Welcome

Welcome to First English Lutheran Church.  You’re invited to join a real community of faith and friendship that gathers for worship, relationship building, personal growth, and service to the community and the world.

We’re Lutheran, so that means we believe in grace for everyone. The good news of Jesus Christ, who brings us the love and mercy of God as a gift, liberates us to love as we are loved, serve as we are served, and give as we have been given much.

We welcome people from all walks of life and in all places in the journey of faith and life.  Whether you’re a lifelong Lutheran, a former something else, or a seeker and questioner looking for more to life and a place to explore , we’re glad to have you.  Since 1989, FELC has openly welcomed persons of all sexual orientation to full participation in the church.

Weekly Update: February 19, 2018

Companion Café: Breaking Bread, Making Friends: Wednesday, February 21

Companion Café serves on Wednesdays beginning at 6:00 pm in the fellowship hall. We offer a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children). It’s great to meet friends and new people. Anne Wiebe and crew will prepare a menu of Mexican Red Bean Lasagna, Papaya Wedge with Lime, Tortilla Chips with Salsa, Black Bean Corn Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing.

Midweek Lent Evening Prayer: Journey to the Easter Vigil

Wednesdays from February 21 to March 21 at 6:45 pm

The season of Lent developed from the period of preparation for baptism at the Easter Vigil. It then developed into a season of renewal of the baptized at Easter. The readings for the Easter Vigil are filled with images of baptism, renewal, and the paschal mystery of Christ. Our evening prayer on Wednesdays of Lent at 6:45 pm will use some of the readings from the Easter Vigil to help us dive deeper into these great texts as we prepare for our own renewal in Christ’s death and resurrection at Easter.

Companion Café Clean Up Needed

Companion Café is a great welcoming ministry of our congregation on Wednesday evenings that depends on many people to make it a success. Beginning this week, we are in need of additional clean up participants (washing dishes, putting tables away, sweeping floors, etc.) The work generally begins by 6:30 pm, and takes about an hour. Clean up can begin earlier. If you can serve in this way once, or once a month, or more, let Pastor Coffey know today: pastor@felcaustin.org.

Sunday, February 25

Second Sunday in Lent

 

Word & Eucharist – 8:30 am

Faith formation for all ages – 9:45 am

Word & Eucharist  – 11:00 am

 

Scriptures for Sunday, February 25 (Lent 2,Year B)

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16      

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”
God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

Mark 8:31-38

After Peter confesses his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus tells his disciples for the first time what is to come. Peter’s response indicates that he does not yet understand the way of the cross that Jesus will travel.

Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Sundays in Lent: in our worship

See blocks below for ways to connect in the Sunday morning liturgy this season, including bringing images for prayers of intercession and alms giving food offerings for Micah 6.

Blessings this Sunday, February 25: in our worship

On Sunday morning, February 25 at the sending in the liturgy, we will ask God’s blessing for those who are walking and for the Austin Crop Hunger Walk that afternoon.  We will also pray God’s blessing on Nancy and Randy Baden. The Baden’s will be joining a small group of ELCA lay people and churchwide staff to see projects that our church supports in Cambodia and Malaysia, through World Hunger, through Global Church Sponsorship, and through the YAGM (Young Adults in Global Mission) programs.

The Season of Lent

Lent is an old English term for “spring.” It’s a time for preparation for new life at Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Lent began on Ash Wednesday, 40 days before Easter, excluding Sundays, connecting it to Jesus’ 40 days and the Israelites 40 years in the wilderness, both times of preparation. Sundays are not counted because they are always celebrations of the resurrection. That’s why they are Sundays in Lent and not Sundays of Lent. The themes of Lent are wilderness time, repentance (meaning a turning around of one’s life), following Jesus in the way of the cross, and preparation for baptism and renewal at the Easter Vigil. The primary color purple reminds us of penitence. While Lent is a more solemn season than Christmas or Easter, it is a time of growing trust in God’s power to renew our lives. The traditional ancient spiritual practices for Lent are prayer, fasting – forgoing certain foods for a time of refocus, and almsgiving – giving to the poor.

