Church Updates2018-06-25T17:03:16-05:00

The Life of Jesus in Israel – A Holy Land Tour

Led By Dr. James Fleming and Hannaniah Pinto and Hosted by Dr. Linda Christians, St. Luke’s UMC
  Still a few spots available! Sept. 28 – Oct. 9, 2018 | $ 5500.00 per person | Round trip from Houston

Explore the settings of the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels as Jim Fleming and Hannaniah Pinto weave the context of Scripture through history, geography, archaeology and theology. Discover the time, places, customs and physical settings into which Jesus was born.  Follow Jesus as His ministry unfolded around the Sea of Galilee and as He turned His face toward Jerusalem.

Israel:  Sept. 28 – Oct. 9, 2018 | Jordan Extension:  Oct. 9 – 12, 2018

Sept. 28, Friday – Depart Houston

Sept. 29, Saturday – Arrive in Tel Aviv
You will be greeted by your teacher then transfer to hotel. Dinner/Overnight David Resort in Dead Sea  D

Sept. 30, Sunday – Matriarchs and Patriarchs
Drive to Negev Desert to visit Tel Arad and Tel Beersheba, descend the water channel.  Return to the hotel on the shore of the Dead Sea for a swim (float 33 percent salt). Dinner/Overnight David Resort in Dead Sea  B/D

Oct. 1, Monday – Romans, Tax Collectors, and Zealots
Visit Masada (Jewish stronghold against the Romans).  Walk Ein Gedi waterfall then visit the ruins at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Drive north to stop at the Jordan River, near Jericho, to remember Jesus’ baptism by John. Optional hike to upper waterfall. Dinner/Overnight Ein Gev Kibbutz Sea of Galilee  B/D

Oct. 2, Tuesday –  Jesus’ Ministry Around the Sea of Galilee
Visit Capernaum (synagogue and the Octagonal Church). In Tabgha, visit the Church of the Multiplication, the traditional location for the feeding of the 5000.  Visit the ruins of Chorazin.  You will stand on the Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was delivered.  A St. Peter’s fish lunch will be provided followed by a relaxing boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Dinner/Overnight Ein Gev Kibbutz Sea of Galilee   B/L/D

Oct. 3, Wednesday –  Jesus’ withdrawal from Galilee
Drive to the Golan Heights to view Gamla, a Zealot stronghold.  View the border between Israel and Syria to talk about the road to Damascus and St. Paul.  Visit Caesarea Philippi/Banias. Optional Gamla hike to visit the synagogue Dinner/Overnight Ein Gev Kibbutz Sea of Galilee  B/D

Oct. 4, Thursday –  Nazareth, Megiddo, and Caesarea Maritima
Visit Nazareth and the Church of Annunciation. View Tel Cana and discuss Jesus’ early ministry.  Visit Megiddo, a major Old Testament city, to walk the water tunnel and a New Testament city, Caesarea Maritime, the capital port from where St. Paul departed on his missionary journeys.  We will visit the theater, stadium, Cardo road, harbor and the Crusader Castle. Dinner/Overnight Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem  B/D

Oct. 5, Friday –  Jesus’ Birth Place and Nativity Stories
Tour Bethlehem Basilica of the Nativity.  Enjoy shopping in local shops for olive wood carvings and other treasures from local Christian artisans.   Optional hike to the top of the Herodion, the palace built by King Herod the Great for his burial place. Dinner/Overnight Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem  B/D

Oct. 6, Saturday –  Jerusalem Temple and Palm Sunday
View the mosques:  Al Aksa and the Dome of the Rock.  Visit Bethesda Pools and St. Anne’s Crusader Church. Walk along the Via Dolorosa, visiting Antonia Fortress, Stations of the Cross and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Stand on Mt. of Olives and view the Old City. Walk the Palm Sunday route, visiting the Church of  Dominus Flevit (our Lord Wept). Visit the Garden of  Gethsemane’s “Church of All Nations”, remembering Jesus praying in the garden. Receive communion at the Garden Tomb. Optional hike back to hotel via Kidron Valley. Dinner/Overnight Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem  B/D

Oct. 7, Sunday – Museums in Jerusalem
Visit the Israel Museum, the Shrine of the Book (home of the Dead Sea Scrolls), the Holy Land Model of Jerusalem, the Holocaust Museum and the Menorah at the Knesset building.  Visit the Western Wall (Kotel), for prayer [bring your written prayers to insert in wall], and the southern wall excavations. Dinner/Overnight Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem  B/D

Oct. 8,  Monday –  Jewish Inquiries and the Last Supper
Visit the Old City of Jerusalem, starting in the Jewish Quarter, the synagogues and the Cardo. Visit Peter at  Gallicantu (believed to be the house of  Caiaphas), Zion Gate, Church of the Dormition, and the traditional Upper Room. Dinner/Overnight Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem  B/D

Oct. 9, Tuesday – Group finishing tour will depart for USA.   The extension group goes on to Jordan.

