Weekly Update: May 30, 2017

Preparing for Pentecost Sunday, June 4

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people, and kindle in us the fire of your love. Alleluia!

This Sunday’s feast day derives its name from the Jewish festival of Pentecost, observed fifty days after Passover. On the fiftieth day of Easter we celebrate the Holy Spirit as the power of God among us that heals, forgives, inspires, and unites.

Worship in the Park

All are invited for a great morning this Sunday, June 4 at 9:45 am as we gather across from the church (weather permitting) in Hemphill park. We will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost with fire, water, languages, and an affirmation of our Spirit-empowered vocations in the world. Invite a friend or neighbor as we gather in the beauty of creation for worship and fellowship. Pets on leashes or in crates are welcome.

{We welcome anyone to participate in set-up and welcoming for worship in the park this Sunday.  Please meet at 8:45 am.}

Readings for this Sunday

Numbers 11:24-30

Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.
Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, “My lord Moses, stop them!” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!” And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Acts 2:1-21

When the day of Pentecost had come, [the apostles] were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ”

Summer Sunday Schedule at 9:45 am

We continue our Summer Sunday Schedule with one Word & Eucharist liturgy at 9:45 am.  Some summer Sunday highlights include: Celebration of World Refugees and Blessing of Summer Trip Travelers on June 18, FELC 81st Anniversary Sunday on July 16, and a Back-to-School Blessing on Sunday, August 20.  We continue with one liturgy at 9:45 am through Sunday, September 3.

 

 

Calling all Egg Cartons for Micah 6 Food Pantry

Please bring your empty egg cartons to First English for re-use at the Micah 6 Food Pantry. Micah 6 purchases eggs in large cases from the Capital Area Food Bank, and partcipants repackage them into dozen cartons for individual shoppers. You can deposit your empty egg cartons in the Micah 6 baskets located at the entrances to the sanctuary. Thank you for helping Austin families have nutritious eggs. For more information, and to be more connected to our ministry with Micah 6, contact Jackie Chuter at chuter.jackie@gmail.com

Vicar Internship Project

If you were not able to attend the informational session about the Vicar Internship Project, Making Connections, please know that you can still participate. Learn more about the project by clicking this link, or by talking with Travis (vicar@felcaustin.org or 830-328-3068).

Companions Action Invitation

As most have noticed, the alienation between different groups of people in our country has grown more strident in the past few years.  In that context, the Companions in Christ group recently finished its study of HEALING THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit by Parker J. Palmer.  The book was a timely, well-reasoned call to get involved in bridging that gap.  The challenge is to get out of our silos and dare to be in civil conversation with those with whom we disagree.

We didn’t want to sit on our hands and do nothing in response.  To help with that, we are exploring local opportunities already in place.  We will be visiting various “conversation” groups to listen, participate as possible, and evaluate.  Our quest, finding avenues that support our responsibility for exercising our faith in the public square.

We encourage you to read the book!  Whether you do or not, we welcome you to come along with us as we explore.  No one has to do this alone.  Dates and info will be announced through the Echoes Bimonthly and Email Weekly.

Our first outing will be to attend a monthly meeting of “The Red Bench—Interfaith Conversations that Matter” sponsored by Interfaith Action of Central Texas (IACT).  The topic will be courage.  The meeting is Tuesday, May 30, 6:30-8:30 pm held at Unity Church in northwest Austin.  If you wish to attend, please RSVP and get more information at this link:  http://interfaithtexas.org/events/the-red-bench-courage-2/.

It would be helpful, also, to check in with us about meeting up:  Renee Carlson, Charlotte Gilman, Chris Paton, Anne Wiebe, Andy MacLaren, or Barbara Wiederaenders.  Watch for other outings in the future.  Contact: Barbara Wiederaenders at

bwiederaenders@att.net.

Ramadan Iftar Dinner: Wednesday, June 7

Join together as FELC welcomes friends from the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest for a meal and presentation. We gather at 8:00 pm in the fellowship hall.  All are welcome. If you plan to attend, please let Pastor Coffey know by June 4 so we can give an estimate to those preparing the meal.

 

Vision of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Worship Service:

Sunday, June 18 at 11:00 am

All are invited to worship with our friends at Vision of Hope AME church. Their worship service on Sunday, June 18 will be a time to celebrate Juneteenth, and remember the martyrs of Charleston who were slain June 17, 2015. This will mark the 2nd anniversary of beginning the relationship between FELC and Vision of Hope AME. Worship at Vision of Hope begins at 11:00 am. Pastor Coffey will leave immediately following the FELC 9:45 am worship service on Sunday, June 18 arriving at VOH around 11:15 am.  Vision of Hope AME church is located at 4711 Delores Ave, Austin, 78721.

Weekly Update: May 5, 2017

Preparing for Sunday, May 28 – The Seventh Sunday of Easter

Summer Sunday schedule begins: One worship service at 9:45 am

The Season of Easter: 50 days!

The fifty days are about looking for the risen Lord among us, hearing stories of rising from the big and small deaths, and days when we experience something of Christ’s triumphs. Death is not the last word. Life and love are forever!

This Thursday, the church celebrates one of the principal feasts: the Ascension of our Lord. Ascension Day could be explained as the cynical “I’m outta here” of a God weary of us self-centered, broken humans, but that explanation would be short-sighted because it leaves out the important stop on the cross. Instead, Jesus’ departure is accompanied with the promise of the Spirit’s presence remaining among us. We look up to the skies for help, then return our gaze to those among us in need of our care, to the body of Christ and the wind of the Spirit among God’s people, preparing for the time when Jesus comes again to gather everyone in.

