From the Associate

Greetings St. Luke’s!

I am back from maternity leave and filled with gladness to share the Advent and Christmas seasons with you. We have many ways for you to enter the quiet and reflective season of waiting, and I hope you will join us. As we say in Godly Play, “this time of year you will see people hurrying around, buying things, and doing this and that. But they will miss the mystery. Maybe they don’t know how to get ready or maybe they just forgot.”
 
I hope that you will take the time to savor the mystery of Christmas, and rest in the richness of this season alongside your church family. I look forward to walking to Bethlehem with you.
 
I am in the office Tuesday – Friday and am happy to meet with you on or off-campus to get to know you better, to talk about the serious or the holy ordinary things in your life.
 
I hope to see you around soon!
Rev. Reagan

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SLEC’s Day of Service at The Green Door

The 8th-grade students of St. Luke’s Episcopal School spent the day at the Green Door for their Day of Service on November 12th. SLES families contributed more than 100 bags of donations throughout the week. A group of students worked with our Green Door volunteers to tag and price, and input their donations into the computer.
 
Other students helped prepare the shop for the holidays and build Christmas displays. “It takes many hands to operate the Green Door. Their helpfulness, energy, and smiles made our day!” said Cynthia Rodriguez, Manager of the Green Door.
 
Bonnie Giddens, Green Door Board member, was on hand to help and is hopeful the students will contribute their ideas to help with merchandising and social media ideas and for their service projects with other organizations.
“St. Luke’s Episcopal School is grateful for the opportunity for their students to give back to their community and for the special relationship established with this incredible ministry. We look forward to serving at The Green Door again in 2022,” said Sarah Kates, SLES Chaplain.
If you haven’t stopped into the Green Door they are located at 1030 Nacogdoches Rd. Stop by and say hello, shop, donate, or inquire about helping as a Green Door Volunteer.
 
Thank you for making a difference and supporting our mission of Christian Giving.
 

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Christmas Pageant

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT

All Children are invited to tell this incredible story! When children share the story of the birth of Jesus, something memorable happens. On December 19th, during our 11 am service, we will have our Christmas Pageant.
Plans this year are for the pageant to be in person and live-streamed before our 11 am worship service.

Parents look for an email with more details including available parts by age group. Parts will be chosen in person during Sunday school classes on December 5th. Dress rehearsal will be held on December 18th from 9:30 – 11 am.
If you would like your child to participate please email Kris! You can watch last year’s video at slecsa.org/tidings.

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From the Rector

A Thanksgiving Message

 
As you may know, many churches have traditions of special services at Thanksgiving. In Tulsa we had a service on Thanksgiving Day at 10 am, with choir and hymns, and the church was full every year, and many people would stay afterwards to enjoy a potluck Thanksgiving dinner.
 
When I arrived here in 2019, I was surprised to learn that we don’t have any service here on Thanksgiving Day, or the night before Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because so many schools have the whole week off. I remember wanting to explore the possibility of a Thanksgiving service here at St. Luke’s. Covid got in the way last year. But as we hope for continued improvements in the pandemic, and as we make plans for 2022, I will certainly want to consider commemorating Thanksgiving somehow at St. Luke’s.
 
The Thanksgiving holiday is a time to remember our blessings, and not just to be thankful for them, but to give thanks for them: to give thanks to God, who is the source of all mercies and blessings.
 
I give thanks to God for the many blessings I enjoy personally: the good health of my family, the great educations our children are receiving, and the privileges we enjoy as American citizens. I give thanks also for the blessings all of us enjoy here at St. Luke’s. So many people devote their energies to the church’s ministries, giving of their time and their financial resources. I’m thankful for our dedicated staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in so many ways this year, and I’m thankful for gracious volunteers and for people who offer their voices (in person and online!) as together we worship God in church.
 
I give thanks to each of you for your generous hearts. And I give thanks to God, who has brought us all together here at St. Luke’s Church and School. God delights in the praises we lift up together in our worship, and God delights especially in the many ways we support God’s mission of sharing with the world Good News about Jesus Christ.
Maybe you’re reading this before Thanksgiving, or afterwards, as we set our sights on Christmas. Either way, I hope you’ll set aside some time to reflect on the blessings you enjoy, and to give thanks to our loving God, who invites us to accept the gift of new life, made available through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Happy Thanksgiving!

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YOUTH MINISTRY UPDATES

 

 

 

 

 

Youth Group

My first month serving as youth director here at St. Luke’s has been full of fun, laughter, and learning. I would like to thank everyone who has been so kind and welcoming. I cannot wait to see what the future holds. Although small, we have had a consistent group meeting weekly for both middle and high school students. If you have a student who is hesitant to attend a youth event for fear that they will be alone, please ease their fears with this information and also tell them we offer free snacks!

YOUTH GROUP
Youth Group is still meeting on Wednesday evenings.
The typical schedule is as follows:
• Middle School meets from 6-7 pm
• Group meal on the sports court from 7-7:30 pm,
• High School meets from 7:30-8:30 pm.
On Sunday mornings we currently offer 2 different faith formation classes that go from 10-10:50 am. The Middle School class led by Andrea Cutter meets upstairs, while the High School class meets in the youth room.

Fun Events
December 11th: Youth Group Hike If the weather stays this lovely, all youth are invited to come on a hike at Friedrich Wilderness Park to spend time in God’s beautiful nature. Sign up for our Youth Newsletter for updates on this event!

