It is important that we take time to look back so that we can move forward. The road we travel today may be different, but God, Jesus, and Spirit are the same. The Season of Lent is a time of Discipleship, to be renewed, refreshed, and recommit to picking up our cross and follow Jesus. That has been happening here for 101 years…
This poem written for St. Luke’s 50th Anniversary is found on pages 137-138, in “The Fields Were Ripe.” A History of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, to celebrate the 75th Anniversary. As you read it, what can we learn to move forward today?
The People of St. Luke’s
by Mary Koch
Five people met one Sunday morn in Brown’s new Oxboro store,
And then Judd Thomas’s “Front Porch” was church for some weeks more.
A committee formed to build a church in nineteen twenty-four
And God provided them the way, St. Luke’s great name it bore.
By prayer and hope and faith and love and labors of their hands.
They built the church through sacrifice near where our church now stands.
When times grew hard and money short, they struggled bravely on
For Christ and for His Kingdom here and souls that must be won.
The 40’s brought us some relief but war struck home here too.
And robbed us of two of our sons who fought for me and you.
A parsonage was built for us, an organ we did buy
It served us more than twenty years, my how the time does fly.
The population boom was on, the schools soon overflowed
The basement of our church, we loaned to help to ease the load.
A parish education wing became a vital need
We realized that dream quite soon for God does surely lead.
A nave so new and different then was planned as we did grow
For the old church burst at the seams three hours in a row.
A fellowship and meeting hall was built as we had planned.
Two full-time pastors served so well this ever-growing band.
Burden bearers and strugglers groups add depth to Christian life.
Whole families can participate – children and man and wife.
Our God is surely present here, we know He leads the way
For people live the faith they claim. Praise Jesus Christ today!
The poem tells the history of the church, but more importantly, it tells about the people of St. Luke’s “…by prayer and hope and faith and love and labors of their hands, they build the church… It is the people who make up any church, the people whose faith, love, and labor build the church and carry on the work of God’s kingdom on earth.”
These people had a common bond of membership in St. Luke’s. Under the guidance and leadership of ordained clergy, the people of St. Luke’s have become ministers of the word of God equipped to do His work in His Kingdom. We know that…
“…there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. – 1st. Corinthians 12:4-7
What jumped out to me is that this all started by 5 people. There were good times, bad times, struggles and celebrations, but through it all the people knew that “Our God is surely present here, we know He leads the way, for people live the faith they claim.
We live in a society that does not join or commit, but as people of faith we know a God who joined us, walking the earth as Jesus. We have a God who commits to us be with us always through the Holy Spirit.
We are doing three things currently to be church in this time and place.
First, we are inviting members to opt in for the new directory. Contact the office if you would like to be included. Thank you to those who have already opted in or let us know that you would not like to be in it. This will be a protected document available to those who participate. We will print copies for those who like one. This is an invitation to participate. You have the option of whether or not to be in it. You have the option to have your picture in it or not. It will be online once we have made 100% contact with all our members.
Second, thank you to all who support St. Luke’s in time, talent, and treasure. First, those who pledge and give. Second, those who give, but do not pledge. Third, those who do not give a recorded gift. To make a budget it is helpful to know what money is planned to be given. If you have made a pledge, please confirm the amount. If you have not made a pledge, prayerfully consider doing so. We will adjust the budget accordingly. If you do not make a recorded gift.
Third, we are living out the mission…
St. Luke’s is a welcoming and growing community of faith, busy making Christ known to the world.
We will have more than a dozen people attending our “Get to Know St. Luke’s” lunch this coming Sunday. There is still room for you. Please gather in Fellowship Hall following the 10 AM worship.
Looking back to look move forward, let us follow the lead of those who came before us as written on page 138 of the 75th Anniversary book, “…the people of St. Luke’s have become ministers of the word of God equipped to do His work in His Kingdom.”
Praise Jesus Christ Today!
St. Luke's is one of the runner up award winners of the national Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) 2024 Cool Congregations Challenge. The contest is sponsored by Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit organization inspiring and mobilizing people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change.
The Cool Congregations Challenge, is an annual national contest recognizing “Cool Congregations” that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities. This contest accepts applications from religious congregations around the United States who are doing work to address global warming by reducing their carbon footprint. There were 125 applicants for six entry categories.