Jordan Extension:  Oct. 9 – 12, 2018 | $840 per person

Oct. 9, Tuesday – Mt. Nebo, Petra
After early morning breakfast, the extension group will go to Jordan via the Shek Hussein bridge.  You will be met by your Jordanian guide and meet the other group at Mt. Nebo where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land, a place that he would never enter. Visit a mosaic shop to learn how mosaic portraits and furniture are made. Continue on to Petra. Overnight/Dinner Moevenpick Hotel in Petra   B/D

Oct. 10, Wednesday – Petra
After breakfast we will spend the day exploring the Nabatean ruins of Petra, where you can choose to either ride a horse in or walk in to the Sik.  Walk through amazingly beautiful, red rock-cut architectures to the Treasury, tricliniums, and the Roman Theater.  Lunch on your own in Petra.  After lunch there are several optional hiking opportunities or make your way back to the hotel. Overnight /Dinner Moevenpick Hotel in Petra   B/D

Oct. 11, Thursday – Amman
Depart early for Amman and have a city tour of Amman. After lunch on your own, visit the Roman theater in the ancient Decapolis city of Philadelphia known today as modern Amman. View the palaces and universities, then continue on to the New Archaeological Museum.  Dinner /Overnight Grand Palace  B/D

Oct. 12, Friday – Early departure for USA

Included in Price

  • Round trip airfare from Houston to Tel Aviv
  • Accommodations for 10 nights in selected superior 4-star hotels with modern comforts
  • 4 optional hiking opportunities
  • Breakfasts, dinners and one lunch on Oct. 2
  • Tour bus for all transfers to/from airport for all visits in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees to sites on itinerary
  • All tips to hotels, drivers, porterage

Not Included in Price

  • Any items of a personal nature, such as laundry, drinks or coffee with/after meals
  • Lunches
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • 3-night Jordan extension
  • Israel single supplement: $1700
  • Jordan single supplement: $250

Tour Conditions & Payment Schedule

  • Deposit of US $500 per person due with registration form completed and mailed to Linda Christians (address below).
  • Cancellation: All cancellations for any reason and at any time must be received in writing and will be subject to a $100/person administration fee.
  • Cancellations between 66 – 90 days of departure will be subject to additional loss of some non-recoverable sums from independent providers of land and air services.
  • No refunds available within 65 days of departure. Full refund will be issued if Biblical Resources withdraws the offer of the program. Air tickets once issued are non-refundable. However, they may be used within a year of the travel date in accordance with airline’s policy.
  • Rates are based on a minimum of 20 participants. Prices quoted are in US Dollars and are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect as of July 2017.
  • These rates are subject to change without notice until tickets are issued.
  • Program cost based on group rate. We cannot use frequent flyer miles or upgrade individual tickets. Program is reduced by $950 per person if you are arranging your own flights. Please note: we must be notified immediately if you are making your own flight arrangements.

About the Tour Leaders

Dr. James Fleming, is a lecturer, director of Biblical Resources, LLC and the CEO of Biblical History Center, a     museum of daily life in biblical times,  located in LaGrange, GA. He has lived and worked as an archaeologist and educator in Israel since 1974 and has taught classes in the School for Overseas Students at Hebrew University and the Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem. He has developed courses in historical geography and biblical history, uniquely tying the studies with biblical text, with an emphasis on theological implications. He is the  author of several dozen notebooks and teaching materials that are an excellent  help to pastors and leaders. He obtained his Ed.D. degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX.

Hannaniah (Oliver) Pinto lived in Jerusalem, Israel from 1983 – 2004. He is a licensed Israeli tour guide fluent in four languages. currently directs study programs at Biblical Resources, and co-leads tours to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. He is also the Chief Program Officer at Biblical History Center, a museum featuring the daily life in biblical times, headquartered in LaGrange, GA. Hannaniah’s teaching is focused on archaeology and the Jewish background of the Bible.He helps groups understand the remains of biblical towns,  connecting them to stories in the Bible in a new and exciting way.His published book, Jesus’ Last Night with His Disciples, a Study of the First Century Historical and Archaeological Setting of the Last Supper, provides insight into journeys to Israel.

Dr. Linda Christians feels blessed to be able to combine her spiritual journey with her leadership role as Executive Pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Linda came into ministry following a nursing career. She received her call to ministry during a Footsteps of Jesus study tour in the Holy Land in 1997 and feels her faith being strengthened with each successive journey. Linda graduated from Perkins School of Theology with a Master of Divinity degree in 2002, and received her Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2010. Linda and her husband, Doug, have two grown children, Zach and Emily.