Sunday Formation with Adults in Lent: Marks of the Christian

Last fall when we conducted a survey on preferences for adult formation, the top categories were Faith and Politics, Social Justice, Faith and Film, and Spirituality. Our recent offerings have addressed the top two. (Pastor Coffey plans to offer a new Faith and Film series this spring.) For the adult forum during Sundays in Lent at 9:45 am, we will focus on Spirituality. Lent is a time to focus on spiritual growth and discipleship in the way of Jesus. Our adult forum will focus on Marks of the Christian, using a Lenten devotional with the same theme, based on Romans 12. Copies of the book are $10. To order a copy, email pastor@felcaustin.org

Sundays in Lent Prayers of Intercession: Bring prayer images

During our Prayers of Intercession on Sundays in Lent you are invited to bring 2d images forward to offer as visual prayers. The images will be focused around six different themes: church and community, creation, nations and world, all in need, remembrance of the saints, and joys and thanksgivings. Multiple sizes of images are welcome: drawn, painted, printed.  Use this season as an opportunity to connect your creativity with your heart’s longing. Together, we will create a collage of prayers that express our collective heart, with Jesus as the source and end of all prayers.

Sundays in Lent Focus on Food Justice: Bring canned/boxed food

This Lent we practice alms-giving with a particular focus on our ministry partner Micah 6. Please bring canned foods, money, and pantry items, helping to promote food justice in our community. Since Micah 6 can buy food from the USDA at $.12/lb, both monetary and food offerings are welcome. Canned meats are particularly helpful, as are specialty pantry items such as dessert and stuffing mixes. These offerings will be gathered as part of the worship offering on Sundays in Lent.

Austin Crop Hunger Walk: this coming Sunday, February 25

Donations and walkers are still welcome!  To register or donate online, go to www.crophungerwalk.org/austintx (to donate, search for the First English Lutheran Church team or an individual walker). If you have any questions about the walk, contact Chris Paton at chrispaton@bellsouth.net or 678.642.3055.  Many, many thanks to those who have already donated!

Capital South Conference Meeting: this coming Sunday, February 25

The annual meeting of the Capital South Conference of the Southwestern Texas Synod will be held on Sunday, February 25 at Abiding Love Lutheran Church (7210 Brush Country Dr. Austin, 78749) beginning at 3:00 pm. The agenda will include the Potential Nominees for Bishop process as requested from the synod.  A new bishop will be elected at the 2018 Synod Assembly, May 5-6. This Potential Nominees process is a chance to bring forward names to potentially be nominated at the synod assembly. Once votes for nomination are collected from all eight conferences in the synod, the synod will contact potential nominees to see if they would like to provide a profile to be shared publicly prior to the synod assembly. Anyone who is a voting member of a congregation in the conference may attend the conference meeting as voting members. The agenda will also include a presentation from the synod’s Strategic Planning Task Force and the new vision statement developed for the synod.

Friendship and Dialogue Dinner: Thursday, March 1 at 6:00 pm

The Dialogue Institute of Austin invites everyone to a Friendship Dinner on Thursday, March 1 at 6:00 pm at the Asian American Resource Center (8401 Cameron Road, Austin, 78754). In the current world of strident rhetoric, it is vital we work together as people of various faith traditions and of goodwill, in the spirit of earnest compassion, cooperation, and community service. For tickets and more information: http://www.thedialoginstitute.org/event/dialogue-and-friendship-dinner-18/?event_date=2018-03-01

Composer of Grammy Winning Choral CD To Conduct Choir in Austin

2018 Concordia Choir Tour: Saturday, March 3

The recording “Life and Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen” received the GRAMMY for Best Choral Performance recently.

Now, Clausen will bring The Concordia Choir from Moorhead, Minnesota to perform in Austin at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 3 at St. Martin’s Ev Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th Street, Austin, 78701.

Tickets are available online at ConcordiaTickets.com, by calling 800.838.3006 or at the door.

The concert, part of the choir’s 15-day, 2018 tour of the Southcentral US.  Clausen, a world-renowned composer and conductor conducts the 72-voice a cappella choir and is the artistic director of the Emmy® winning Concordia Christmas Concerts seen by audiences of 18,000 each year and televised nationally through PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). Clausen has written more than 120 commissioned compositions for ensembles across the world including the St. Olaf Choir and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 national tragedy he conducted his composition “MEMORIAL” in Lincoln Center, New York City – a piece originally commissioned by the American Choral Director’s Association.

Touring nationally and internationally since 1918, the choir has performed in nearly every major hall in the United States and continues to affirm its reputation as one of the nation’s finest a cappella choirs. Paul J. Christiansen, son of F. Melius Christiansen was the conductor of The Concordia Choir for 49 years.

Concordia College is a four-year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America offering more than 60 majors, including 18 honors majors and 12 pre-professional programs.

