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News 2017-09-08T13:42:30-05:00

Houston Flood Relief

Thoughts about Charlottesville
by Dr. Tom Pace

August 20, 2017

I was wrong.
Last Saturday, when the white supremacists marched at Charlottesville, I thought the best response was to ignore them. I urged us all to pray, but also sought to deprive them of the attention they are craving. I refused to let a bunch of haters and a murderer set the agenda for my heart or my church. They are a fringe group, I thought, way out on the edge, and their brand of overt racism is not the real issue in our culture. I still think that part is true. But I have come to believe that their kind of hate is like the little creatures in whack-a-mole. It keeps popping up, and it is up to the whole community to whack it right back down as soon as it pops up. Of course they have the right to speak and say what they want to say. And those of us in the rest of the world have the right to shout them down. And I am so grateful that, pretty much universally across the spectrum of theology and ideology, the world has said “no!”
When extremist murderers attacked innocent people in the name of the Islamic faith, I asked my Muslim friends why some of their own leaders remained silent. They responded just like I did on Saturday: “Those people aren’t us. They don’t represent us. That isn’t is Islam. They aren’t really Muslims; they are terrorist fanatics.” “Yes,” I responded, “but the rest of us need to be reminded of that by you.” And so many Muslim leaders do remind us of that every time it happens. Similarly, those who are targets of white supremacist racism need to be reminded that those people marching with torches don’t represent us, and that what they do is anathema to everything we believe. We shouldn’t have to say it, but it is nonetheless necessary. So, late to the game, I add my voice to the overwhelming chorus. The world has spoken. You are both wrong and destructive to the very fabric of our culture.
The real issues, of course, are deeper than hateful slogans and chants, and more difficult to recognize. The most pervasive racism is built deep into every one of us. It is subtle and deceptive, and just like with most sin, we sinners remain in denial that it is there at all. It is intertwined with so many other issues we face: poverty and crime and violence and history and education and economics and culture and values and opportunity and a dozen more. The church’s job is to acknowledge that sin, and let the love of Jesus Christ work within our hearts to bring about repentance, as well as both personal and social transformation. In the church, we call that “sanctification.” I pray that in the months and years ahead, God will show us ways to do just that. The change won’t come through a triumph of the left or of the right. Nor will it come with the kind of violence and hatred that bubbles up in response to torchlight marches. Jesus always chose to love the people everyone else loved to hate. I believe it will come through a change in the hearts of women and men, through the power of God at work within us. It sounds naïve, but I do believe that “perfect love casts out all fear.”-1 John 4:18. And Jesus is that perfect love.

More from the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church here.

The Growing Tree document
Five Year Plan document

All initiatives proposed at the Church Conference were passed.

June 25, 2017

Board of Stewards Meeting

May 24, 2017

Fellowship Hall Proposed Renovation

The Fellowship Hall Building Study Committee has been working collaboratively over the past several months.  The committee is comprised of leaders from St Luke’s Executive Committee, staff, clergy, volunteers, Encounter band, Building Committee as well as Design, Acoustical, Audio/Video/Lighting, and construction consultants.

Our goal has been to bring forth a design that not only takes into account the interior of Fellowship Hall, but beyond that, includes the infrastructure and acoustical needs of a space that will be a multipurpose room that could welcome and host events, meetings, receptions, performances, small groups, Children’s Ministry events, as well transform into a worship space for Encounter on Sundays.

This space was St Luke’s first sanctuary, and over the years the room has been modified into Fellowship Hall, which was renovated back in the 80’s.  It has always been our committee’s commitment to honor the space and allow it to come to life for the purpose of growing the Kingdom, while remaining true to St Luke’s Georgian style, heritage and architecture.

Our focus has taken into account the past, present and future of Fellowship Hall.  The specific areas included in the design components are; ceiling, back wall, proscenium wall, stage, side walls, refurbished floors, upgrade mechanical, electrical, fire alarm, wood work, audio, visual and lighting.

The renderings pictured here will help you see the space and look beyond.

We look forward to hearing from you and any questions that you may have. Contact Larry Moore at lmoore@stlukesmethodist.org

Long Range Planning Committee Aims at Ambitious Goals

St. Luke’s Long Range Planning Committee has been at work seeking God’s preferred future for St. Luke’s ministry.  The committee has established eight initiatives as part of our vision for the next five years.  By the end of 2023, St Luke’s will:

  • Overhaul systems for hospitality, engagement, and leadership development
  • Expand strategic communications for traditional worship and all of St. Luke’s ministries
  • Enlarge St. Luke’s outreach ministry, including our work in the Gethsemane parish
  • Grow the Story Houston as an integral part of St. Luke’s mission
  • Strengthen and grow our Encounter worship community
  • Build a strong financial foundation for growing ministries
  • Improve technology, including a new church management system
  • Restructure our governance for more doing and less reporting

Specific strategies are being developed for each of these initiatives, along with objectives and ministry owners.  The plan will be presented at a Church Conference on June 25 at 6 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.  All are welcome!  If you have questions or comments, please contact committee co-chairs Kristin Tillman ktillman@greenwoodking.com or Nick Erwin nicklerwin@gmail.com.

