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: July 11, 2017

one Word & Eucharist liturgy

Summer Sundays at 9:45 am

Green Season

Sometimes it is called “Time after Pentecost” or “Ordinary Time” because of the numbering (ordinals) of the Sundays. The primary color of the season is green, highlighting themes of growth in faith and discipleship, so the name “Green Season” is appropriate. It includes the distinct seasons of summer and fall, which have different themes emphasized. The image of a green, growing plant in the warmth of the sun helps us to envision how God is working among us.

Preparing for this Sunday, July 16

81st Anniversary Sunday of FELC

Isaiah 55:10-11

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Matthew 13:1-9

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”

Anniversary Celebration

First English Lutheran Church celebrates 81 years as a congregation on July 19. Join together on this Sunday, July 16 for a festive liturgy at 9:45, a catered meal after, a cake and ice cream potluck, and fun outdoor activities for kids. Our meal will be prepared by the Syrian American Refugee Aid organization of Austin (www.saraorg.org). Their women earn income by cooking traditional Syrian food for large groups. Dessert will be a cake and ice cream pot luck. Bring your favorite cake, or ice cream, or ice cream toppings to share, and we’ll have the best church potluck ever! We’ll have an awesome waterslide outside. Bring swimsuits and towels. All are welcome.

2017 Summer Children’s Gathering: Growing in worship and community

People of all ages are vital in the life of Christian community, and that includes children. Liturgy means “the work of the people” and the presence of children in leadership and service is an important part of Christian faith formation.  On Sunday mornings, children gather with the worshiping community at 9:45 am. Then following the bible readings in the liturgy, children 4 years through 5th grade are invited to gather with Anne Wiebe and other leaders in the fellowship hall.  During this time, children will engage in hands-on learning about one aspect of liturgy. They will return to the worshiping community at the sharing of the peace for communion and blessing. Children’s Gatherings continue on Sunday mornings through August 13. (a snack will not be provided during this time.)

July 16 –  Word: Praying

we will learn about and experience different ways to pray.

A Note of Thanksgiving

Kris Franke Hill, daughter of Ginna and Merle Franke (third pastor of First English), posted this note of gratitude:

“Feeling very thankful for First English Lutheran Church – the people there raised me in the faith, and tomorrow (July 11) will be 30 years since I was ordained at First English.  Love all of you.”

Kris is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America serving at Shepherd King Lutheran in San Antonio.

(pictured here, with her party hat and ordination certificate in the background.)

Faith, Sexism, and Justice: Summer Conversations on Wednesday Nights

Continues this week

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is preparing a Social Statement on Sexism and Gender Based Violence starting Fall, 2017. Since our community has been studying the sin of sexism and searching for God’s grace in response, FELC is exploring a study guide this summer to continue to reflect, learn, and grow.

These study sessions will happen on 7 different Wednesday evenings throughout the summer, 6:00-8:00 PM at FELC, pot-luck style dinnerin the parlor.

Remaining dates are: 7/12, 7/19, 7/26, 8/2, 8/9

The study sessions will be led by an excellent crew of church leaders, including Leigh Northcutt-Benson, Mary Lou Larson, Nancy Baden, Renee Carlson, Anne Wiebe, Taylor Dieringer, and Travis Fitzgold. Studying a particular issue in-depth allows the community to sink deeply into the stuff of faith and invite God’s transforming love. FELC is delighted to be nurturing community through in-depth study of social issues.

Bring yourself, and bring a friend! Come participate in the transforming work of the Spirit through community.

Farewell for Shannon Ball: Friday, July 21

All are invited on Friday, July 21 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in the FELC Fellowship Hall as we say farewell to Shannon Ball and give thanks for her many years of love, dedication, and service as Child Development Center director. The menu will be: frito pie, watermelon, coleslaw, and cupcakes! Please join together to thank Shannon and celebrate her new career opportunities. Let us know if you will be coming so we can plan food accordingly. Contact the CDC or Church offices.

