Weekly Update: February 21, 2017

Preparing Worship on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 8:30 & 11 am

See this block and blocks below about worship and formation on Sunday

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

Exodus 24:15-18

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Matthew 17:1-5

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”

Images in the Readings

Once again the readings include the central biblical images of light and mountain. Yet God is not only brilliant light: important for the readings is the image of the cloud. Although contemporary people tend to think of clouds as relating to weather conditions, in the Bible the cloud is a sign of the presence of God. It is as if God covers the earth, brings life, effecting much yet suddenly vanishing.

This Sunday: adult forum: Spiritual Disciplines of Lent

The season of Lent is a time to focus on spiritual disciplines that help us prepare for the renewal of baptismal life at Easter. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the common practices for Lent. We will explore how to engage with these practices and others, including spiritual retreats and labyrinths.This is the final Sunday at 9:45 am to prepare for the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

This Sunday: Godly Play for children

The Mystery of Easter

This story gives an introduction to the relationship of Lent to the Mystery of Easter as well as how Easter overflows into the season of Easter. The fullest meaning of Lent is that it gives us time to prepare for the great Mystery of Easter, the principal feast of the Christian Church. From Lent to Easter—purple to white. Our materials reflect the changes in our liturgical colors. There are six puzzle pieces, (the same number of weeks during Lent) which are painted purple on one side and white on the other. The puzzle forms the shape of the cross. The cloth bag that holds the puzzle is purple on the outside and white on the inside. Our colors are transformed, turned inside-out, from purple to white. All of this symbolism is a reflection from death into resurrection. This is full of mystery.

Godly Play is offered each Sunday morning. We begin at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints.

This Sunday: Here We Stand middle schoolers

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Bible texts: Luke 9:10–17; Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 6:32–41; John 6:1–14
Lesson focus: God responds to human needs with abundance.
Big Question: What can I do to help others?

Leader: Ms. Heidi Goebel

We begin at 9:45 am in the west classroom of the Chapel of the Saints.

High school youth

All are invited to participate in a monthly outreach called Bedtime Story Brigade from 6:00-8:00 pm. We serve milk and cookies and read stories children staying at the Salvation Army Shelter.

Upcoming Wednesday dates:  3/8/17, 4/12/17, 5/10/17

Contact Jimmy Wright for details at formation@felcaustin.org.

Companion Cafe: Wednesday, February 22

breaking bread, making friends

Serving from 6:00-7:00 pm – FELC Fellowship Hall

Enjoy a great, chef-prepared, freshly cooked meal.

Dine together and enjoy the community dinner, or take it to go.

Suggested donation: $5 for adults, $3 for children

Menu: Pork Chops with Pear Chutney, Roasted Brussels Sprouts,

Rice Pilaf, Spinach Salad w White Wine Vinaigrette

LIFEr’s: Living in Faith Enthusiastically

After a brief hiatus, LIFEr’s is restarting. All 20’s and 30’s adults (and anyone) who wants to live in faith enthusiastically is welcome to participate. Bring you, your children, spouses, partners, and friends! Let’s make this ministry inclusive of ANYONE who wants connect.  To make this vision a reality, we need the thoughts and dreams of everyone. Please join together at Companion Cafe during the months of February and March to share a meal and enter into conversation about this ministry and how you’d like to engage each other, your faith, the church, and those God calls us to serve. There will be a sign that says “LIFERS” on it, so you know where we are meeting at Companion Cafe. Can’t make Companion Cafe? No problem! Send an email or text/call with your input: Andy Petras, email: petras.andrew@yahoo.com, phone: 972-215-8899.

FELC Holden Village Summer Trip

Holden welcomes people of all ages who seek contemplation and community in the wilderness of the beautiful Cascade Mountains of Washington State with the comforts of three nourishing meals a day, a warm bed, hot shower and caring community. The web site is www.holdenvillage.org.

The FELC group trip to Holden Village will be June 24-July 1, 2017. 

The FINAL date to commit is March 10, 2017.

Please contact Teresa Ringness at ttbhip@gmail.com or 512-831-8806.

Introduction to Welcoming Ministry: This Sunday, February 26 @ 12:15 pm

Inviting, welcoming, and connecting people of all ages through the First English faith community is an important part of our ministry.  Join the Invitation Team for conversation on how everyone can participate in the FELC welcoming ministry.  All are welcome! Soup/salad lunch provided. To help prepare, please RSVP by noon Thursday, February 23 to Andy Maclaren, andymaclaren@cs.com.

Fastnacht: Tuesday, February 28 @ 6:00pm

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 sins given from Ash Wednesday until Maundy Thursday, so Tuesday is your last chance for receiving the absolution. At FELC we have a long tradition of having a pancake supper followed by a talent show. We invite anyone who wants to do something funny, silly, or talented to share it with the community. The pancake supper begins at 6:00 pm and goes until 7:00 pm, when the talent show starts. Come on out and enjoy this fun community event and bring someone with you.  Connect with Vicar Travis for the talent show.

