Weekly Update: January 23, 2018

Companion Café – Breaking Bread, Making Friends:

Wednesday, January 24, 6:00 pm

Companion Café serves on Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 pm in the fellowship hall. We offer a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children). It’s great to meet friends and new people. The menu for January 24 will be: Mushroom Stroganoff with Egg Noodles, Honey-Roasted Carrots, and Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Café Conversations: Tom Spencer

Wednesday, January 24, 6:30 pm

Our next speaker for Café Conversations is Tom Spencer, Director of the Texas Living Waters Project with the National Wildlife Federation. You can read more about the Texas Living Waters Project here: http://texaslivingwaters.org/

Café Conversations is a series of presentations by leaders of community organizations, giving us a chance to learn about their organizations and find ways to support and join in their efforts. Presentations are followed by questions and conversations.

The conversation takes place during the meal.

Sunday, January 28

Word & Eucharist – 8:30 am

Faith formation for all ages – 9:45 am

Word & Eucharist – 11:00 am

 

Scripture and Reflections for Sunday, January 28 (Lectionary 4, Year B)

Gospel: Mark 1:21-28

The story has barely begun, and already the battle is joined. Jesus sides with humanity against every force that would bring death and disease. These forces recognize Jesus and know what his power means for them. This, however, is only the first fight. The war will go on much longer.

[Jesus and his disciples] went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught.They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Gospel Message: Astounding Authority

“They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). Why is Jesus’ authority so astounding? What makes Jesus’ way of teaching and healing so astonishing? Apparently, the scribes did not speak with or embody authority. They interpreted what ancient texts said. They did not open up new possibilities. They were powerless to create new life for people.

Jesus’ authority is about his power to open up new possibilities, to create new life for people. Jesus shows his authority to forgive sin and cast out demons. Rather than repeat worn out religious clichés and give easy answers to people’s questions, he spoke words that transformed. He brought healing that restored life. Throughout the first half of Mark’s gospel, Jesus’ authority amazes people. At the same time, it is questioned and challenged by those who fear him, those invested in the old ways of teaching and preaching that do not bring life and healing.

Later in Mark’s gospel, Jesus does something else astounding: he grants authority to his disciples to do the same as he is doing. He sends them out to heal, forgive, and set free. He sends them out to astound people with the authority of God to author a new reality in their lives through grace and love.

How do we respond to Jesus’ authority? Do we welcome the new chapters of life he authors for us and for the world? Are we rightly astounded at how he forgives our sins and heals our diseases? If we are open to his authority, his power to transform our lives, then we, like the disciples, can also be open to the authority he gives the church to do the same things for others: forgive, heal, transform, renew. Who can you astound today with the love and grace of God?

The Time after Epiphany

Epiphany is the celebration of the star that revealed the Christ child to the magi from the east, and all the ways that God shines light revealing God’s love and mercy among us.

Epiphany (meaning “showing forth”) is a season of four to nine weeks, from the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6 – the end of the Christmas season) through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (this year February 14). The length of the season varies according to the date of Easter. The gospel stories of this season describe various events that show the divinity and humanity of Jesus. The coming of the Magi is celebrated on the Epiphany. The Baptism of our Lord is observed on the Sunday after Epiphany. The gospels for the other Sundays of the Epiphany season describe the wedding at Cana, the calling of the disciples, and various miracles and teachings of Jesus. The Last Sunday after the Epiphany is devoted to the Transfiguration. Jesus’ identity as the Holy One of God is dramatically revealed in the Transfiguration gospel, as well as the gospel of the baptism of Christ. We are called to respond in faith in lives of love of God and neighbor.  Christ’s light shines through us.

Formation with children: Sunday mornings

Godly Play is what the Rev. Jerome Berryman calls “his interpretation of Montessori religious education.” It is an imaginative approach to working with children, an approach that supports, challenges, nourishes, and guides their spiritual quest. Godly Play assumes that children have some experience of the mystery of the presence of God in their lives, but that they lack the language, permission, and understanding to express and enjoy that in our culture. In Godly Play, we enter into parables, silence, sacred stories in order to discover God, ourselves, one another, and the world around us.  Children gather on Sunday mornings at 9:45 am in the Library, entering through the Chapel of the Saints.  For more information, contact Andy Petras at godlyplay@felcaustin.org.

