Category: baptism

Our upcoming Program Year

As many of you know, our focus at St. Luke’s this year will be “Attending to the Presence of God,” and our formation offerings are a delightful invitation to do so. Here’s a brief sketch of the good things coming our way. To hear more, join us at a forum on September 18th. And take note: this year finds us rich with new volunteers, whose names and roles are bolded below. Also, we are still in need of volunteers who feel called to offer their gifts to this year’s powerful offerings. Please see Renee to talk through where and how you might join these new endeavors!

Children’s Sermons:

During the 9:30 Eucharist, we will continue with our summer structure: keeping kids in the pews for the Liturgy of the Word; having them join Deacon Greg for the Gospel Procession; offering them a sermon, music, and art in the library; and then returning to the church at the Peace. This will keep kids closely connected to our worship gathering, and will allow them to sit with us through the mystery, praise, and complexity that is our liturgy. Laura Mercadal will serve as an alternate in leading these sermons, and we’d love to have one more person who might take pleasure in guiding our children this way.  

Children’s Formation:

In addition, beginning September 18th we will kick off a new religious formation program. This program will run from 11am to 12N, will be held on the third floor, and will be divided into nine units based on the topics we want kids to explore this year (and the liturgical seasons in which those topics fit). Some of these sessions will be intergenerational (we’ll bring kids down to learn alongside adults, and once even to teach us!), but most will be designed for ages 4-10. Part of our goal this year is to widen the lens of our children’s religious formation: we don’t want to limit the voices they hear. This is important because we are gifted with a parish full of wise and experienced teachers, scholars, and leaders, which is an immense privilege, and one from which our kids should benefit. It likewise allows individuals to devote themselves deeply for a series of weeks, and then to return to their own formation practices.

The topics we’ll cover include:

  • The Book of Common Prayer
  • The Eucharist
  • Home as a Family’s Spiritual Center
  • Isaiah, Art, & Music
  • The Story of Joseph
  • Matthew & First-Century Nazareth Context
  • Exodus, Art, & Music
  • Acts of the Apostles
  • Ecclesiology (or “What is Church?”)

And I am thrilled to announce our team of volunteer teachers this year. Though we are still searching for two lead teachers and a number of assistants – should you be interested! – so far our spectacular line-up includes Elizabeth Kraatz, Brian Lonberg, Amy Hanson, Becky Edmonds, Jenny Sanderson, Fritz MacDonald, Madeleine Roberts, and Jeremy Sabella. 

Adult Formation:

Adult Formation will also gather from 11am to 12N, and as I mention above will include intergenerational days, as well as content crossover, which will make it exciting for kids and parents to share what they’ve learned. There will be two forums per week, the content for which is being carefully created and cultivated by both St. Luke’s staff and our new Adult Forum Team: Frankie LeClear, Linda Snyder, Caleb Molstad, and Jax Lee Gardner.

Topics will include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Attending to the Presence of God
  • The Rector’s Fall Class: The Eucharist
  • The Home as our Spiritual Center
  • Adult Art Series: Writing Christ Icons
  • Social Justice & Outreach
  • Prayer Practices
  • The Adult Lenten Study
  • Anti-Racism Work
  • Music & Drama
  • History & Community
  • Ecclesiology (or “What is Church?”)

Baptism:

We’ve spent joyful time this summer creating a new structure for baptismal formation. Baptismal candidates and/or their families will prepare via communal exploration of the sacrament’s scriptural precedence, the liturgy in which they’ll make their covenant, and the history of the sacrament itself. Then – in the weeks following their baptism – they’ll experience the fullness of the corporate life of the Church and the mystagogos or “mysteries” of faith as they begin to live into Christ’s death and resurrection. This formation structure, therefore, is designed to make clear that the invitation to baptism is available for all and need never be earned, and that the work baptism initiates is lifelong, mysterious, and communal. As a parish, we are privileged to witness this process, and to consider the catechumens as living examples of our common need to reexamine and reaffirm our baptismal covenant.

I’m also happy to announce that Carla Baublis and Dennis LeClear have joined our new Baptism Preparation Team!

