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: April 4, 2017

Preparing for Palm Sunday

April 9, 2017 at 8:30 & 11 am



Here are some biblical verses and writings as a way to prepare and begin pondering the scripture texts for Palm Sunday.

Matthew 21:6-11

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

“One who has surrendered to it knows that the way end on the Cross — even when it is leading through the jubilation of Gennesaret or the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.” – Dag Hammarskjold
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. Palm Sunday is the entry into Holy Week, with the celebration of 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.

Children and Youth: Palm Sunday, April 9

This week’s Godly Play presentation focuses on the face of Christ as he enters Jerusalem and offers the twelve—and us—the bread and wine. Godly Play is offered for all children 3-years old through 6th grade. We begin at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints. We end by 10:55 am.

First Communion: Palm Sunday, April 9

On Palm Sunday, April 9 at the 11 am liturgy we welcome Sam Archer and Hannah Jones to their first holy communion! Sam and Hannah have been growing in their understanding about the holy eucharist in meeting times with Pastor Coffey and Mr. Jimmy. We’ll also be using a special paten (plate) and chalice (cup) that the children created for this milestone occasion.  We give thanks for God’s gifts in bread and wine, for Sam and Hannah, and for our lives together in faith and love.

Prime Timers Potluck: Wednesday, April 5 at 12:30 pm

All are welcome – those in the prime of life and those young at heart!  On Wednesday, April 5 at 12:30 pm we’ll start with a potluck in the fellowship hall and continue with conversation.

Companion Cafe: Wednesday, April 5 at 6:00 pm

Companion Café offers a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children).  The menu for April 5 is: Cheese Manicotti with Marinara Sauce, Roasted Broccoli, Italian Garlic Bread, Spinach Strawberry Salad with Sesame Seed Dressing.

Companion Cafe will not meet Wednesdays, April 12 and 19.

Prayer for Our Nation and All Nations:

Wednesday, April 5 at 7:00 pm

On Wednesday evening, April 5, we will gather to pray for our nation and pray for all the nations. With growing anxiety, division, and fear of governmental actions and increased acts of hate, we need to gather and pray for our nation, for healing, for peace, for justice, for safety for those facing persecution, for our leaders. We also need to pray for all nations. We will welcome Vision of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church and other friends. Invite someone.  All are welcome.

Evening Prayer will not be offered on Wednesday in Holy Week, April 12

Youth Prepare for Easter Day Breakfast:

Sunday, April 9

Following the 11:00 am liturgy on Sunday, April 9, our middle and high school youth will be offering ways you can participate in the Easter breakfast on Sunday, April 16 at 9:00 am.  They will have paper slips containing grocery items needed for the Easter breakfast. Youth will be at a table during the hospitality time after the liturgy. (All items can be delivered to the church kitchen by 2:00 pm on Saturday April 15.)


Cleaning Day: Sunday, April 9 at 12:30 pm

It’s time to get our sanctuary in great shape for Holy Week and Easter. We have a ready-to-go list of cleaning, organizing, and repair projects so we can get to work after the 11:00 am liturgy. We’ll have a light lunch for those who are working. RSVP for lunch to pastor@felcaustin.org.

Book Club: Sunday, April 9

The FELC Book Club meets Sunday, April 9 from 6:30–8:30 pm in the home of Barbara Wiederaenders for a potluck dinner followed by discussion led by Jill Alexander Essbaum Peng, poet, professor, and New York Times bestselling author. For information and location address, contact Anne Wiebe at wiebeanne@hotmail.com.

Come Make the Journey Each Day: Holy Week and Easter 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 mystery.

Information on Holy Week and Easter Day liturgies and events 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: Silent 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. 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.

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-Easter Day

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.

Easter Flowers

We will celebrate God’s new creation with hydrangea plants and lilies on Easter Day. Easter flower order forms are located on tables at the entrances to the sanctuary or online at http://www.felcaustin.org/easterflowers. The deadline for flower orders is Monday, April 10.