Deacon Stephanie Luedtke
Our younger children and their families had the unique opportunity to take a journey last week, and they didn’t even have to leave their back yards! Eight families embarked on a VBS Backyard Adventure, following the Apostle Paul on his Second Missionary Journey throughout the Mediterranean lands. They heard the same stories that we have been hearing in worship, about the amazing lives of discipleship ignited by Paul in Silas, Timothy, Lydia, and Priscilla and Aquila. Through these stories, the families learned about important characteristics of a disciple- we called those Superpowers- and learned that they, too, were disciples! The stories, which were read masterfully by Mark Roberts, were deepened and extended with family activities and games, conversation starters, snacks, chosen by Nikki Ness, and science experiments, demonstrated by Margaret Jenkins (“Professor J”.) The pictures I received show me that families really enjoyed themselves, and I continue to pray for them, that God’s word continues to flourish in their hearts! Like many other unexpected (and even unwanted) opportunities given us by Covid-19, this week was a priceless chance for parents and grandparents to live out their role, defined in the Bible and emphasized by Martin Luther, as the primary faith formers in their children’s lives. That makes them Superheroes in my eyes!
Deacon Stephanie Luedtke
Why do I put such an emphasis on Mission Projects? Good Neighbors, the Appalachia Service Organization we were supposed to travel to Kentucky to help this summer states it best, “You will not only be rebuilding a broken structure, but also building a foundation of hope, love, strength and a new beginnings for both the people you serve and yourself.” Jesus calls us to care for the least of these (Matthew 25:40). In the Letter from James we read, “Religion that God accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help.” (James 1:27). And when we do such wonders and signs…giving to anyone who has need…creates goodwill among the people…And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:41-47).
Due to Covid 19, it was not safe for us to travel to Appalachia, live together in a bunk house, and go to a number of homes to do service work. Good Neighbors, under the leadership of Jason Benedict, who first went to Appalachia to do home repairs when he was a St. Luke’s student decided to bring the mission back home. With the help of his dad, Bob Benedict, they have connected with Urban Ventures in Minneapolis to provide local community service work that will benefit the Twin Cities, especially the areas impacted by the recent riots. We are working with a small business on East Lake Street and doing a home repair in North Minneapolis. The work is simple clean up and painting to flooring and concrete work, plus everything in between. And if we complete those projects we will go to the Urban Ventures’ farm!
So far 27 Youth and Adults from St. Luke’s and Prince of Peace in Roseville, along with friends, have made a commitment to come for the week, a few days, or even a half-day to serve the community. There is still room on Tuesday and Thursday if you’re interested in jumping in.
Most of the participants are paying the full suggested donation of $350 for the week, $70 for a day and $35 for a half day. These funds are for building materials, the Good Neighbors Staffing, and a Licensed Contractor; the latter wasn’t needed in Appalachia.
Thank you to the many members of St. Luke’s who have made a donation to the mission project. This allows everyone who wants to help, but didn’t have the suggested amount for the time they are working, to join. If you’re interested in supporting the project you can make a check out to St. Luke's Lutheran Church 2020 Mission Project, or go to the website follow the "Give" Link and put your donation amount in the "Youth Activities:" Box.
"It is in giving that we receive." - St. Francis of Assisi
Rob Norris-Weber, Pastor
The last 4 months have been pretty quiet for me and the Community Life group: no coffee and treats on Sunday mornings, no events to host, the shindig that was in the planning stages to celebrate the planned Capital Appeal put on hold, nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
So, I’ve directed my energy elsewhere. I helped with set-up for Drive-in Worship the first few weeks. What fun times! And what a blessing to actually SEE the people I’ve been thinking about. Making phone calls to try to stay in touch just isn’t the same. It’s been wonderful to sing out loud in the car, to hear the prayer responses in the cars around me, and to honk our horns to thank the musicians leading us from the backs of pick-up trucks. It would be fun if Drive-in worship could continue for a long time, but with Minnesota weather we know it must come to an end. Hopefully not too soon!
This brings me to another opportunity I’m involved with, and that’s participating in the group that is working to set protocols for our return to the Sanctuary. Al Buss is leading us through difficult decisions that need to be made, and this thoughtful group has consulted a whole list of resources that are available from the Synod, Minnesota Department of Health, CDC, and an Ecumenical document from the ELCA representing 5 traditions, including Lutheran, that states on the first page, “..because we care about people and their safety. And we care about finding ways to gather for worship in this new environment, ways that are rich with theological tradition and faithful in public witness. We also care about the many leaders who are being asked to take on responsibilities for worship they had not previously imagined. About how to return to the sanctuary while keeping everyone safe and healthy...”
There will be things we can no longer do that we’ll miss, so we’re focusing on the positive and what we can do. We can worship together and praise God for all his blessings, enjoy music and communion together as a church. We’ll be sending out information in the near future detailing how this will happen, but you can guess most of it: stay home if you’re sick, wear a mask on site, physically distance, all the things you’re already doing (that have almost become normal!). Watch the weekly enews and our website for information as protocols are shared.
Lastly, many months ago we received information through Mark Hagelin that there was grant money available through Hennepin County for organizations to ramp up their recycling, composting and waste reduction. I submitted some ideas to the County for consideration, and they said go ahead and write a grant proposal. I met with groups like the Altar Guild about using reusable communion cups that can run through the church dishwasher. We had already started using real coffee cups Sunday mornings and real plates for most Wednesday night dinners. Finally, after much waiting, we received approval yesterday for $1900 to purchase the communion cups and racks, composting receptacles and a number of other items aimed at reducing our waste. You won’t see many of these items for quite a while because of the current situation, but you will when we eventually are able to return for worship and activities inside the building.
God is still here. He knows the pain and sadness the pandemic created, but he also knows the joys that await us when we once again gather together. I believe there are new and exciting ways for us to be creative with worship. Who knew 4 months ago that Zoom was a thing? I average 3-4 meetings a week on Zoom between work and church, and I had never heard of it until recently. What other wonderful helps are available for us to be Church together? Let’s find out together!
See you in church 🙂,
Community Life Council Representative
We'll have worship here in our parking lot on Sundays at 10:00 AM. (weather permitting)
Church Council - Community
We've had a few virtual choirs at St. Luke's since we last worshiped inside the sanctuary. A virtual choir is like a video meeting, but with a choir or other musical ensemble.
It seems like we are just singing or playing while on a Zoom call, but as the Church Council has noticed (they close every meeting praying the Lord's Prayer together), it doesn't quite work that way. The technology isn't quite ready for that sort of thing because there's always a delay and with music, timing is critical.
How we do it is the piano or piano and drum parts are recorded and sent to the other musicians. The musicians listen to the accompaniment on headphones and sing or play along while they record the video. The headphones are needed because we don't want to hear the piano on everyone else's microphone. The piano part would be too loud.
The musicians send their file to the choir director who lines up all the videos together and makes them sound great. This process takes a long time to get done well. But it is so much fun to see the choir.
During worship each week, we speak the Lord's Prayer, but all we hear is the Assisting Minister (and sometimes me, depending on the microphone levels). So let's do it together!
My question to you is: Do you want to do that with speaking the Lord's Prayer?
When you are done, please either email it me firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it at https://bit.ly/VirtualLordsPrayer
Here's what to do:
Step 1. Set up
Step 2. Record
Step 3. Send the File
I'm not sure what it will sound like. Maybe it will sound like the Borg from Star Trek, but it will be us praying together.
Are you in?
I can't wait to pray with you again! If this goes well, let's try some music together!
Sean Johnson, Choir Director