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Dear Members of St. Luke’s,

The Vestry of St. Luke’s and Rector Helen have engaged in a mutual discernment process which helped us to see that it was time for our pastoral relationship with Rector Helen to come to an end. The Vestry and Rector Helen have agreed that her last Sunday with us will be September 12 and her last day as Rector will be September 15, 2021.

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We recognize that there will be a wide variety of feelings associated with this announcement and we want you to know that the congregation will be cared for by the Vestry, one another and the Diocese.

Bishop Rodman and Canon Massey will be meeting with the Vestry on September 7, 2021 to determine next steps in our transition.  Our discussion will include planning for priests to lead our worship and respond to pastoral and sacramental needs during the transition, together with the ways the Wardens and Vestry can support the congregation.

See below for several opportunities which will be available for you to bid farewell to Rector Helen.  Letters and cards with personal notes would also be appreciated and can be mailed to Rev. Helen Svoboda-Barber c/o St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1737 Hillandale Rd, Durham NC 27712.

During our time of transition, the Senior Warden and Junior Warden are taking on greater leadership with added support from  the Vestry and the Bishop’s staff of the Diocese. We intend to wrap all of you in prayer as we make this journey together. We anticipate more frequent communications with the congregation to keep you informed of next steps and to support you along the way.

Along with my prayers for you, I ask that you keep me and the Vestry in your prayers as well. The God whom we know best through the Word made flesh—Jesus—promised to be with us always. I am certain that Jesus is walking with us today and into our future together.

In faithful service,
Eileen Morgan, Senior Warden

A message from Helen:
Dear St. Luke’s,

After seven years as your rector, the vestry and I have come to the mutual decision that it is time for me to step away from leadership at St. Luke’s.  For some, this decision will be a shock which may include confusion, sadness or anger.  Know that the wardens, vestry and I have felt these feelings too.  And yet, I have felt God’s presence in the work we have done together during my time as your rector — including during this most recent discernment. 

I am grateful for the work we have done together including the acoustics project and new organ, becoming a regular site for Racial Equity Institute workshops, creating a transgender name change ceremony, improving financial communication, hosting our first same-sex wedding, creating and living into our Capital Reserves plan as we replace roofs, HVACs and our Solar Project which will be completed this fall.

I give thanks that you have allowed me to be present for you as your pastor and priest.  We have laughed and wept together.  We have worked and learned together.  We have prayed in groups and I have prayed in my heart for you.  You will continue in my prayers, although I will no longer be your pastor and priest.   In order for you to be ready to welcome your interim and then next rector, per Diocesan policy, I will not be available for baptisms, weddings, funerals, pastoral counseling, or get togethers.  My family and I will stay in Durham for some time but our relationship with St. Luke’s will come to an end on September 15th. 

I would cherish a note from you or to see you at one of the farewell events outlined on this page.  I pray for your continued mission and ministry, and that you will engage in the work that is yours to do with courage, vulnerability, grace and love. 

With gratitude,

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A prayer from Helen and Eileen:

This prayer is from the service of Compline
(a service of prayer before retiring for the night), BCP 134.
It has been a comfort to us both in this time,
and we commend this prayer to you: 

Keep watch, dear Lord,
with those who work, or watch,
or weep this night,
and give your angels charge
over those who sleep.

Tend the sick, Lord Christ;
give rest to the weary,
bless the dying, soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted,
shield the joyous;
and all for your love’s sake.


Welcome, Anthony!

New member Anthony Bishop has quite an unusual confirmation story. Anthony is a long-time friend of Deacon Dan Laird and Tim Truelove. As Anthony began feeling called to become involved with a worshipping community, Dan encouraged him to try out St. Luke’s. Anthony attended a few times before COVID and enjoyed it. He works nights and weekends, so generally was not able to attend regular Sunday services.

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This spring, Anthony reached out to St. Luke’s ready to become a member. Rector Helen quickly set him up in a diocesan Adult Confirmation Course and met with him to individually review materials a couple of times. He was confirmed as an Episcopalian at a regional confirmation service at St. Paul’s Cary on June 9th.

Anthony still works nights and weekends, so he may join in the life of the St. Luke’s community through things like online worship and sermons and Tuesday night Bible Study. He plans to attend in person worship this fall as he is able, and more regularly after retirement in 2022. Welcome, Anthony! 

From the Deacon’s Bench

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Deacon Dan Laird retired from St. Luke’s early last summer.  He and Tim are now settling into their retirement home in Albuquerque.  

St. Luke’s collected a “purse” in appreciation for Dan’s time with us.  Originally, it was to be used for retreats–but retreat centers have been closed due to the pandemic.  The vestry decided that getting Dan a bench for his home, in honor of his Deacon’s Bench newsletter column would be appropriate.  Dan recently let us know how much he’s enjoying his St. Luke’s Deacon’s Bench.  We hope Deacon Dan will soon be able to go on retreat with the rest of his departing gift.

