Weekly Update: May 2, 2017

Preparing for Sunday, May 4 – The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Good Shepherd Sunday

The Season of Easter: 50 days!

The Easter season is the church’s fifty day celebration of the resurrection of Christ. It is the time of greatest joy as we gather and live in the good news of God’s victory over death and the power to renew our lives in Christ. It is the counter-balance to the forty day season of Lent that prepared us for such great celebration. In the tradition of the church, it was also the time for the newly baptized to deepen their connection to Christ through sharing in the resurrection meal of communion.  We are invited to experience the mystery of new life in Christ as a gift of grace. We are invited to live this good news in the world with justice, love, and joy. We proclaim the story of God’s love – love that never ends.  Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Acts 2:42-47

[The baptized] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not be in want.
The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.
You restore my soul, O Lord,
and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

An Abundant Life

Abundant life is promised to those who follow Jesus. But what is meant by abundant life? Some Christians, and much of contemporary American culture, interpret an abundant life to mean the “good life” of many fine things, an opulent lifestyle. Much of our economy and leisure time revolves around consumerism—shopping and buying things which we hope will make us happier and our lives better. But an abundance of things does not necessarily lead to an abundant life.
What does Jesus mean when he says that he came so that we may have an abundant life? Psalm 23 provides us with a good illustration of what Jesus is promising to his followers. The psalm imagines an abundant life not in material terms but in relational terms. An abundant life is one lived in the presence of God, in the company of the Lord. Whether one is in green pastures or the darkest valley, there is nothing to want, because God is present. We are in the gracious and generous care of our Lord through times of material abundance and in times of want and scarcity. This relationship between our Lord and us who are his followers is a relationship with one who knows us abundantly, who knows us by name, and who knows what we truly need to be fulfilled. The image of Jesus as our shepherd reminds us that he is with us at all times, and our relationship with him provides us all we need.

Guest Preacher

This Sunday we welcome the Rev. Herb Palmer as our guest presider and preacher.  Pastor Palmer, an ELCA rostered minister, is the former ELCA Region 4 Coordinator for Ministry Leadership.  Herb and Kathy Palmer are members of First English.

Children and Youth Faith Formation-Godly Play: Sundays at 9:45

This Sunday, May 7 we take a break from Godly Play and celebrate St. Florian Day, (May 4) the patron saint of firefighters.  We’ll gather in the FELC kitchen and make gifts for our firefighters and take them to the firehouse across from First English.

Saint Florian was born around 250 CE in the Roman city of Aelium Cetium, present day Austria.  Florian joined the Roman army and advanced in rank.  In addition to his military duties, he was responsible for organizing and leading firefighting brigades.  He trained an elite group of soldiers whose sole duty was to fight fires.

On Sunday, May 14 (Mother’s Day) we will resume Godly Play, which is offered for all children through the 6th grade meeting at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints. For more information, contact Jackie Chuter at chuter.jackie@gmail.com.

Sunday faith formation continues, with the last gathering on Sunday, May 21.  On May 21, we will bless graduates in the worship service and send them with our love and prayers.

Adult Faith Formation: Sundays at 9:45 am

Formation, Reformation, and Transformation

The Adult Forum at 9:45 am this Easter season focuses on the Lutheran way of being Christian. We explore some of the basic historical trends of 16th C Europe and the theological confessions that shaped–and continue to shape–Lutheran Christian people. We consider also how today’s struggles might be informed by the principles of reformation that still move in and through the Spirit. How does our global economy reflect our relationship with Christ? How does our country’s budget reflect the liberation proclaimed in Jesus? How does our congregation practice discernment through Scripture? Come gather in the parlor and explore these questions and others, together with fellow travelers along the faith journey of formation, reformation, and transformation. For more information, contact vicar@felcaustin.org.

Southwestern Texas Synod Assembly and Assembly Offering

The Southwestern Texas Synod Assembly gathers in San Antonio Friday, May 5 through Sunday, May 7.  In attendance will be Pastor Michael Coffey and FELC voting members Travis Fitzgold, Natalie Archer, and Larry Archer. This year the Synod Assembly Offering will go to ELCA Global Church Sponsorship, which supports missionaries, young adults in global mission, international women leaders, and global ministries.  If you would like to contribute to the synod offering, please mark your check, use a pew envelope for cash, or contribute online and mark “Synod Assembly Offering”.  Offerings will be received over the next several weeks. For more information, visit www.swtsynod.org/programoffering.

