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: October 3, 2017

Preparing for Sunday worship…

Isaiah 5:7

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
righteousness,
but heard a cry!

Matthew 21:42

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?

Jesus, Cornerstone of Our Faith

God has showered humanity with gifts and blessings, but humanity continues to misuse those gifts. We have been entrusted with a creation to care for, and in our shortsightedness we abuse and pollute the earth, even bringing about the extinction of entire species. We abuse the gift of our bodies. We have been given the ability to create so many wonderful things, and even this gift we abuse as we gather and keep as much as we can for ourselves. This is nothing new. Even in the days of Isaiah it was clear the people turned away from God’s gifts. God expected righteousness and justice. Instead the people responded with bloodshed and suffering, turning away from God.

Even if you can think of all the ways you have not turned from God and all the ways you have been faithful, it does no good. As Paul reminds us in the reading from Philippians, “Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ” (Phil. 3:7). Even all of Paul’s good and faithful acts add up to nothing. For Paul, and for us, all that matters is Jesus. As Christ himself reminds us, he is our rock, our cornerstone. Jesus is the foundation for our faith and the foundation for our lives. Even as we turn from Jesus, even as we reject Jesus, he returns to us with love and forgiveness. This is the grace of God, the love of God coming into our world and into our lives. To our joy we discover the open arms of Jesus on the cross, bringing life into this world even where there is death; bringing hope where there is despair; and bringing resurrection to all creation.

Healing Prayer

Healing prayer with laying on of hands and anointing with oil, is offered to all ages during communion distribution at both services this Sunday. This ancient ritual of the church 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.

Adult Faith Formation: Sundays, October 8, 15, 22 at 9:45 am in the parlor

Reformation is much more than 95 theses or an historical movement in the

Western church. Reformation is about re-forming our way of being together

in community. Martin Luther’s insights about God’s love shook the world 500 years ago. How do his insights still shake our world today? Are we ready to be shaken?  Facilitated by Nancy Baden and Travis Fitzgold, we will explore the relationship between economic activity and trusting God’s grace.

Survey Results on Christmas Eve Worship Times and Adult Formation

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey on Christmas Eve worship times and adult faith formation. The detailed information on the survey results are here.

Christmas Eve

From the survey, it is clear that an earlier time for our child-friendly worship service is preferred. We will move this to 4:00 PM this year. There is also a clear preference for an earlier time for the later evening Christmas Eve candlelight worship service. We will move this to 10:00 PM this year.  Both Christmas Eve worship services will celebrate the eucharist. This year, Christmas Eve is a Sunday.  We’ll worship together on the last Sunday in Advent at one word and eucharist liturgy that morning at 9:45 am, then gather for the celebration of the nativity at 4:00 pm (child-friendly) and 10:00 pm (candlelight). We will not have a worship service on Christmas Day.

Adult Formation

The adult faith formation results show a strong interest in topics related to politics and faith, and social justice issues. Other strong interest was shown for faith and film, and spirituality. Meeting times for adult faith formation show a clear preference for Sunday morning, with some interest in Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon. We’re planning adult formation opportunities for November and beyond now. Look for more information soon.

Companion Café: Wednesday evenings

Companion Cafe is our ministry of cooking delicious, high quality, fresh dinners and sharing them in community with all who are hungry. We serve beginning at 6:00 PM on Wednesdays, until 7:00 PM. Suggested donation of $5 per plate, $3 for children.

To go orders are welcome.

The menu for October 4: Pork tenderloin with pear chutney, sautéed spinach with bacon, roasted red potatoes, wedge salad with blue cheese dressing.

Café Conversations: 6:30 to 7:30 occasional Wednesdays

As a new part of our Wednesday evening ministries this fall, we are beginning Cafe Conversations. We are inviting local leaders of non-profits and other community organizations to present on what they are doing, and then have time for questions and conversation.

October 4: Mike St. John, Operations Director, Interfaith Action of Central Texas – www.interfaithtexas.org

October 25: Nelson Linder, Austin President, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – www.naacpaustin.com

Come and enjoy a great Companion Café meal, and then stay for the presentation and conversation as we learn about many great organizations in our community and ways we can connect with and support one another.