Acts 1:6-8

When [the apostles] had come together, they asked [Jesus], “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

John 17:10-11

Jesus prayed: “All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

In the days between Ascension (this Thursday) and Pentecost (celebrated June 4), we gather with the disciples in the upper room, waiting for the Spirit to transform the church around the world. In this Sunday’s gospel story, we hear that Jesus prays for his followers and for their mission in his name. Amid religious, social, and economic divisions, we seek the unity that Jesus had with God. We go forth to live our faith in the world, eager for the unity that God intends for the whole human family.

Remodeling of Hallway continues this week

The hallway outside the sanctuary is being remodeled. The first steps include redoing the ceiling and lighting. After that, the hallway and restrooms will be painted and new flooring will be installed. If you are in the building this week, the hallway and restrooms may be inaccessible at times.

Summer Schedule Begins: this Sunday, May 28 at 9:45 am

On Sunday, May 28 we begin our Summer Sunday Schedule with one Word & Eucharist liturgy at 9:45 am.  Faith formation classes do not meet regularly on Sunday mornings in the summer.  Some summer Sunday highlights include:  Worship in the Park on Pentecost Sunday June 5, Celebration of World Refugees and Blessing of Summer Trip Travelers on June 18, FELC 81st Anniversary Sunday on July 16, and a Back-to-School Blessing on Sunday, August 20.  We continue with one liturgy at 9:45 am through Sunday, September 3.

Calling all Egg Cartons for Micah 6 Food Pantry

Please bring your empty egg cartons to First English for re-use at the Micah 6 Food Pantry. Micah 6 purchases eggs in large cases from the Capital Area Food Bank, and partcipants repackage them into dozen cartons for individual shoppers. You can deposit your empty egg cartons in the Micah 6 baskets located at the entrances to the sanctuary. Thank you for helping Austin families take home nutritious eggs this week! For more information, and to be more connected to our ministry with Micah 6, contact Jackie Chuter at chuter.jackie@gmail.com

Vicar Internship Project

If you were not able to attend the informational session about the Vicar Internship Project, Making Connections, please know that you can still participate! Learn more about the project by clicking this link, or by talking with Travis (vicar@felcaustin.org or 830-328-3068).

Companions Action Invitation

As most have noticed, the alienation between different groups of people in our country has grown more strident in the past few years.  In that context, the Companions in Christ group recently finished its study of HEALING THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit by Parker J. Palmer.  The book was a timely, well-reasoned call to get involved in bridging that gap.  The challenge is to get out of our silos and dare to be in civil conversation with those with whom we disagree.

We didn’t want to sit on our hands and do nothing in response.  To help with that, we are exploring local opportunities already in place.  We will be visiting various “conversation” groups to listen, participate as possible, and evaluate.  Our quest, finding avenues that support our responsibility for exercising our faith in the public square.

We encourage you to read the book!  Whether you do or not, we welcome you to come along with us as we explore.  No one has to do this alone.  Dates and info will be announced through the Echoes Bimonthly and Email Weekly.

Our first outing will be to attend a monthly meeting of “The Red Bench—Interfaith Conversations that Matter” sponsored by Interfaith Action of Central Texas (IACT).  The topic will be courage.  The meeting is Tuesday, May 30, 6:30-8:30 pm held at Unity Church in northwest Austin.  If you wish to attend, please RSVP and get more information at this link:  http://interfaithtexas.org/events/the-red-bench-courage-2/.

It would be helpful, also, to check in with us about meeting up:  Renee Carlson, Charlotte Gilman, Chris Paton, Anne Wiebe, Andy MacLaren, or Barbara Wiederaenders.  Watch for other outings in the future.  Contact: Barbara Wiederaenders at

bwiederaenders@att.net.

Worship in the Park: Sunday, June 4

All are invited for a great Sunday on June 4 at 9:45 am as we gather across from the church in Hemphill park. We will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost with fire, water, languages, and an affirmation of our Spirit-empowered vocations in the world. Invite a friend or neighbor as we gather in the beauty of creation for worship and fellowship. Pets on leashes or in crates are welcome.

Ramadan Iftar Dinner: Wednesday, June 7

Join together as FELC welcomes friends from the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest for a meal and presentation. We gather at 8:00 pm in the fellowship hall.  All are welcome. If you plan to attend, please let Pastor Coffey know by June 4 so we can give an estimate to those preparing the meal.

 

A Word from the Congregation Council

First Quarter Financial Report

Dear FELC Community,

The congregation council wishes to keep the FELC Community regularly informed of our church finances to facilitate continued stewardship awareness and generosity. We will be providing a quarterly statement about church finances to the congregation, as well as the personal statements to those households whose giving is recorded.

Our new bookkeeper, Mary Lou Turnbull, has been diligently working to learn our processes, and the council prioritized accuracy over timeliness for the first quarter report. The council is now in a position to review financial reports for the prior month at every council meeting.

The first quarter report indicates the following:

·         Expenses were over budget for January by $3000, as expected (several quarterly payments are due in January).

·         The overall expenses were under budget for February and March by about $500 each month.

·         As of March 31, we are about $4,500 under budgeted giving.

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

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

·         The new sound system has been installed and is enabling us to provide worship online via YouTube.

·         New furniture in the parlor is facilitating more comfortable and flexible use of that space.

·         Renovation of the foyer and restrooms between the sanctuary and fellowship hall has begun.

We have been able to continue and deepen our relationships with other faith communities this year. All of this is due to your generous pledges and continued giving.

We are heading into what is typically a low-income quarter for church finances.  It is critical for the ministries and daily operations of First English that everyone be diligent in their giving—especially during the summer months.

The people of First English are truly generous! You share not only your financial resources, but your time, talents, energy, and strength. We are grateful for your continued stewardship.

Sincerely,

FELC Congregation Council