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Message: Pastor’s Newsletter Article: August, 2010

081 - Denver skyline at dusk   As the heat wave that baked us throughout the month of July seems to have broken for at least a few days, and summer settles into its final phase with August’s languid pace, I am looking forward to some time away from the city and the office. I will be on vacation for the last half of this month and am taking a train to Denver, Colorado to visit with a childhood friend who practices medicine at a pediatric hospital. From Denver I’ll ride the rails back east, first to Iowa to visit with my family, and then back home to all of you here in Chicago. I’ll be away from Monday, August 16 through Monday, August 30 – two full weeks.

This is the first time since beginning my ministry with all of you in the fall of 2006 that I’ve been gone for a full two weeks. During the first year and a half I would take an extended weekend here or there to catch my breath before diving back into the work of redevelopment. By last year I felt able to be away for a week or so here and there, but I was never gone long enough to really stop thinking about our ministry for long. This year, on the heels of a season of celebrating our 110th anniversary, the signs of our growing strength are so full and so apparent that I can no longer deny what has become obvious – our congregation is taking off!

Let me share a few statistics with you to illustrate the point. First, look at our average attendance in worship over the last couple of years:

Spring

Summer

Fall

Winter

2008

not available

22

32

29

2009

37

27

30

36

2010

46

40

Likewise, our growth in average weekly giving has also been encouraging – though a little slow to catch up with our growth in worship:

First Quarter

Second Quarter

Third Quarter

Fourth Quarter

2007

$363

$479

$630

$705

2008

$665

$651

$706

$720

2009

$664

$945

$699

$894

2010

$664

$844

What these numbers represent is more than just doubling our summer worship attendance in two years, or our weekly giving over the last three years. These numbers are just one measure of the growing sense of community and investment in our shared ministry to each other and our neighborhood, to Christ’s church and to God’s world.

As I prepare to leave for a few weeks of rest and renewal, I am so grateful for the passion and commitment that so many of you have shared with St. Luke’s over these first four years of our mutual ministry, and I look forward to the new season of growth in mission and ministry that I think awaits us in the fall!

In Christ,

Pastor Erik

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