Dan writes: Thank you so much for giving me such a wonderful, meaningful gift of a Deacon’s Bench.  It’s the perfect addition to our courtyard.  I will treasure the many, special memories of serving the Saints of St. Luke’s while I’m sitting enjoying a cup of coffee!  Thank you again!  In Christ’s Love, Dan+

Testimony from Don Lewis

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I am living, breathing evidence of love in action by the people of St. Luke’s. It is for this reason that Ann and I are pledged members of St. Luke’s even though we live in Asheville and my prior church, Grace, is just down the road. Something special happened and continues: “The Art of living your Faith”.

In November and December 2019 my health was worsening daily. I was praying non-stop. I’ve always talked to God.  I remember talking to God out loud since I was four years old or maybe younger. Nobody told me I could talk to God out loud. I just did it, and even though I was brought up in a Rite One church I just used my regular mode of speech: no thee and thou. I continued this throughout my professional life, even praying over patients in the OR.

In November 2019 my decline accelerated.  I had talked with my priest, arranged my celebration of life service, arranged the disposition of my body, selected the hymns, and was sitting in a recliner in my bedroom trying to use the television to take my mind off things. I pondered six or seven times a day about my upcoming death, trying to simultaneously tell God that I was happy that I was coming to be with Him, but I still was sad that I was leaving Ann, dear wife. It’s hard to be joyful and sad at the same time.  I was on lots of oxygen. I had not yet been told that I was to go to Duke for evaluation for a transplant.

In February 2020 I was put through a battery of tests for five days. I was told to remain in Durham to start rehabilitation and educational classes while Ann was to return home and arrange to live at the apartment complex right off Hillandale, across from our rehab location. 

Ann and I attended our first St. Luke’s service mid-February. I was so hungry for God‘s word and for the fellowship that we encountered.

At our first Coffee Hour we met a number of people and while my mind was a little dull, I do remember the heartfelt greetings, talking to the deacon and to Helen. It just felt good.  We attended the next week and then to the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, where again we were greeted royally by all. Ash Wednesday was our last in-person encounter at church before the “Go” call.

The weekend prior to my being taken to the OR was difficult. It took 45 L/min of oxygen (which requires both nasal prongs and a mask) just to enable me to go from my side of the bed about 10 feet to the toilet.  These were scary times, and Ann told me later that she expected my demise.

Helen kept in touch with Ann and returned her phone calls quickly.

When I was called for the OR, a deluge of love and kindness and caring from St. Luke’s followed. Ann had calls by the pastoral care committee members and vestry members.

Ann spoke to Helen every single day. Other members of the support staff and congregation people sent food to our apartment and prayed with her. Ann was (and is) a rock! Helen called me frequently when I was in the step-down unit.  It was remarkable; all the warmth I remember from St. James Church when I was a little boy, and all this from the church where they had seen us a few times there and once at a pancake dinner. All were effusive in their demonstrations of practical love: agape. This continued when, in June, I was in the Duke Isolation ICU with COVID pneumonia. That was even scarier. Calls, cards, emails, and texts continued from Helen and others. Ann and I found that walking around the church grounds, a safe space, was therapeutic.

When we were to leave in early August, Helen arranged to meet us outside the church, at the appropriate distance, gave us the prayer shawl made by ladies of the church, and sent us off with a prayer for traveling mercies and continued healing. That was memorable. Although this was videotaped for the congregation, the electronic gremlins were at work, so no record. Imagine our pleasant surprise when Helen addressed us from the altar the next Sunday, thus bringing the whole congregation into that wonderful send-off.

Flash forward to August 2020:  back in Asheville, our priest and assistant had both moved on, and there had been an attrition of about 20% of the congregation, so when it came time for us to make our yearly pledge, we just decided to stay with our new family at St. Luke’s.

Now, in August 2021, we are pleased to join with the Saints of St. Luke’s each Sunday.

Our first in-person post-COVID service was just a few weeks ago when we were briefly back in Durham. We were off in a corner, but we were with all of our church.

Faith in action. Thanks. 
Don and Ann

Food and Faith

Greetings from the St. Phocas Community Garden!

St. Luke’s and St. Titus had an excellent first summer season in the garden. We had a plucky and faithful team help tend the beds producing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more. We are now beginning to transition to our Fall/ Winter beds, which will have pumpkins, broccoli, collards, and scallions. Our team still meets on Friday mornings at 8:30 am for fellowship (and a little bit of work). We’d love for you to join! 

St. Luke’s joins the Food Distribution Team

St. Luke’s volunteers are now regular members at the community food distribution at our sister Episcopal parish La Iglesia El Buen Pastor in East Durham. Volunteers arrive on the first Saturday morning of the month from El Buen Pastor, St. Titus, St. Luke’s and the East Durham Community.

