First English Lutheran Church

3001 Whitis Avenue, Austin, TX, 78705

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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 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.

Ash Wednesday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Update: February 28, 2017

Preparing for Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 8:30 & 11 am

On Sunday, February 26 we celebrated the Transfiguration of our Lord, a mountain top experience that concludes the season of Epiphany.  We “put away” the praise word “Alleluia” as we prepare for the journey of Lent.

Lent is an old English term for “spring.” In the annual cycle of the church’s liturgy and spiritual formation, it is the time of year for preparation for new life at Easter, the celebration of the resurrection —so the connection to the season of spring is appropriate. Lent is a more solemn season than Christmas or Easter, and it need not be a time of excessive negativity, but 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). 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 or renewal of baptism at the Easter Vigil. The Vigil is the Saturday night service before Easter Day, the most celebratory and poetic liturgy in church tradition, and the primary time for baptisms and confirmations. 

Sundays are Sundays in Lent and take on a different character than other days of Lent because, while reflective, Sunday is always a celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

Here are some biblical verses and writings as a way to prepare and begin pondering the scripture texts for this first Sunday in Lent.

Romans 5:18-19

Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Matthew 4:1-4

Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,
‘One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
Theological Reflection
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word Lent comes from an Old English word meaning spring. Mention the season of Lent to Christians and most are not thinking first of budding flowers and chirping birds. Yet spring is a time for renewal and rebirth in the natural world, and Lent is a time for renewal and rebirth of the human spirit. In the northern hemisphere, when the nights remain long and dark it can be difficult to think of the warmth to come, but like God’s promises, pleasant spring days are drawing near. Even if it seems far off, God’s promised kingdom is even now breaking into our world.
Prayer Stations on Sundays in Lent
Our Sunday liturgy during the season of Lent typically brings a number of changes. This year, in addition to changing the liturgical setting, we will engage in a different form of intercessory prayer. There will be four different prayer stations to engage with as each person of any age chooses:

Silent Prayer: There will be silent prayer while seated in the pews, with suggestions for how to pray printed in the bulletin.

Prayer Walls: There will be two prayer walls for writing prayer concerns on, which will be added to throughout the season.

Spoken Prayer: There will be a spoken prayer station where anyone may come to the microphone and offer a spoken petition (a suggested format will be provided).

Healing Prayer: There will be a healing prayer station in the Chapel of the Saints for anyone who wishes to receive healing prayer with laying on of hands and anointing with oil.

We hope this time on the Sundays in Lent will provide a meaningful opportunity for everyone.

Radical Discipleship – The Sermon on the Mount: beginning Sunday, March 5

During the season of Lent on Sundays at 9:45 am, Pastor Coffey will lead an adult forum on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) and explore how we are called to live the radical discipleship Jesus teaches. We will look at how Dietrich Bonhoeffer had his Lutheran theology challenged and changed by listening to other traditions’ use of the Sermon on the Mount. We will discuss practical ways of being faithful followers of Jesus in our complex and challenging world today.

This Sunday: Godly Play for children

The Faces of Easter

On the first Sunday in Lent we begin to help children prepare for the Mystery of Easter. We move toward the Mystery by hearing the stories of Christ’s journey toward the cross and resurrection. Today we focus on the face of Christ as a newborn child and the face of Christ as the one who was lost and found.

Godly Play is offered each Sunday morning. We begin at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints.

There will be no formation classes for children and youth on Sunday, March 12. Enjoy your spring break!

This Sunday: Here We Stand middle schoolers

The Transfiguration

Bible Texts: Matthew 17:1–8; Mark 9:2–8; Luke 9:28–36
Lesson Focus: Jesus is revealed as the Son of God and the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
Big Question: Why were Moses and Elijah there with Jesus?
Key Words: TRANSFIGURATION, PROPHET, LAW, MOSES, ELIJAH

We begin at 9:45 am in the west classroom of the Chapel of the Saints.

There will be no formation classes for children and youth on Sunday, March 12. Enjoy your spring break!

