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St. Paul's United Methodist Church  •  7740 Lackman, Lenexa KS  66217  •  913-268-9551
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In this issue:

Message from Pastor Lora

News
  • Welcome Statement Update
  • Re-entry Update
  • Announcement from Luke Miltz
Love
  • Worship this Sunday: 9am Contemporary, 11am Traditional
  • Share Daily Bread
  • Meet our new Congregational Care Ministers
  • Egg a Family!
  • Pray for our Nation
Seek
  • Have brunch with friends from the Dialogue Institute
  • New LGBTQ+ Small Group forming now 
Serve
  • First Sunday Food Drive - this Sunday!
  • Practice Justice with the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas
  • Stand with Clergy of Color
  • St. Paul's Blood Drives
  • Serve Cross-Lines Food Kitchen
Kids & Youth
  • Youth Programs: explore your faith with friends
  • Kids' Connection: fun ways to develop faith


Message from Pastor Lora


It. Is. So. Nice. Outside.

Currently, I’m sitting on my porch swing with my dogs soaking up this 72 degree Thursday afternoon. There is something magical that happens in my neighborhood when it gets this nice. We all venture onto our front porches and chit chat and smile and we currently all ooo and ahhh over the puppies on the block.

Yesterday, one of my senior neighbors came over and lifted her sleeve up to show off her bandaid.

“I got my first!”

She was so excited to be vaccinated. Her husband died in pandemic. He had Alzheimer's and had missed gathering and being out in this last year of his life. She said how her vaccine was one step closer to being able to go out, one step closer to church, and that meant one step closer to being able to have her husband’s funeral.

Every time one of you post about your vaccinations or tell me about it, I praise God. I am SO ready to have all of those gatherings happen again. (I’m also terrified I don’t know how to be normal around people anymore and that I won’t recognize anyone, but that fear can wait for another day!)

I also have a friend in my covenant group who buried her daddy today back home in Texas. He was on a ventilator three weeks before COVID took him.

With all of those complicated emotions fully at the front of my mind, I want to be sure that you see the Re-Entry Update today. There is a lot of excitement in that announcement (including a very simple and short in-person sunrise Easter service!) that I want to be sure you see.

Keep getting vaccinated. Help your friends do so too. If you need help navigating it, will you let me know? If you feel like you have some extra time to help folks in our congregation who might need it with getting registered, will you let me know that too?

We can see the other side of the rainbow coming! Let’s all do our part to get there.

“See” You This Sunday (and bake some flatbread when it’s not 72 degrees outside),

Pastor Lora
 

Welcome Statement Update


At our February Church Council meeting, we approved an update to our Welcome Statement at St. Paul's.

One of the beautiful things about trusting in God's expansive and unconditional love is that we will continue to have our minds opened in how we reflect that love. While our statement can't encompass every aspect of one's identity, we are called to continue to adapt.

Reconciling Ministries Network has asked all RMN churches to add "gender expression" to our statements of welcome, and we are glad to make that change! So what's that mean? Gender and gender identity refer to one's own identifying of their gender--who do they know themselves to be. Gender expression refers to how one expresses that gender--usually through clothing, hair, accessories, presentation. Someone might be nonbinary in gender and their gender expression might include dresses and makeup. Someone might be female in gender and their gender expression might include flannel shirts and boots. Someone might be male in gender and their gender expression might include long hair.

Our hope in adding "gender expression" to our statement is that we can educate ourselves, work on our hospitality to people regardless of gender expression, and be a place of welcome where more folks can come to know the expansive love of Jesus. If you have any questions, you can reach out to Peace & Justice Team or Pastor Lora

Re-entry Update

Re-Entry Team has exciting news! With the COVID-19 numbers down and vaccinations continuing to progress, we are actively working on what gathering will look like again. Masks and distancing will continue to be the standard for all of our gatherings. While we don’t have the dates for when we can expect everything to return like normal, we want to help paint a picture of how gathering will progress as we come back together. 

Outdoor Small Groups and Meetings

We are now able to have small groups and meetings (limit 15) meet outside again. With the nicer weather (it’s not -15 degrees anymore!), we encourage groups who choose to do so to bring their chairs and gather outside. For COVID protocol and scheduling, contact Jackson in the office. 

Indoor Small Groups and Meetings

We anticipate indoor small groups and meetings (limit 15) to be able to return soon. Re-Entry Team meets again on 3/21 to make sure the numbers are continuing to look favorable and to assess the local guidelines at the time.

Outdoor Worship and Serve Opportunities

After a YEAR of not worshiping together in-person, we are looking forward to the chance to be together again. Re-Entry Team is continuing to monitor numbers and the staff are working on logistics (like weather, sound, and spacing) to be able to offer in-person, outdoor worship in late spring! We know some of you CAN’T WAIT to be there and others of you will continue to worship online. We are working so that both our in-person and online experiences will be excellent. Stay tuned for a start date!