We set up, unload, sort and repackage, then distribute donated food from the Food Bank of Central North Carolina directly to residents of the community, who arrive to open their car trunks for food boxes. These tasks are performed under the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina COVID precautions and guidelines. Many hands are welcome. The activity is appropriate for all St. Lukers 16 years or older. You are more than welcome to join us for one day, or to become a regular volunteer. Contact Peter Jacobi with any questions.

$25,000 Added to Scholarship Fund

St. Luke’s has received an additional $25,000 gift from Leroy May for our Scholarship Fund. This fund was established several years ago with an original generous gift and received a few additional gifts in the intervening years. This fund is intended to support St. Luke’s members entering higher education and has also been a source of support for our seminarian.

Each summer when we send forth St. Luke’s members to college, they receive a prayer shawl, a book on wise money management, and a $500 scholarship. This year, we rejoiced with Trinity Bailey who will be at UNC-Wilmington this fall. We are grateful for Leroy’s presence with us, and his generosity towards current and future St. Luke’s students.

LEAP: What We’re Really Doing

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Our LEAP students are super cute.  The notion of preschool seems cute too at first glance – but when a preschool-aged child is playing, talking, or singing, they are engaged in the serious work of building their brains. Decades of rigorous research have demonstrated that children who attend high quality preschool are more likely to graduate from high school, be employed as adults, and delay parenthood.  These are markers of economic independence in our world. In addition to this enormous benefit there are the multiple, intangible benefits an individual enjoys if they are given the opportunity to fully develop their brain – when their God given abilities to be creative, to analyze and explore, are nurtured during this critical period of human development.

A commitment to this notion is at the heart of our mission at the Latino Educational Achievement Partnership. So, how do we act on this commitment? LEAP has a two-pronged approach to improving educational outcomes for children in Durham. We operate a dual-language preschool program and a tutoring program. The tutoring program actually formed first, almost 15 years ago through work begun by volunteers and students from St. Luke’s, St. Philip’s, and El Buen Pastor.

There are two features of our preschool program that are unique: the quality of our program and our bilingual approach. Above all, we are dedicated to following the research at LEAP. It has shown that only high-quality programs yield life-changing results.

COVID had an all but devastating impact on our LEAP families, as many became sick, were laid-off or had their work hours reduced.  In the winter of 2020, we took the unprecedented step of awarding financial grants to 15 of our families. We have also solidified a partnership with PORCH Durham, which distributes fresh and canned food to our families on a regular basis.

We have adjusted our learning environments so that we can connect with our students as safely as possible. Our tutoring students have met remotely with their tutors since March 2020. This year, they are meeting in person one evening per week, or meeting via Zoom. Our preschool students are meeting in person outside most of the time they are in school – under tents and in our fabulous natural playground space here at St. Luke’s. The outdoors is the safest place to be – it’s also the perfect environment for the kind of learning we do at LEAP.

There are several ways you can be involved with our work at LEAP.  You can join LEAP as a tutor and work with a child, ages 6-11, to help them improve their reading skills.  You can meet either remotely or in-person. We have a literacy expert who trains and supports our tutors. You could also volunteer in one of our outdoor preschool classrooms this year – talking and playing with our kids. No Spanish required for either of these roles.

We would also so appreciate your support as a donor. Having cash donations enables us to respond to our family’s needs as the pandemic waxes and wanes.

Visit our website for more information about what we do at LEAP, as well as access to an application to be a volunteer. It’s also easy to donate to LEAP on our website.  Please feel free to reach out if you have a question or a suggestion. Thank you, St Luke’s, for your support and prayers. We’re hard at work and would love to have your support of our mission.

Sacred Ground

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Over the last year, St. Luke’s hosted its first Sacred Ground circle with 20 participants from St. Luke’s, St. Titus, St. Joseph’s and Chapel of the Cross. Sacred Ground is an Episcopal Church dialogue series “focused on the challenges that swirl around issues of race and racism, as well as the difficult but respectful and transformative dialogue we need to have with each other about them”. Participants met monthly to explore and discuss powerful films and readings that revealed the history we didn’t always learn in school and come to terms with the lessons from our past with an eye to better understanding our present and envisioning our future.

Here is what Sacred Ground meant to the St. Luke’s circle participants, in their own words. . .

“Sacred Ground was for me like EFM, something that will stay with me and provide a lens through which I will forever see things differently and more thoughtfully.”

“Sacred Ground brought home to me that anti-racism is a profound responsibility of our faith and witness. It was also a fascinating glimpse into the lives of fellow parishioners, each of whose backgrounds reflect enormous diversity in the experience of racial awareness.”

“Fascinating… heart-wrenching… appalling… fortifying me to do what I can to make sure our shameful past never repeats itself…compelling me to search for ways to remedy the damage.”