Reforming Stewardship
Cottage Meetings begin this week

All First English participants are invited and encouraged to attend one of our four cottage meetings for conversation and a dessert potluck. Each meeting will include a chance to meet new people, discuss our stewardship theme, and explore what it means for each of us to know reformation in our minds, hearts, and money. Bring a dessert to share if you can, but if you can’t, there will be plenty.

Choose the meeting that best fits your schedule and location. It is helpful to the hosts if you contact them prior to the meeting to let them know you are coming.

Northwest Austin
Tuesday, October 3, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Dana and Andy MacLaren’s home
6805 Manzanita St, 78759
512-258-4184, danamaclaren@cs.com

Central Austin
Thursday, October 5, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
LaRu and Fred Woody’s home
1801 Santa Clara St, 78757
512-350-1165, woody.ursamajor@gmail.com

Northeast Austin
Sunday, October 8, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Pat Thomas’ home

11110 Tom Adams Dr, Villa #9, 78753

512-441-1485, pthomas1@austin.rr.com

Southeast Austin
Saturday, October 14, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Katy and Travis Fitzgold’s home

5307 Viewpoint Dr, 78744
830-328-3068, vicar@felcaustin.org

Book Club: Sunday, October 8

The next FELC Book Club meeting is Sunday, October 8, 6:30-8:30 pm. Our book is The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman. For meeting location or more information, contact Anne Wiebe at wiebeanne@hotmail.com.

Reformation Musical: October 20 and 21 at 7:30pm and Oct. 22 at 3:00pm

Triumphant Love Lutheran Church in conjunction with 7 participating churches presents Reformation The Musical. Don’t miss this fully-staged theatrical musical that focuses on Martin Luther’s calling to reform the church of his time.

Friday, October 20, 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 21, 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 22, 3:00 pm
Pastor Norb Firnhaber will present “A Brief Historical/Theological Focus on the Reformation” at 6:45 pm before the Friday and Saturday performances.

 

Held at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church, 9508 Great Hills Trail, Austin.

 

Tickets may be purschased at the venue for every show, but if you are planning on attending it’s best if you purchase them online to guarantee you have them.

Tickets:

adults $10,

children 12 and under $5.

Groups of 10 or more people are priced at $8 each.

Bottled water will be sold that you may bring into the sanctuary.

To purchase tickets, contact www.tllc.org contact or Deb Sands at reformation.musical@gmail.com.

Music Improv Circle: Monday, October 23

Zen Learning Project is leading a music improv circle in partnership with the Spiritual Transformation Project, and you are all invited! Who are these projects and what are they about?

Zen Learning Project is an Austin-based organization that practices mindfulness through the arts, and is led by Travis Fitzgold. More information can be found here.

The Spiritual Transformation Project is a new social impact organization in Austin that exists to help individuals and communities cultivate spiritual growth, life-giving community, and social justice, through personal coaching, community events, collaborative workshops, and annual festivals.

The music improv circle will take place Monday, October 23, 7:00-9:00 pm at 1603 Taylor Gaines Street, Austin, 78741, and the Facebook event is here.

What is a “music improv circle”? A music improv circle is a community music event that is created on the spot. Similar to a flash mob and a drum circle, participants simply show up ready to create music together. There is no need for prior musical experience, and bringing instruments is optional. The improv circles is an opportunity to surrender to the creative process in the present moment. There will be a focus on breathing, simple movements, body percussion, and rhythmic and harmonic variation. Come enjoy!

Reformation 500 at FELC: Sunday, October 29

one worship service

9:30 am   Reformation Hymn Sing – in the sanctuary

9:45 am   Festive Reformation Word and Eucharist Liturgy

11:00 am Reformation Stained Glass Window Dedication

11:15 am Reformation Celebration with Hospitality, Activities, and Quiz

Oktoberfest begins at 5:00 pm

food, fun, and fellowship for all ages in the FELC parking lot, weather permitting.

bouncy castle for youth

sausage and schnitzel provided

bring a German side dish to share if you are able.

recipes: http://germanfood.about.com/od/vegetables

BYOB

We celebrate our diversity and give thanks for the heritage of our founding families.

