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St. Luke

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The Monthly Newsletter of St. Luke United Methodist Church ¡ December 2017

This Month 2. Because of Bethlehem 3. Worship with the Choir 4. Christmas Worship Schedule 6. Giving Matters 7. Stewardship Update 8. St. Luke Basketball League 10. Announcements 11. Blue Barrel Sunday 11. From the Pantry Shelf 12. Advent Book Study 13. Happy B&I Holidays! 14. Sharing Thanksgiving Photos! 15. Welcome New Members! 16. Write for January Newsletter

"The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!

Luke 2:11 (NLT)


E

very year during the Advent/Christmas Season we honor the small Jewish city of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. We talk about it being the City of David, the hometown of Joseph the Carpenter, the birthplace of Jesus, and the destination of the Wise Men. It is remembered in some of our most beautiful and beloved Christmas Carols. For a few weeks it becomes the center of our Christian world. We celebrate what it was, but then it returns to what it is – a primarily Palestinian village where Jews are no longer welcome and Christians are oppressed, where unemployment approaches 80% and the hostilities between the Jews and Palestinians are played out on a daily basis, where, sometimes, the tourists nearly outnumber the residents. We are left to wonder about the role that Bethlehem plays in our personal faith.

2 | December 2017

This year, during our sanctuary worship services for the Advent Christmas season, we will be examining the role that Bethlehem has played and continues to play in our faith experience - who we are today Because of Bethlehem. Make sure you join us at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 am.


THE CHRISTMAS CHOIR T

he Chancel Choir is currently working hard to prepare for our annual Christmas Music Sunday with their Christmas Cantata. They will lead us in worship during all three of our morning services on Sunday, December 17. If you haven't had the chance to join us yet, hustle on over to the sanctuary for choir rehearsal on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. and jump on in! The choir will also have a rehearsal on Saturday, December 16, from 10:00 am to noon with our instrumentalists to put on the finishing touches! It is a tradition here at St. Luke that we feed the musicians on these special Sunday

mornings! If you would like to contribute a delicious brunch item for the morning of December 17, please find the sign-up sheet at the Connection Center and let us know what you would like to bring! We will most certainly appreciate it! This year, during Christmas Eve morning, we will have one service, at 11:00 am and the choir will sing! The Chancel Choir will also sing during the 7:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Service. Please consider singing with the choir for any of these very special services throughout this beautiful and inspirational time of year in the church!

December 2017 | 3


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orship during the month of December is always very special. Lots of music, the lighting of the Advent Candles, special messages for the season, the sanctuary beautifully decorated, and this year will be no different. The worship team has been hard at work for several weeks planning. The season will be highlighted by some very special services that you won’t want to miss. On December 10, our children will be leading 4 | December 2017

us in the 9:45 and 11:00 a.m. services. They will present special music and so much more. Come and be blessed. On December 17, the Chancel Choir (with orchestra) will present their annual Cantata for Christmas Music Sunday, telling the Christmas story with beautiful music at the 8:30, 9:45 and 11:00 a.m. services in the Sanctuary. This is definitely a service you won’t want to miss, and one you will want to bring friends and family to, as the choir blesses us with the beautiful music of the season.


This year, Christmas Eve is on Sunday, and we will have three opportunities to celebrate. We will have one service that Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. This will be our annual Service of Lessons and Carols. Join us as we tell the story of Christmas through the words of Scripture and the beautiful Christmas Carols of the season. That evening we will gather at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. for our traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight services. There will be child care at 5:30 p.m. for children two years old and younger. We will have a children's message at both services. Once again, glow sticks will be provided for children to use instead of candles. Join us for all the Services of Advent/Christmas.

December 2017 | 5


Giving MATTERS

Generous People in Action

D

ear St. Luke Family,

Your giving matters, and it especially matters now. As we approach the end of 2017, we have seen a year of great ministry—hundreds of families and individuals fed, the homeless cared for, refugees welcomed, our neighborhood being reached, children and youth growing up in Christ, and many people and families connecting with our church family, learning and worshiping and serving as a part of our family of faith.

