Weekly Update: October 3, 2017

Preparing for Sunday worship…

Isaiah 5:7

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
but heard a cry!

Matthew 21:42

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?

Jesus, Cornerstone of Our Faith

God has showered humanity with gifts and blessings, but humanity continues to misuse those gifts. We have been entrusted with a creation to care for, and in our shortsightedness we abuse and pollute the earth, even bringing about the extinction of entire species. We abuse the gift of our bodies. We have been given the ability to create so many wonderful things, and even this gift we abuse as we gather and keep as much as we can for ourselves. This is nothing new. Even in the days of Isaiah it was clear the people turned away from God’s gifts. God expected righteousness and justice. Instead the people responded with bloodshed and suffering, turning away from God.

Even if you can think of all the ways you have not turned from God and all the ways you have been faithful, it does no good. As Paul reminds us in the reading from Philippians, “Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ” (Phil. 3:7). Even all of Paul’s good and faithful acts add up to nothing. For Paul, and for us, all that matters is Jesus. As Christ himself reminds us, he is our rock, our cornerstone. Jesus is the foundation for our faith and the foundation for our lives. Even as we turn from Jesus, even as we reject Jesus, he returns to us with love and forgiveness. This is the grace of God, the love of God coming into our world and into our lives. To our joy we discover the open arms of Jesus on the cross, bringing life into this world even where there is death; bringing hope where there is despair; and bringing resurrection to all creation.

Healing Prayer

Healing prayer with laying on of hands and anointing with oil, is offered to all ages during communion distribution at both services this Sunday. This ancient ritual of the church is a deeply personal encounter with our need for healing in body, mind, and spirit, and our turning to God for all healing, grace, and mercy.

Adult Faith Formation: Sundays, October 8, 15, 22 at 9:45 am in the parlor

Reformation is much more than 95 theses or an historical movement in the

Western church. Reformation is about re-forming our way of being together

in community. Martin Luther’s insights about God’s love shook the world 500 years ago. How do his insights still shake our world today? Are we ready to be shaken?  Facilitated by Nancy Baden and Travis Fitzgold, we will explore the relationship between economic activity and trusting God’s grace.

Survey Results on Christmas Eve Worship Times and Adult Formation

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey on Christmas Eve worship times and adult faith formation. The detailed information on the survey results are here.

Christmas Eve

From the survey, it is clear that an earlier time for our child-friendly worship service is preferred. We will move this to 4:00 PM this year. There is also a clear preference for an earlier time for the later evening Christmas Eve candlelight worship service. We will move this to 10:00 PM this year.  Both Christmas Eve worship services will celebrate the eucharist. This year, Christmas Eve is a Sunday.  We’ll worship together on the last Sunday in Advent at one word and eucharist liturgy that morning at 9:45 am, then gather for the celebration of the nativity at 4:00 pm (child-friendly) and 10:00 pm (candlelight). We will not have a worship service on Christmas Day.

Adult Formation

The adult faith formation results show a strong interest in topics related to politics and faith, and social justice issues. Other strong interest was shown for faith and film, and spirituality. Meeting times for adult faith formation show a clear preference for Sunday morning, with some interest in Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon. We’re planning adult formation opportunities for November and beyond now. Look for more information soon.

Companion Café: Wednesday evenings

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 4: Pork tenderloin with pear chutney, sautéed spinach with bacon, roasted red potatoes, wedge salad with blue cheese dressing.

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

As a new part of our Wednesday evening ministries this fall, we are beginning Cafe Conversations. 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 4: Mike St. John, Operations Director, Interfaith Action of Central Texas – www.interfaithtexas.org

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

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.

Reforming Stewardship
Cottage Meetings begin this week

All First English participants are invited and encouraged to attend one of our four cottage meetings for conversation and a dessert potluck. Each meeting will include a chance to meet new people, discuss our stewardship theme, and explore what it means for each of us to know reformation in our minds, hearts, and money. Bring a dessert to share if you can, but if you can’t, there will be plenty.

Choose the meeting that best fits your schedule and location. It is helpful to the hosts if you contact them prior to the meeting to let them know you are coming.

