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.
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.”
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 email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.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/
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
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/
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.
FELC Congregation Council