Message from the Congregation Council

Dear FELC Community,

On Saturday, May 13, the FELC Congregation Council held its annual retreat. One of the main objects of this retreat was to distill the Members to Mission Investors data collected during last November into areas of emphasis for the coming year.  We will be using these areas of emphasis as a lens through which to evaluate and further grow our ministries as a church.

Council Liaisons to our ministries will be communicating these areas of emphasis more directly to those who actively participate in these ministries, and we hope that the wider community will feel empowered to provide more input and energy as we move forward.

2017-18 Areas of Emphasis for FELC: 

Identify and Clarify Staffing Needs

We currently have an open staff position, the Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries. While we are very aware of both the immediate and long term implications of this ministry area, we are taking time to evaluate the current programming, as well as the needs and demographics of the community to determine what type of staffing will best meet the needs and resources of First English. There are also areas where the knowledge, skills, and abilities of our current staff can be realigned to respond more effectively to the current environment. For example, new processes for processing payments will require tasks to be carried out by the Administrative Assistant, while old processes, such as publishing a print newsletter, are no longer required.

Strengthening Relationships and Empowering Lay Leadership

We would like to emphasize the importance of intentionally building relationships inside and outside the congregation. This includes listening to one another and seeking each other out in community. Building these relationships will enable us to recognize gifts and skills, and empower people in ways that use these gifts.

Develop Ministry among 20-somethings

The FELC Council has approved developing a proposal to secure grant funding with the 787 Collective for building a ministry geared for 20-somethings – http://www.austinseminary.edu/page.cfm?p=3948. There are needs for this sort of ministry that we believe FELC can address well.

Communication and organization

One of the most valuable “perks” of serving on the FELC Congregation Council is learning the depth and breadth of the work that the FELC Community is doing in service to our neighbors. We can do a better job as a Council communicating back to the FELC Community about this. For example:

·         our Congregational Care ministry is doing wonderful work with folks who are not always able to make it to church on Sundays,

·         our Property ministry does a lot of behind-the-scenes work that shouldn’t be taken for granted,

·         the Child Developement Center is doing amazing work with 62 children that is worth celebrating more.

We want to focus on how we communicate who we are and what we do to our neighbors across the street, across Austin, or across the world.

Council Liaisons to ministry teams will be sharing these areas of emphasis with each team and are eager to hear more ideas from these teams to work on more concrete ways to work toward these emphases this year. If you are inspired by one of these emphases, please share your idea, time, and talent with one of the following people:

Congregational Care

Contact: Barbara Wiederaenders

Council Liaison: Barbara Wiederaenders

Worship Ministry

Contact: Judy Moltz

Council Liaison: Margaret Bruesch

Learning Ministry

Contact: Jackie Chuter

Council Liaison: Jackie Chuter

Witness Ministry – Invitation

Contact: Andy MacLaren

Council Liaison: Liz West

Witness Ministry – Stewardship

Contact: Travis Fitzgold

Council Liaison: Randy Baden

Service Ministry – Child Development Center

Contact: Elizabeth Bangs

Council Liaison: Betsy Appleton

Service Ministry – Hospitality

Contact: Merle Franke and Heidi Goebel

Council Liaison: David Klumpp

Service Ministry – Micah 6

Contact: Sarah Roberts

Council Liaison: Michael Coffey

Support Ministry – Finance

Contact: Joe Cain

Council Liaison: Andy Petras

Support Ministry – Property

Contact: Allen Jensen

Council Liaison: Tim Atkinson

Vicar Support Team

Contact: Nancy Neuse

Council Liaison: Penny Baker

The Congregation Council is grateful to all in the community who took the time to respond and provide input in the Members to Mission Investors process last fall, and is excited to see where this will take FELC in the months and years to come.

Please communicate your excitement, ideas, and concerns regarding how you see these areas of emphasis living in our ministries to the ministry contacts and council liaisons listed above.