Companion Cafe: Wednesday, May 3 at 6:00 pm

Companion Café offers a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children). We serve beginning at 6:00 pm. The menu for May 3 is:

Chickpea Curry with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes, Jasmine Rice, Spinach Salad w Pear, Gorgonzola, and Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Wednesday, May 10 will be our last Companion Café of the season. A special menu is being planned for that evening.

by Gary Sironen

Join together with area Lutheran congregations in a story of Martin Luther’s cataclysmic attempt to reform the church of his time. 

Full-length musical production with orchestra.

Auditions open to upper elementary through adult.

auditions: Sunday, May 7, 2-5pm OR Thursday May 11, 7-9pm

NOTE: May 2 audition cancelled

No preparation needed.  Everyone will be taught a musical selection and sing together in groups.  Sit-down chorus, on-stage chorus, principals all audition together.  Choose one of the posted dates.  Rehearsal schedules and expectations available at auditions.  All cast parts are non-paid.  13 male principals, 3 female principals, up to 50 chorus members.

performances: October 20, 21, 22, 2017

All events at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church, Austin.

For more information: visit tllc.org/reformationinformation

Please spread the word!

Chrismon Group

Do you love Chrismons? What are Chrismons? Do you enjoy doing crafts? Chrismons are the white-and-gold Christian symbols used to decorate a Christmas tree. We have had some beautiful Chrismons for many years, but they are getting worn, and it’s time to make new ones! Let’s get together and look over our Chrismons, see which are salvageable, which need replacing, and talk about how to make beautiful, long-lasting, meaningful new ones. Chrismons can be beaded, carved, embroidered, sewn, cross-stitched, and crocheted. A Chrismon-crafting group can work over the summer to have lovely new Chrismons ready for Christmas 2017. Anyone interested should come to the parlor on Sunday, May 7, after the 11:00 am worship service, to plan our efforts! Contact Anne Wiebe (wiebeanne@hotmail.com) for any questions.

Ginna and Merle Franke: 70th Wedding Anniversary Celebration: May 21

On Sunday, May 21 from 3:30 until 5:30 pm all are invited to join Franke kids Jim, Becky, Steve, Gwen, and Kris for a reception in the fellowship hall of FELC to celebrate Merle and Ginna Franke on the occasion of their 70th wedding anniversary!  No gifts please.

Worship in The Park: Sunday, June 5

All are invited for a great Sunday on June 5 at 9:45 am as we gather across from the church in Hemphill park for worship. We’ll celebrate the Feast of Pentecost with fire, water, languages, and an affirmation of our Spirit-empowered vocations in the world. Invite a friend or neighbor as we gather in the beauty of creation for worship and fellowship. Pets on leashes or in crates are welcome.

Weekly Update: April 25, 2017

Preparing for Sunday, April 30 – The Third Sunday of Easter

The Season of Easter: 50 days!

The Easter season is the church’s fifty day celebration of the resurrection of Christ. It is the time of greatest joy as we gather and live in the good news of God’s victory over death and the power to renew our lives in Christ. It is the counter-balance to the forty day season of Lent that prepared us for such great celebration. In the tradition of the church, it was also the time for the newly baptized to deepen their connection to Christ through sharing in the resurrection meal of communion.  We are invited to experience the mystery of new life in Christ as a gift of grace. We are invited to live this good news in the world with justice, love, and joy. We proclaim the story of God’s love – love that never ends.  Alleluia! Christ is risen!

1 Peter 1:21

Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

Luke 24:28-32

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

Book Idea

Writer Anne Lamott’s opening chapter of Small Victories is titled “The Book of Welcome” (New York: Riverhead, 2014). After a quip about biblical decision-makers, who regularly chose “accounts of the ever popular slaughter, exile, and shame” (p. 15), Lamott conjectures, “When the editorial board of bishops pored over the canonical lists from Jerusalem and Alexandria, they arbitrarily nixed the book that states unequivocally that you are wanted, even rejoiced in. We have to write that book ourselves” (p. 16). Each of this Sunday’s stories include a variety of reactions, personalities, circumstances, and persons. How is the post-Easter community writing the Book of Welcome? And how is the post-Easter community receiving welcome?

Children and Youth Faith Formation-Godly Play: Sundays at 9:45

This week’s presentation focuses on the Holy Trinity.  What is a trinity? How are three persons experienced as one, yet three. How does the Trinity help us understand our relationships, with God and one another?  Come and explore.