St Luke's won an Energy Saver award for cutting energy use 56% switching to LED lighting, upgrading to efficient gas stacking boilers & building automation and installing solar. We have been awarded a $500 runners-up award.
The following Energy Update describes the many energy initiatives we have undertaken at St Luke’s.
Since 2020 St Lukes has undertaken significant energy saving initiatives including installation of solar panels, a new 96% efficient boiler system, a new building automation system and additional conversion to LED lighting. These changes have resulted in significant energy cost reductions as well as significant reduction of greenhouse gas production. Outside temperature variations and changing building use patterns over the years also affect energy use.
The new boiler system consists of 4 interacting heating modules. As temperatures drop outside, additional modules are only engaged when more heat is needed thereby making the system very efficient. The new building automation system provides both electric and gas savings due to more efficient electric motors and better temperature control.
During 2018, before the updates, our electric usage was 147,139 kWh and natural gas usage for heating was 14,509 therms. During 2023, the electric use was 68,240 kWh and gas was 8,017 therms, a 54% reduction in electric use and 45% reduction in gas use. Our energy use reduction resulted in a carbon emission reduction of over 129,000 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The solar panels generated approximately 75,000 kWh of electricity during the past year resulting in over a $5,000 reduction in energy charges. In addition, the PV credit from the solar panels was over $2,400 and the Saver Switch credit from the air conditioners was $1,530, further reducing our electric bill. Also, the Demand Charge on the electric bill is approximately $200 less due to St Luke's using less electricity during the year.
The total cost savings of these initiatives was approximately $12,000 for electricity costs and $4,000 for natural gas costs. For comparison, the electric bill for 2018 was $17,775 and the bill for 2023 was $5,834, a savings of almost $12,000.
Other energy efficient upgrades in 2023 included the installation of the new roofing in the the education wing which allowed for the installation of R30 installation to that roof section. The conversion to LED lighting in the education wing and the sanctuary will also provide future energy savings.
Much thanks to all who helped make this happen including Larry Nelson, Marc Dunham, Mark Hagelin, Jean Lingen, Kevin Schulz, David Carpenter, and others. If you are interested in helping on the Energy Committee, please contact Larry Nelson.
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
This truth is also found in the Book of Ecclesiastes…
“All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.”
One of my seminary professors James Limburg shared the following on enterthebible.org
“Ecclesiastes offers honest reflections on the human quest for meaning, on the realities of life on this earth and under God.
This understanding comes after the author is unable to find meaning in life.
We may attempt to find meaning by living only for one’s work (workaholism), or to accumulate more and more knowledge (intellectualism), or to find more and more exotic, pleasure-producing thrills (hedonism), or purchase more and more psessions (materialism), however none of these or other trivial pursuits will ultimately not be satisfying.
The book is also in touch with reality, recognizing that earthly existence is marked by problems of injustice, evildoing, and chance accidents. There are many questions that we have about God, about what God is doing, and about death. We will have to learn to live with these questions. In the meantime, the book counsels us to enjoy one another’s company and to enjoy the day-by-day good gifts that God gives us.”
This is how I understand Lent. It is a season of discipleship, a period to be renewed in faith, living in God's creation while waiting on God's salvation. Lent is the forty-day season (excluding Sundays) of penitence and preparation for the Three Days of Holy Week and Easter.
Although it was originally only a two-day period of preparation, Lent became a three-week preparatory period in the middle of the fourth century. It became six-weeks by the end of the fifth century.
This excludes Sundays, which are considered little Easters. Thus, Lent begins not on Sunday, but on Ash Wednesday. This is where we get forty days.
The practice of forty days of Lent recall Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness after his Baptism (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:1-2) as well as Moses’ forty-day fast on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:28).
St. Luke’s like many congregations will have mid-week worship, a wonderful act of discipleship.
Join us on Ash Wednesday at 11 AM or 7 PM, February 14. On this Valentine’s Day remember that you are loved and are called to love all people in Jesus’ name.
You can grow in that love through Acts of Discipleship, Obedience and Dedication.
Obedience: Giving something up.
Dedication: Taking something on.