We have also seen a year in which we have absorbed additional 6 | December 2017

mortgage payments into our budget, and the church finances are feeling that strain. Several years ago, we committed as a church family to trust that God was leading us to expand our facilities as a springboard for outward-focused ministries. Through the ministries of the church, we are seeing the fruit of that faithfulness, and we are already in the seventh year of our eight-year plan for absorbing our mortgage payments into our budget. It is critical, however, that we continue to strive forward, that we each do our part.

church needs you. We continue to trust God and to lean on God through prayer and faithfulness to his calling, and we trust that you will receive this message as a call to action.

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This is the time, and your

God has gifted this congregation

or those who are behind on their giving or who are not yet givers, we encourage you to begin giving or to work toward getting caught up. For those who give regularly but could increase their contribution, we ask you to do that. This is the time. And for those who continue to give regularly and generously, thank you.


in many ways, and the capacity to meet the financial needs of the church for the ministry of the church is well within the means of our people, when each one of us does our part. God has not called us to something we can not do—God knows that we can, and God asks that we do. You can give by check or cash in the offering plate or dropped by the church office, checks mailed to the church office, or online any time at www.stlukeumc.org/give. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

We are a thankful and generous people, and your giving matters. In Christ,

Associate Pastor Director of Ministry and Stewardship

Stewardship Update Through October 2017 October 2017

Budget needs

$

113,518.80

Expenses

$

118,469.61

$

96,366.19

Expenses-to-Income difference

$

(22,103.42)

$

1,135,188.00

Expenses (as of 10-31-17)

$

1,046,799.58

Total income (as of 10-31-17)*

$

958,231.88

Expenses-to-Income difference (as of 10-31-17)

$

(88,567.70)

Alms donations for October 2017

$

2,888.00

Balloon Fund contributions for October 2017

$

2,158.00

Balloon Fund contributions year-to-date (as of 10-31-17)

$

38,922.87

Life Center mortgage balance (as of 10-31-17)

$

2,398,704.45

Total income*

2017 Year-to-Date

Budget needs (as of 10-31-17)

*Total income includes contributions, building use fees, and Kroger card receipts. Questions? Please contact Nora Conner, Associate Pastor/Director of Ministry and Stewardship

December 2017 | 7


Refer Some Kids and Sign Up NOW! by Jay & Diana Hayslip

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s winter approaches, our family, like many others in Lexington, thinks a lot about basketball. In Lexington there are

with the best skills. Many leagues are hosted within churches, though Bible, Gospel, or Christ may not be spoken of during the season. Cost is a factor that is driving many families away from sports. A

“whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me� Matthew 25:40 several youth basketball leagues. Some focus more on competition, developing and rewarding the kids 8 | December 2017

recent article in Time magazine reported that youth sports are becoming a billion dollar industry.

The cost of coaching, gear, and gym time has really out-priced many families. For example, youth from low income families are half as likely to play a sport as youth from upper income families. St. Luke Recreation Ministry will utilize the gym in the Life Center and St. Luke volunteers to bring youth basketball to the kids in our community. This year, we have reduced the price to only $30 / kid, less than half the cost of the next cheapest league in Lexington. By providing an affordable alternative this that is close to many neighborhoods, we hope to provide a community basketball league for the youth to experience God’s love in an


