Community Garden Update: Sept. 8, 2016

Last night, the garden was vandalized…

We have many happy memories of the 2016 garden:  its flowers and vegetables; the ways it showed us the growth of seeds into incredible mature plants with just air, water, soil, sunlight and care; the ways it brought the church people, the NorthStar volunteers, and the community together.

We will start planning our next steps.

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Community Garden Update: August 29, 2016–Praying Mantis

In the garden on this calm cool morning, sitting atop the tomato plant was a beautiful praying mantis.


Here is more on this lovely insect.

“The Praying Mantis is one of the most loved of the insect world to humans and one of the most feared to other insects.

It is extremely beneficial to gardens and humans because of its penchant for eating the things that bug us. They will eat mites, aphids and most other insects that are within the grasp of their front legs.

The praying mantis is related to grasshoppers and crickets, belonging to a family of insects called orthoptera.  They have, like their cousin the grasshopper, mouths which have parts designed to chew and very distinct wings.”

“Animal Symbolism: Meaning of the Praying Mantis

The mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives. Usually the mantis makes an appearance when we’ve flooded our lives with so much business, activity, or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us because of the external din we’ve created.

After observing this creature for any length of time you can see why the symbolism of the praying mantis deals with stillness and patience. The mantis takes her time, and lives her life at her own silent pace.

These traits have lead the mantis to be a symbol of meditation and contemplation. In fact, in China, the mantis has long been honored for her mindful movements. The mantis never makes a move unless she is 100% positive it is the right thing for her to do. This is a message to us to contemplate and be sure our minds and souls all agree together about the choices we are making in our lives.

Overwhelmingly in most cultures the mantis is a symbol of stillness. As such, she is an ambassador from the animal kingdom giving testimony to the benefits of meditation, and calming our minds.

An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quite and reach a place of calm. It may also a sign for you to be more mindful of the choices you are making and confirm that these choices are congruent.”


Community Garden Update: August 18, 2016

Our plants are growing amazingly well.  View some of the “firsts,” below:  First sunflower,  first pumpkin, first cucumber, first herbs, first salad….


Note Franklin Square Community’s colorful sunflower mural in far background.



By August 16, the sunflowers were taller than our volunteers! Quite an accomplishment!

Camp Imagination Update: August 5, 2016–Day 5

  1. Day 5:  Field Trip to Visionary Arts Museum and Grand Art Opening

We went by bus to the Visionary Arts Museum early on Friday morning.  The campers created Hope Chests, in which they placed their hopes on slips of paper.  40


“A good future” is the hope

The campers were thrilled to actively explore The Visionary Arts Museum with all its treasures.

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A picnic lunch followed on the top of Federal Hill.  During the visit and lunch, volunteers were busy transforming the undercroft of the church into an art gallery.

After time for a rest back at camp, the Grand Art Opening began at 4:30.  Children greeted their guests and walked them through the amazing display of their work created over the week of Camp Imagination.



One of our campers reading Something Beautiful to her little brother at the Grand Art Opening


Our THANKS to our Director, Amanda Talbot, our Artistic Director and Consultant, Kathy Gardner, and our leader, Father Van Gardner









Campers pictured with half of our volunteers.  Note the saying from the Talmud: “Call them not your children. Call them your builders.”



Parish Picnic Update

The annual parish picnic was held at Druid Hill Park on Sunday, June 5.  The rain that was threatening all morning held off and the picnic was a great success.

Thanks to Anne Darney Chandler and Diane Dwyer for the accompanying pictures from the picnic.

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St. Luke’s wins Neighborhood Event Grant

St. Luke’s was awarded a $500 MECU Neighborhood Event Grant for our 2016 Back to School Rally to take place in September of 2016! This event will take place on the church grounds and will be an opportunity to celebrate a successful start to the 2016-2017 school year. It will be open to the public and there will be food, music, and activities for attendees to enjoy. Activities may include face painting, a moon bounce, board games, and more.

We at St. Luke’s believe that education is fundamental, important, and worth celebrating in our community. We hope that by providing students with tools for school and books for reading outside of school at this event that our local students will feel prepared for, and optimistic about, the school year ahead.

During the summer we will take donations of school supplies to give away to students at this event. There will also be opportunities to volunteer at the rally. Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering or making a donation.

You can check here for more information about the grant and to see a list of the 103 neighborhood associations and community-based non-profit organizations that were selected to receive funding:

Shannon McCullough

Note from Fr. Van re. Sunday, May 1, 2016

I wanted to let everyone know that this Sunday, in addition to our usual first Sunday Pot-luck, we will have a brief presentation by Pam Negrin regarding a new opportunity at Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School. Pam, with the support of St. Luke’s, has received an Access for All grant from Young Audiences for a fabric art project with Ms. Gough’s 3rd grade students. They will be creating a map of their neighborhood.

Please plan to be with us to learn more and to share our community meal.

Fr. Van