Service Events
December 8th: Youth will not meet to allow students to attend a SnackPak4Kids service event. There are a limited number of spots, so if you have a child who is interested in attending, please email me so I can add your name to the list!


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FAMILY & CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

During our Ministry Architects Summit in October, I was impressed and inspired by the intentionality and spirit of our conversations. Clearly, St. Luke’s cares deeply for the children in our church body. We are committed to nurturing their faith and celebrating milestones as they grow and mature. Over the next few months, you will hear more in-depth and see what is essentially a road map showing how the faith journey of St. Luke’s children is supported throughout their years.
As this fall flies by, I want to thank our Sunday School Teachers for all they do to foster an engaging environment. These sacred spaces inspire children to ask questions, wonder, and express their faith in a variety of ways. Comments I have heard from children include, “I want to stay here for another hour, okay? Let’s just stay here!” “Mom! We heard a story today that was in a little sandbox, but really it was the desert!” Children get to experience storytelling and make connections to their own life each time they come.
 
At the moment, while we have fantastic volunteers in place, there are some who were not able to teach or volunteer as planned for various reasons. In order to have two safeguarded volunteers with a group of children or youth at all times, we need to gather more volunteers. Please prayerfully consider teaching or assisting.
Often, the phrase time, talent, and treasure is expressed in the context of stewardship. Volunteering to teach or lead children and youth comes under the umbrella of all of these areas as well!
 
Time – Signing up to teach or assist on Sunday mornings twice a month involves slightly over two hours per month. Curriculum and supplies are prepped and already in place.
 
Talent – It does help if you have experience with children and youth, but we are not looking for “experts”. Approaching the relationships you will be building by volunteering with a spirit of mutual learning inspires a love for learning and curiosity. We want all ages to be comfortable in asking questions expressing their faith in a variety of ways.
My call towards ministry and education was partly inspired by my parent’s involvement in leading our youth group during a leadership transition. Neither of them considered themselves an expert in teaching bible. Instead, they stepped up to lead our group with an attitude that we would all learn together.
 
My sisters and I had been going to Sunday school classes throughout our childhood, but somehow we just didn’t talk as a family about what we learned. Once Mom and Dad started to teach, their transparency and open-ended questions sparked conversations about God and how He was alive and well in our world. As a family, we got more engaged in serving our community through our church. It was truly a turning point that shaped my future.
 
Treasure – What do you treasure? Volunteering to guide our children and youth in their faith journey is … at the risk of sounding like an old Master Card commercial … priceless. All ages are learning to express their experience with God. Teaching is truly a mutual blessing. We, in turn, experience God through the children’s perspective and wondering. In a future article, I may talk more about how much we can learn from children! During a time in our collective lives that shows how interconnected and fragile we are, children teach us how to be mindful – to be in the present moment, noticing details, tuning in with all senses.
 
On Sundays, I do my best to be stationed either at the kids’ corner in the Narthex or in the parlor between services. I would love to tell you more about other volunteer opportunities, our classes, and upcoming events. Please don’t hesitate to look for me as I am eager to connect with all of you! In the meantime, I am contacting each family over the phone as able.
 
As we ease into safely gathering on Sundays, I am curious to hear about your hopes, dreams, and concerns for your children’s spiritual and social needs.

I hope to see you soon!


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FINANCE UPDATE

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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WELCOME TO THE BODY

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THE MUSTARD SEED UPDATES

The Mustard Seed was selected as one of fifty schools to participate in the Healthy Child Care Texas – Social Emotional Development (HCCT-SED) Project funded by the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children (TXAEYC).  The goal of the HCCT-SED Project is to increase the number of children receiving developmental screening in child care programs for children ages 0 to 5.  This age range is a critical period of child development and a child’s success in school increases the sooner they receive early intervention services.

The Mustard Seed staff attended a 6-hour child development training led by Child Care Health Consultant, Dr. LuzDalia Sanchez, where they learned how to use and administer the Ages and Stages Questionnaires “ASQ”.  The ASQ’s are a children’s developmental and social-emotional screening tool, which helps to identify a child’s areas of strength and areas to foster growth.  The ASQ’s are a collaboration with parents to unlock critical knowledge of their child’s development, enabling teachers to plan developmentally appropriate activities for each of their students. 

The Mustard Seed was honored to be a part of the statewide initiative to improve outcomes for all children and families in Texas by giving children the best start in life.

 


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MUSIC MINISTRY UPDATES

Handel’s Skinny Messiah
Advent is always my favorite season; I think it’s because of the anticipation or a feeling of hope. I decided to leave the cathedral in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for two reasons: one, I’d been there for twenty years and didn’t see myself in that position for another fifteen; and two, because I’d directed Handel’s Messiah for nineteen straight seasons (plus all the other performances during my career) and couldn’t face another.
 
However, being the conundrum I am, we’re doing a performance here. Most folk associate Messiah with Christmas, which is just a small section of the three sections. Many conductors pride themselves in blindly performing every single number (even worse, with period instruments) which is going to steal about three hours of your life. It’s rather like going to a Wagner (whom I adore) opera and spending six hours to hear two tunes. Not every number is worth it! So we’re doing the “good bits.” A Skinny Messiah as I like to think of it.
 
We have the incredible Chia-Wei Lee singing baritone, and our own wonderful choir members singing the rest of the solos: Valerie Jeannin, Mary Moipei, Christiana Davis, and Andrew Tucker. It’s on Sunday, December 5 at 3 pm. Come along, and you’ll get ten minutes off Purgatory.

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