Confirmation, Reaffirmation, & Reception:

We’ve likewise revolutionized our process for confirmation, reaffirmation, and reception.

Candidates will engage deeply with the following topics:

  • Scripture
  • The Anglican Communion
  • Liturgy
  • Rule of Life
  • Discernment
  • Prayer Practices
  • Sacramental Rites
  • Stewardship
  • Safeguarding
  • Social Justice
  • Outreach

Our intention is to offer a flexible program that need not be met in any particular way. Though rigorous, this process is a journey and not a destination. It is an invitation to cultivate an approach for sustaining a rich spirituality throughout one’s life. Please let us know if you might feel called to explore this sacrament with us.

Also, join me in welcoming John Tucker to our Confirmation Preparation Team, and please reach out if you have interest in lending your voice to this new program!  

Fellowship:

Please also join me in welcoming our new St. Luke’s Socializes Planning Team, which is comprised of Laurence Hawthorne, Stacey Marquee-Flentje, and Art McNabb. See these folks with ideas about food and fellowship!

Youth Group:

Finally, our youth group is growing, and we’re looking for an engaged volunteer leader. See Renee if you feel called to offer your gifts to this wonderful community of young parishioners.

The volunteer position will require:

  • 3-5 hours most weeks;
  • strong listening skills, creativity, empathy, and patience;
  • reliability and a talent for organization; experience with social media a plus;
  • the ability to work well with parents/caregivers, and to understand family dynamics;
  • the ability to connect with the interests and concerns of today’s youth;
  • engagement with our youth group principles of scripture, service, and solidarity, as well as our parish identity: “Spirituality in Action”;
  • flexible hours and energy for intensive fundraising endeavors;
  • summer flexibility, and a willingness to help plan and lead our yearly pilgrimage;
  • a likelihood of long-term (two-year) availability;
  • safeguarding certification (which can be completed before volunteer commencement);
  • a background check (completed by us);
  • experience working with youth and/or positive personal youth group history a plus;
  • enthusiasm for the opportunity to work with youth of diverse gender identity, sexuality, and background, and from a variety of family configurations.
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the covenant as written by our little ones

In preparation for the Pentecost baptisms, we spent some time in Children’s Chapel a few weeks back looking at the Baptismal Covenant. Because so many of our kiddos were baptized as babies, these occasions for renewal and recommitment feel especially rich. For each of us, even as adults, new depths of understanding come each time we make these promises. But especially for our children, the covenant has the potential to serve as an awakening. When they hear us speak these words, children are invited into a relationship with God, and with all of us in Christ. And when they begin not just to hear but to speak these words themselves, they set out on their own path towards God. They begin to grasp how behavior shapes belief. They become Christian not because we are, but because God is calling them into the practice of Christianity.

And so I offered our children only the questions of the covenant, and gave them space as a community to craft their own answers instead of teaching them our collective, scripted responses. They were delightfully thoughtful and engaged with one another throughout this process. Their answers – which I copied verbatim once they’d settled on language they all more or less agreed with – are endearing and witty, and not at all surprising given the vibrant community of children we have here at St. Luke’s. But they are also largely theologically sound, and have the potential – if we read beyond or perhaps into the many amusing barnyard references – to help us deepen our own understanding of this piece of our tradition.

To me, that’s the highest potential payoff of intergenerational spiritual practice: the opportunity that arises again and again to learn from one another. To be, from our birth to our death, at once students and teachers. So as we head into a summer of more shared intergenerational worship, I offer these covenant responses as an invitation. May we tune carefully in to the fruitful truth that our children have as much to teach us as we have to teach them. And may the promises we make to God be both illuminated by and illuminating for those of any age on this path alongside us.

Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God, who created us, pigs, chickens, and blankets.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God?
I believe in Jesus the son of God, who lived and died and lived again. He heals people. 

Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
I believe in God the Holy Spirit, who comes like wind or like fire to help us understand the Word of God. 

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
I will keep doing prayers, receiving the body of God, and doing the chicken dance. 

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
I will return to God. 

Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?
I will proclaim that God is happy and loves us.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
I will eat chickens with others and try to see good in them.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?
I will be nice and a good listener, sharing what I have and doing the pig dance.