Greetings Friends & Family of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church,
It is with a joy filled and humble heart that I introduce myself. I am The Rev. Christopher M. Decatur, and I am honored to have been called as the next Pastor of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. My pastoral relationship began with each of you this Monday, June 8th, 2020. What a wonderful and full day that was! We welcomed many volunteers from across The Diocese of Ohio to serve at our Mobile Food Pantry and served many of our friends and neighbors from the Greater Cleveland area. While Monday was my first official day at St. Luke’s, this community of faith has been held in my daily prayers since the very first day that I began discerning a call to serve as your next clergy leader.
I am beyond grateful for the leadership of the vestry, search committee, your interim and supply clergy, and the support from The Diocese of Ohio. Most importantly, I am grateful for the steady and faithful leadership of each of you walking through this season of transition with open and Spirit led hearts and minds. Our relationship is beginning in a difficult time in the lives of the people of this nation and the people of the world. Not only are we journeying through a pandemic, where fears and frustrations have surfaced and our normal rhythms of life have been forced to enter into a new reality; but, are also witnessing a cry out from our siblings in Christ from across this country who are calling for justice, peace, and love, to become a part of the air that we breathe. To become a part of the air that sustains us. In the recent death of George Floyd, as well as many people of color over the years, we have seen that when justice, peace and love escape our day to day life, we are left being unable to breathe.
This time in our lives, is critical to live and move and have our entire selves be rooted in our faith that calls us to be and share that love and peace that surpasses all understanding; that liberating love shown to us through the life of Jesus. So, my kindred, our work as disciples continues today; in a new chapter and in a new world that we find ourselves living in. Here are some ways, that you may choose to live into and strengthen your discipleship at this time:
Sunday Morning Worship: This Sunday (and every Sunday), we will gather for worship at 11:30am in our “St. Luke’s Virtual Chapel” made possible through Zoom. Our ‘Chapel doors’ (or Zoom room) will open at 11am, where you may virtually come and gather with your fellow disciples before our worship begins. If you have attended an online worship service with us before, you will receive Zoom log in information on Friday morning, and again as a reminder on Sunday morning. No matter where you might find yourself on your faith journey, or affiliation, know that ALL ARE WELCOME here at St. Luke’s.
Chats with Pastor Chris: As your new Pastor, I want to get to know you! And, I want you to have the opportunity to get to know me. Over the coming weeks, you will receive a phone call from me asking to set-up a time for either a Zoom Meeting, a safe-distanced walk (masks required), a chat in your front yard (or the front yard of St. Luke’s) with masks and appropriate distance, or, simply a time to talk on the phone. If you are unsure that St. Luke’s has your accurate contact information, and you want to set up a time to meet with me, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 216-631-2841. Our time together can be spent discussing anything you would like. You may also choose to set up multiple appointments. Let us dream and imagine a Church anew and a world made new.
I will also be arranging virtual meetings and conversations with our civic leaders and neighborhood leaders to see how St. Luke’s can help them create and lead a more hopeful ‘today’ and an even better ‘tomorrow’.
Outreach Opportunities & Youth and Adult Programming: We will continue to hold our 2nd and 4th Monday Mobile Food Pantry services (5:00-7:00pm) as well as our weekly Wednesday Night Community Dinners (6:00-6:45pm) in a safe and socially distant manner. This requires that our services be offered as ‘to-go’ style events, as well as with the wearing of masks and maintaining appropriate spacing between one another. If you are interested in volunteering or connecting with one of our leaders who oversee these ministries, please contact us at email@example.com or at 216-631-2841 and you will be directed to someone to connect you.
I will join the vestry and staff in prayerful conversations about how to offer summer programming for our children, our youth, and for our community members, while maintaining as our number one priority the health and well-being for all people. In the coming weeks, you will receive further information about how we will move forward with summer programming and worship opportunities for our faith community and for our Cleveland neighbors during this pandemic.
Pastoral Emergencies and Prayer Requests: We are always in need of prayer, and some of us might find ourselves and our loved ones needing to be added to our communal prayer list. If you would like to add yourself or a loved one to our community prayer list, please contact The Rev. Christopher Decatur at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the main office at 216-631-2841.
If you or a loved one is in a hospital and would like a visit (as health policies allow), please contact The Rev. Christopher Decatur at email@example.com or 216-631-2841. If your emergency is after the hours of 6pm on Sunday-Thursday, or anytime during the days on Friday and Saturday, please contact The Rev. Christopher Decatur at (440) 666-7166. Messages will be answered if the call is not answered right away.
St. Luke’s Family, I am honored to serve our God with you! Continue to look out and listen for more information about St. Luke’s each week. Coming soon, we will have a weekly newsletter and a website for you to refer to for information. I personally, will continue to keep you informed in letters throughout this season of transition.
May God continue to keep you held in those loving arms,
The Rev Christopher M. Decatur