“Sacred Ground pushed my awareness of this country’s racial history, and conflicts old and new, into a place where they are now always on my mind. One aspect of it was a grand history lesson that left me dismayed about the ignorance in which I had been raised, despite an assumption that I am ‘well-educated’.”

“Through this journey I learned information about how racism is broader than just black and white differences; it is biases against Indigenous, Spanish, Asian peoples and how racism has been embedded in our American society and my own thoughts and actions.”

“As a person of color, I found it extremely gratifying to be able to discuss the atrocities of racism with white people in a candid space that also turned out to be, for me, a relatively “safe” space. It was heartwarming to experience such honest and open sharing as we all acknowledged the roles we play in racism and discovered ways we could begin to work together to help eradicate it.”

“I was shocked, moved to tears, and very, very grateful to hear for the first time in my life the documented true facts of minority histories – Blacks, Asian, Indigenous, and Latino Americans… and the imbedded system of greed-based conquest begun by the English. Really explains a lot of what’s happening now all around us!”

“I learned more about our country’s history, that provides a fuller picture of how people  who were categorized by race contributed to the formation of this country we live in. As well as how the dominate culture actively oppressed them.”

“St. Luke’s Sacred Ground circle gave me a prayerful, caring group of individuals who helped me learn about the inequities of our past & present, own up to my church’s, my community’s and my own complicity in them and explore ways that we can start to repair the breach that has been created.”

“Sacred Ground gave me facts, images, stories… that touched, saddened, but also, through community, empowered & strengthened me. The Sacred Ground experience “nudged” my lens on life so that I can’t help but glimpse life’s truths more clearly and with a heightened awareness – so that, for me, how I’ve continued living my faith and living my life is both different and better.”

“Sacred Ground broadened my focus around anti-racism in that it included all of the “other” that this country has discriminated against since its inception. It opened my mind further to include all BIPOC as I continue to build relationships and trust in our community with truly anti-racist organizations. Sacred Ground is something to which every person in the Diocese needs to be exposed.”

Look for announcements about opportunities about future Sacred Ground circles at St. Luke’s this fall! Contact Cathy Rimer-Surles or Eileen Morgan for more information.

Carolyn Kreuger

St. Luke’s Helping Our Neighbors

Over $20,000 has gone out from St. Luke’s as direct aid to people in need since the beginning of the pandemic through our Rector’s Discretionary Fund.

In March 2020 many feeding programs and food pantries shut down, including ours. St. Luke’s quickly pivoted to a new pandemic-era way to help families. Instead of having them stop by to occasionally pick up whatever food was available, we made a list of the dozen or so people who used our pantry regularly. With the continued help of parishioner Jan Freeman, we reached out to them. We offered them gift cards to their stores of choice to buy their own food each month. These cards were gratefully, sometimes tearfully received. We continued to be in regular contact with these households.

We continue to help these neighbors not only with food, but also with utility bills, rent, medical supplies and so much more.

One woman who is homeless asks us to pay the rent on her storage unit as she works hard to save enough for an apartment of her own again. Another woman had a stroke and when the doctors told her family things didn’t look good, they ended the lease on her apartment and got rid of much of her belongings. She survived the stroke and had to completely re-furnish a new place to live. St. Luke’s gave generously to make that happen. Another woman was able to get into low-cost senior housing after years on a waiting list. Her movers fell through at the last minute, and St. Luke’s funds were not enough to find other movers to help. So instead, Rector Helen contacted friends with a horse trailer and got her moved into her safe, clean new apartment.

Sometimes St. Luke’s members have needs, too. During the pandemic, the Rector’s discretionary fund has helped members who were short on rent, couldn’t pay their utilities or a car repair bill, or had medicine that was too expensive for their budget.

Even at the height of the pandemic, St. Luke’s ministry to those in need continued. Thanks to all who have given generously to this quiet helping ministry through our discretionary funds.

You Are Loved by the People of St. Luke’s

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Your Evangelism Committee has placed “Love” signs at the homes of about 50 members of St. Luke’s, to express the love of the members of our church for these folks. The placement of the signs has been on hold for the summer but will start again in the fall. These signs have been very well received by both the members of St. Luke’s and their neighbors. Some people have expressed interest in having a sign of their own to have in their yard for an extended time. If you wish such a sign, please contact Bill Gutknecht and he will place an order with the sign company; the cost is $10 to $15 depending upon the quality of the protective coating. Your Evangelism Committee looks forward to continuing this ministry.

Evangelism and Communications Committee: New web site, and lots more!