Fastnacht: Tuesday, February 28 @ 6:00pm

What is a “Fastnacht?” It’s a German word meaning “fast night.” It’s a Shrove Tuesday celebration when you eat up lots of rich foods before beginning Lenten fasting disciplines. Traditionally, it’s a day to eat things like pancakes and donuts. It’s the same day as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). That begs the question… What’s “Shrove Tuesday?” The word “shrive” means to absolved. In some Lenten observances, there is no absolution for sins given from Ash Wednesday until Maundy Thursday, so Tuesday is your last chance for receiving the absolution. At FELC we have a long tradition of having a pancake supper followed by a talent show. We invite anyone who wants to do something funny, silly, or talented to share it with the community. The pancake supper begins at 6:00 pm and goes until 7:00 pm, when the talent show starts. Come on out and enjoy this fun community event and bring someone with you.

Ash Wednesday: March 1 @ Noon and 7:00 PM

Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes

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 abbreviated, and is followed by a potluck lunch with our Prime Timers.

The 7:00 pm liturgy is preceded by the Companion Café dinner at 6:00 pm.

The menu is Chicken Noodle Soup, Green Goddess Salad, Pumpernickel Bread

Pastor Coffey will be worshiping at Vision of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church for Ash Wednesday. Our guest preacher at FELC for the 7:00 pm liturgy will be the Rev. Dr. Timothy Lincoln.

LIFEr’s: Living in Faith Enthusiastically

After a brief hiatus, LIFEr’s is restarting. All 20’s and 30’s adults (and anyone) who wants to live in faith enthusiastically is welcome to participate. Bring you, your children, spouses, partners, and friends! Let’s make this ministry inclusive of ANYONE who wants connect.  To make this vision a reality, we need the thoughts and dreams of everyone. Please join together at Companion Cafe during March to share a meal and enter into conversation about this ministry and how you’d like to engage each other, your faith, the church, and those God calls us to serve. There will be a sign that says “LIFERS” on it, so you know where we are meeting at Companion Cafe. Can’t make Companion Cafe? No problem! Send an email or text/call with your input: Andy Petras, email:petras.andrew@yahoo.com, phone: 972-215-8899.

Supporting our Muslim Neighbors: Thursday, March 2

Our neighbors at the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest (Turkish Muslim Raindrop House) are hosting their annual fundraising dinner on Thursday, March 2 at 6:00 pm. One way we can show solidarity and support amidst this time of anti-Muslim sentiment is to attend the dinner and/or sponsor it. Let’s live into our baptismal call to work for justice and peace among all people.

Information can be found at:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-annual-friendship-and-dialogue-dinner-tickets-29130695695

For details about the dinner, please contact Vicar Travis at 830–328–3068.

Continuing Conversations on Sexism and Faith

The conversations on Sexism and Faith that took place on Sundays in January are continuing due to popular demand! Three more conversation will take place on Saturdays, March 4, 11, and 18, from 6:00–8:00 pm, pot-luck style. The conversation on March 4 will be hosted at the Fitzgold home, 5307 Viewpoint Drive, ATX 78744. The conversation on March 11 will be hosted at the home of Lois Holck, 2450 Stratford Drive, ATX 78746. For information, contact Vicar Travis at 830–328–3068;vicar@felcaustin.org.

Accompanying One Another on the Journey–Lenten Evening Prayer and Labyrinth:

Wednesdays, 7:00 pm beginning March 8

Evening Prayer is a time of singing, silence, reflection, and engaging the Word. We’ll gather in the sanctuary and use the traditional form of Evening Prayer.

We often speak of life as a journey, and Lent is often thought of as a journey as well. On four Wednesday evenings in Lent, we will gather with the theme of accompanying one another on the journey, the journey of Lent and the journey of life. While we contemplate our own journeys in life, we will listen and learn how we accompany each other on the way, especially those whose experience may be different from our own.

The four weekly themes will be:

March 8: Accompanying Women (International Women’s Day)

March 15: Accompanying Men

March 22: Accompanying Refugees

March 29: Accompanying Transgender Persons

Each week, we will have a guest speaker. As part of the prayer service we will have a labyrinth in the Chapel of the Saints to use for prayer and contemplation of the journey we walk together. Join together as we learn to accompany one another and hear of the one who accompanies us all through the journey of life, Christ Jesus.

Companion Café precedes each Lenten Evening Prayer at 6:00 pm, with the exception of March 15.

High school youth

All are invited to participate in a monthly outreach called Bedtime Story Brigade from 6:00-8:00 pm. We serve milk and cookies and read stories children staying at the Salvation Army Shelter.

Upcoming Wednesday dates:  3/8/17, 4/12/17, 5/10/17

Contact Jimmy Wright for details at formation@felcaustin.org.