2017 Norwegian Christmas: register soon

Join us for a wonderful day in Clifton, Texas, the Norwegian Capital of Texas.  Each year on the first Saturday in December, Clifton celebrates Norwegian Country Christmas.  There are historic homes to visit including the Ringness Home, the museum, the Bosque Art Center, Norse Church, the Old Rock Church, many craft vendors, and a wonderful luncheon served at the City Civic Center.  On Saturday, December 2, we will travel by bus departing at approximately 8:00 am and return late that afternoon. Exact time and place to meet TBA.  A local tour guide will join us in Clifton.  Clifton is about 2 hours from Austin.  We are partnering with South Austin AARP and the cost will be $58 per person, which includes lunch.  Please register as soon possible (only 20 seats are available on the bus) by e-mailing or texting Pat Thomas at pthomas1@autin.rr.com or Teresa Ringness at ttbhip@gmail.com or 512-831-8806.

787 Collective: connection among young adults

 

 

 

 

FELC is participating in the 787 Collective — a Lilly Endowment grant funded program led by Austin Presbyterian Seminary. The Collective is a group of congregations in Austin seeking to do innovative relational ministry with 20-somethings.

Our discernment team met last week, and we are hosting a “Happy Hour Focus Group.” We will be gathering at the end of October with young adults who are not connected with a church community, and listening to their thoughts, concerns, hopes, and struggles as young adults. It is the first step in a several year process. Look for more updates in the coming months.

Weekly Update: September 26, 2017

October 1:

8:30 – Word & Eucharist liturgy – in the sanctuary

9:45 am – Faith Formation for all ages

11:00 am – Word & Eucharist liturgy – in Hemphill Park

Worship in the Park: St. Francis Blessing of Animals & Prayer for Creation Sunday, October 1 at 11:00 am

Everyone is invited to bring their leashed or caged pets for a blessing of the animals, a St. Francis Day tradition.

We will also pray for the healing of all creation.

This worship service will be outdoors in Hemphill Park, across from the church.  We welcome your iguanas, geckos, dogs, birds, fish, snakes, lizards, bugs, rats, cats, toy stuffed animals, or photos, all to be blessed.  Join together for a great festive, family and animal friendly experience! If weather prevents us from gathering outside, we will hold the animal blessing in the sanctuary. The 8:30 liturgy will be in the sanctuary and will not include the blessing of animals.

Preparing for Sunday worship…

Philippians 2:1-8

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

Matthew 21:28-32
“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”

Comments from the Cloud of Witnesses

It may be that you say to yourself, God has promised me forgiveness, whenever I reform; so I am safe. Tomorrow, when I amend my life, God will pardon me my sins. You are right; what you say is true. That God has promised you pardon when you amend your life, I cannot deny. But tell me, I pray: who has promised you tomorrow? Where you read that you will receive forgiveness, read for me also how much longer you have to live! Ah, it is not there, you say. Therefore you do not know how long more you have to live. Then reform your life, and be always prepared. —Augustine

[Augustine, in The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, III, 102.]

Adult Faith Formation: Sundays at 9:45 am

Pastor Coffey and Vicar Travis lead the adult faith formation forum using “By Heart: Conversations with Martin Luther’s Small Catechism” Sunday mornings through October 1 at 9:45 am in the parlor.

Beginning October 8, we’ll take a look at “The Forgotten Luther”

 

 

 

Survey on Christmas Eve Service Times and Adult Formation

Deadline Saturday, September 30

We have an important survey we need all First English participants to complete regarding worship times for Christmas Eve and adult formation plans. It will only take 1 or 2 minutes, and will be very helpful in our planning. Please fill it out. We will receive results through September 30. Here is the link:

www.surveymonkey.com/r/TT5FDK6

Companion Café: Wednesday evenings

Companion Cafe is our ministry of cooking delicious, high quality, fresh dinners and sharing them in community with all who are hungry. We serve beginning at 6:00 PM on Wednesdays, until 7:00 PM. Suggested donation of $5 per plate, $3 for children.

To go orders are welcome.

The menu for September 27: Salmon Brûlée, Rice Pilaf, Roasted Broccoli, and Spinach Salad with White Wine Vinaigrette. 

