Weekly Update: October 24, 2017

Reformation at FELC: Sunday, October 29

one worship service

9:30 am   Reformation Hymn Sing – in the sanctuary

9:45 am   Festive Reformation Word and Eucharist Liturgy

We welcome everyone, including students and families from Lutheran Campus Ministry at UT.

Pastor Coffey and Pastor Brad Fuerst will preside.

11:00 am Reformation/Luther Rose Stained Glass Window Dedication

11:15 am Reformation Celebration including:

Luther Rose coloring station for children and adults
Pub Quiz
Reformation Tic-Tac-Toe conversations
Reformation Door for Posting Your New 95 Theses
Bouncy Castle for Children

Preparing for Sunday worship…

Jeremiah 31:31-34

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

John 8:31-36

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Know God, Know Ourselves
This is a Sunday packed with beautiful images, deep-seeded ideas, and a rich history. For life-long Lutherans, these things can provoke a sense of pride in our denomination, but Reformation Sunday is not “Lutheran Pride Day.” Instead it is a day focused on knowing God truthfully and in the process understanding who we are as people of faith and children of God in light of God’s unbelievable grace.

Luther spent a great deal of time trying to know who God was and to find ways of expressing what he came to know and believe so that others would know God too. He used coarse language, drank beer, and wrote hymns using tunes people knew and recognized. When he wrote his catechism he used language his small son could understand. Luther even translated the Bible into the language people spoke. Truth about God and our faith, as complex as it is, should be something we can grasp and wrestle with.

Reformation Sunday is certainly a festival day where we celebrate and remember our history, and it is also be a day to reexamine our faith. Part of that is recognizing the truth about our inadequacies, our failings, and our sinfulness. The law is like a mirror in a room with intense fluorescent lights; it shows us who we are with every flaw and wrinkle. But God doesn’t look at us in that mirror. The truth about God brings us new knowledge about ourselves. God shines a new light on us, where grace abounds.

The message of Reformation Sunday is God loves. It is a love that frees us and redefines us as people of God and as the whole body of Christ. In God’s eyes, we, and all people, are beautiful.

Oktoberfest begins at 5:00 pm

food, fun, and fellowship for all ages in the FELC parking lot, weather permitting.

bouncy castle for children

sausage and schnitzel provided

bring a German side dish to share, if you are able.


We celebrate our diversity and give thanks for the heritage of our founding families.

Guest Preacher on Reformation Sunday

Antonio Ramírez de León, Ph.D, D.Min; LPC-S will be our guest preacher on Sunday, October 29. Born and raised in México City, Antonio received his BA in Psychology from the University of California at Irvine; MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas, and Ph.D in Counseling Education and Supervision from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Ramirez also has a Masters Degree in Theology from the Graduate Theological Foundation and has a Doctorate in Ministry from the same institution. At the present he is finishing a MA in Spirituality from Oblate School of Theology.  He served as a full time lay missionary in North, Central, and South America for over 10 years. Dr. Ramírez has offered workshops, seminars, retreats, and clinical counseling for over 25 years. Presently, he teaches Theology and Spirituality at the University of the Incarnate Word and Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. His full time work is as the Director of Breathe-Respira Counseling Services which provides psychotherapy for couples, families, and teens. His most recent book is called “The Men: Reflections on Masculine Identity and Spirituality” from Ligouri Publications.

Reforming Stewardship

Stewardship is our spiritual discipline of using our whole lives to thank and serve God by loving God, our neighbors, and ourselves. Making stewardship commitments helps us be intentional. What new ways of using your time, your abilities, learning new skills, and sharing your wealth do you feel inspired to commit to for the coming year?

Forms are available at FELC to fill out and turn in.    

We also have stewardship forms available online:
Stewardship of Finances: http://www.felcaustin.org/forms/stewardship-of-finances-form
Stewardship of Time and Abilities: http://www.felcaustin.org/forms/stewardshipoftime

For planning purposes, it is helpful to receive the Stewardship of Finances form by December 1, and the Stewardship of Time and Abilities form by January 1.

May God continue to bless us as we live into God’s abundant life.

