, the projection is to focus on the St. Luke’s Church family as a family of many families—all having similarities and unique journeys. Very soon there will be more about this ministry in the Epistle and church bulletin. In the meantime, I am available of course to be side by side with any family who is staring down at upcoming pressing situations or smack in the middle of one. Please don’t try to carry out this responsibility on your own. Other changes include ending the Wondrous Wednesdays gathering time due to daylight savings time. Instead I will devote my time to visiting on Wednesdays. I am grateful for the opportunity you have given me to initiate this ministry and grow it out of its crawling stage to a walking stage and someday, to a running stage. A pleasant day to all. I’m so happy to be back at St. Luke’s.
Sunday, April 10, 5:00-6:00 p.m. Care Talk: The Place of Prayer and Scripture Sunday, April 17, 5:00-6:00 p.m. Family Ministry: The underlying issues related to family members involved in providing health care for those in the family. Sunday, April 24, 5:00-6:00 p.m. Care Talk: The difference between urgent care and intensive care.
If you need pastoral care, you are free to call Pastor Dennis Neenan at 901-378-7505.
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the
of others. Philippians 2:4
Sincerely, Pastor Dennis Neenan
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