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
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.
[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 email@example.com.
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:firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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, email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org, know so he can report to the council the total increase as we plan for this year. Thank you!