New web site: Did you know that in the midst of stay at home orders and the move to online worship in 2020, your St. Luke’s Evangelism and Communications Committee put together a new web site for our parish? Necessitated by a move by the Diocese away from our old web site host, Bob Moore and Marlys Ray learned to use the WordPress platform, which opened up a lot of possibilities for us in how to keep information fresh and more easily updated, with more clergy and staff trained to make postings. We have several blogs: authors include Laura Thornton (children and youth), Kaye Saunders (music), and the Stewardship Committee. Sermon text and video links for both the sermons and the worship services are added to the site every week. Kathy Barnes posts the Weekly Announcements on our site after you get them by email. The link to sign up for in person worship services is included right on the home page. Although it is a major redesign, our site still has sections and pages you will recognize, such as forms and documents, ministries, outreach, music and arts, etc., easily accessible from the top menu bar. Please explore the site and let us know if you have any questions about finding what you need, or wish to update information your committee or ministry is responsible for.

Lots more: Did you know that our committee handles a number of ongoing efforts and special projects, including event publicity and a photo archive? Bill Gutknecht organizes local, on-the-ground publicity for major events such as the upcoming Pumpkin Patch. Last year’s virtual Alternative Gift Fair allowed online giving to the event via new pages on our web site. We have started assembling an online collection of photos of St. Luke’s people and events over the years, and everyone at St. Luke’s can help with this by sending your photos of church life, people, and events to our committee email address, stlukesdurham.evangelism at Please include the name(s) of the person who took the photo, as well as identifiable people in the photo (if there are children in it, we need to make sure we have permission to use their image online). This central photo storage will allow us to find just the right shot for use on the web site and other places such as Facebook.

Faith Team Update

Regrettably our two Faith teams have not met in-person, with Partners, for over a year due to COVID -19 concerns. We decided not to use Zoom because of the need for interpersonal associations when first starting with Partners. We are now planning to commence meetings around mid-September.

Our FTs are normally comprised of 4 to 5 members. One Team currently has only 3, so we are looking for one more parishioner to join us.

This is an important ministry of St. Luke’s and is very rewarding. We meet twice per month, for about an hour. Please contact Ted Triebel if you might like to join us. Happy to answer questions and explain further what we do.

St. Luke’s is going solar!

We are moving forward with a project to install solar panels on the south facing roof of Johnson Hall as well as the flat roof above the Sprague Room, office and library.  The panels will generate clean and renewable energy and reduce St. Luke’s electric utility costs.  Beyond mere cost savings this project will demonstrate our commitment to “Creation Care”.     
The Vestry started thinking about investing in solar back in 2018.  Now our ability to pursue this project is being made possible by a very generous $30,000 donation, a $5,000 Green Grant from the diocese, $3,500 from our Memorials fund and $5,000 in additional donations, already in hand.  After a sizable rebate from Duke Energy, the net amount that St. Luke’s will need to invest is approximately $9,600. (just $900 more than the projected annual energy savings.)

We have re-roofed the south facing roof of Johnson Hall a little ahead of schedule to avoid having to remove and reinstall panels for re-roofing in the next few years.  With solar panels in place over the new roof, the life of the roof will be extended.  The cost of re-roofing is estimated at $7,400 and will come from our Capital Reserves Fund.  Estimated annual savings on electric utility payments is $8,300.
A quick note on the technology:  Our 64.5 kW solar panels will generate and pass energy through 66.6 kW inverters’ the energy is then added to the Duke Energy power grid.  St. Luke’s will enjoy the benefit of the power generated.  Estimated year one power generation is 91,000 kW hours.  The system can be monitored with an onsite diagnostic panel and via a mobile app.  The expected life of the system is 25 years.  The major equipment comes with extensive warranties.  Maintenance costs will be minimal for several years.   If you would like more details about the technology, contact Senior Warden Eileen Morgan who will forward you the full proposal. 
A special note of thanks to the generous donor of the $30,000 which allowed us to move forward on this project. Another special note of thanks to John Hodges-Copple who initiated this project, did significant due diligence, obtained proposals from three vendors, presented to the Vestry, and continues to provide support and subject matter expertise.   The Vestry considered all three proposals, checked references from other churches and selected Southern Energy Management.  They have an excellent reputation, and we look forward to working with them.      

We anticipate installation to occur early to mid-autumn. If you have questions or wish to learn more, please contact any member of the Vestry.

St. Luke’s Tuesday Night Bible Study

What: St. Luke’s Lectionary Bible Study
When: Tuesday nights, 7-8 pm

The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63

Every Tuesday night at 7 pm, a group of St. Lukers come together on Zoom to read and discuss the coming Sunday’s lectionary readings. While we loosely base our conversations on the Episcopal Church Bible Study with reflections and discussion questions created from Episcopal seminarians across the country, our only real agenda is to get to know God and each other better through reading and wondering about the bible readings from our weekly Lectionary.

Talking through the readings with each other helps us see, hear, and understand them anew– even those we feel like we heard a thousand times. And our Tuesday reflections can make Sunday’s service and sermon even more meaningful. Questions? Want to know more? Carolyn Kreuger would love to talk with you!