Sincerely,

First English Evangelical Lutheran Church Congregation Council

Betsy Appleton, president; Renee Carlson, vice-president; Dawn Wetzel, secretary; Monica Lund, treasurer; Terry Porter, financial secretary.

Members: Tim Atkinson (property), Randy Baden (stewardship), Penny Baker (vicar), Margaret Bruesch (worship), Jackie Chuter (learning), David Klumpp (hospitality), Andy Petras (finance), Liz West (invitation), Barbara Wiederaenders (care)

Suggestions for Great Reads

The First English Book Club is asking for your suggestions for our 2017-2018 reading year! Every summer, we ask anyone and everyone to submit suggestions so we can choose our books for the coming year. We want good suggestions for our reading. Interesting ideas, great writing, fiction preferred this year, but all suggestions are welcome. The Book Club wants suggestions now through July 30. Submit suggestions to Anne Wiebe at wiebeanne@hotmail.com with the title/author for your suggestion/s. We especially request suggestions of shorter books, since we plan to alternate shorter “quick-read” books with average-length books on this year’s list.

RULES FOR SUBMISSIONS:

1.      At least two copies of the book must be available through Austin Public Library (check at www.library.austintexas.gov).

2.      The book should be less than 450 pages, good “quick-read” books under 225 pages are especially requested.

3.      Deadline is July 30.

The First English Book Club meets the second Sunday evening of each month, mostly in homes of participants. We meet, share a potluck dinner, and discuss the book for that month, as well as related subjects brought up by the book. Everyone is invited! You can come to a meeting just once, or as often as you wish. We love to discuss books and ideas, and the more who come, the better the discussion. Questions? Anne Wiebe at 512-407-8427 or wiebeanne@hotmail.com.

Message from Pastor Coffey: Guidelines for Using the Parlor

Now that our parlor is newly remodeled, it’s time to let everyone know some of our guidelines for using the parlor. It is used by many groups, so in order to keep it in good condition, clean, and ready for everyone, please follow these guidelines:
1. Tables and chairs can easily be arranged because they are on wheels. Feel free to arrange as you need, but always return the parlor to the regular setup ( a long rectangle of tables and chairs, extra tables and chairs folded up and nested). The tables have wheel locks — be sure to unlock them before rolling the tables across the floor.

2. No tables or chairs may be removed from the parlor.

3. Use of the parlor should always be scheduled through the church office and added to the church calendar. Do not assume the parlor is available for use without scheduling first. (this also applies to any other space at FELC.)

4. No arts and crafts activities of any kind may be done in the parlor.

5. If you are bringing food or drink into the parlor, you must clean up after your self or your group immediately. This includes wiping off tables and sweeping the floor. Spills should be wiped up immediately to prevent floor damage. Food garbage should never be left in the parlor waste can.

6. If you need to turn the air or heat on, use the up and down arrows to set the temperature. Do not press the hold button. The temperature automatically resets at 6 am, 1 pm, 6 pm, and 10 pm.

7. Always remove all of your meeting materials and personal items when you leave. Any papers, supplies, or other items left in the parlor may be disposed of or put in the lost and found.

Weekly Update: July 3, 2017

one Word & Eucharist liturgy

Summer Sundays at 9:45 am

Green Season

We’ve begun the long time after Pentecost Day, the last day of the Easter season celebrating Christ’s resurrection and the sending of the Spirit. Sometimes it is called “Time after Pentecost” or “Ordinary Time” because of the numbering (ordinals) of the Sundays. The primary color of the season is green, highlighting themes of growth in faith and discipleship, so the name “Green Season” is appropriate. It includes the distinct seasons of summer and fall, which have different themes emphasized. The image of a green, growing plant in the warmth of the sun helps us to envision how God is working among us.