FELC Holden Village Summer Trip! The FINAL date to commit is March 10

The FELC group trip to Holden Village will be June 24-July 1, 2017. 

All ages welcome!

The web site is www.holdenvillage.org.

For information and to be a part of this adventure, contact Teresa Ringness atttbhip@gmail.com or 512-831-8806.

Prayer for Our Nation and All Nations Evening Prayer: Wednesday, April 5 at 7:00 pm

On Wednesday, April 5, we will gather to pray for our nation and pray for all the nations. With growing anxiety, division, and fear of governmental actions and increased acts of hate, we need to gather and pray for our nation, for healing, for peace, for justice, for safety for those facing persecution, for our leaders. We also need to pray for all nations. We will be joined by Vision of Hope AME church and other friends. Invite someone.  All are most welcome.

Companion Café precedes this Evening Prayer at 6:00 pm.

Election of Officers of First English

On Monday, February 27, the congregation council of First English Lutheran Church elected these officers of the congregation and council:  Betsy Appleton, president; Renee Carlson, vice president; Dawn Wetzel, secretary; Monica Lund, treasurer; and Terry Porter, financial secretary.

The council members are Tim Atkinson, Randy Baden, Penny Baker, Margaret Bruesch, Jackie Chuter, David Klumpp, Andy Petras, Barbara Wiederaenders, and Liz West.

We give thanks to God for all these leaders.

The next meeting of the congregation council is Monday, March 27 at 7:00 pm in the parlor.

Weekly Update: February 21, 2017

Preparing Worship on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 8:30 & 11 am

See this block and blocks below about worship and formation on Sunday

Here are some biblical verses and writings as a way to prepare and begin pondering the scripture texts for worship this Sunday

Exodus 24:15-18

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Matthew 17:1-5

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”

Images in the Readings

Once again the readings include the central biblical images of light and mountain. Yet God is not only brilliant light: important for the readings is the image of the cloud. Although contemporary people tend to think of clouds as relating to weather conditions, in the Bible the cloud is a sign of the presence of God. It is as if God covers the earth, brings life, effecting much yet suddenly vanishing.

This Sunday: adult forum: Spiritual Disciplines of Lent

The season of Lent is a time to focus on spiritual disciplines that help us prepare for the renewal of baptismal life at Easter. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the common practices for Lent. We will explore how to engage with these practices and others, including spiritual retreats and labyrinths.This is the final Sunday at 9:45 am to prepare for the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

This Sunday: Godly Play for children

The Mystery of Easter

This story gives an introduction to the relationship of Lent to the Mystery of Easter as well as how Easter overflows into the season of Easter. The fullest meaning of Lent is that it gives us time to prepare for the great Mystery of Easter, the principal feast of the Christian Church. From Lent to Easter—purple to white. Our materials reflect the changes in our liturgical colors. There are six puzzle pieces, (the same number of weeks during Lent) which are painted purple on one side and white on the other. The puzzle forms the shape of the cross. The cloth bag that holds the puzzle is purple on the outside and white on the inside. Our colors are transformed, turned inside-out, from purple to white. All of this symbolism is a reflection from death into resurrection. This is full of mystery.

Godly Play is offered each Sunday morning. We begin at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints.

This Sunday: Here We Stand middle schoolers

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Bible texts: Luke 9:10–17; Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 6:32–41; John 6:1–14
Lesson focus: God responds to human needs with abundance.
Big Question: What can I do to help others?

Leader: Ms. Heidi Goebel

We begin at 9:45 am in the west classroom of the Chapel of the Saints.

High school youth

All are invited to participate in a monthly outreach called Bedtime Story Brigade from 6:00-8:00 pm. We serve milk and cookies and read stories children staying at the Salvation Army Shelter.

Upcoming Wednesday dates:  3/8/17, 4/12/17, 5/10/17

Contact Jimmy Wright for details at formation@felcaustin.org.

Companion Cafe: Wednesday, February 22

breaking bread, making friends

Serving from 6:00-7:00 pm – FELC Fellowship Hall

Enjoy a great, chef-prepared, freshly cooked meal.

Dine together and enjoy the community dinner, or take it to go.