For reservations or information contact:

Dr. Linda Christians
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
3471 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77027
Tel: 713-402-5114
lchristians@stlukesmethodist.org

 

Download Registration Form


St. Luke’s Family Reunion | Church Conference Recap
January 28, 2018


St. Luke’s New Church App – Our Member Toolbox

Download App here

Guide to App Features

Want to pay bills, shop, get social, check scores and even do Bible study? Yup -there’s an app for that. And now St. Luke’s has an app!
See it as your member tool box; easy buttons that can get you what you want to access fast. Easy. Fast. Shareable. Get in the know, real time.
Search St Lukes UMC Houston in the app store to download.

Remember— the cool thing about an app is that it’s not just real time information and media at your fingertips (which is pretty cool on its own) but even more, it’s all about sharing with a friend, taking notes, adding events to your calendar, or even hearing from us once in a while through push notifications. Stop by every Sunday in February—no appointment needed!


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The Life of Jesus in Israel – A Holy Land Tour

Led By Dr. James Fleming and Hannaniah Pinto and Hosted by Dr. Linda Christians, St. Luke’s UMC
October 10- Oct. 21, 2018 | $ 5500.00 per person | Round trip from Houston

Explore the settings of the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels as Jim Fleming and Hannaniah Pinto weave the context of Scripture through history, geography, archaeology and theology. Discover the time, places, customs and physical settings into which Jesus was born.  Follow Jesus as His ministry unfolded around the Sea of Galilee and as He turned His face toward Jerusalem.

Israel: October 10- Oct. 21, 2018 | Jordan Extension:  Oct. 9 – 12, 2018

Oct. 10, Wednesday – Depart Houston

Oct. 11, Thursday – Arrive in Tel Aviv.
Jesus’ Early Ministry
After leaving airport, we will stop for lunch.  On our way to the Sea of Galilee we will visit Nazareth and the Church of Annunciation. View Tel Cana and discuss Jesus’ early ministry. Dinner and Overnight in Ein Gev Kibbutz  B/D

Oct. 12, Friday – Megiddo and Caesarea Maritima
Visit Megiddo, a major Old Testament city, to walk the water tunnel and a New Testament city, Caesarea Maritime, the capital port from where St. Paul departed on his missionary journeys.  We will visit the theater, stadium, Cardo road, harbor and the Crusader Castle. Dinner and Overnight in Ein Gev Kibbutz   B/D

Oct. 13,  Saturday – Jesus’ Ministry Around the Sea of Galilee
Visit Capernaum (synagogue and the Octagonal Church).  In Tabgha, visit the Church of the  Multiplication, the traditional location for the feeding of the 5000.  Visit the ruins of Chorazin.  You will stand on the Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus’ delivered his Sermon on the Mount.  A St. Peter’s fish lunch will be provided followed by a relaxing boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Dinner/Overnight Ein Gev Kibbutz    B/L/D

Oct. 14, Sunday – Jesus’ withdrawal from Galilee
Drive to the Golan Heights to view Gamla, a Zealot stronghold.  View the border between Israel and Syria to talk about the road to Damascus and St. Paul. Visit Caesarea Philippi/Banias.  Optional Gamla hike to visit the synagogue. Dinner/Overnight Ein Gev Kibbutz    B/D

Oct. 15, Monday- Romans, Tax Collectors and Zealots
Stop at the Jordan River, near Jericho, to remember Jesus’ baptism by John.  Visit the ruins at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Walk Ein Gedi waterfall then drive south to Masada (Jewish stronghold against the Romans). Optional hike to upper waterfall. Dinner/Overnight David Resort at Dead Sea     B/D

Oct. 16, Tuesday – Matriarchs and Patriarchs
Drive to Negev Desert to visit Tel Arad and Tel Beersheba, descend the water channel.  Continue  to the hotel on the shore of the Dead Sea for a swim (float 33 percent salt). Dinner/Overnight David Resort in Dead Sea    B/D

Oct. 17, Wednesday –  Jesus’ Birth Place and Nativity Stories
Tour Bethlehem Basilica of the Nativity.  Enjoy shopping in local shops for olive wood carvings and other treasures from local Christian artisans. Optional hike to the top of the Herodion, the palace built by King Herod the Great for his burial place. Dinner/Overnight Mamilla in Jerusalem.    B/D