Preparing for this Sunday, July 9

Zechariah 9:9-10

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war-horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Matthew 11:28-30

[Jesus said:] “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Comments from the Cloud of Witnesses
Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you, where there is wondrous gifts, and joy without compare, rest unchanging, happiness without end, unceasing melody, perpetual glory, unwearied giving of thanks, loving absorption in divine things, infinite riches, a kingdom without end, through all ages and ages, deeps of compassion, an ocean of mercy and kindness—which the human tongue cannot describe but makes known only through figures. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, and you shall find rest for your souls, where the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge shall be revealed. Come to me, all you that hunger and thirst after justice, and I will fill you with all that you desire. Come to me, for whoever comes to me I shall not cast forth.
—Ephraem
[Ephraem, in The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, III, 310-311.]

Healing Prayer this Sunday

On the second Sunday of each month we offer Healing Prayer, an ancient and powerful ritual of the church.  It is a deeply personal encounter with our need for healing in body, mind, and spirit, and our turning to God for all healing, grace, and mercy. Children and adults who desire healing prayer with laying on of hands and anointing with oil are invited to come to the Chapel of the Saints during the communion distribution.

2017 Summer Children’s Gathering: Growing in worship and community

People of all ages are vital in the life of Christian community, and that includes children.  Children are the present and the future disciples of Jesus, growing together, and sharing God’s love.  Liturgy means “the work of the people” and the presence of children in leadership and service is an important part of Christian faith formation.  On Sunday mornings, children will gather with the worshiping community at 9:45 am. Then following the bible readings in the liturgy, children 4 years through 5th grade are invited to gather with Anne Wiebe and other leaders in the fellowship hall.  During this time, children will engage in some hands-on learning about one aspect of liturgy. They will return to the worshiping community at the sharing of the peace for communion and blessing.

(a snack will not be provided during this time.)

June 11 – Gathering: Song – Writing a Hymn

June 18 – Word: Bible Stories for the day

July 9 – Word: Apostles’ Creed

we will decorate an Apostles’ Creed wall hanging while discussing the meaning of each article of the creed

July 16 –  Word: Praying

we will learn about and experience different ways to pray, and discuss prayer

July 23 – Word: The Lord’s Prayer

we will do activities to understand each part of the Lord’s Prayer

July 30 – Meal: Sharing the Peace and Baking Bread

we will bake the bread for the next week’s Eucharist, and learn about the significance of sharing the peace

August 6 – Meal: Last Supper/Holy Communion

we will study the Last Supper and re-enact it

August 13 – Sending: Review and Blessing

we will review the summer’s learning and have a celebration liturgy and blessing

August 20 – Back to School Blessing

Students of all ages and education professionals of all types are invited to participate in the Back to School blessing during the liturgy.  Students and educators are invited to bring some sign of school or work

Church and CDC Closed

The church office and child development center are closed on Tuesday, July 4 for the Independence Day holiday.

Faith, Sexism, and Justice: Summer Conversations on Wednesday Nights

Takes a break this week

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is preparing a Social Statement on Sexism and Gender Based Violence starting Fall, 2017. Since our community has been studying the sin of sexism and searching for God’s grace in response, FELC is exploring a study guide this summer to continue to reflect, learn, and grow.

These study sessions will happen on 7 different Wednesday evenings throughout the summer, 6:00-8:00 PM at FELC, pot-luck style dinner.

Remaining dates are: 7/12, 7/19, 7/26, 8/2, 8/9

The study sessions will be led by an excellent crew of church leaders, including Leigh Northcutt-Benson, Mary Lou Larson, Nancy Baden, Renee Carlson, Anne Wiebe, Taylor Dieringer, and Travis Fitzgold. Studying a particular issue in-depth allows the community to sink deeply into the stuff of faith and invite God’s transforming love. FELC is delighted to be nurturing community through in-depth study of social issues.

Bring yourself, and bring a friend! Come participate in the transforming work of the Spirit through community.  Contact: Travis Fitzgold at vicar@felcaustin.org.