Formation with adults: Sundays, January 28, February 4 and 11

We continue the theme of Christians in the public sphere with discussion of Walter Wink’s book Jesus and Nonviolence. Wink points to Jesus’ example of nonviolent resistance as an appropriate response to injustice for Christians today. Learn what Jesus really meant by “turn the other cheek” and “walk the extra mile” in this thought-provoking series of conversations. As always, we build community by seeking God’s will together in faith; come join the conversation and participate in the faith journey together, Sundays at 9:45 am in the parlor.

Potluck and Annual Meeting: Sunday, January 28 at 12:15 pm

The congregation council has set the annual meeting of First English Evangelical Lutheran Church for Sunday, January 28, 2018. We will begin with a potluck after the 11:00 am liturgy (please bring something to share, as you are able) and the meeting will follow the potluck. Here is a link to information prior to the annual meeting: http://www.felcaustin.org/events/felc-2018-annual-meeting. We will be hearing reports of our ministry together, planning for our future witness, and electing leaders. A bulletin of submitted reports will be distributed at the meeting.

Congregation Council Meeting Highlights

Here are the highlights from the January 22 First English Council Meeting:

·         The following individuals were approved as new members of First English:

Steve Barrett, Mark Moore, and Derek Mergele-Rust

·         The next Capital South Conference meeting will be held February 25,

at Abiding Love Lutheran Church. (See further information in another article in this weekly email.) If you would like to attend this meeting as voting members from First English, please contact Pastor Coffey, pastor@felcaustin.org.

·         The council is continuing to explore Cooperative Ministries by completing an information survey and sharing with local congregations.

·         A revised job description for the congregation’s Treasurer was approved.

·         LaQuetha Ford will serve as the new Child Development Center director.

First English CDC: New Director

The Child Development Center board is thrilled to announce that LaQuetha Ford has accepted our offer to become director of FELCDC, effective immediately. We talked to several finalists and were consistently impressed with LaQuetha’s knowledge, skill, and commitment to the school. We are grateful for her steady leadership this fall and looking forward to the future!  LaQuetha will transition out of the Explorer class over the next week. During this transition, Alexis Tovar, the current Explorer assistant teacher, will become the new lead teacher. LaQuetha will continue to have office support from our current staff as she begins the search for a new assistant director. Congratulations, LaQuetha!

13th Annual Seniorfest: Saturday, February 3 at Christ Lutheran, Georgetown

On Saturday, February 3 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Seniorfest will be held at Christ Lutheran Church, Georgetown. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick, former national President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, speaking on “Being a Lutheran in 2018.”  The cost for the event will be $25. For more information: http://txlcms.org/event/central-texas-senior-fest/?utm_source=Jan+17&utm_campaign=ENews+Dec+13&utm_medium=email

Companions in Christ: Thursday, February 8

Companions in Christ reconvenes Thursday, February 8 from 7:00-8:30 pm at Barbara Wiederaenders’ home.  They’ll be using the book, Present Over Perfect:  Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist.  Meetings will be held the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.  NEWCOMERS ARE WELCOME!  Please call Barbara Wiederaenders at 512.451.0684 for more information.

Lutheran Legislative Event: February 11, 12, 13

Texas Impact and the Poverty and Justice Task Force of the Southwestern Texas Synod are hosting the annual Lutheran Legislative Event at Gethsemane Lutheran Church on February 11, 12, 13. If you are interested in learning how you can publicly give voice to your faith, this is an excellent opportunity. Our society benefits from consistent participation by citizens, both during and in-between elections; such participation can be a form of prayer and service as we practice our Christian vocation to love God and neighbor. For more information and to register visit: http://www.swtsynod.org/article450789.htm or speak with Vicar Travis.

Burning Palm Branches for Ash Wednesday: Sunday, February 11

On Transfiguration Sunday, February 11, we will prepare for Ash Wednesday by burning palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday liturgy. This ancient practice makes use of the old branches, which were blessed for the Palm Sunday liturgy, so they are not merely discarded. During the hospitality time after the 11:00 liturgy we will be burning the palm branches. Participants may join in stripping the leaves, cutting them into small pieces, and lighting them to burn. During this time, we will also sing our last “Alleluias” and hide the Alleluia banner before the beginning of Lent. During the season of Lent, the word “Alleluia” is not used during worship, as we enter a more solemn and penitential season, and await the celebration of Easter with many “Alleluias.”