New Governance Structure Proposed

As part of the plan for the next five years, the Structure sub-committee of the Long Range is proposing a new governance structure for St. Luke’s.  The purpose of the change is to move more people into ministries of “doing” on teams, and fewer people on committees, whose primary function is simply oversight.  The specific recommendations are that St. Luke’s:

  • Replace our current Board of Stewards with two all church conferences each year, for the purpose of communications.
  • Create a new Church Council with 17 members, serving the same function as our current Executive Committee.
  • Create an Executive Committee of seven officers of the Church Council.
  • Reduce standing committees to 4- Lay Leadership, Human Resources, Finance & Operations and Advancement; all have 9 members
  • Merge Audit Committee into Finance & Operations; merge Executive Nominating into Lay Leadership
  • Replace Discipleship, Worship and Outreach Commissions with enhanced participation in ministry teams
  • Involve representatives from all worship communities in governance bodies.

The committee believes that these changes, consistent with United Methodist Book of Discipline, along with specific charters for each of our committees, will make volunteering at St. Luke’s far more productive, and increase volunteer participation across the whole life of the church.  If you would like to talk more about this new structure, please contact structure subcommittee chair Vicki Keiser vkeiser@swbell.net.

Q&A

Why do we need to renovate the Fellowship Hall? 

There are three primary reasons this renovation is necessary:

  • The room is not in good shape right now. It is the one room in our church that is well below standards for our church.
  • We want to provide excellent spaces for all of our worship communities. We have done so for traditional worship and for The Story Houston, and this would provide such a space for Encounter.
  • We removed a new “Great Hall” from our last capital campaign. As a result, we need to invest in our existing space. The room is used for many purposes: Vacation Bible School, Men’s Life, funeral receptions, dinners, luncheons, outreach events, women’s ministry events, concerts and any time we need a room for more than 100 people. It is one of our most used rooms. In addition, we would like for it to be more acceptable for medium-sized wedding and funeral services themselves.

Why do it now? Can’t we wait until another capital campaign? 

In the Spring of 2016, we made a difficult decision for The Story Houston to have exclusive use of the new contemporary worship building on Sundays. We simply could not find a way to make the times work, and The Story was already growing extremely fast.  We wanted to give The Story the best opportunity to continue to grow. This meant that we would not move Encounter into the new worship facility as we had advertised in the capital campaign. At that time, we committed to those who had made their contributions that we would look at a way to upgrade the worship space for Encounter. We appointed a Building Study Committee in the Fall, before we even appointed the Long Range Planning Committee, and this is their recommendation.

Do we have to do all of it right now?

We considered a smaller, less expensive upgrade, including hanging acoustical clouds on the ceiling and putting acoustical materials on all the walls, but this seemed like a poor option. If we are going to do it, we need to do it right. We also considered a phased approach, in which we did some things now and the rest after a capital campaign, but that was going to be more expensive and would mean shutting the room down twice.

Aren’t Encounter and The Story Houston both the same kind of worship? Can’t they just combine? 

No, The Story Houston has a very specific mission and target. It is to reach irreligious people in the Houston area and is far more than a style of worship. It has its own culture and discipleship and outreach approach. Encounter is a part of St. Luke’s long-standing culture, sharing Sunday School classes, small groups, outreach projects, and has the same broad target constituency as the rest of St. Luke’s, except that it is a different style of worship.

Where will Encounter worship during the renovation to Fellowship Hall? 

The Encounter service will take place in the Activity Center during the renovation.

When will the project start, if passed, and how long will it take?

While nothing is finalized, the plan would likely start after the first of the year and take approximately 6 months to complete.

What is the cost of the project and how will it be funded?

The budget is currently $1.8 million, including Audio/Visual/Lights. The amount will be added to our funding instrument for our What If capital campaign. This will increase our debt when all of the current capital campaign pledges are paid to approximately $7 million. We will retire this debt in a proposed future capital campaign.

Will we be able to have Saturday evening meetings and events?

Yes! We want to enjoy this wonderful space.

Will the kitchen be included in the renovation?

There are no plans for kitchen renovation in this project. However, we will research possible models for expanded use and renovation of our kitchen for the future.

Will the stage be widened and accessible for PureSound, shows and concerts?

Yes!

What is the abatement for?

The abatement is for asbestos removal, typically found in buildings of this age.

Do you have a question?