Community was central to the ministry of Jesus and it is a core value at St. Luke’s.
Wherever Jesus went he gathered people for conversation and a meal. Jesus first miracle occurred at a wedding reception. Jesus was all about community and he probably enjoyed a good laugh and serious conversations.
There is social time after each service on Saturday and Sunday, dinner gatherings, holiday parties, picnics, book groups, women’s group, men’s group and gatherings of youth and children. We enjoy being together and will find any excuse to celebrate, support, laugh and learn together.
St. Luke’s has a long tradition of service and was a founding member of several organizations that continue to change lives today. There are numerous opportunities to serve others and to collaborate with fellow parishioners. We care about all of God’s people and stand with those being denied justice.
The mission of the Community Engagement Committee is to share the extravagant hospitality and inclusive love of God so that people’s lives are changed for the better. We foster giving, volunteerism, education, empowerment and advocacy in three broad seasonal areas or Clusters: (1) Basic Needs; (2) Human Rights, Dignity, and Safety; and (3) Looking to our Future.
These activities address the basic needs of people living in our community – helping them to find jobs, shelter, and sustenance. St. Luke’s was a founding member of Bethesda Cares, whose mission is to prevent, ease, and end homelessness in our community. Our parish provides support through winter clothing drives. Bethesda Help offers emergency food and financial assistance to residents of southern Montgomery County. Parishioners provide food donations and our youth make snack bags for clients monthly. On the third Sunday of every month, volunteers travel to St. Stephen’s and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in DC, to prepare and serve lunch at Loaves and Fishes, which provides hot meals to those in need during weekends and Federal holidays. St. Luke’s was also a founding member of Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington, dedicated to improving the lives of those who face poverty and other challenges, one step and one neighbor at a time. Before Christmas, we collect gifts for children of Samaritan Ministry participants. And on the first Friday of each month, a group of dedicated volunteers provide dinner for Bethesda House-Men’s Transitional Housing.
Human Rights, Dignity, and Safety
Our activities in this area focus on safety, respect, and equal rights for all. During the last week of May, St. Luke’s provides all meals to the Interfaith Works Women’s Assessment Center, an emergency shelter for women to facilitate recovery and stability, while benefitting from social services. Cornerstone Montgomery, the largest and most comprehensive provider of behavioral health services in Montgomery County, began at St. Luke’s in 1971 and moved to its current location (across the parking lot) in 1992. We also devote resources to interfaith understanding and responding to current events.
Looking to our future
These activities focus on the well-being of all people and their environment and are educational in nature. St. Luke’s provides school supplies and other support to the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys. The tuition-free, Episcopal school located in Southeast Washington DC, strives to alter the educational and social trajectory of children from traditionally underserved communities and prepare them for leadership and service.
Each Advent season, we remember our brothers and sisters all over the world through Episcopal Relief and Development, which promotes sustainable development worldwide and provides relief in times of suffering through their ‘Gifts for Life’ program. Over the past decade, our support has involved combatting ebola, preventing disease by providing mosquito nets, and donations to the Syrian Crisis Response Fund.
5th Sunday: Be the Church Day
During each month that has a 5th Sunday, we gather for Eucharist and then go out into the community to put our faith in action and be of service to others together. We also have plenty of on-site servant activities! Come join us!