 

Godly Play is offered for all children through the 6th grade meeting at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints. For more information, contact Jackie Chuter at chuter.jackie@gmail.com.  Sunday faith formation continues, with the last gathering time on Sunday, May 21.

Adult Faith Formation: Sundays at 9:45 am

Formation, Reformation, and Transformation

The Adult Forum at 9:45 am this Easter season focuses on the Lutheran way of being Christian. We explore some of the basic historical trends of 16th C Europe and the theological confessions that shaped–and continue to shape–Lutheran Christian people. We consider also how today’s struggles might be informed by the principles of reformation that still move in and through the Spirit. How does our global economy reflect our relationship with Christ? How does our country’s budget reflect the liberation proclaimed in Jesus? How does our congregation practice discernment through Scripture? Come gather in the parlor and explore these questions and others, together with fellow travelers along the faith journey of formation, reformation, and transformation. For more information, contact vicar@felcaustin.org.

 

 

Companion Cafe: Wednesday, April 26 at 6:00 pm

Companion Café offers a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children). We serve beginning at 6:00 pm.

The menu for April 26 is: Chicken in Apricot Cream Sauce, Peas with White Wine Glaze, Steamed Rice, Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

FELC Website and YouTube channel: connect online

We are reconfiguring and updating the FELC website to better and more regularly connect with everyone, near and far.  Check it out at www.felcaustin.org

We’ve also launched a YouTube channel where you can find audio of Sunday worship services.  Check it out at www.youtube.com/channel/UCj9B6jWh3PqO7ojn9-tHHRQ

Connect with FELC, in person AND online.

by Gary Sironen

The story of Martin Luther’s cataclysmic attempt to reform the church.

kick-off potluck dinner: Sunday, April 30 at 5:30 pm

For anyone interested in participating in cast or production crew (that means everybody!).

Information, music sampling, meet the directors, sign up to help, meet other folks and share the enthusiasm!

Meat provided; bring a side dish to share.

auditions: Sunday, May 7, 2-5pm OR Thursday May 11, 7-9pm

NOTE: May 2 audition cancelled

No preparation needed.  Everyone will be taught a musical selection and sing together in groups.  Sit-down chorus, on-stage chorus, principals all audition together.  Choose one of the posted dates.  Rehearsal schedules and expectations available at auditions.  All cast parts are non-paid.  13 male principals, 3 female principals, up to 50 chorus members.

performances: October 20, 21, 22 2017

All events at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church

Full-length musical production with orchestra.

Auditions open to upper elementary through adult.

More information:   http://tllc.org/kick-off-potluck-april-30/

Please spread the word!

FELC Night at Raindrop Turkish Center: Tuesday, May 2 at 7:00 pm

Our friends at the Raindrop Turkish Center have invited FELC to join them for dinner, learning about Muslim prayer, and conversation on Tuesday, May 2 beginning at 7:00 pm. The Center is located at 12400 Amherst Drive, Austin, 78727.

If you plan to attend, please make a dinner reservation with Pastor Coffey (pastor@felcaustin.org) by Sunday, April 30.

New Parlor Furniture Coming Soon. Old Furniture Available

As part of our capital campaign projects, we are beginning remodeling of the parlor, which includes new furniture that will be on wheels and easy to setup for the many ways we use the room. The new furniture will arrive later this week. The old furniture may be taken by church members for a suggested donation of $25 per chair and $30 per table. You may pick out which chair(s) or table(s) you want and they will be reserved when payment is made. Please contact Pastor Coffey to reserve by Sunday, April 30. In addition to the new furniture, the parlor will be getting new flooring and paint.

Chrismon Group

Do you love Chrismons? What are Chrismons? Do you enjoy doing crafts? Chrismons are the white-and-gold Christian symbols used to decorate a Christmas tree. We have had some beautiful Chrismons for many years, but they are getting worn, and it’s time to make new ones! Let’s get together and look over our Chrismons, see which are salvageable, which need replacing, and talk about how to make beautiful, long-lasting, meaningful new ones. Chrismons can be beaded, carved, embroidered, sewn, cross-stitched, and crocheted. A Chrismon-crafting group can work over the summer to have lovely new Chrismons ready for Christmas 2017. Anyone interested should come to the parlor on Sunday, May 7, after the 11:00 am worship service, to plan our efforts! Contact Anne Wiebe (wiebeanne@hotmail.com) for any questions.