Companion Café: Wednesday, October 25

Companion Cafe is our ministry of cooking delicious, high quality, fresh dinners and sharing them in community with all who are hungry. We serve beginning at 6:00 PM on Wednesdays, until 7:00 PM. Suggested donation of $5 per plate, $3 for children.

To go orders are welcome.

The menu for October 25: Smothered Baked Potato with Chicken, Green Beans, Spinach Salad with Berries and Poppy Seed Dressing

Café Conversations: Wednesdays, 6:30 to 7:30

As a new part of our Wednesday evening ministries this fall, we are inviting local leaders of non-profits and other community organizations to present on what they are doing, and then have time for questions and conversation.

October 25: Nelson Linder, Austin President, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – www.naacpaustin.com

November 1: We welcome Jennifer Long, Director of Casa Marianella. Casa Marianella is a volunteer-driven emergency homeless shelter in east Austin, serving recently-arrived immigrants and asylum seekers from around the world – www.casamarianella.org

Come and enjoy a great Companion Café meal, and then stay for the presentation and conversation as we learn about many great organizations in our community and ways we can connect with and support one another.


Conspirare Concert

Symphonic Choir sings Connection:

Friday, October 27 at 8:00 pm

University Presbyterian Church
2203 San Antonio Street, Austin, 78705

Dynamic choral art is 80 voices and 8 instrumentalists joining forces for Symphonic Choir Sings Connection. What connects us? Song? Text? Country? Disaster? Love? Conspirare’s Symphonic Choir presents a concert examining our impulse for connection. Program includes regional premieres of david lang’s the national anthems and Mass Transmission by Mason Bates.  The Symphonic Choir will be joined by instrumental collaborators the Artisan Quartet, Austin Haller (organ), Faith DeBow (piano and electronica), Thomas Burritt (percussion) and Utah Hamrick (double bass).

For more information and tickets, see https://conspirare.org/event/symphonic-choir-sings-2017/

Here I Sing! The Reformation and the Church’s Music:

Monday, October 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Shelton Chapel
100 East 27th Street, Austin, 78705

Cost: FREE but seating is limited.

RSVP here if you can come!  For more information, visit here.


A Word from Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy

From early faith leaders to modern-day congregations, people of faith have always been central to providing healing and wholeness in our communities. Your help is needed to ensure that your community receives access to healthcare in 2018. Unfortunately, we are already seeing an increase in the number of uninsured for the first time since the ACA was implemented.  In Texas, we are working to get roughly 1.2 million people covered. (That’s the number of Texans who got their insurance through the ACA in 2017.) You can help inform your local communities by: talking to people in your congregation to make sure they are taking advantage of any Affordable Care Act subsidies available to them.Reminding families that the Affordable Care Act exchanges at www.healthcare.gov are still available beginning November 1. Reminding families that the enrollment period is shorter this year, running from November 1 through December 15. Spreading the word: The Marketplace will be closed Sundays from midnight to noon. Letting families know financial and in-person help to enroll is available.

All Saints Sunday: November 5 at 8:30 & 11 am

Sunday, November 5, we will celebrate the Feast of All Saints (November 1), a time to remember and give thanks for saints near and far, famous and familiar only to us, those who died long ago, those we have lost recently. As part of the observance we will read the names of those from FELC who have died during the past year.  We invite you all to bring pictures and mementos to place on our sacred space of remembrance in the Chapel of the Saints, and to write the names of anyone who has died in the past year in the Book of the Dead. This liturgy can be a helpful part of grief.

Adult Formation in November

In our adult formation at 9:45 am on Sundays in November, we will take time to reflect on a number of issues happening in our nation and how people of faith and the church community could respond. All opinions will be welcomed, and we will practice attentive and respectful listening to each other, rather than a lot of crosstalk and reacting. Throughout this forum, we will explore how it is we are called to live out our faith in the political realm. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has adopted twelve social statements since its formation. The first one was adopted in 1991 and is called “Church in Society.” It provides a helpful framework for thinking about how the church engages in issues of public life and policy. We will use that as an introductory discussion topic. The social statement is available online here: http://elca.org/en/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Church-in-Society