Benevolence Task Force: We Want Your Suggestions

The Benevolence Task Force is organized through the Congregation Council and would like your input. Our task is to identify organizations or agencies the congregation would like to financially support in 2018. The money has been approved by the congregation in the 2018 ministry budget. Parameters initially set by the Task Force are to consider organizations that reflect our biblical and congregational values; to support, if possible, some organizations that are local and others that are global in their outreach; and to explore the possibility of financial support to a group we are serving already in other ways. We welcome your suggestions of organizations or groups. Please pass those suggestions to Herb Palmer by March 7. You can do so by email: herbpalmer@sbcglobal.net.

Congregation Council Meeting Highlights

The following are highlights from the February 19 First English Congregation Council meeting:

1. Newly elected council members were welcomed to the congregation council and ministry liaisons were established:

Child Development Center: Fred Woody

Congregational Care: Liz West

Finance: Penny Baker

Hospitality: David Klump

Invitation: Marilynn Olson

Learning: Andy Petras

Micah 6: Dave Shanks

Property: Heidi Goebel

Stewardship: Jill Essbaum

Vicar: Penny Baker (until the end of Travis Fitzgold’s term)

Worship: Margaret Bruesch

 

2.  The council appointed officers to serve in 2018:

President: Dawn Wetzel

Vice President: Renee Carlson

Secretary: Jill Essbaum

Treasurer: Erin McCracken

Financial Secretary: Terry Porter

3.  The council approved the $1159 purchase of one additional wireless microphone as a capital expense.

4.  The council approved the $2315 purchase of a new set of green paraments and vestments using Metzger endowment funds

5.  The council approved a benevolence committee/task force to determine the recipients of budgeted 2018 benevolence funds. Members include Herb Palmer (Chair), Tim Atkinson, Lois Holck, Derek Mergele-Rust, and Merrily Porter.

The next congregation council meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 19 at 7:00 pm.

Weekly Update: February 13, 2018

Ash Wednesday @ FELC: Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes:

February 14 at Noon and 7:00 pm

The season of Lent begins with this solemn day of repentance and receiving ashes as a sign of mortality and humility. We are invited to begin the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, almsgiving – works of love.  Returning to God’s mercy and grace, we make our way through Lent toward the joy of Easter. The noon liturgy is an abbreviated service. This year the noon liturgy is also in conjunction with the quarterly Gathering of Senior Saints.  The 7:00 pm liturgy is preceded by Companion Café at 6:00 pm.  Both liturgies will include imposition of ashes and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. All are welcome as we begin a holy Lent together.

Companion Café – Breaking Bread, Making Friends:

Wednesday, February 14, 6:00 pm

Companion Café serves on Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 pm in the fellowship hall. We offer a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children). It’s great to meet friends and new people.

The menu for February 14 is Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato Soup, and Chopped Salad.

Sunday, February 18

First Sunday in Lent

Word & Eucharist with Healing Prayer – 8:30 am

Faith formation for all ages – 9:45 am

Word & Eucharist with Healing Prayer – 11:00 am

 

Scriptures for Sunday, February 18 (Lent 1,Year B)

First Reading: Genesis 9:8-17

Today’s reading is the conclusion to the flood story. Because of human sin, the Lord destroys the earth by flood, saving only Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. Yet divine destruction gives way to divine commitment. As in the first creation, God blesses humanity and establishes a covenant with all creatures.

God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Gospel: Mark 1:9-15

The Spirit that comes upon Jesus at his baptism sustains him when he is tested by Satan so that he might proclaim the good news of God’s reign.

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

The Season of Lent

Lent is an old English term for “spring.” It’s a time for preparation for new life at Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 40 days before Easter, excluding Sundays, connecting it to Jesus’ 40 days and the Israelites 40 years in the wilderness, both times of preparation. Sundays are not counted because they are always celebrations of the resurrection. The themes of Lent are wilderness time, repentance (meaning a turning around of one’s life), following Jesus in the way of the cross, and preparation for baptism and renewal at the Easter Vigil. The primary color purple reminds us of  penitence. While Lent is a more solemn season than Christmas or Easter, it is a time of growing trust in God’s power to renew our lives. The traditional ancient spiritual practices for Lent are prayer, fasting – forgoing certain foods for a time of refocus, and almsgiving –  giving to the poor.

Directions to First English on Sunday, February 18

Over 17,000 runners are scheduled to participate in the Austin Marathon/Half Marathon/5K on Sunday morning, February 18 beginning at 7:00 am. The Austin Marathon has been running since 1992 and has grown to be the 25th largest marathon in the USA.  This year is the course is different and will have a greater impact on us, making attending First English this Sunday morning challenging.

