This past Tuesday, we sat down ー equipped with print-outs of past services and lots of brain food ー to plan out the services of Holy Week. Four hours later, we left this “mega staff meeting” with clear directions for numerous, very special (and fast-approaching) services…and lots of to-do lists! We are very excited to be entering this holy time with you and grateful for the opportunity to lead us all through this beautiful season, from ashes to palms to lilies.
Our Palm Sunday service on April 2 will be similar to last year’s service: a narrative re-telling of the Passion Story, beginning with Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and ending with his crucifixion. We’ll have palms to wave, the vocal and bell choirs will share special music, and you’ll be able to experience the story in a myriad of ways, through sound, sight, and more. The service begins at 10am, in-person and live-streamed.
The Maundy Thursday service on April 6 will be an intimate time together, remembering the night before Jesus died. The service will take us through the Passover meal, foot-washing, and time of prayer that Jesus shared with his disciples. We’ll start the evening with a potluck dinner in the Fellowship Hall at 6pm, followed by the service at 7pm, in-person and live-streamed.
On Good Friday, April 7, our remembrances of Jesus’ last week will take the shape of stations placed throughout the Fellowship Hall and Sanctuary. All will have the chance to come experience pieces of the stories in creative and ceremonial ways. These stations are appropriate for all ages and in-person, open to come-and-go from 5-8pm on Good Friday.
Finally, on April 9 for Easter morning, we’ll have two services to celebrate: an outdoor sunrise service at 7am, and an indoor and online service at 10am. We are delighted to have our own Meghan Hatcher as preacher and celebrant at both services. The 7am service features a bonfire and quiet music. The 10am service will feature both our handbell and vocal choirs, trumpets and chimes, the baptism of two of our youth, and a procession of bunnies, butterflies, and more! Following the 10am service, the kids are invited to enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt - our first one on the new playground! Finally, we’ll have a potluck of breakfast pastries and brunch items so we can enjoy a longer fellowship together, just like we do on other second Sundays!
Please join us in holy celebration during Holy Week, at any or all of our special gatherings. If you’d like to participate during one of the services, please reach out to Worship Team Lead Clark Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can plug you in. Otherwise, we’ll see you online or at the church!
Together on the journey, seeking and serving,
Kelley DeCleene ~ Meghan Dever ~ Emily Jamison Guerrero ~ Julie Stiles
My name is Julie Stiles, and I am the Church Musician/Music Coordinator for UCC. I have the privilege of choosing the music to accompany each service, directing the UCC Choir, and I am a happy member of the UCC Bell Choir.
I grew up in the Church of Christ, which many of you know is an acapella-only denomination. I credit the Church of Christ with my love for the traditional hymns, as well as my good ear for music! After I moved to Austin, I did not attend any church for many years but, around 13 years ago, my husband Bob, son Will, and I found United Christian Church.
Since day one, I have been excited about the music program here at UCC - I immediately joined the choir under Lauren Zachry-Reynolds, and soon was also playing piano for occasional services and special music. For a couple of years, I directed one of our children’s choirs on Wednesday nights (I am hoping we can start this program up again before too long!). It was only natural, and quite the honor, that I became the dedicated 9AM accompanist when that position was needed. Nowadays, as Church Musician, I get to select and present music to all of you, proceeding with a servant heart as my talents lead. I love serving UCC this way!
As Lent rolls towards Easter, both the Bell Choir and Vocal Choir are rehearsing their music for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday...It is not too late to join! Just email me or show up at 7PM Wednesdays (Vocal Choir) or 8PM Wednesdays (Bell Choir) and we’ll have a space just for you.
Alternatively, if you have musical skills or talents that you wish to share with the congregation, please let me know. We can work together to find a hymn or piece that would fit into a Sunday service, or you can bring whatever you’ve got for consideration. There are also opportunities to play or sing in a small group of musicians; please let me know if you’d be interested in participating. We love our musical family!
If we haven’t already met, I look forward to meeting each of you. If you have any questions, concerns, constructive criticism, or just want to say hi, please reach out to me in person at church, via email, or on Facebook. I value all opinions and hymn requests from each of you.
Peace be with you,
Dear Caring People,
“Building Global Sustainability” is this year’s theme for the Austin CROP Hunger Walk. We are so excited because this year we are finally able to join others from 5 different world religions in-person at Camp Mabry on Sunday, March 26th. There will be activities available at 2:00pm, with music provided by our own Gabriel Trout and Timothy Simoneau. The "Step Off" will be at 2:30 pm with the option to walk 1 mile around the track or 2.4 miles on the extended route. You may visit education and activity stations including a period hygiene kit building station staffed by our own youth. As you move along the track, visit the RESULTS letter-writing area to write postcards to elected officials about a response to World Tuberculosis Day. Enjoy refreshments and see friends from other churches that you haven’t been able to see in two whole years.
Why have we supported this WALK since the founding of our church? It’s because we know that 75% of the money raised goes to support Church World Service’s mission to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice at the national and international levels through collaboration with partners abroad and in the U.S. Twenty-five percent of the money raised stays right here in Austin to support the work of local agencies. This year’s recipients are Central Texas Food Bank, Manos De Cristo, Sustainable Food Center, iACT Refugee Services, All City Lutherans - Bread for All, Hope Food Pantry, and Mt. Olive Food Pantry.
How can you support this effort? You can join our team of walkers/fundraisers by going to https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2023/team/united-christian-church-of-austin. You can use this platform to raise funds online and with Facebook fundraising. Walkers can either walk at Camp Mabry or anywhere of your choice. If you want to support the cause, you may give money directly to one of our youth or adult walkers with a check (made out to CWS/CROP) or cash. You may also give online at the link above or through any of the United Christian Church giving methods by putting Austin CROP Walk in the memo area of your gift. This year, we have set a $1,500 goal for our church.
To find out more about how this walk changes lives, CLICK HERE to read about the direct impact of this fundraiser. In this story, Lilia shares how a solar food dryer and other items supplied by Church World Service let a little rural family become entrepreneurs.
Remember, when you are raising funds, you aren’t just collecting money, you are making smiles possible.
Please join us in whatever way you can,
Mary Diane Baker
UCC Austin CROP Walk Team Captain