First English Evangelical Lutheran Church Anniversary: Sunday, July 16

RSVP for the meal by July 9

First English Lutheran Church celebrates 81 years as a congregation on July 19. Join together on Sunday, July 16 for a festive liturgy at 9:45, a catered meal after, a cake and ice cream potluck, and fun outdoor activities for kids. Our meal will be prepared by the Syrian American Refugee Aid organization of Austin (www.saraorg.org). Their women earn income by cooking traditional Syrian food for large groups. The meal will cost $10 per person ($5 for children) and include hummus with pita bread, falafel, Mediterranean salad, rice, lahem bi ajeen (meat stuffed pastry), and fatyer (small cheese pie). This will be a great way to enjoy a meal and support our local Syrian refugee families. Please make a reservation for the meal by emailing office@felcaustin.org by Sunday, July 9. Dessert will be a cake and ice cream pot luck. Bring your favorite cake, or ice cream, or ice cream toppings to share, and we’ll have the best church potluck ever! We’ll have outdoor games and activities for kids. Bring swimsuits and towels for water activities. All are welcome.

Farewell for Shannon Ball: Friday, July 21

All are invited on Friday, July 21 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in the FELC Fellowship Hall as we say farewell to Shannon Ball and give thanks for her many years of love, dedication, and service as Child Development Center director. The menu will be: frito pie, watermelon, coleslaw, and cupcakes! Please join together to thank Shannon and celebrate her new career opportunities. Let us know if you will be coming so we can plan food accordingly. Contact the CDC or Church offices.

Pipe Organ Repair Continues

As part of our capital campaign improvements, repair work is scheduled to resume on the pipe organ. Beginning Tuesday, July 25, the organ will be out-of-service for months (probably until mid October) as we enter the next phase of maintenance and refurbishing. There will be further opportunities to help and be “hands-on” in this project.  Stay tuned.

Suggestions for Great Reads

The First English Book Club is asking for your suggestions for our 2017-2018 reading year! Every summer, we ask anyone and everyone to submit suggestions so we can choose our books for the coming year. We want good suggestions for our reading. Interesting ideas, great writing, fiction preferred this year, but all suggestions are welcome. WE WANT YOUR SUGGESTIONS now through July 30. Submit suggestions to Anne Wiebe at wiebeanne@hotmail.com with the title/author for your suggestion/s. We especially request suggestions of shorter books, since we plan to alternate shorter “quick-read” books with average-length books on this year’s list.

RULES FOR SUBMISSIONS:

1.      At least two copies of the book must be available through Austin Public Library (check at www.library.austintexas.gov).

2.      The book should be less than 450 pages, good “quick-read” books under 225 pages are especially requested.

3.      Deadline is July 30.

The First English Book Club meets the second Sunday evening of each month, mostly in homes of participants. We meet, share a potluck dinner, and discuss the book for that month, as well as related subjects brought up by the book. Everyone is invited! You can come to a meeting just once, or as often as you wish. We love to discuss books and ideas, and the more who come, the better the discussion! Questions? Anne Wiebe at 512-407-8427 or wiebeanne@hotmail.com.

New Stephen Ministry training class to start in September

Stephen Ministry is a one-on-one caring ministry which brings Christ’s healing love to people by accompanying them through issues such as losing a loved one, losing a job, losing independence, or facing a health crisis. Caregivers are trained in a 50-hour course (2 hour meetings on Tuesday nights, 3 times a month, and one Saturday retreat).  Commissioning will be in April, 2018.  Some of the major topics studied in the course are the art of listening, sensing others’ feelings, compassionate assertiveness, crisis theory and intervention, maintaining confidentiality, setting boundaries, grieving, and praying with people.

If you would like to know more about the ministry, or are interested in participating as a caregiver, please contact FELC Stephen Ministry Leader Charlotte Gilman at church, by phone (512-332-6102), or at cegilman@hotmail.com.