Weekly Update: September 12, 2017

Two Sunday morning worship services September 17:

8:30 & 11:00 am – Word & Eucharist liturgy

9:45 am – Faith Formation for all ages

Preparing for Sunday worship…

Genesis 50:15-21
Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Matthew 18:21-22

Peter came and said to [Jesus], “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

Comments from the Cloud of Witnesses
The evil of remembering past offenses is twofold: it is inexcusable before God, and it serves to recall past sins already forgiven and places them against us. Nothing whatsoever does God so hate, and turn away from, as cherishing remembrance of past offenses and fostering our anger against another. If we must remember offenses, let us remember only our own. If we remember our own sins, we shall never store up the sins of others. I shall make bold to say that this sin is more grievous than any other sin. Let us be zealous in nothing so much as in keeping ourselves free from anger and from not seeking to be reconciled with those who are opposed to us. Neither is this my word only, but the word of that God who shall come to judge us.
—John Chrysostom
[John Chrysostom, in The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, IV, 289.]


This Sunday, September 17 we will install Mary Lou Larson, Community Connector and Andy Petras, Godly Play Leader, in these ministry roles.  We welcome them and pray for one another in our life together in Christ.

FELC Choir rehearsals: Wednesday evenings

The FELC Choir is an integral part of community worship and witness. We are blessed with committed singers and we want more. Come add your voice to God’s song! We lead music on various Sundays at the 11:00 am Eucharist throughout the fall/winter/spring. Rehearsals on Wednesdays from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the sanctuary. For more information, contact Bryan Rust, director of music.

Adult Faith Formation: Sundays at 9:45 am

Get Your Reformation On

With the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation almost here, it’s time to get back to some Lutheran basics. ELCA presiding bishop Elizabeth Eaton is encouraging congregations and communities to study Luther’s Small Catechism this year. Remember that? If you went through Lutheran confirmation you had to study it and maybe even memorize it (the old days?).

For many of us, it hasn’t had much impact since. Now is your chance to study or re-study the Small Catechism. Pastor Coffey and Vicar Travis will 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: Reclaiming the Social-Economic Dimension of the Reformation”.

There’s An App for That Catechism

Martin Luther’s Small Catechism is now available as an app for Android and Apple. It’s a great resource for study, and it’s free for the basic edition. Find it on the app store of your choice.

Survey on Christmas Eve Service Times and Adult Formation

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:


Companion Café: begins Wednesday, September 20

Companion Cafe is our ministry of cooking delicious, high quality, fresh dinners and sharing them in community with folks from the congregation, child development center, community, and 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. Our menu for September 20 will be: Sweet and Tangy Glazed Meatloaf, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Rosemary Green Beans, Baby Greens Salad with Raspberry 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 on 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.


Currently we have three speakers scheduled:

September 27: Bee Moorhead, Executive Director, Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy / Texas Impact;

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

October 25: Linder Nelson, 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.

Living with Alzheimer’s forum: Saturday, September 23

University United Methodist Church is excited to host the “Living with Alzheimer’s” forum with special speakers Geri and Jim Taylor. When the Taylors learned that Geri was in the early stage of Alzheimer’s, they determined to live fully and happily, deciding to share the diagnosis openly, risking isolation. This inspiring presentation tells of their participation as the subjects of a feature article, titled Fraying at the Edges, in the New York Times, Geri’s entry into an exciting and promising drug trial, and Jim’s being cast in a professional play ironically about Alzheimer’s. Geri’s career as a health professional provides unique insights into living fully with dignity and determination.
This presentation takes place Saturday September 23 at 7:00 pm in the UUMC Sanctuary followed by a Q&A session and reception. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP to attend this event at www.uumc.org. Donations are welcome and will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association Capital of Texas Chapter. For additional information, contact Barbara Wiederaenders at bwiederaenders@att.net

Weekly Update: August 8, 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.