Communion Wine

As we come back together for in person worship, there are many things that are different. One of those is communion. We are able to partake in the bread as we carefully distribute the wafers to people at their seats. But we have not returned to the common cup for obvious reasons. As the staff and vestry continue conversations about how to expand our communion, one idea that came up was using those little cups…

Now, I grew up in the Baptist church and have wonderful memories of that tray being passed slowly and carefully down the aisle as each person held the tray for the one sitting next to them, so they could remove their little cup. I would hold mine so still until the minister invited us all to drink.

Before we invest in a new communion method, I thought we might want to try on something different. So, I called the Warrenton Baptist Church and asked if we could borrow a few communion wine trays. They graciously loaned us 4 trays and bought new cups for St. Luke’s to have.

In the next few months, pay attention to how our communion may look and feel different as we try new things. It is at its deepest core, the sacramental coming together of Christ’s body and blood for us. We are all invited to the feast to remember and celebrate Jesus. I hope you will come with an open mind, an open heart, ready to receive bread and wine and love made holy.

Laura Thornton

Children, Youth, and Families

Children: The last two decades of research has shown us that faith formation does not happen for children at church in weekly Sunday school classrooms. It happens at home.  Children learn about faith and think about their own faith in relation to their parents, grandparents, or guardians in the home.  We also know that children and youth need 4-5 adult mentors and role models other than parents to help in faith formation.

That is where the community of faith steps up.  We care for children and youth as part of our church family.  We support parents, grandparents and guardians by getting to know families and spending time with children and youth. I am asking you to spend some time with us, to bring your gifts and experience and to share yourself and your faith with children and youth. 

For more than a year I have been recording our Godly Play stories each week and posting them on Facebook.  It had to be this way because of COVID and it has been really hard.  I haven’t seen the children in person.  They have not been in the classroom, able to see and touch the materials.  Godly Play is a very hands-on curriculum, a Montessori-based storytelling with a time of wondering and responding. 

Many of St. Luke’s children respond by taking a story from the shelf and telling it again to the leader or to another child.  And they have not been able to do this for over a year. I know they are as excited as I am to come back together.

Later this Fall we will meet outside for time to reconnect, welcome new faces (they have all grown up so much!) and learn about God’s love for each of us.  If you would like to join us and share part of your story, let me know and we will connect! email: children-youth at

Youth: During the summer, St. Luke’s youth group continued to meet weekly.  We would “gather” Sunday evenings on Zoom to check in with each other, share our Highs and Lows from the week- a long standing youth tradition, and play games online.

We had a few in-person gatherings where we could be masked and socially distanced together—an outdoor movie night, kayaking on the Eno and playing board games were great fun!

As school begins for our middle and high school students, we may start to meet again in person on Sundays at 11am.  Our first project will be to refresh the youth room which has been empty for the last year and a half!  If you have a couch or chair to get rid of, please contact Laura by email: children-youth at to see if we can use it in the youth room.

A Joyful Noise: Music at St. Luke’s

Finding our voices again: A group of us has been gathering at St. Luke’s on Wednesdays over the summer to begin singing together again. After many months of not singing, it has been wonderful to start using our voices with one another, sharing favorite hymns and learning new ones, singing in unison and harmony, unaccompanied and with the organ. It’s been a sweet time of fellowship and fun. Moving into September, we are experimenting with some other ways of making music in worship until it is safe for congregational singing, but stay tuned for more opportunities down the road.

Ring a new song: While the St. Luke’s choir is still not able to sing together on Sundays, some of them are coming together in another musical way, as we have decided to form a handbell choir. Some of you may remember that Peggy DePasquale directed a handbell choir years ago. We have a two-octave set of Malmark handbells that was donated by Dot Borden, as well as a one-octave set of Malmark choir chimes that was donated to the children of St. Luke’s in memory of Camille Marlowe.  

Our wonderful pipe organ: One thing that has hardly been affected by Covid-19 at all at St. Luke’s is “Molly” our Moller pipe organ. Other than some tuning and a couple of minor issues that would probably have occurred anyway, the organ has held up very well during this extended period when it hasn’t been played nearly as much as usual. Kaye does play it regularly and in a limited capacity on Sunday mornings, but it hasn’t gotten the workout that it was used to, and which organs often require to stay in good working order. We are grateful for its sturdy design and craftsmanship, and for the fine workmanship of Phil Swartz & Co who delivered and installed the organ in 2017. It continues to bless the worship of St. Luke’s even during this time, and we look forward to the day when we can heartily sing together.

EMC Fall Campaign

Sing to God a new song for God has done wondrous things. Let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains sing Together in Joy. Psalm 98: 1,8

During 2021, the Stewardship/EMC Committee organized a version of mission minutes called Stewardship Moments of Light. Each month a St. Luke’s parishioner wrote about outreach in the Durham community or volunteer work at our church. (Read the blog posts here.) The happiness we have felt working and praying with each other will continue into the EMC Fall 2022 Pledge Drive as we come Together in Joy at St. Luke’s.

