Weekly Update: April 20, 2017

Preparing for Sunday, April 23 – The Second 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 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

John 20:19-23

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of [what Annas and Caiaphas might do to them], Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Theological Reflection

“If you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23b). Jesus’ words are psychologically true: withholding forgiveness is itself a burden. With whom are you, personally, in need of reconciling? What are you waiting for?

Easter Season Adult Forum: Begins Sunday, April 23 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.

Fellowship, Food, Fun: Annual Chicken BBQ

Sunday, April 23, 5:00—8:00 pm

BBQ Chicken / Potato Salad / Pinto Beans

Ice Cream

BYOB

Live Music

in the parking lot, weather permitting

Chicken BBQ is one of FELC’s longest traditions. Slow cooked on our own custom-built smoker, the chicken dinner is only one part of the evening. We gather for great fellowship, live music, games, and dancing. All are welcome!

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.

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 7 beginning at 7:00 pm. The Center is located at 12400 Amherst Drive.

If you plan to attend, please make a dinner reservation with Pastor Coffey (pastor@felcuastin.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. As soon as we know our delivery date for the new furniture, we will let the congregation know. 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. In addition to the new furniture, the parlor will be getting new flooring and paint.

Weekly Update: April 11, 2017

Preparing for Holy Week and Easter Day

Holy Week

The season of Lent culminates with Holy Week—the ritual participation in the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. Through ancient liturgies and contemporary experience, we not only hear the story of Jesus, we become part of it now. The heart of the Christian faith is the paschal mystery—through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ God brings transformation, salvation, and renewal for us and the whole creation. Holy Week is the time of deep contemplation that our lives are caught up in this mystery. On Palm Sunday we celebrated the entry into Holy Week, with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem when he is hailed as the new king. The Three Days (Triduum is the traditional Latin name) is the centerpiece of the entire Christian liturgical year, forming one worship event over three days. Maundy Thursday connects us to the events of Jesus’ last supper, and includes the foot washing ritual that leads us to participate in Jesus’ own humility and loving service to others. Good Friday is the solemn day of honoring Jesus’ death, seeing in the way of the cross—rejection, suffering, death—the power of God to redeem and transform us. The Easter Vigil is the greatest liturgy of the church year, with a beautiful emphasis on celebrating the triumph of the resurrection over the powers of death, and marking the chief time for baptisms in the church. The entire liturgy functions as the baptismal renewal ritual for the whole gathered community, finding new life again in the grace and promises of God in Christ through the Spirit.

The Resurrection of Our Lord

Easter Day begins 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!

Jeremiah 31:1-3

At that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel,           and they shall be my people.
Thus says the Lord:
The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Come Make the Journey Each Day

The high point of the story of God’s love is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. The rituals of Holy Week and Easter are meant to be a source of renewal and inspiration. Plan on participating each day in the church’s deep, profound celebration of the paschal (Easter) mystery.

Information on Holy Week and Easter Day liturgies and events online at  http://www.felcaustin.org/worship-music/hw-easter

April 13: Maundy Thursday

Noon: Table Communion with Lunch (in the parlor)

A simple service of eucharist, meal, and fellowship

7:00 pm (not 7:30): Confession, Foot Washing, Communion, Stripping the Altar

We end the Lenten disciplines and focus on the story of Jesus’ self-giving love.

Maundy Thursday is a beautiful and profound liturgy that invites us to share in Jesus’ humility and observe his commandment to love one another as he loved us, expressed  in the foot washing ritual.

April 14: Good Friday

Noon to 6:00 pm: Meditation on the Cross

The sanctuary will be open all afternoon for your meditation on the mystery of the cross. Materials are provided for guided prayer. Stations of the Cross and artwork will be placed in the sanctuary and chapel. Music interludes will be offered.

7:00 pm (not 7:30): Good Friday Liturgy and Adoration of the Cross

This most solemn liturgy gathers us together before the cross through word and music to experience the good news that Christ transforms the suffering and death of the world by going through it with us. There will be experiential stations offered with children beginning in the fellowship hall (see below). Nursery care is provided.

April 15: The Great Vigil of Easter with Baptism

7:59 pm (sunset, new time): with champagne reception after

The greatest and grandest liturgy of the church’s tradition, the Easter Vigil is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ that renews our lives. We gather in the parking lot to begin. Enter the fullness of the good news of the Paschal Mystery with fire, light, smell, silence, sound, story, image, water, oil, music, bread, wine, champagne: JOY!  We’ll celebrate a baptism, affirm baptism, and celebrate the first eucharist of Easter. Worshipers and leaders from area Lutheran churches and others will be our guests.  All are welcome!

April 16: The Resurrection of our Lord with Baptism

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!  All are welcome!

Festival Easter Eucharist at 8:30 am and 11:00 am

Bring fresh flowers (or use those provided) to adorn the Easter cross in the sanctuary.

Gathering music begins ten minutes before each liturgy.

Easter Breakfast from 9:00–10:30 am (freewill offering)

Easter Egg Hunt at 10:00 am

Nursery care is provided.

From the Presiding Bishop

On Saturday, April 8, The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, issued a pastoral message on Syria.  The link is at www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7881

Companion Cafe

 

Companion Cafe will not serve on Wednesdays, April 12 and 19.

Cafe will serve next on Wednesday, April 26 at 6:00 pm.

Easter Season Adult Forum: Begins Sunday, April 23 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.

Fellowship, Food, Fun: Annual Chicken BBQ

Sunday, April 23, 5:00—8:00 pm

  • BBQ Chicken / Potato Salad / Pinto Beans
  • Ice Cream
  • BYOB
  • Live Music
  • in the parking lot, weather permitting

Chicken BBQ is one of FELC’s longest traditions.

Slow cooked on our own custom-built smoker, the chicken dinner is only one part of the evening. We gather for great fellowship, live music, games, and dancing. All are welcome!

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.

Highlights from the Congregation Council

 

On Monday, March 27, the congregation council of First English Lutheran Church gathered for a monthly meeting.  Here are highlights:

  •  Financial updates of the congregation will be communicated quarterly
  •  Executive committee is preparing a job description and review process for staff
  •  Installation and final adjustments to the new sound system will be complete before Easter.  System includes new wireless and hand-held microphones, outlets, recording capabilities, and assistive hearing device
  •  Work on the hallway ceiling tiles (outside the restrooms) will begin after Easter Sunday. This will be followed by hallway lighting, painting, flooring, and other planned remodeling
  • Easter vigil service will begin at 7:59 pm (sunset) on Saturday, April 15 and utilize the outside parking lot, fellowship hall, and sanctuary
  • Chicken BBQ is on for Sunday, April 23 from 5-8 pm