Indoor Worship

We are still not ready to bring back our indoor worship experience. We know that many folks are getting vaccines and are ready to start again. We continue to ask questions about who has yet to receive vaccines? How do our children factor into our decisions? What is in line with local and state guidelines? The intimate size of our sanctuary for the size of congregation we are is SUCH a gift in non-pandemic times! It poses some difficulty for us compared to many of our area churches for safety in large numbers. We’ll get there! It will start with smaller numbers and work our way up.

Bonus: Easter Sunrise Service

While we won’t be ready for regular Sunday services yet, we are excited to announce that we WILL have an outdoor, distanced, masked Easter Sunrise Service behind the church on our grounds. It will be simple and short—start in the dark and bring in the light of Easter together. We anticipate many folks will still choose to stay home and know that online Easter worship at 9am and 11am will still be fantastic. However, we also know that many of you will be excited to gather—even briefly—to welcome the sun and new life together. More will be coming!

Over the Rainbow

We trust that God (partnered with science and vaccinations and everyone doing their part to get us there!) will lead us to a day on the other side of this. Then we will anticipate getting to see each other’s faces without masks, singing freely inside, hugs and handshakes, and Holy Communion like we are used to doing. What we know is that God has already helped us through a whole year of making it through—we have just a little bit more work to do to get to make it over the rainbow.

Questions?

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Pastor Lora or our chair of Re-Entry, Heather Edvenson.

Announcement from Luke Miltz


Luke MiltzIt is very bittersweet to share this, but I will be transitioning off of staff at St. Paul's as the Community Engagement Coordinator. My last day will be 3/25/2021, with my last Sunday on staff being 3/21/2021.

I will be shifting more time answering my call to ministry by progressing through seminary, virtually at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. Eventually, I will relocate to complete in-person coursework and field education. This transition is a difficult decision - I'm so thankful to St. Paul's for investing in me and providing foundational support for my ministry. In that way, St. Paul's will be my home forever! 

I look forward to remaining active in outreach efforts, etc. as a volunteer and member of the congregation. Please reach out if you have any questions I can answer. 
 
Worship this week


Worship this Week


Join us online Sunday morning for the next installment in our Lenten series, "Daily Bread: Parable of the Leaven." Prepare for Communion by having crackers/bread (maybe your own homemade!) and water/juice ready in your home worship space. 

9am Contemporary
11am Traditional

Participate in the livestream on Facebook. Can't wait to "see" you! (If you miss out you can always watch later on Facebook or YouTube! :)
 
Facebook
YouTube
Online Worship Guide & Bulletin
Recipe


Share Daily Bread


Each week of Lent we're sharing a recipe along with scripture and a conversation topic. As part of our Lenten journey, we encourage you to make the bread, take a picture, and post it on social media with #stpaulsdailybread (if you’re not a social media person, feel free to email your photos to Pastor Lora). We want to use those photos in our worship and promotions this season. We can't wait to see what you create!
 
Congregational Care Ministers


Meet our new Congregational Care Ministers


We are so happy to introduce the newest members of our Congregational Care Ministry!

  • Suzie Dutton
  • Sandy Finney
  • Laura Gregar
  • Julie Jones
  • Jody Lawson
  • Pam Mettner
  • Kathy Tally
  • Jennifer Williams

This team of volunteers will support Pastor Lora and Pastor Sandra in offering loving support and connection to all in our church family who might be experiencing a challenging situation, a time of need, or a regular connection with our church family.

This committed team of volunteers has responded to God’s nudge in their lives and participated in training to prepare them to provide timely and appropriate care and comfort to all in our congregation. They are ready to listen to you, to pray with you, and support you in whatever way they can.

We are so excited to introduce this ministry to our congregation because we believe it will greatly enhance our ability to stay connected and provide a deeper and more consistent level of care.

They will begin their work this week. We invite you to pray for them as they begin their ministry among us.

If you would like to have a Congregational Care Minister (CCM) contact you, please let Pastor Sandra know. 

Egg a Family!

Intergenerational Easter Fun

At St. Paul's UMC, intergenerational relationships are important. Sign up to bless a family this Easter season! You are invited to “egg” a family’s front yard. What does that mean?!

We'll assign a family to you and provide all the supplies, you provide the fun! 
  • Sign up today to participate
  • Pick up your supplies during the food drive on March 7 or on Sunday, March 21, 12:30-1:30pm.
  • Fill the easter eggs with candy
  • Hide them in the family's front yard
  • Leave a sign taped to the family's front door so they'll know who it's from!
All are welcome to participate! Even if you have kids of your own and might get egged yourself, you're invited to egg another family's yard!
 