We have a dedicated group of leaders and more can participate. The positions for Companion Cafe include: Head chef: plans a menu, shops for ingredients, oversees cooking; Prep and cook: Helps the head chef cook the meal, from 3:30 to 6:00, helps serve if available; Setup and cleanup: Get things ready, serve, and cleanup after. If you’re interested in serving in this ministry, let Chef Coffey know.

Café Conversations: 6:30 to 7:30 begin this Wednesday

As a new part of our Wednesday evening ministries this fall, we are beginning Cafe Conversations. We are inviting local leaders of non-profits and other community organizations to present on what they are doing, and then have time for questions and conversation.

Currently we have three speakers scheduled:

September 27: Bee Moorhead, Executive Director,

Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy / Texas Impact;

The Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy is a faith-based, non-profit organization established in 2000, providing theologically grounded public policy analysis to people of faith and other Texans. The Center is the research and education partner of Texas Impact, a interfaith legislative advocacy network.

October 4: Mike St. John, Operations Director, Interfaith Action of Central Texas;

October 25: Nelson Linder, President, Austin NAACP.

Come and enjoy a great Companion Cafe meal, and then stay for the presentation and conversation as we learn about many great organizations in our community and ways we can connect with and support them. Look for the rest of the fall lineup soon.

Reforming Stewardship
Cottage Meetings for All

All First English participants and invited and encouraged to attend one of our four cottage meetings for conversation and a dessert potluck. Each meeting will include a chance to meet new people, discuss our stewardship theme, and explore what it means for each of us to know reformation in our minds, hearts, and money. Bring a dessert to share if you can, but if you can’t, there will be plenty.

Here is the schedule for the cottage meetings. Choose the meeting that best fits your schedule and location. It is helpful to the hosts if you contact them directly at least 3 days prior to the meeting to let them know you are coming.

Northwest Austin
Tuesday, October 3, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Dana and Andy MacLaren’s home
6805 Manzanita St, 78759
512-258-4184, danamaclaren@cs.com

Central Austin
Thursday, October 5, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
LaRu and Fred Woody’s home
1801 Santa Clara St, 78757
512-350-1165, woody.ursamajor@gmail.com

Northeast Austin
Sunday, October 8, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Pat Thomas’ home

11110 Tom Adams Dr, Villa #9, 78753

512-441-1485, pthomas1@austin.rr.com

Southeast Austin
Saturday, October 14, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Katy and Travis Fitzgold’s home

5307 Viewpoint Dr, 78744
830-328-3068, vicar@felcaustin.org

Book Club: Sunday, October 8

The next FELC Book Club meeting is Sunday, October 8, 6:30-8:30 pm. Our book is The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman. For meeting location or more information, contact Anne Wiebe at wiebeanne@hotmail.com.

Reformation Musical: October 20 and 21 at 7:30pm and Oct. 22 at 3:00pm

Triumphant Love Lutheran Church in conjunction with 7 participating churches presents Reformation The Musical. Don’t miss this fully-staged theatrical musical that focuses on Martin Luther’s calling to reform the church of his time.

Friday, October 20, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 21, 7:30pm
Sunday, October 22, 3:00 pm
Pastor Norb Firnhaber will present “A Brief Historical/Theological Focus on the Reformation” at 6:45 pm before the Friday and Saturday performances.

Held at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church, 9508 Great Hills Trail, Austin.

Tickets may be purschased at the venue for every show, but if you are planning on attending it’s best if you purchase them online to guarantee you have them.

Tickets:

adults $10,

children 12 and under $5.

Groups of 10 or more people are priced at $8 each.

Bottled water will be sold that you may bring into the sanctuary.

For tickets contact www.tllc.org contact or Deb Sands at reformation.musical@gmail.com.

Save the Date: Reformation at FELC

Sunday, October 29, 2017

one worship service

9:30 am   Reformation Hymn Sing – in the sanctuary

9:45 am   Festive Reformation Word and Eucharist Liturgy

11:00 am Reformation Stained Glass Window Dedication

11:15 am Reformation Celebration with Hospitality, Activities, and Quiz with Prizes

 

And Oktoberfest begins at 5:00 pm