Suggested donation: $5 for adults, $3 for children

Menu: Pork Chops with Pear Chutney, Roasted Brussels Sprouts,

Rice Pilaf, Spinach Salad w White Wine Vinaigrette

LIFEr’s: Living in Faith Enthusiastically

After a brief hiatus, LIFEr’s is restarting. All 20’s and 30’s adults (and anyone) who wants to live in faith enthusiastically is welcome to participate. Bring you, your children, spouses, partners, and friends! Let’s make this ministry inclusive of ANYONE who wants connect.  To make this vision a reality, we need the thoughts and dreams of everyone. Please join together at Companion Cafe during the months of February and March to share a meal and enter into conversation about this ministry and how you’d like to engage each other, your faith, the church, and those God calls us to serve. There will be a sign that says “LIFERS” on it, so you know where we are meeting at Companion Cafe. Can’t make Companion Cafe? No problem! Send an email or text/call with your input: Andy Petras, email: petras.andrew@yahoo.com, phone: 972-215-8899.

FELC Holden Village Summer Trip

Holden welcomes people of all ages who seek contemplation and community in the wilderness of the beautiful Cascade Mountains of Washington State with the comforts of three nourishing meals a day, a warm bed, hot shower and caring community. The web site is www.holdenvillage.org.

The FELC group trip to Holden Village will be June 24-July 1, 2017. 

The FINAL date to commit is March 10, 2017.

Please contact Teresa Ringness at ttbhip@gmail.com or 512-831-8806.

Introduction to Welcoming Ministry: This Sunday, February 26 @ 12:15 pm

Inviting, welcoming, and connecting people of all ages through the First English faith community is an important part of our ministry.  Join the Invitation Team for conversation on how everyone can participate in the FELC welcoming ministry.  All are welcome! Soup/salad lunch provided. To help prepare, please RSVP by noon Thursday, February 23 to Andy Maclaren, andymaclaren@cs.com.

Fastnacht: Tuesday, February 28 @ 6:00pm

What is a “Fastnacht?” It’s a German word meaning “fast night.” It’s a Shrove Tuesday celebration when you eat up lots of rich foods before beginning Lenten fasting disciplines. Traditionally, it’s a day to eat things like pancakes and donuts. It’s the same day as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). That begs the question… What’s “Shrove Tuesday?” The word “shrive” means to absolved. In some Lenten observances, there is no absolution for sins given from Ash Wednesday until Maundy Thursday, so Tuesday is your last chance for receiving the absolution. At FELC we have a long tradition of having a pancake supper followed by a talent show. We invite anyone who wants to do something funny, silly, or talented to share it with the community. The pancake supper begins at 6:00 pm and goes until 7:00 pm, when the talent show starts. Come on out and enjoy this fun community event and bring someone with you.  Connect with Vicar Travis for the talent show.

Ash Wednesday: March 1 @ Noon and 7:00 PM

Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes

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 abbreviated, and is followed by a potluck lunch with our Prime Timers.

The 7:00 pm liturgy is preceded by the Companion Café dinner at 6:00 pm. The menu for that evening is Chicken Noodle Soup, Green Goddess Salad, Pumpernickel Bread

Pastor Coffey has been invited to preach at Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church for Ash Wednesday. Our guest preacher at FELC for the 7:00 pm liturgy will be the Rev. Dr. Timothy Lincoln.

Supporting our Muslim Neighbors: Thursday, March 2

Our neighbors at the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest (Turkish Muslim Raindrop House) are hosting their annual fundraising dinner on Thursday, March 2. One way we can show solidarity and support amidst this time of anti-Muslim sentiment is to attend the dinner and/or sponsor it. Let’s live into our baptismal call to work for justice and peace among all people. Information can be found at:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/>2017-annual-friendship-and-dialogue-dinner-tickets-29130695695

For details about the dinner, please contact Vicar Travis at 830–328–3068.

Continuing Conversations on Sexism and Faith

The conversations on Sexism and Faith that took place on Sundays in January are continuing due to popular demand! Three more conversation will take place on Saturdays, March 4, 11, and 18, from approximately 6–8 pm, pot-luck style. The conversation on March 4 will be hosted at the Fitzgold household, 5307 Viewpoint Dr., ATX, 78744. Come and contribute your gifts as we build community through dialogue in the Spirit. Contact Vicar Travis at 830–328–3068.

Weekly Update: February 14, 2017

Preparing Worship on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 8:30 & 11 am

See this block and blocks below about worship and formation on Sunday

Here are some biblical verses and writings as a way to prepare and begin pondering the scripture texts for worship this Sunday

Leviticus 19:1-2,9-10

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them:

You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.

