February at St. Luke offers us opportunities to grow and mature in our faith. We will have an in-depth discussion on Race, begin the Transformational Ministry process and start our Lenten journey.

What is this thing called race? Race -- The Power of an Illusion is based on a provocative three-hour video series that questions the very idea of race as biology. If race is a biological myth, where did the idea come from? Are we open to challenge many long and deeply held assumptions? Is it safe to talk about race? Can we end racism? Join us as we, a people of faith, examine these important questions in our society.

All are invited to attend this seminar. We will meet at St. Luke on Saturday, February 10, start at 9am and end by 4pm. Lunch will be provided for all in attendance.  Cathy Crimi and I will be the presenters and facilitate the discussions. Please join us and invite a friend to attend.

Transformational Ministry is a program designed by the ELCA and Southeastern Synod to lead Lutheran congregations to growth and vitality. St. Luke is a healthy congregation, but we are not all that God is calling us to be. We have lost some of the vitality of a new congregation. We risk becoming disconnected from the communities around us. In February we begin a two year process of discernment. We will be asking you for guidance, ideas and prayers as begin this process. Our first team meeting will be held on Saturday, February 3, 8am - 4pm. We will join with Living Word, Epiphany and Peace Lutheran churches in this discussion. The St. Luke Church Council has designated resources for this process. Our congregation voted at our last congregational meeting to engage in this process. Your participation will be needed in the coming months.

The season of Epiphany is quickly coming to an end. Ash Wednesday will soon be upon us. This year Ash Wednesday falls on February 14. What a cruel joke to have Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day on the same day. Chocolates and Ashes do not go together. Maybe this can be reminder that death and love are both part of our lives. We need to pause and acknowledge both. Both are part of who we are as humans. A life is not fully lived without love, as we consider our death, let us recommit to love God, love ourselves and love our neighbor.

Our Lenten devotional books are available in the narthex.  "LIVING WELL through Lent 2018 --Loving With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind" includes daily readings and journal entries. Lent is a time for introspection and self- reflection, a time to reflect on the core of what it means to live a Christian life. For people of faith, love is not an abstract or feel-good concept, but an urgent call to radically incarnate love in how we relate to God, our neighbor and ourselves. Please join in the study and reflection this season of lent.  A small group leader's guide is available for Lenten small groups using this resource.

As we continue the journey before us, consider this prayer by Chaplain Mychal Judge who died on 9/11/2011,

Lord, take me where You want me to go,

Let me meet who You want me to meet,

Tell me what You want me to say,

And, keep me out of Your way.

In Christ,

Pastor Cliff