Fastnacht: Tuesday, February 13 at 6:00 pm

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 sin given from Ash Wednesday until Maundy Thursday, so Tuesday is your last chance for receiving the

absolution. We invite anyone who wants to do something funny or talented to share it. The pancake supper begins at 6:00 pm and goes until 7:00 pm, when the talent show starts. Enjoy this fun community event and bring someone with you.  Connect with Vicar Travis at vicar@felcaustin.org for the talent show.

Ash Wednesday @ FELC: Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes:

February 14 at Noon and 7:00 pm

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 an abbreviated service. This year the noon liturgy is also in conjunction with the quarterly Gathering of Senior Saints.  The 7:00 pm liturgy is preceded by Companion Café at 6:00 pm.  Both liturgies will include imposition of ashes and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. All are welcome as we begin a holy Lent together.

Capital South Conference Meeting: Sunday, February 25

The annual meeting of the Capital South Conference of the Southwestern Texas Synod will be held on Sunday, February 25 at Abiding Love Lutheran Church, beginning at 3:00 pm.

The agenda will include the Potential Nominees for Bishop process as requested from the synod. A new bishop will be elected at the 2018 Synod Assembly May 5-6. This Potential Nominees process is a chance to bring forward names to potentially be nominated at the synod assembly. Once votes for nomination are collected from all eight conferences in the synod, the synod will contact potential nominees to see if they would like to provide a profile to be shared publicly prior to the synod assembly. Each congregation in the conference may have up to six lay persons attend the conference meeting as voting members.

The agenda will also include a presentation from the synod’s Strategic Planning Task Force and the new vision statement developed for the synod. Anyone from First English that is interested in attending the conference meeting as a voting member should contact Pastor Coffey.

Austin Crop Hunger Walk: Sunday, February 25

The annual Austin Crop Hunger Walk is taking place on Sunday afternoon, February 25. The Crop Walk is sponsored by Interfaith Action of Central Texas (i-ACT), is the largest interfaith event in Austin, and works to end the sin of hunger in the midst of enough.

If you are interested in participating in the walk (or donating), register and donate here.

If you are interested in organizing a team on behalf of FELC, please contact directly Janis Coltin of Triumphant Love Lutheran Church at jcoltin@yahoo.com.  FELC has participated in this walk in years past and this is an excellent opportunity to live out our commitment to love God and neighbor, one step at a time.

Cross Trails Ministry: Camp Chrysalis

March 16, 17, 18, 2018 for Youth in Grades 6-12

On your mark…get set…GO! Get ready for another year of competition! Be the underdog that takes on the mighty favorite as you join a team trying to win the elusive Cuppie Trophy. Score points in all sorts of activities ranging from puzzles, music, camp activities, games, and more. Youth will work together, learn more about their relationship in Christ and explore who they are in Christian community.

Group reservation is required.

Groups must provide adult overnight supervision for every gender for up to 9 youth.

Early Bird Cost: Youth – $55, Adults – $30

Prices increase $10 per person two weeks prior to the event

Registration Closes: March 13

http://crosstrails.org/retreats/programmed-retreats

Weekly Update: January 9, 2018

Sunday, January 14

Commemorating the Life and Witness of

the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

Word & Eucharist with Healing Prayer – 8:30 am

Faith formation for all – 9:45 am

Word & Eucharist with Healing Prayer – 11:00 am

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Sunday, January 14 at both liturgies we will celebrate the life and ministry of renewer of society and martyr the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. whose was born January 15, 1929.  An American prophet of justice among races and nations, King was a Baptist minister, a leader of the nonviolent resistance to race-segregated society, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Dr. King was assassinated April 4, 1968.

Scripture for Sunday, January 14

Luke 6:27–36

Jesus said, “I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

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. Adults and children 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.

The Time after Epiphany

Epiphany is the celebration of the star that revealed the Christ child to the magi from the east, and all the ways that God shines light revealing God’s love and mercy among us.

