Canon Maria Tjeltveit
Church of the Mediator, Allentown
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught
from the beginning until the day he was taken up to heaven…
This morning I gave a woman and her son a ride to St. Luke’s Hospital, Bethlehem, so that he could have surgery on a finger broken in a fight. The hospital, started by our Cathedral, can help to heal his finger, but the wounds of widowhood and poverty are more challenging.
Luke, called “the beloved physician” by the apostle Paul, is the “I” in the quote above. According to tradition, Luke wrote both the gospel that bears his name and the Acts of the Apostles.
Two parishes in our diocese are named for him: St. Luke’s, Lebanon, and St. Luke’s, Scranton. In their pilgrimage as parishes since the mid-19th century, both have sought to bring healing to their communities. In addition to parochial schools, each established reading rooms where workers in the factories, mines, or mills, who often lived in crowded rooming houses, could go to have a place for quiet reading and recreation.
According to a 1909 book, Diocese of Bethlehem and Harrisburg, in the summer of 1884, St. Luke’s, Scranton, “enjoyed the somewhat novel work of feeding over one thousand children, as they passed through Scranton on their way to the country whither they were sent by the New York Tribune Fresh-Air Fund” (Vol. 1, p.607).*
The St. Katherine Guild of St. Luke’s, Lebanon, began Good Shepherd Hospital in their parish house in 1889, overseen by a deaconess. It is now an independent hospital, serving the county.
Both churches have continued the healing ministry of their namesake, adapting to the needs of their communities.
What is a healing ministry needed in your community right now?
*Fresh Air Funds were started by The Rev. William Augustus Muhlenberg, originally from Philadelphia, later rector of the Church of the Holy Communion, in New York. One of the families in my parish hosted a Fresh Air Fund child the last two summers.