“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3: 14-17
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and Peace in the name of Christ our Lord!
I am thrilled that we will be worshiping together, in-person, on June 7th! Words cannot express how much I have looked forward to this day over the past few months. It will be a joy for us to gather as the body of Christ, physically present with one another. I am grateful for Gordon Carnes, Tracy Bullinger, Trent Ernest, Julie Biddle, John Manfra, and Keith Kelley who have worked diligently on our Task Force to make a plan about how we begin in-person worship. Our leadership asked this group to gather and formulate a plan and I am grateful for their willingness to serve in this capacity.
On June 7th we will gather at 9:30 a.m. for an outdoor service. The building will be open if you need the facilities. I invite you to come and bring a lawn chair or tailgate chair so that you can be comfortable during this service. We are working on obtaining a large tent to get everyone out of the sun, however, feel free to bring a tent or shade of your own if you so choose. Our time of worship will be very casual so feel free to dress comfortably. While many of us are eager to return to worshiping in person, I also recognize that many are hesitant. We will continue to offer an online option for you to worship. Our Sunday services will be filmed and made available on our website and on social media. I am grateful for our Media Ministry for working diligently to ensure that we can continue to worship in a safe environment.
When you come to worship, please maintain social distancing as directed by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the CDC. I know that many of us look forward to greeting each other by shaking hands or hugging, but please refrain from doing so. We must continue to protect the most vulnerable in our community and in our church. As we begin in-person worship once more, we will not have a nursery or JAM until later notice. These vital ministries will be evaluated at the end of June as we follow the current COVID-19 trends in our area and follow the recommendations of the Health Department. However, children of all ages are invited and encouraged to be part of our worship service. In my opinion, there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of children’s voices praising God!
Our children and youth will begin meeting in June for discipleship and fellowship. St. Luke Kids will begin meeting Sunday, June 14th at 4:00 p.m. at Johnny Henderson Park. We ask that parents stay with their children and seek to maintain social distancing. UNITE Student Ministry will begin meeting on Tuesday June 16th at 5:00 p.m. at Johnny Henderson Park for Bible Study. UNITE Student Ministries and St. Luke Kids will be receiving information about a summer schedule this week. A few short weeks ago we were planning for events like WinShape and FUGE. I am thankful for the willingness of our leadership and staff to be adaptative and flexible during this challenging season.
While this has been a difficult season of separation, I am grateful for God’s continual presence which sustains each of us. It is a joy to serve as your pastor. I look forward to seeing you for worship on June 7th at 9:30 a.m.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Olivia L. Poole