Sign up to bless a family :)

Pray for our Nation


Bishop Ruben Saenz of the Great Plains UMC Conference is calling for us to set apart a sacred and regular time each day from now until Easter, 4/4/2021, to pray for our nation using a prayer from our own United Methodist Book of Worship, “A Prayer in a Time of National Crisis” (United Methodist Book of Worship, #517):
God of all the ages, in your sight nations rise and fall and pass through times of peril. Now when our land is troubled, be near to judge and save. May leaders be led by your wisdom; may they search your will and see it clearly. If we have turned from your way, reverse our ways and help us to repent. Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us; through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen.
St. Paul’s, let’s join Bishop Saenz in prayer for the healing and the wholeness of our nation.
Dialogue Brunch


Fourth Ladies Virtual “Brunch” with Dialogue Institute

Friday, March 12 | 10am 

It’s time once again for ladies from St. Paul’s to meet virtually with our Muslim friends from the Dialogue Institute, an organization which has a long-standing relationship with St Paul’s. Join us for a morning of sharing and learning on Friday, March 12 at 10am.

Sign up today! We'll email the Zoom link to you a few days before the meeting.

Sign up today to join us March 12

Join a Small Group


Being part of a small group working through questions about faith and life is an important part of spiritual growth. If you aren’t already part of a small group, this is your time! All are open and ready to welcome you in your faith journey. If you have questions about getting started, contact Pastor Sandra Cox

New LGBTQ+ Small Group Forming Now
Jesi Lipp and Luke Miltz invite queer individuals of faith to join them as we create a landing space for LGBTQ+ Christians at St. Paul's. The first meeting will be Sunday, March 14, 5pm via Zoom. Contact Luke Miltz to sign up or ask questions; he'll send you a Zoom link prior to the first session. 
 
Learn more and get started in a small group
First Sunday Food Drive
 

Sunday, March 7  |  12:30-1:30pm


Drive through St. Paul's parking lot after worship and drop off items for this month's food drive!

The Hub Argentine is asking for canned soup or Ramen noodles.

JoCo Multi-Service Center has an immediate need for canned fruits, pasta mixes, rice mixes, and soup/snack crackers. They would also appreciate cake/brownie mixes (as an extra treat, not a necessity).

Thank you for your commitment to Serve God by Serving Others!
 

Practice Justice with the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas

Presentation & Conversation
Monday, March 22  |  7pm

Join host Cathy Matlack and other St. Paul's friends for a Zoom presentation and conversation about Medicaid expansion with Spencer Culver, Advocacy Specialist at the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas. Tens of thousands of low-income Kansans have no affordable health coverage option because our state legislature won’t act. By getting informed and involved on this issue, you can seek and practice justice as a member of St. Paul’s congregation. 

Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Spencer Culver is the Advocacy Specialist for the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas. The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas is a statewide coalition working throughout Kansas, encouraging people and organizations to promote policies that ensure everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Spencer coordinates with grassroots advocates across the state, working to shape the public conversation around Medicaid expansion. Spencer, a native of Kansas City, graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Communication degree and returned to the Midwest to work in healthcare advocacy.

Learn more about why Medicaid expansion is a social justice issue for us as Christians here. If you have questions, Cathy Matlack and Jack Gregory will be glad to help.

Stand with Clergy of Color

 

Rev. Chenda Innis LeeThis petition calls on the Council of Bishops in the UMC to address the white supremacy harming clergy of color serving all-white churches in our denomination. Read Rev. Chenda Innis Lee’s story and consider adding your name to support this call to action.

St. Paul's Blood Drives


St. Paul's regular quarterly blood drives with Community Blood Center are on pause right now. Community is currently reassigning their employees who work Sundays on the mobile vessel (bus) to other locations to help with extended hours and social distancing needs. 

If you'd like to donate, please visit the Community Blood Center or call 877-468-6844 to set up an appointment. They have locations in Olathe, Overland Park, and KCMO among others. 

We'll be keeping in contact with Community about hosting blood drives at St. Paul's later this year. If you have questions, please contact one of us:
Meredith Christian
913-907-9176
Bob Casey
914-645-0192
Cross-lines volunteers


Serve Cross-Lines Food Kitchen

 

Would you like to join one of the St. Paul’s teams that serve monthly at Cross-Lines Food Kitchen? If you’re interested in providing food or serving, please contact Janet Podoll and she’ll be happy to help get you started!

Kids & Youth


Youth: Middle School/High School


Check out our activities for youth and join us any time! Programs are open to all youth grades 7-12. Contact Allison for Zoom links, and be sure to join our Facebook group for updates.

Sunday School
Meets Sundays 10–11am
Topic: Faith & Justice 
 Open to all youth grade levels.  

The Gospel According to Harry Potter
Meets Sundays 3-4pm 
Open to all youth grade levels

Youth Lent Small Group 
Meets Sundays 4:30-5:30pm, February 21 - March 28
Open to all youth grade levels   

Confirmation Class 
Meets Thursdays 6:30-8pm
Open to Freshmen in High School 

Youth Groups and Activities
Youth Facebook Group
Contact Allison Marcus

Kids' Connection: PreK - Grade 6

 

Check out our multimedia opportunities for kids to connect with God and each other! There's a place for you here.

Kids' Connection & KIDS456 weekly meetups
Join us! Contact Jamie for the Zoom links.
  • Kids' Connection: 10:15am Sundays
  • KIDS456: 6pm Sundays  
Join Kids' Connection Facebook Group
Contact Jamie Turk
Visit Kids' Connection on the Web
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