Matthew 5:38-42

[Jesus said to the disciples:] “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.’’

A Holy Life
Both the Leviticus and Matthew readings give us directions for living a holy life, and the readings from Psalms and Corinthians echo this love of God’s righteousness and holiness. Leviticus sets forth the totality of the holiness God expects in our lives, and such detailed commandments can certainly be stifling and don’t always translate well to new times and cultures. But some of those details are startling in their relevance: don’t completely clean the fields but instead leave some for the poor and the alien, don’t profit from the blood of a neighbor, don’t hate any kin. Each law ends with “I am the Lord,” reminding us not only who God is, but also who we are and who we aren’t, and why it is we should follow these proscriptions.

Austin Marathon This Sunday

The 26th Annual Austin Marathon will take place this Sunday, February 19.  Please see the course map at: http://youraustinmarathon.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Austin-Marathon-Course-Map-2017.pdf.

Access to First English on Sunday morning is best via the west by MoPac/Loop One, exiting at Westover/Northwood and coming over on 29th street.

This Sunday: adult forum: Spiritual Disciplines of Lent

The season of Lent is a time to focus on spiritual disciplines that help us prepare for the renewal of baptismal life at Easter. Many years, the season sneaks up on us before we are ready to engage in a meaningful Lenten practice. This year, Pastor Coffey will lead the adult forum on the traditional spiritual disciplines of Lent prior to the start of Lent as a way to get ready. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the common practices for Lent. We will explore how to engage with these practices and others, including spiritual retreats and labyrinths. Join together on Sundays, February 19 and 26 at 9:45 am to prepare for the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 1.

This Sunday: Godly Play for children

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

What is the kingdom of heaven like? It is like the tiniest of all the seeds, a seed so small that if I had one in my hand you would not be able to see it. And when that seed is planted in the ground, it begins to grow.

The mustard in this parable is not the domestic mustard we use for flavoring. The mustard of the eastern world grew and spread quickly. Farmers did not like it because it could take over a field and ruin its useful production of grain. It is a shrub and not a tree. These facts are not interesting to children, but they are mentioned here to invite you to discover more about this parable as an adult. This week, Vicar Travis willl invite our children into the wonder, discovery, and play of this rich parable.

Godly Play is offered each Sunday morning. We begin at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints.

This Sunday: Here We Stand middle schoolers

The Gerasene Demoniac
Bible Text: Luke 8:26–39; Matthew 8:28–34; Mark 5:1–20
Lesson Focus: Jesus’ power to end suffering in God’s name knows no boundaries.
Big Question: Can God use me to help a suffering world?

Leader: Mr. Joe Cain

We begin at 9:45 am in the west classroom of the Chapel of the Saints.

High school youth

All are invited to participate in a monthly outreach called Bedtime Story Brigade from 6:00-8:00 pm. We serve milk and cookies and read stories children staying at the Salvation Army Shelter.

Upcoming Wednesday dates:  3/8/17, 4/12/17, 5/10/17

Contact Jimmy Wright for details at formation@felcaustin.org.

Anita Townsley Turns 102 on February 15

Anita Townsley (our most senior, venerable elder) celebrates her 102nd birthday on Wednesday, February 15! Birthday cards and notes to Anita can be sent to: Anita Townsley, c/o Brookdale at Spicewood Springs, Rm 231, 4401 Spicewood Springs Rd., Austin, 78759.  For information, contact Barbara Wiederaenders at 512-451-0684.

Companion Cafe: Wednesday, February 15

breaking bread, making friends

Serving from 6:00-7:00 pm – FELC Fellowship Hall

Enjoy a great, chef-prepared, freshly cooked meal.

Dine together and enjoy the community dinner, or take it to go.

Suggested donation: $5 for adults, $3 for children

Menu: Veggie Cajun Gumbo, Jasmine Rice, Orange Slices, Garden Salad Bar

LIFEr’s: Living in Faith Enthusiastically

After a brief hiatus, LIFEr’s is restarting. All 20’s and 30’s adults (and anyone) who wants to live in faith enthusiastically is welcome to participate. Bring you, your children, spouses, partners, and friends! Let’s make this ministry inclusive of ANYONE who wants connect.  To make this vision a reality, we need the thoughts and dreams of everyone. Please join together at Companion Cafe during the months of February and March to share a meal and enter into conversation about this ministry and how you’d like to engage each other, your faith, the church, and those God calls us to serve. There will be a sign that says “LIFERS” on it, so you know where we are meeting at Companion Cafe. Can’t make Companion Cafe? No problem! Send an email or text/call with your input: Andy Petras, email:petras.andrew@yahoo.com, phone: 972-215-8899.

