Stewardship 250 – Shine your Light

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Dear Members, Friends, and Families of Union – St Luke’s,

Union-St Luke’s is embarking on a big anniversary and a new future – we hope that you will shine your light along with us in bright new ways. Many of you know that the last 10-15 years have been a period of great transition: with the merge and eventual sale of St. Luke’s in Charlestown, clergy transitions, and the pandemic. Through it all we have been here serving the community with our greatest gifts: steadfast fellowship, adaptability, love, and devotion. We are small, but mighty – though not so small as it may seem on Sundays. Union and St Luke’s parishes both have deep roots, and as we move into this new stage of our lives we invite you to come shine YOUR light with the faithful remnant in doing God’s work on earth. 

2023 will mark 250 years of Union Church’s beloved building. We thought because of our love of this bright sacred space, and due to the ongoing pandemic, that it made sense to celebrate our 250th Anniversary not during the establishment anniversary in 2021, but on the construction anniversary in 2023. Right now we are imagining what that will look like, and how we can rise together from the ravages of the pandemic to be a continued light to our community. Our traditions remain strong, our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Holy Communion and Morning Prayer Service, the beloved meatball suppers, and gingerbread house decorating all continue. We provide online services on YouTube, a facility for concerts and educational programs to West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts, rehearsal space to the Newmont Band, space for private and community gatherings, and of course support for the grieving and seeking. We have an ongoing program of providing religious services to Sullivan County Health Care, and a new relationship with Oasis Teen Center to help support the needs of their residents. But what else? How else can we help to serve your spiritual needs and those of the community?

That’s where you come in! If you received this letter you are a root, a branch, or a leaf of this church. The days to come and our strength together will help us unfurl the glory of God in stunning splendor. Like a phoenix from the ashes of these difficult years, with your help we will spread our light and the love of God to each other and our neighbors to make a greater impact. What that will look like depends on us, and we are excited to embark on this journey with you.

Now the vestry of Union-St Luke’s is inviting us together: to celebrate who we were, who we are, and the truly special worshiping community that we aspire to be. In our recent conversations with Bishop Rob about the future we have identified a few of the most important ways we need help.

  • Increase pledges toward the mission of the church, help us to show our members are truly investing in the mission of serving our community together. Monetary pledges are very important, and gifts of time and skills are priceless. If you are willing to fill out the pledge card with anything that you are moved to promise that would be deeply appreciated. Any amount, any pledge of time and gift, it all helps to bring the light of God to each other. These are private between you and the treasurer, and they are not binding or contracts, they just help us budget for what we can dream for the church’s 2023 year, and they are also a measure of church health. Will you complete a pledge form with whatever you feel comfortable as a goal?
  • Offer your services to the Vestry, leadership team, or other volunteer need. We need a few members to join the vestry to remain in compliance with church requirements. The Vestry works to oversee Union – St Luke’s business and works together as a combined vestry council with Trinity Claremont to serve the needs of the greater community as the Claremont Episcopal Jesus Movement presence. We can also use additional helpers at Sunday Service for set up of the service and technology, and other tasks during the week. We have tasks small and large. Do you have time and skills to offer? 
  • Make a personal commitment to deepening your spiritual exploration by attending worship (in person or online), and chatting with us about your spiritual needs, programs, or resources that you would find useful. Think creatively, maybe it’s a daily/weekly/monthly text with a prayer or affirmation, a healing service, a meditation workshop, a spiritual art workshop. What excites and challenges you on your spiritual journey, and how can Union-St Luke’s be a part of your spiritual journey in new ways?
  • Help us with the 250th celebration and other volunteer opportunities! We will be working on a major solar project, expanding the church organ, looking at initiatives around earth care and reconciliation, and celebrating our heritage and deep roots. We’ll be taking special offerings and volunteers to make this a truly memorable celebration. That’s in addition to our already busy worship and community events calendar. Can you help out?

We will gather on December 11th after the Morning Prayer Service at 9:30am led by LEM Ann Richmond to open the pledge drive, and will all come together on December 17th (Gingerbread House Decorating) and December 18th after the 9:30am Holy Eucharist Service with Rev Susan Eibner to collect forms and decorate the church for Christmas. You are also welcome to drop your form at the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Dec 24th at 7pm. Forms can be completed online, or you can drop off or mail in the form. Every fresponse helps us shine even brighter.

This has been a very trying few years for each and every one of us, and being part of a caring faith community is a boon to the spirit that can help us to heal. As we await the birth of Christ again, we send our love to you and your family – we hope to see you soon!

In Peace and Love,

The Vestry of Union-St Luke’s

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