active way and gain valuable skills not just for the court. Sports offer many benefits. At St. Luke Youth Basketball, we use basketball to teach and model Christian behaviors. Youth learn the importance of teamwork, supporting one another, and fellowship. They learn to win with class, lose with dignity, and keep the whole experience in perspective. Lastly, league leadership is intentional to invite all the kids and their families to further connect with the St. Luke family through our various ministry and worship opportunities. In order to make this possible, we need support from everyone in our church family. We need to invite kids from kindergarten to 8th grade to sign up. We ask that anyone with children, or who know any children, to consider signing them up. These could be your own children, neighbors, co-workers kids, relatives‌ The kids in our league have a wide range of skill levels, from never played before to kids who play on multiple leagues throughout the year. We welcome all kids and provide an experience where every player is valued. We also need volunteers to help with coaching and selling concessions. Prior experience is not required. We plan to have two coaches per team, with at least 1 coach coming from St. Luke attenders. Some coaches may have more basketball experience (very important), others may have a better biblical grounding or know more about the activities of St. Luke (very important). We will plan to pair up the coaches so that each two coach combo compliments one another and reduces the pressure on any one person. There are going to be evaluations and open-gym time December 16th and December 21st. Practices will start January 1st and the last game will be February 17. To register a player go to www.stlukeumc.org/basketball. To volunteer, email basketball@stlukeumc.org or sign up at the Connection Center.

December 2017 | 9


ANNOUNCEMENTS Wednesday.comm in the Spring

The spring semester of Wednesday.comm will be upon us before you know it! We will need help serving the meals, as usual, and would like your group or class to consider serving one meal this semester. One of the many benefits of serving this meal is that your group can raise money for any mission opportunity that you would like. There is a sign-up sheet by the Connection Center that you can use to sign up for a specific night if your group is able and willing. The sign-up sheet will help so you know what spots are still available. Our spring semester runs January 24th through May 2nd. Also feel free to email or call Marty Sell at marty2sell@yahoo.com and: 859 296-1038. John’s email is jduff@stlukeumc.org if you would like to include him in your email.

Got extra or unused Christmas decorations?

Bring to the pantry in December so that we can make them available to pantry clients. Small unused items that are appropriate for re-gifting are welcome. Gently used toys and games are always a treat. Bring on Sunday or weekday mornings before noon. We will accept such items through December 17th. If you have an unusual or large item, give us a call first so that volunteers can plan for it.

2017 Christmas Offering

Your designated Christmas offering this year, our offering will be split between an international project with our mission partnership in Nicaragua (funding a clean water project in Yakalwas) and locally with the UK Wesley Foundations. Contributions to the Christmas offering must either be in a Christmas envelope or you need to note "Christmas Offering" in the memo section of your check.

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BLUE BARREL SUNDAY

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lan now to pick up your Blue Barrel Bag on Sunday, December 10th and return on December 17th filled with canned fruit of all kinds. This includes pineapple, mandarin oranges, pears, peaches, applesauce, etc. Note that cranberry sauce moves slowly even during the holiday season. Fruit can be costly so pick a few items that fit your budget. Every can will be greatly appreciated and every can adds up.

From the Pantry Shelf by Karen Hinkle

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member recently asked if they should contribute food to St. Luke’s Blue Barrel Bag project or give money directly to God’s Pantry. We would never discourage anyone from giving to the main God’s Pantry. Donations are used to support many aspects of the Pantry’s work. To serve all distribution sites, the Pantry at times must purchase food through the Feeding America Network or from corporate partners. That food is then divided and dispersed to all the pantry sites. The food we receive from the warehouse comes from donations or from food purchased by the pantry. When contributing food to St. Luke’s Blue Barrel Bag project, you can be assured those items go on the

shelves here at St. Luke to supplement what comes from the warehouse. Our monthly requests are for those items that have NOT been available from the main pantry in recent weeks. Your contributions through the BBB project help ensure that our client families have a choice when making their selections. We are looking for a few good men and women to serve in the pantry on Friday afternoons. The commitment is for two to three hours once or twice a month to assist clients who come to the pantry for food. Time requirement 12:30 - 3 p.m. Training is given. Contact Kathy Gendreau our Volunteer Scheduler at katgen452@twc.com if interested.