The practice of fasting (or “giving something up”) during Lent is not required for Lutherans because it is not commanded in Holy Scripture. Rather, as a matter of Christian freedom, starving oneself of a pleasure of the flesh is a way to remember daily the great sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to pay for the world’s sin. Some give up chocolate, coffee, soda, withholding any simple daily pleasure in rememberance of the Lord' sacrifice.
The practice of taking something on also is not required, but it is in following Jesus’ command to love God, neighbor, self and all creation. Some will start or continue the daily Gospel of Mark readings (click here for the link), gather 40 items to donate, write notes of appreciation, start or continue an exercise routine, any daily activity dedicated to the Lord.
Remember it is for the 40 days. You can enjoy your pleasure or rest from your dedication on Sundays.
Join us for the Lent Wednesdays, February 21, 28, March 6, 12, and 19.
11 AM Worship followed by lunch.
7 PM Worship with Holden Evening Prayer. Prior to this, dinner at 5:30 and educational opportunities from 6-6:55 PM.
May this season be a blessing to you as you again experience the depth of Jesus’ obedience and the great love of God, to redeem a world so desperately in need of salvation. For our bodies one day will return to the dust, but our life in Christ is for all eternity.
In the comments, please share your Lent Discipline, what you are giving up or taking on?
I will be doing the Forty Item Collection for Forty Days. Each day of Lent I will remove one item from my home that I no longer wear or need. At the end of the forty days I will donate them to ARC Value Village.
Prayers and Blessings during this season of Lent and always, Rob
St. Luke’s RaiseRight – 2023 Annual Report
Most people have the desire to be generous to make the world a better place. Many find it difficult to set aside funds to do so. There is a simple and effective way to give, simply by shopping.
RaiseRight is easy—and it works. By using gift cards (Actual Cards or download the App for Online Cards) to pay for everyday and not-so-everyday, expenses, each participant can earn over $1,000 each year. No selling. No extra time. No extra money. Participating companies give a percentage of the gift card you purchase to the organization you choose. It is the top fundraiser for St. Luke’s and all of it goes to missions. Here’s the list of the recipients and the amount each received.
2023 St. Luke’s Distribution of RaiseRight funds:
$1000 – Feed My Starving Children
$1000 – VEAP
$500 – Lift Garage
$200 – Bundles of Love quilts
$100 – Tied quilts
$200 – Card Ministry (used Michael’s gift cards from stock for purchases)
In addition, it was used for supplies with “God’s work. Our Hands.” – Specifically the Oasis for Youth Blessing Bags. Each Gallon Bag indicates gender and size and contains:
$ 22.07 Target
$ 40.00 Michael’s
$440.01 Total, plus some additional funds for other supplies
St. Luke’s spent $173.50 in administration costs for the program in 2023 (software fee, shipping expense for bulk orders. Bev tried not to place an order to be shipped to her unless the rebates generated by the order would cover the cost of shipping which was $10.50 per shipment in 2023. As of 2024 January, shipping costs went up to $11.)
We currently have a total of $1935 in gift cards in stock:
You can even pay online to St. Luke’s: RaiseRight
5 – Amazon, ranging from $25-100
6 – Cub Foods, $25-100
4 – Chipotle, $10-25
3 – Happy Moments, $25
5 – Holiday, $25-100
5 – Home Depot, $25
1 – McDonald’s, $10
2 – Menard’s, $100
4 – Michael’s, $25
2 – Panera, $10
1 – Shake Shack, $25
1 – Starbucks, $10
2 – Subway, $10
1 – Taco Bell, $10
3 – Target, $25
2 – TJ Maxx, $25
2- Total Wine, $25
2 – Walgreens, $25
5 – Walmart, $10-25
6 – Visa, $25-50
* Happy Moments are good at Red Lobster, Ulta, Macy’s, Cracker Barrel and Buffalo Wild Wings
Thank you to all who support the Ministries of St. Luke’s. One unique way is to participate in the RaiseRight Mission Support Fundraiser. Much thanks to Bev Brosam who champions this cause and for the members who participate in the program.
“Whoever offers blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25
To learn more and participate contact Bev Brosam, she is always willing and ready to help. She can also provide you with St. Luke’s RaiseRight code and help get you set up with the RaiseRight app.