Epiphany (meaning “showing forth”) is a season of four to nine weeks, from the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6 – the end of the Christmas season) through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (this year February 14). The length of the season varies according to the date of Easter. The gospel stories of this season describe various events that show the divinity and humanity of Jesus. The coming of the Magi is celebrated on the Epiphany. The Baptism of our Lord is observed on the Sunday after Epiphany. The gospels for the other Sundays of the Epiphany season describe the wedding at Cana, the calling of the disciples, and various miracles and teachings of Jesus. The Last Sunday after the Epiphany is devoted to the Transfiguration. Jesus’ identity as the Holy One of God is dramatically revealed in the Transfiguration gospel, as well as the gospel of the baptism of Christ. We are called to respond in faith in lives of love of God and neighbor.  Christ’s light shines through us.

Formation with adults: Sunday Mornings

We continue the theme of Christians in the public sphere with discussion of Walter Wink’s book Jesus and Nonviolence. Wink points to Jesus’ example of nonviolent resistance as an appropriate response to injustice for Christians today. Learn what Jesus really meant by “turn the other cheek” and “walk the extra mile” in this thought-provoking series of conversations. As always, we build community by seeking God’s will together in faith; come join the conversation and participate in the faith journey together,

Sundays at 9:45 am in the parlor.

Formation with children: Sunday mornings

Godly Play is what the Rev. Jerome Berryman calls his interpretation of Montessori religious education. It is an imaginative approach to working with children, an approach that supports, challenges, nourishes, and guides their spiritual quest. It is more akin to spiritual direction than to what we generally think of as religious education.  Godly Play assumes that children have some experience of the mystery of the presence of God in their lives, but that they lack the language, permission, and understanding to express and enjoy that in our culture. In Godly Play, we enter into parables, silence, sacred stories in order to discover God, ourselves, one another, and the world around us.  Children gather on Sunday mornings at 9:45 am in the Library, entering through the Chapel of the Saints.  For more information, contact Andy Petras at godlyplay@felcaustin.org.

FELC Book Club: Sunday, January 14

Sunday January 14 is the next Book Club meeting, from 6:30-8:30 PM at Kathleen and Charlie Boas’ house, 2007 Payne Avenue, Austin. (For those who haven’t been there, it’s a few blocks north of 2222 and a few blocks east of Burnet Road.) As always, we begin with a potluck dinner for about the first hour and then go on to our discussion. The discussion starts with the book and goes all around it, so it’s great if you’ve read the book but not essential to enjoy and partcipate in the discussion. Everybody is welcome! The book this month is Holes, by Austin author Louis Sachar. This is a young-adult novel and quite short, so it’s a quick read but a good one! Contact Anne Wiebe at wiebeanne@hotmail.com.

Companion Café: Wednesday, January 17

Companion Café will begin again on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm in the fellowship hall. We offer a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children). It’s great to meet friends and new people. The menu for January 17 will be:

Thai Curry Chicken, Steamed Rice, Sautéed Garlic Spinach, Cucumber Salad.

Proposed Budget Forum: Sunday, January 21 at 9:45 pm

Potluck and Annual Meeting: Sunday, January 28 at 12:15 pm

The congregation council has set the annual meeting of First English Evangelical Lutheran Church for Sunday, January 28, 2018. We will begin with a potluck after the 11:00 am liturgy, and the meeting will follow. More information about the agenda, proposed ministry budget, and the nominations to council and synod assembly will be shared next week. The congregation council and finance team with host a forum discussing the proposed budget on Sunday, January 21 at 9:45 am.

Austin Crop Hunger Walk: Sunday, February 25

The annual Austin Crop Hunger Walk is taking place on Sunday afternoon, February 25. The Crop Walk is sponsored by Interfaith Action of Central Texas (i-ACT), is the largest interfaith event in Austin, and works to end the sin of hunger in the midst of enough.

If you are interested in participating in the walk (or donating), register and donate here.

If you are interested in organizing a team on behalf of FELC, please contact directly Janis Coltin of Triumphant Love Lutheran Church at jcoltin@yahoo.com.  FELC has participated in this walk in years past and this is an excellent opportunity to live out our commitment to love God and neighbor, one step at a time.