Ash Wednesday: March 1 @ Noon and 7:00 PM

Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes

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 abbreviated, and is followed by a potluck lunch with our Prime Timers.

The 7:00 pm liturgy is preceded by the Companion Café dinner at 6:00 pm. The menu for that evening is Chicken Noodle Soup, Green Goddess Salad, Pumpernickel Bread

Pastor Coffey has been invited to preach at Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church for Ash Wednesday. Our guest preacher at FELC for the 7:00 pm liturgy will be the Rev. Dr. Timothy Lincoln.

Supporting our Muslim Neighbors: Thursday, March 2

Our neighbors at the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest (Turkish Muslim Raindrop House) are hosting their annual fundraising dinner on Thursday, March 2. One way we can show solidarity and support amidst this time of anti-Muslim sentiment is to attend the dinner and/or sponsor it. Let’s live into our baptismal call to work for justice and peace among all people. Information can be found at:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/>2017-annual-friendship-and-dialogue-dinner-tickets-29130695695

For details about the dinner, please contact Vicar Travis at 830–328–3068.

Continuing Conversations on Sexism and Faith

The conversations on Sexism and Faith that took place on Sundays in January are continuing due to popular demand! Three more conversation will take place on Saturdays, March 4, 11, and 18, from approximately 6–8 pm, pot-luck style. The conversation on March 4 will be hosted at the Fitzgold household, 5307 Viewpoint Dr., ATX, 78744. Come and contribute your gifts as we build community through dialogue in the Spirit. Contact Vicar Travis at 830–328–3068.

Weekly Update: February 14, 2017

Preparing Worship on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 8:30 & 11 am

See this block and blocks below about worship and formation on Sunday

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

Leviticus 19:1-2,9-10

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them:

You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.

Matthew 5:38-42

[Jesus said to the disciples:] “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.’’

A Holy Life
Both the Leviticus and Matthew readings give us directions for living a holy life, and the readings from Psalms and Corinthians echo this love of God’s righteousness and holiness. Leviticus sets forth the totality of the holiness God expects in our lives, and such detailed commandments can certainly be stifling and don’t always translate well to new times and cultures. But some of those details are startling in their relevance: don’t completely clean the fields but instead leave some for the poor and the alien, don’t profit from the blood of a neighbor, don’t hate any kin. Each law ends with “I am the Lord,” reminding us not only who God is, but also who we are and who we aren’t, and why it is we should follow these proscriptions.

Austin Marathon This Sunday

The 26th Annual Austin Marathon will take place this Sunday, February 19.  Please see the course map at: http://youraustinmarathon.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Austin-Marathon-Course-Map-2017.pdf.

Access to First English on Sunday morning is best via the west by MoPac/Loop One, exiting at Westover/Northwood and coming over on 29th street.

This Sunday: adult forum: Spiritual Disciplines of Lent

The season of Lent is a time to focus on spiritual disciplines that help us prepare for the renewal of baptismal life at Easter. Many years, the season sneaks up on us before we are ready to engage in a meaningful Lenten practice. This year, Pastor Coffey will lead the adult forum on the traditional spiritual disciplines of Lent prior to the start of Lent as a way to get ready. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the common practices for Lent. We will explore how to engage with these practices and others, including spiritual retreats and labyrinths. Join together on Sundays, February 19 and 26 at 9:45 am to prepare for the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 1.

This Sunday: Godly Play for children

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

What is the kingdom of heaven like? It is like the tiniest of all the seeds, a seed so small that if I had one in my hand you would not be able to see it. And when that seed is planted in the ground, it begins to grow.

The mustard in this parable is not the domestic mustard we use for flavoring. The mustard of the eastern world grew and spread quickly. Farmers did not like it because it could take over a field and ruin its useful production of grain. It is a shrub and not a tree. These facts are not interesting to children, but they are mentioned here to invite you to discover more about this parable as an adult. This week, Vicar Travis willl invite our children into the wonder, discovery, and play of this rich parable.

Godly Play is offered each Sunday morning. We begin at 9:45 am at the threshold to the library in the Chapel of the Saints.

This Sunday: Here We Stand middle schoolers

The Gerasene Demoniac
Bible Text: Luke 8:26–39; Matthew 8:28–34; Mark 5:1–20
Lesson Focus: Jesus’ power to end suffering in God’s name knows no boundaries.
Big Question: Can God use me to help a suffering world?

Leader: Mr. Joe Cain

We begin at 9:45 am in the west classroom of the Chapel of the Saints.

High school youth

All are invited to participate in a monthly outreach called Bedtime Story Brigade from 6:00-8:00 pm. We serve milk and cookies and read stories children staying at the Salvation Army Shelter.

Upcoming Wednesday dates:  3/8/17, 4/12/17, 5/10/17

Contact Jimmy Wright for details at formation@felcaustin.org.

Anita Townsley Turns 102 on February 15

Anita Townsley (our most senior, venerable elder) celebrates her 102nd birthday on Wednesday, February 15! Birthday cards and notes to Anita can be sent to: Anita Townsley, c/o Brookdale at Spicewood Springs, Rm 231, 4401 Spicewood Springs Rd., Austin, 78759.  For information, contact Barbara Wiederaenders at 512-451-0684.