According to marathon leaders, the best driving directions to FELC on Sunday morning are:

Take IH 35 to MLK Blvd.
West on MLK Blvd.
North through UT campus on San Jacinto Blvd.
West on Dean Keaton St.

(Runners will be coming South and turning East at the San Jacinto/Dean Keaton intersection)
North on Speedway
West on 30th St.

https://youraustinmarathon.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Austin-Marathon-Course-Map-2018_Digital-1.pdf

Formation with Adults in Lent: Marks of the Christian: beginning February 18

Last fall when we conducted a survey on preferences for adult formation, the top categories were Faith and Politics, Social Justice, Faith and Film, and Spirituality. Our recent offerings have addressed the top two. (Pastor Coffey plans to offer a new Faith and Film series this spring.) For the adult forum during Sundays in Lent at 9:45 am, we will focus on Spirituality. Lent is a time to focus on spiritual growth and discipleship in the way of Jesus. Our adult forum will focus on Marks of the Christian, using a Lenten devotional with the same theme, based on Romans 12. Copies of the book are $10. To order a copy, email pastor@felcaustin.org

Sundays in Lent Focus on Food Justice: Beginning Sunday, February 18

This Lent we practice alms-giving with a particular focus on our ministry partner Micah 6. Please bring canned foods, money, and pantry items, helping to promote food justice in our community. Since Micah 6 can buy food from the USDA at $.12/lb, both monetary and food offerings are welcome. Canned meats are particularly helpful, as are specialty pantry items such as dessert and stuffing mixes. These offerings will be received as part of the worship offering on Sundays in Lent.

Midweek Lent Evening Prayer: Journey to the Vigil

Wednesdays from February 21 to March 21 at 6:45 pm

The season of Lent developed from the period of preparation for baptism at the Easter Vigil. It then developed into a season of renewal of the baptized at Easter. The readings for the Easter Vigil are filled with images of baptism, renewal, and the paschal mystery of Christ. Our evening prayer services during Lent at 6:45 pm will use some of the readings from the Easter Vigil to help us dive deeper into these great texts as we prepare for our own renewal in Christ’s death and resurrection at Easter.

Capital South Conference Meeting: Sunday, February 25

The annual meeting of the Capital South Conference of the Southwestern Texas Synod will be held on Sunday, February 25 at Abiding Love Lutheran Church (7210 Brush Country Dr. Austin, 78749) beginning at 3:00 pm. The agenda will include the Potential Nominees for Bishop process as requested from the synod.  A new bishop will be elected at the 2018 Synod Assembly May 5-6. This Potential Nominees process is a chance to bring forward names to potentially be nominated at the synod assembly. Once votes for nomination are collected from all eight conferences in the synod, the synod will contact potential nominees to see if they would like to provide a profile to be shared publicly prior to the synod assembly. Anyone who is a voting member of a congregation in the conference may attend the conference meeting as voting members. The agenda will also include a presentation from the synod’s Strategic Planning Task Force and the new vision statement developed for the synod.

Austin Crop Hunger Walk: Sunday, February 25

First English Lutheran Church is Going to the Austin CROP Hunger Walk!

When: 

February 25 (registration at 2:00, “grand step-off” at 2:30 on a 2.4 mile route).

What:

A walk to raise funds to end hunger.  In Austin, the CROP Hunger Walk supports several organizations including the Central Texas Food Bank, Refugee Services of Texas, and (of special interest to FELC) the Micah 6 Food Pantry.

Where: 

Camp Mabry (there will be carpooling to help make it easier to get there).

Who:

YOU! YOU can help by walking:  To register as part of the FELC team, go to https://www.crophungerwalk.org/austintx/.

After registering as an individual you can connect to the FELC team.

After registering as an individual you can connect to the FELC team. YOU can help by pledging funds to support FELC walkers, either online or in-person on Sundays. YOU can pray for the success of the walk, and for an end to hunger in Austin and around the world. We can commit to pledge, to walk, donate, and pray.  Let’s see how much of a difference we can make in the world!  For more information, contact Chris Paton at  chrispaton@bellsouth.net or 678.642.3055.

Friendship and Dialogue Dinner: Thursday, March 1 at 6:00 pm

The Dialogue Institute of Austin invites everyone to a Friendship Dinner on Thursday, March 1 at 6:00 pm at the Asian American Resource Center (8401 Cameron Road, Austin, 78754). In the current world of strident rhetoric, it is vital we work together as people of various faith traditions and of goodwill, in the spirit of earnest compassion, cooperation, and community service. For tickets and more information: http://www.thedialoginstitute.org/event/dialogue-and-friendship-dinner-18/?event_date=2018-03-01