Bishop Susan Brown Snook visited the joyful congregation of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in North Park on Sunday, October 17, 2021 to celebrate the church’s return to parish status in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.
The Revs. Laurel and Colin Mathewson’s leadership over the last five years has grown St. Luke’s into a bustling community. With a vibrant community garden, after-school programming, leadership development, and strategic partnerships in ministry, St Luke’s is an established leader in the neighborhood.
“This church is a beacon of hope in our diocese and our city; it’s named after Saint Luke, the Prophet of Hope. St. Luke’s has become a sign of healing, passion, reconciliation, and God’s Love here in San Diego. They’ve found new ways to open their doors to new people—making a difference in their lives,” said Bishop Susan Brown Snook.
The Rev. Colin Mathewson said, “Returning to parish status is a big milestone for our community and a sign of God’s life-changing and powerful grace working among us. Sunday’s celebration with Bishop Susan was joyful and moved many of us to tears. We hope in the time ahead to pay forward across the diocese the many gifts, blessings, and prayers that have made this day possible!
The Rev. Laurel Mathewson said, “I think there is no shame — or there shouldn’t be any shame — in being a mission congregation. Yet I have also heard for many years how much this return to Parish status means to the people of St. Luke’s. For immigrants and former refugees, there is a joy and satisfaction to the relative “independence” of being a parish again, and it represents a positive milestone in the long journey of faithfulness amid challenge. I’m praying that God will keep leading us in the work we are given to do … now, as a parish!”
After ten years as a mission church, St. Luke’s has returned to parish status. In order to become a parish, a mission church must be able to meet all current expenses, maintain a Rector at a salary equal to or above the Diocesan minimum, and also needs to meet its Diocesan obligations and the assessment to The Church Pension Fund. While most mission congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego do not receive financial support from the Diocese, they are eligible for grants and other assistance.
St. Luke’s unanimously voted to adopt the bylaws of the parish and elected their vestry. St. Luke’s parish status will be formalized at Diocesan Convention 2021 via Resolution 21-03.
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