December 2017 | 11


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e’re not that different from Joseph. True, we may not be part of a story that will be remembered for all time, but like Joseph, we encounter circumstances that we’d never choose for ourselves. At times, it can be tempting just to walk away, but Joseph provides us a great example of humbly obeying God even when we don’t understand, faithfully moving forward in the strength that God provides. In his new study, Adam Hamilton examines Christmas through the eyes of Joseph so that we can learn to accept and glorify God’s will even when our situation makes it difficult to do so.

12 | December 2017

John Duff will be leading ‘Faithful: Christmas through the eyes of Joseph’ this Advent season on Sunday nights from 6:00-7:30. All St. Luke members are invited to participate in this special season of anticipation and preparation for Christmas. This study is ongoing now and will run through December 17.


? I &

B Happy B & I Holidays! I

t would not be a stretch of the imagination to think of the holidays as “The B & I Season,” or more properly, “The Building Relationships and Introducing Christ Season.” B & I (Building and Introducing Christ) is a year-round ministry of hospitality and outreach, but building relationships and introducing Christ is what we do remarkably well in the Advent/Christmas season. Think of the preparations for special worship services and children’s programs, the music ministry and mission efforts, the dinner parties and small group gatherings. All of these and so much more connect families, friends, churches and communities. We are reminded in this season that angels invited shepherds to see the Son of God lying in a manger, and now we believers invite family and friends to hear the story again, or maybe for the first time. It’s a season to offer hope to the weary, an opportunity to share love with the outcast, a reason to celebrate joyfully with loved ones, and a pause to pray sincerely for peace across our streets and around the world. We do all this

Huh?

because we value each person as having infinite worth. We do all this because we believe everyone should hear the story of Jesus and experience His love. This is a wonderful time of the year to build relationships and introduce Christ. This is who we are, St. Luke. This is what we do. So, “Happy B & I Holidays to you and all of your kin!” May this be a remarkable season of Christian hospitality and inviting others to Christ. Mike Powers Pastor of Building Relationships and Introducing Christ

December 2017 | 13


T

his year, the family of St. Luke UMC served 1,216 families on Tuesday, November 21 during the annual God's Pantry Sharing Thanksgiving Food Distribution. Overall, including the deliveries others made to home bound individuals on Saturday, those picked up by service agencies who delivered to their clients, plus the two days when clients came to pick up, God’s Pantry served just over 4900 clients in this 2017 Sharing Thanksgiving effort. Thank you for giving!

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On November 17, we welcomed seven members of the Confirmation Class of 2017 as they joined the church as new members. Those confirmed were America January, Andrew Baker, Austin Hagy, Evie Watt, Mollyemma Edington, Nathan Crissman, and Samantha Edington. Also a part of the 2017 Confirmation Class were Deuce Russell, Kayla Russell, and Abriana Izaguirre. They will be confirmed at a later date.

Welcome!

O

n November 17, New Member Sunday, we also welcomed three new members to our congregation. Welcome to St. Luke, Biliva

Biliva Mbonekube

Mbonekube and Fred and Shawna Jackson! In addition, Dan and Mary Jo Dove also joined on November 19, Megan Lucy joined on October 29, and Dani Sparks joined on October 22. Be sure to greet them all when you see them. Welcome to the family!

Fred and Shawna Jackson

December 2017 | 15


Share a Story in the January Newsletter!

We love to read your ministry stories, testimonies, updates, and ways in which St. Luke is a part of your lives. Would you like to write for the January newsletter? Do you have a testimony or ministry story to share? We would love to have your writing in here! Just submit your content to mwalz@stlukeumc.org before December 15.

This newsletter is also available online in full color at stlukeumc.org/newsletter.

2351 Alumni Dr., Lexington, KY 40517 ¡ 859-269-4687

Worship Schedule: Sanctuary: 8:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 11:00 a.m. God’s Backyard (K - 5th grade): 11:00 a.m. Swahili Worship: 12:30 p.m. Multicultural Worship: 3:00 p.m. Child care available at all services.

December 2017 Newsletter  
December 2017 Newsletter  

The 2017 December newsletter of St. Luke uMC