Companion Cafe: Wednesday, February 15

breaking bread, making friends

Serving from 6:00-7:00 pm – FELC Fellowship Hall

Enjoy a great, chef-prepared, freshly cooked meal.

Dine together and enjoy the community dinner, or take it to go.

Suggested donation: $5 for adults, $3 for children

Menu: Veggie Cajun Gumbo, Jasmine Rice, Orange Slices, Garden Salad Bar

LIFEr’s: Living in Faith Enthusiastically

After a brief hiatus, LIFEr’s is restarting. All 20’s and 30’s adults (and anyone) who wants to live in faith enthusiastically is welcome to participate. Bring you, your children, spouses, partners, and friends! Let’s make this ministry inclusive of ANYONE who wants connect.  To make this vision a reality, we need the thoughts and dreams of everyone. Please join together at Companion Cafe during the months of February and March to share a meal and enter into conversation about this ministry and how you’d like to engage each other, your faith, the church, and those God calls us to serve. There will be a sign that says “LIFERS” on it, so you know where we are meeting at Companion Cafe. Can’t make Companion Cafe? No problem! Send an email or text/call with your input: Andy Petras, email:petras.andrew@yahoo.com, phone: 972-215-8899.

Companions Group: Thursdsay, February 16

The First English Companions group invites you to a new study for 2017 based on Parker Palmer’sHEALING THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY, The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.  Palmer, a Quaker, is a world-renowned writer, speaker, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality, and social change.  The weekly study begins Thursday, February 16, 7:00-8:30 pm, in the home of Barbara Wiederaenders. The groups  provide opportunities for us to share how our faith impacts our daily lives.  Come nurture your spirit with us.  To register or ask for more information, please call Barbara at 512-451-0684.

FELC Holden Village Summer Trip

Information Meeting: Sunday, February 19 @ 12:15 pm in the parlor

Over the course of 50 years, Holden Village has been transformed from a copper mining town to a vibrant place of education, programming, and worship. Holden welcomes people of all ages who seek contemplation and community in the wilderness of the beautiful Cascade Mountains of Washington State with the comforts of three nourishing meals a day, a warm bed, hot shower and caring community. The web site is www.holdenvillage.org.

The FELC group trip to Holden Village will be June 24-July 1, 2017. 

The FINAL date to commit is March 10, 2017.

Please contact Teresa Ringness at ttbhip@gmail.com or 512-831-8806 to indicate your interest!

Introduction to Welcoming Ministry: Sunday, February 26 @ 12:15 pm

Inviting, welcoming, and connecting people of all ages through the First English faith community is an important part of our ministry.  Join the Invitation Team for conversation on how everyone can participate in the FELC welcoming ministry.  All are welcome! Soup/salad lunch provided. To learn more or to RSVP, contact Andy Maclaren, andymaclaren@cs.com.

FastNacht: Tuesday, February 28 @ 6:00pm

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 sins given from Ash Wednesday until Maundy Thursday, so Tuesday is your last chance for receiving the absolution. At FELC we have a long tradition of having a pancake supper followed by a talent show. We invite anyone who wants to do something funny, silly, or talented to share it with the community. The pancake supper begins at 6:00 pm and goes until 7:00 pm, when the talent show starts. Come on out and enjoy this fun community event and bring someone with you.  Connect with Vicar Travis for the talent show.

Ash Wednesday: March 1 @ Noon and 7:00 PM

Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes

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 carrying out 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, and is followed by a potluck lunch with our Prime Timers. The 7:00 pm liturgy is preceded by the Companion Café dinner at 6:00 pm. Pastor Coffey has been invited to preach at Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church for Ash Wednesday. Our guest preacher at FELC for the 7:00 pm liturgy will be the Rev. Dr. Timothy Lincoln.

Update from Annual Meeting

Our annual meeting was held Sunday, January 29. We had a great turnout with 59 voting members. We elected congregation council members Penny Baker, Margaret Bruesch, Jackie Chuter, and Liz West, synod assembly voting members Natalie and Larry Archer, and adopted a budget. As you may know, the congregation council presented a proposed budget that included reduction in programming and staff compensation so we could avoid another deficit budget. The congregation was challenged prior to the annual meeting to increase giving to help restore items to the budget. At the annual meeting we received an increase in giving for 2017 of $30,640. This included two one-time gifts totaling $11,800. The rest were increases in regular giving. This was a fantastic response. It allowed us to restore the director of children, youth, and family to its current level, keep the pastor’s salary at its current level, and provide a planned increase to the director of music. It also allowed us to restore some line items of the budget for programming. We are grateful for the generosity. We can still do more. There are more areas of ministry to support, and a need to rebuild our emergency borrowing fund. If you haven’t had a chance, could you make an increase for 2017? $50 per month adds a lot when many people do the same. If you can make an increase, let our financial secretary, Terry Porter at finsec@felcaustin.org, know so he can report to the council the total increase as we plan for this year. Thank you!