Companions Group: Thursdsay, February 16

The First English Companions group invites you to a new study for 2017 based on Parker Palmer’sHEALING THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY, The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.  Palmer, a Quaker, is a world-renowned writer, speaker, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality, and social change.  The weekly study begins Thursday, February 16, 7:00-8:30 pm, in the home of Barbara Wiederaenders. The groups  provide opportunities for us to share how our faith impacts our daily lives.  Come nurture your spirit with us.  To register or ask for more information, please call Barbara at 512-451-0684.

FELC Holden Village Summer Trip

Information Meeting: Sunday, February 19 @ 12:15 pm in the parlor

Over the course of 50 years, Holden Village has been transformed from a copper mining town to a vibrant place of education, programming, and worship. Holden welcomes people of all ages who seek contemplation and community in the wilderness of the beautiful Cascade Mountains of Washington State with the comforts of three nourishing meals a day, a warm bed, hot shower and caring community. The web site is www.holdenvillage.org.

The FELC group trip to Holden Village will be June 24-July 1, 2017. 

The FINAL date to commit is March 10, 2017.

Please contact Teresa Ringness at ttbhip@gmail.com or 512-831-8806 to indicate your interest!

Introduction to Welcoming Ministry: Sunday, February 26 @ 12:15 pm

Inviting, welcoming, and connecting people of all ages through the First English faith community is an important part of our ministry.  Join the Invitation Team for conversation on how everyone can participate in the FELC welcoming ministry.  All are welcome! Soup/salad lunch provided. To learn more or to RSVP, contact Andy Maclaren, andymaclaren@cs.com.

FastNacht: Tuesday, February 28 @ 6:00pm

What is a “Fastnacht?” It’s a German word meaning “fast night.” It’s a Shrove Tuesday celebration when you eat up lots of rich foods before beginning Lenten fasting disciplines. Traditionally, it’s a day to eat things like pancakes and donuts. It’s the same day as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). That begs the question… What’s “Shrove Tuesday?” The word “shrive” means to absolved. In some Lenten observances, there is no absolution for sins given from Ash Wednesday until Maundy Thursday, so Tuesday is your last chance for receiving the absolution. At FELC we have a long tradition of having a pancake supper followed by a talent show. We invite anyone who wants to do something funny, silly, or talented to share it with the community. The pancake supper begins at 6:00 pm and goes until 7:00 pm, when the talent show starts. Come on out and enjoy this fun community event and bring someone with you.  Connect with Vicar Travis for the talent show.

Ash Wednesday: March 1 @ Noon and 7:00 PM

Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes

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 carrying out 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, and is followed by a potluck lunch with our Prime Timers. The 7:00 pm liturgy is preceded by the Companion Café dinner at 6:00 pm. Pastor Coffey has been invited to preach at Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church for Ash Wednesday. Our guest preacher at FELC for the 7:00 pm liturgy will be the Rev. Dr. Timothy Lincoln.

Update from Annual Meeting

Our annual meeting was held Sunday, January 29. We had a great turnout with 59 voting members. We elected congregation council members Penny Baker, Margaret Bruesch, Jackie Chuter, and Liz West, synod assembly voting members Natalie and Larry Archer, and adopted a budget. As you may know, the congregation council presented a proposed budget that included reduction in programming and staff compensation so we could avoid another deficit budget. The congregation was challenged prior to the annual meeting to increase giving to help restore items to the budget. At the annual meeting we received an increase in giving for 2017 of $30,640. This included two one-time gifts totaling $11,800. The rest were increases in regular giving. This was a fantastic response. It allowed us to restore the director of children, youth, and family to its current level, keep the pastor’s salary at its current level, and provide a planned increase to the director of music. It also allowed us to restore some line items of the budget for programming. We are grateful for the generosity. We can still do more. There are more areas of ministry to support, and a need to rebuild our emergency borrowing fund. If you haven’t had a chance, could you make an increase for 2017? $50 per month adds a lot when many people do the same. If you can make an increase, let our financial secretary, Terry Porter at finsec@felcaustin.org, know so he can report to the council the total increase as we plan for this year. Thank you!