Scripture Readings for Sunday, August 13

Romans 10:12-13

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Matthew 14:22-27

[Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee], while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Comments from the Cloud of Witnesses
O Jesus, gentle love, you who are the true and complete peace in every discord, bring peace and concord to every conflict. Let my enemies come, who in the world are so numerous; but if I feel myself to be with you, I overthrow them all, and the world itself I overthrow. I am like a fish that rests in the sea; when the waves sweep over it and the great tempests assail it, the fish enjoys swimming, because it cannot be captured, and it leaps more nimbly. Thus do I in this world that is a troubled sea: the great currents arise, and I sail below them, and I take shelter in your bosom, and let them pass by. Feeling myself with you I have no fear of the currents. But if I do not possess you, I am like the whale that when the tide goes out sits on the sand and is condemned to death, because without the tide it no longer has the chance to escape.
—Umilta of Faenza
[Umilta of Faenza, tr. Richard J. Piolo, in Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature, ed. Elizabeth Alvilda Petroff (NY: Oxford, 1986), 251.]a, The Prayers of Catherine of Siena, ed. Suzanne Noffke OP (NY: Paulist, 1983), 101-102.]

Healing Prayer

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. People of all ages 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. You may wait in one of the chairs until the healing prayer kneeling station is free.

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

Liturgy means “the work of the people” and the presence of children in leadership and service is an important part of Christian faith formation. 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.  Children 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. This Sunday will be the last Children’s Gathering this summer. 

Faith, Sexism, and Justice: Summer Conversations

Last Wednesday

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

The last summer conversation in this series will be this Wednesday evening, August 9, 6:00-8:00 at FELC, pot-luck style dinner. Bring yourself, and bring a friend!

Bathroom and Hallway Construction

As part of our capital campaign, construction of the bathrooms and hallway area between the sanctuary and fellowship hall continues. Flooring installation for the hallway and restrooms is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, August 8 & 9. If you’re in the building these days, the utility bathroom in the CDC wing is usable.

Planning Meeting for Children, Youth, and Family Ministries:

Sunday, August 13, 11:15 am – 12:15 pm in the parlor

All parents and other adults wanting to help make our ministries for children, youth, and families excellent in the coming year are invited and encouraged to attend a planning meeting. We will join in conversation, share information about the direction we are going for 2017–2018, and plan together how to do some great special events during the year. Children will have a supervised activity in the fellowship hall during the meeting. Everyone’s input and participation is important.


2017 Summer Musical: this Sunday

A TECHNICOLOR PROMISE  (Noah’s ark story) by Allen Pote and Carole McCann

A full children’s musical production with sets, costumes, leads and chorus

Performance Sunday, August 13

9:00 and 11:00 am

Triumphant Love Lutheran Church

9508 Great Hills Trail, Austin, 78759

Back to School Blessing: Sunday, August 20

Sunday, August 20 at the 9:45 am liturgy, students of all ages and education professionals of all types are invited to participate in the Back to School blessing and bring backpacks and or some sign of their work.

A Word from the Congregation Council


Dear First English Community,

The Congregation Council wishes to keep the FELC Community regularly informed of our church finances to facilitate continued stewardship awareness and generosity.

The second quarter financial report indicates the following:

·         Expenses were over budget for this quarter by just under $2000; however, expenses for the full year are under budget by about $3000.

·         As of June 30, we are about $6000 under budgeted giving. This giving trend is not uncommon for FELC in the summer months, but we should strive to close this gap.

·         If you have not adjusted your giving to reflect a revised pledge, please take a moment to do so: www.felcaustin.org/giving

We are also continuing with important projects funded by the 2015-2016 Capital Campaign:

·         The parlor renovation was completed.

·         Pipe Organ repair is proceeding.

·         Renovation of the foyer and restrooms between the sanctuary and fellowship hall will be completed soon.

Our next stewardship emphasis to further inform the direction FELC takes in 2018 and beyond will happen in the next few months. Catching up to budgeted giving as soon as possible will help inform this direction and minimize those difficult year-end deficits.

Thank you for your continued stewardship of God’s gifts. The people of First English are a generous faith community, sharing financial resources, time, talents, energy, wisdom, strength, curiosity, and prayer. We are indeed blessed by a spirit of abundance.


FELC Congregation Council