The pledge letter will be mailed October 4th. Look for it in your mailboxes. Please send in your pledge card or call/email Kathy Barnes with your pledge amount. Gathering Sunday is November 7th.

Gratefully, Robin Arcus, Hope Galunas, Mike Henry, Deb Stonehouse, Paul Stirrup, Bobbie Hendrix, Rich Kells, Bob King, Julia Hoyle and Patty Michaels

Vestry Service

As St. Paul wrote to the Christian community at Ephesus, some are called to use their gifts to serve as “apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.”  In this modern era, some are called to use their gifts as a member of the lay leadership of a parish by serving on the Vestry. 

Though the canons state the primary responsibility of a Vestry is “fiduciary”–that is a trustee of the property and finances of the parish—the reason that we hold property and gather funds is to follow in the way of Jesus and participate in making God’s kingdom come among us for the benefit of our faith community and the wider community in which we are placed.  So it might help to be able to read and interpret financial documents, but there are many gifts needed as part of the Vestry team to help discern God’s will for our parish and our time.

We need persons who are committed to a regular prayer life grounded in Scripture; we need good listeners who can ask probing questions; we need good communicators; we need researchers and visionaries; we need people committed to outreach and able to motivate others to join them; and we need persons who are able to take on a task and rally volunteers to “get the job done”.  Each member of the Vestry does not need to have all the gifts or all the skills—but a variety of gifts and skills among the Vestry helps us to work together as “one Body” with all the members contributing from their own unique gifts.

For the past 18 months we have met by Zoom—and that technology opens the possibility that some members who have work or home responsibilities that make in-person meetings once a month “difficult” could more easily participate in regular monthly meetings from home.  Though in-person meetings are much to be desired, I would anticipate that we could do “hybrid” meetings in the future that would allow a wider variety of members to be able to serve.  We meet every third Monday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  We’ve been able to adhere to that schedule most months because we receive most pertinent documents ahead of time for review so that we can make the most of our time together.  For instance, the Agenda, Rector’s, Warden’s, and Treasurer’s Reports (and associated documents) are received 2-3 days in advance. 

Because we always try to recruit members from both of our traditional services, being on the Vestry gives us a chance to get to know members that we don’t normally have the opportunity to get to know.  We also try to recruit for “diversity”:  older and newer members, male and female etc.  The diversity, and sometimes tension, serves to enrich and enhance our deliberations.

So if you are approached by a Vestry member in the coming weeks about being a nominee for the Vestry election, I hope this summary helps you prayerfully consider the opportunity to serve St Luke’s in this vital way.

Eileen Morgan, Senior Warden

How We Select a New Vestry

At St. Luke’s we have 12 Vestry members, and everyone serves for 3 years. Each year four members rotate off and the church votes in four new members. This year the four outgoing Vestry members are: Amy Kiser, Bill Yarger, Kelley Lawton and Steve Dedrick

The outgoing group is the nominating committee, responsible for preparing the slate of nominees. There is also an opportunity for members of the congregation to add candidates when the slate is presented 2 weeks before the vote. According to our by-laws, those eligible to run for the Vestry must be at least 16 years old and confirmed communicants in good standing.

We look for diversity in preparing the slate: a mix of 8:00 and 10 o’clock’s, newer parishioners and those who have been members for a long time.  We strive for demographic diversity. Above all, we look for people who can offer a range of ideas and opinions as we move forward and fulfill the mission of our church.

Vestry Election Schedule

September 26 Deadline for nominations
October 10      Biographies due to the office
Oct 17/24/31   Announcements RE: Absentee Ballots
October 24      Slate published in Announcements/Mailing
October 31      Nominations from the floor
Nov 12 (Fri)     Absentee Ballots due 10 am in the church office
November 14  Election takes place
November 21  Run-off election if needed
December   4  Vestry retreat

Hello St. Luke’s Garden Crew!

Thanks to those of you who have been caring for your Sacred spaces. The grounds continue to thrive despite our part time attendance. 

Upcoming opportunities to get involved:
9/11: Steve Dedrick will be leading us, with chores to be announced. 
11/6: Hope Galunas will be leading us, with chores to be announced. 

We know that there are so many things to draw us away from our time together, but please consider giving some time to these days. They are so important and a great way to worship together in an alternate way. 

Blessings and looking forward to seeing you soon,
The Garden Team

Men’s Group

The men’s group meets on the third Tuesday of the month. We meet for dinner at 7:00 pm. It’s bring your own food. We provide dessert. After dinner we talk about what’s going on in our lives. We usually break up before 9.

We have been meeting outside for the summer, but that may change with the weather. We’ll be meeting at Bob Moore’s yard on September 23. All men are welcome. Come on down!!

Fun at St. Luke’s Pumpkin Patch- Coming Soon!