Oct. 18, Thursday- Jerusalem Temple and Palm Sunday
View the mosques:  Al Aksa and the Dome of the Rock.  Visit Bethesda Pools and St. Anne’s Crusader Church.  You’ll walk along the Via Dolorosa, visiting Antonia Fortress, Stations of the Cross and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Stand on Mt. of Olives and view the Old City. Walk the Palm Sunday route, visiting the Church of Dominus Flevit (our Lord Wept).  Visit the Garden of Gethsemane’s “Church of All Nations”, remembering Jesus praying in the garden. Receive communion in the Garden Tomb. Optional hike back to hotel via Kidron Valley. Dinner/Overnight Mamilla in Jerusalem     B/D

Oct. 19, Friday – Museums in Jerusalem
Visit the Israel Museum, the Shrine of the Book (home of the Dead Sea Scrolls), the Holy Land Model of Jerusalem, the Holocaust Museum and the Menorah at the Knesset building.  Go to the Western Wall (Kotel), for prayer [bring your written prayers to insert in wall] and the southern wall excavations. Dinner/Overnight Mamilla in Jerusalem    B/D

Oct. 20, Saturday – Jewish Inquiries and the Last Supper
Visit the Old City of Jerusalem, starting in the Jewish Quarter, the synagogues and the Cardo.  Visit Peter at Gallicantu (believed to be the house of Caiaphas), Zion Gate, Church of the Dormition, and the traditional Upper Room. Dinner/Overnight Mamilla in Jerusalem    B/D

Oct. 21, Sunday- Depart Tel Aviv

Included in Price

  • Round trip airfare from Houston to Tel Aviv
  • Accommodations for 10 nights in selected superior 4-star hotels with modern comforts
  • 4 optional hiking opportunities
  • Breakfasts, dinners and one lunch on Oct. 13
  • Tour bus for all transfers to/from airport for all visits in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees to sites on itinerary
  • All tips to hotels, drivers, porterage

Not Included in Price

  • Any items of a personal nature, such as laundry, drinks or coffee with/after meals
  • Lunches
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • 3-night Jordan extension
  • Israel single supplement: $1700
  • Jordan single supplement: $250

Tour Conditions & Payment Schedule

  • Deposit of US $500 per person due with registration form completed and mailed to Linda Christians (address below).
  • Cancellation: All cancellations for any reason and at any time must be received in writing and will be subject to a $100/person administration fee.
  • Cancellations between 66 – 90 days of departure will be subject to additional loss of some non-recoverable sums from independent providers of land and air services.
  • No refunds available within 65 days of departure. Full refund will be issued if Biblical Resources withdraws the offer of the program. Air tickets once issued are non-refundable. However, they may be used within a year of the travel date in accordance with airline’s policy.
  • Rates are based on a minimum of 20 participants. Prices quoted are in US Dollars and are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect as of July 2017.
  • These rates are subject to change without notice until tickets are issued.
  • Program cost based on group rate. We cannot use frequent flyer miles or upgrade individual tickets. Program is reduced by $950 per person if you are arranging your own flights. Please note: we must be notified immediately if you are making your own flight arrangements.

About the Tour Leaders

Dr. James Fleming, is a lecturer, director of Biblical Resources, LLC and the CEO of Biblical History Center, a museum of daily life in biblical times,  located in LaGrange, GA. He has lived and worked as an archaeologist and educator in Israel since 1974 and has taught classes in the School for Overseas Students at Hebrew University and the Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem. He has developed courses in historical geography and biblical history, uniquely tying the studies with biblical text, with an emphasis on theological implications. He is the  author of several dozen notebooks and teaching materials that are an excellent  help to pastors and leaders. He obtained his Ed.D. degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX.

Hannaniah (Oliver) Pinto lived in Jerusalem, Israel from 1983 – 2004. He is a licensed Israeli tour guide fluent in four languages. currently directs study programs at Biblical Resources, and co-leads tours to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. He is also the Chief Program Officer at Biblical History Center, a museum featuring the daily life in biblical times, headquartered in LaGrange, GA. Hannaniah’s teaching is focused on archaeology and the Jewish background of the Bible.He helps groups understand the remains of biblical towns,  connecting them to stories in the Bible in a new and exciting way.His published book, Jesus’ Last Night with His Disciples, a Study of the First Century Historical and Archaeological Setting of the Last Supper, provides insight into journeys to Israel.

Dr. Linda Christians feels blessed to be able to combine her spiritual journey with her leadership role as Executive Pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Linda came into ministry following a nursing career. She received her call to ministry during a Footsteps of Jesus study tour in the Holy Land in 1997 and feels her faith being strengthened with each successive journey. Linda graduated from Perkins School of Theology with a Master of Divinity degree in 2002, and received her Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2010. Linda and her husband, Doug, have two grown children, Zach and Emily.

For reservations or information contact:

Dr. Linda Christians
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
3471 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77027
Tel: 713-402-5114
lchristians@stlukesmethodist.org

 

Download Registration Form

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?