Northwest Austin
Tuesday, October 3, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Dana and Andy MacLaren’s home
6805 Manzanita St, 78759
512-258-4184, danamaclaren@cs.com

Central Austin
Thursday, October 5, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
LaRu and Fred Woody’s home
1801 Santa Clara St, 78757
512-350-1165, woody.ursamajor@gmail.com

Northeast Austin
Sunday, October 8, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Pat Thomas’ home

11110 Tom Adams Dr, Villa #9, 78753

512-441-1485, pthomas1@austin.rr.com

Southeast Austin
Saturday, October 14, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Katy and Travis Fitzgold’s home

5307 Viewpoint Dr, 78744
830-328-3068, vicar@felcaustin.org

Book Club: Sunday, October 8

The next FELC Book Club meeting is Sunday, October 8, 6:30-8:30 pm. Our book is The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman. For meeting location or more information, contact Anne Wiebe at wiebeanne@hotmail.com.

Reformation Musical: October 20 and 21 at 7:30pm and Oct. 22 at 3:00pm

Triumphant Love Lutheran Church in conjunction with 7 participating churches presents Reformation The Musical. Don’t miss this fully-staged theatrical musical that focuses on Martin Luther’s calling to reform the church of his time.

Friday, October 20, 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 21, 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 22, 3:00 pm
Pastor Norb Firnhaber will present “A Brief Historical/Theological Focus on the Reformation” at 6:45 pm before the Friday and Saturday performances.


Held at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church, 9508 Great Hills Trail, Austin.


Tickets may be purschased at the venue for every show, but if you are planning on attending it’s best if you purchase them online to guarantee you have them.


adults $10,

children 12 and under $5.

Groups of 10 or more people are priced at $8 each.

Bottled water will be sold that you may bring into the sanctuary.

To purchase tickets, contact www.tllc.org contact or Deb Sands at reformation.musical@gmail.com.

Music Improv Circle: Monday, October 23

Zen Learning Project is leading a music improv circle in partnership with the Spiritual Transformation Project, and you are all invited! Who are these projects and what are they about?

Zen Learning Project is an Austin-based organization that practices mindfulness through the arts, and is led by Travis Fitzgold. More information can be found here.

The Spiritual Transformation Project is a new social impact organization in Austin that exists to help individuals and communities cultivate spiritual growth, life-giving community, and social justice, through personal coaching, community events, collaborative workshops, and annual festivals.

The music improv circle will take place Monday, October 23, 7:00-9:00 pm at 1603 Taylor Gaines Street, Austin, 78741, and the Facebook event is here.

What is a “music improv circle”? A music improv circle is a community music event that is created on the spot. Similar to a flash mob and a drum circle, participants simply show up ready to create music together. There is no need for prior musical experience, and bringing instruments is optional. The improv circles is an opportunity to surrender to the creative process in the present moment. There will be a focus on breathing, simple movements, body percussion, and rhythmic and harmonic variation. Come enjoy!

Reformation 500 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

11:00 am Reformation Stained Glass Window Dedication

11:15 am Reformation Celebration with Hospitality, Activities, and Quiz

Oktoberfest begins at 5:00 pm

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

bouncy castle for youth

sausage and schnitzel provided

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

recipes: http://germanfood.about.com/od/vegetables


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

2017 Norwegian Christmas: register soon

Join us for a wonderful day in Clifton, Texas, the Norwegian Capital of Texas.  Each year on the first Saturday in December, Clifton celebrates Norwegian Country Christmas.  There are historic homes to visit including the Ringness Home, the museum, the Bosque Art Center, Norse Church, the Old Rock Church, many craft vendors, and a wonderful luncheon served at the City Civic Center.  On Saturday, December 2, we will travel by bus departing at approximately 8:00 am and return late that afternoon. Exact time and place to meet TBA.  A local tour guide will join us in Clifton.  Clifton is about 2 hours from Austin.  We are partnering with South Austin AARP and the cost will be $58 per person, which includes lunch.  Please register as soon possible (only 20 seats are available on the bus) by e-mailing or texting Pat Thomas at pthomas1@autin.rr.com or Teresa Ringness at ttbhip@gmail.com or 512-831-8806.

787 Collective: connection among young adults





FELC is participating in the 787 Collective — a Lilly Endowment grant funded program led by Austin Presbyterian Seminary. The Collective is a group of congregations in Austin seeking to do innovative relational ministry with 20-somethings.

Our discernment team met last week, and we are hosting a “Happy Hour Focus Group.” We will be gathering at the end of October with young adults who are not connected with a church community, and listening to their thoughts, concerns, hopes, and struggles as young adults. It is the first step in a several year process. Look for more updates in the coming months.