Kids LOVE a pumpkin patch. Treat your kids and yourself to a good time at St. Luke’s Pumpkin Patch that runs from October 2nd– October 31st, Sat: 10am-7pm, Sun: 12pm – 7pm, and Mon-Fri: 1pm–7pm.

Many choices of pumpkins of varying types, and strange and wonderful gourds, are available and it’s a great place to take photos of the kids. Proceeds go to fund outreach and various programs at St. Luke’s.

We still need folks to sign up to help with unloading the pumpkin shipment, and sales shifts throughout the month. Sign up here:

Fall Fling postponed: will become Spring Fling for 2022

After much consideration for the health of our St. Luke’s volunteers and the Durham community at large, the Spring Fling (Fall Fling) committee is postponing the Fall Fling until Spring 2022. Due to the fact that the Fling is held primarily indoors, and the Covid positivity rate in Durham is continuing to climb, we will now put all our volunteer energy into supporting the Pumpkin Patch (held entirely outside with plenty of distancing!). Don’t forget to sign up to help with the Patch at We will see you at the Spring Fling in 2022.

Joan Hodges and Lisa D’Amico, Spring Fling Co-Chairs

Hello and Goodbye, Intern Dan

Diocesan Intern Dan LaVenture came to St. Luke’s in July.  In his short time here, he has made a big impact.  He’s been active in our Good News Garden in conjunction with St. Titus, he’s helped get our live streaming off the ground, and he’s been a central support to worship these past two months.

Dan’s last Sunday with us is September 5th. He will be moved to a different intern site in the area to complete his fall internship.   Thank you, Dan, for the ways you have made an impact at St. Luke’s.  Feel free to send him a note at daleventure at or 905 Clarendon St., Durham, 27705.

Mission Trip to Holy Cross in 2022?

While there are still a lot of unknowns at this point, there’s a good chance that a St. Luke’s mission team will return to Holy Cross Anglican School in Belize next February. With the recent uptick in COVID cases, the school must once again open the school year with remote classes. They’re hoping they can reopen the campus in October, but that’s only a goal at this point. Ambergris Caye itself has a 9 p.m. curfew and a mask mandate for now.

For our St. Luke’s trip, all that we know for sure is that all team members will have to be fully vaccinated. Unlike some recent trips, this one is likely to be focused at least as much on construction as it is on helping in the classroom and medical work. Prior to a July visit from St. Michael’s in Raleigh, our 2020 team was the last one to do any work on the House of Grace clergy residence.

There’s plenty still to do there, and there are also some major renovations needed on the school itself. If construction is what you want to do in Belize, this is your year to come on the trip.

I expect to nail down more details about the trip – dates, hotel, airlines, etc. – by the end of September, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, there are other ways to support Holy Cross. If South Georgia Pecans is still doing fundraisers, we’ll be offering Belize pecans in a few weeks. And you may always donate funds for Leticia, the Holy Cross graduate St. Luke’s is supporting through high school in San Pedro.

If you think you might be interested in coming to Belize in February, or if you’d just like to learn more about Holy Cross and our role in supporting it, please send me an email.

Bob Moore, St. Luke’s Belize mission team lead

Next Episcopalians United Against Racism Community Roundtables

Episcopalians United Against Racism (EUAR) and Communities in Partnership (CIP) invite you to join our fall virtual Community Roundtables on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month from 12:00-1:30pm.  As members of EUAR we Learn, Connect, Speak, and Act by partnering in solidarity with local faith communities, non-profits, municipal agencies, and businesses to identify and dismantle systems of structural and institutional racism in our local community. 

On Wednesday, Sept. 8  from 12:30 to 1:30pm (register here) we will anticipate and honor Durham’s Pride Parade and Celebration featuring a panel of LGBTQIA+ community members.  

On Wednesday, Sept. 22 we will kick off a book discussion series with Duke Chapel based on Resmaa Menakem’s Book My Grandmother’s Hands that explores how historical racial trauma impacts our bodies and communities, and how we can learn to heal together  The book group will meet from 6:30-8:00 pm via Zoom on alternate Wednesdays through Dec. 2nd and will culminate with an in-person workshop on Jan. 22ndRegister here.

You may access recordings of previous community roundtables from our EUAR website. The Wednesday, Aug. 25 session featured a panel of three inspiring women whose passion is fostering Black maternal health.Joy Spencer is the Executive Director of Equity Before Birth, a Black maternal health charity organization working to eliminate disparities and improve maternal health outcomes. Maya Jackson is the founder and Executive Director of Mobilizing African American Mothers through Empowerment (MAAME, Inc.), a community-rooted maternal health organization that provides community maternal health solutions for Black, Brown, and other birthing people of color. Joy Lampkin Foster is a birth doula whose work focuses on empowering Black families with self-advocacy tools and on reclaiming “the village” as a key part of combatting weathering and enabling Black families to thrive. 

To find out more about EUAR, contact Cathy Rimer-Surles  or Eileen Morgan.


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