“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” -- Psalm 119:105
My name is Jan Austin-Scott, and I’m UCC’s Education Team Lead. Growing up in the Church of Christ gave me a firm faith foundation, a love for 4-part a cappella singing, and an understanding of the importance of participating in my church community. As my faith evolved, particularly over my years in Buenos Aires and Boston, I attended Churches of Christ as well as Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ congregations. Becoming a part of UCC when we moved to Austin in 2004 was an obvious choice!
So much is happening in our Education Program right now, and I enthusiastically invite everyone to get involved! We are blessed to have both staff and lay-members who plan and implement meaningful and fun programming. There are classes and activities for every person in our church; we appreciate both our attendees, and our volunteers who make our programs possible. (We need and love our volunteers, and we look for opportunities to feed them well!! )
Under the brilliant and creative leadership of Emily Jamison Guerrero, our Director of Children’s Ministries, and Meghan Dever, our Pastor of Pastoral Care and Youth Ministries, our youngest children through teens actively learn Bible stories and teachings, and understand how to connect the meaning of those stories to their everyday lives.
Upcoming events for our children and youth include:
We invite adults to join these ongoing faith and fellowship opportunities. Details can be found at this link.
Please e-mail me at email@example.com if you have questions, feedback or ideas about UCC’s faith and fellowship programs. Or find me at church for an in-person conversation. We’re making plans now for summer and fall!
Yours on the journey -- Jan
“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30
What does rest look like to you? How is rest a form of resistance? If we take time to rest our minds, our bodies, our souls, can we see God more clearly? These are the questions we will be considering on our youth retreat this weekend. We’ll be at Slumber Falls Camp, just off the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels. Activities will include lectio divina, meditation stations, cookie decorating, worship, games and, of course, some time sitting by the river. Personally, I am so excited about the return of our spring youth retreat (we haven’t had one since 2019), I can barely stand it. I love this time with our youth; watching them spend time together laughing and learning fills my soul in ways I don’t know how to explain. As we explore what rest looks like, and where we see God in our world, we will also be building on friendships established in this church that value welcome and inclusivity.
The retreat is not our last youth event of the school year though! On May 7th we’ll celebrate our high school seniors and any college students graduating this year during our Graduate Sunday service. Our high school youth will lead worship, and we’ll offer a blessing over all of our graduates. Please be sure to join us on May 7th and help us honor our students reaching such an important milestone in their education.
May your weekend be filled with rest and may you find your burdens lightened.
Pastor of Pastoral Care & Youth Ministries
For the next nine weeks, during our season of Easter, we will be focusing our worship around building the kin-dom of God. Now, you may wonder what “kin-dom” is all about…like, could they just be misspelling Kingdom? I’ll admit, when I first heard the term years ago, I thought that someone was pronouncing kingdom wrong or possibly using an interesting accent.
Well, here’s what we’re learning about the difference: A kingdom in itself is about power. Kingdoms are about dominance, control, and the singular influence of one person who has authority to rule. God’s Kingdom, however, is truly a KIN-dom. The word “kin” means family, so it makes sense that kin-dom is about our family of faith – our community. The kin-dom of God is inclusive, non-hierarchical, relational, full of compassion, and justice-oriented. A true kin-dom is, therefore, a community of equals.
Throughout this series, including our AMAZING week of Vacation Bible School (June 5-9), we will wonder together about what it means to build the kin-dom of God. We’ll remember the story of Abram and Sarai and how they built altars on their journey. We’ll remember the story of the Tower of Babel and how ego got in the way of going out and doing God’s work in the world. We’ll remember the story of Solomon as he supervised the building of the Temple over 7 long years. We’ll remember the parables of the House on the Rock and the Mustard Seed. Finally, we’ll remember how Jesus called the disciples and asked them to be “fishers of men.”
We’ll wonder together what God’s calling is for us as individuals and as a community of faith. How can we build the kin-dom of God? What are WE, as the church, called to do?
With love, always,
Emily Jamison Guerrero
Director of Children's Ministries
My name is Meghan Hatcher. My spouse, Corey, and I first attended UCC on Easter Sunday 2022 and joined the church officially in December. It’s been our distinct joy to be part of this beautiful, caring, and affirming community of faith. Thank you for welcoming us so fully.
If you’re reading this message on Good Friday, we are midway through the Triduum – the three days spanning the evening of Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday. As we enter this period in the Church’s calendar, the movements of our faith’s story and our liturgies pick up speed. It’s a veritable sprint from Jesus sacrificially washing his friends’ feet; to his brutal arrest and crucifixion at the hands of the Roman state; and finally, to his totally improbable resurrection. So much unfolds in these three days and, if you’re like me, you’re prone to rush past the emotions of it all.
As people of faith in 2023 we have the tremendous benefit of history. We know how this story ends. We know that what John 19:30 tells us was not, in fact, Jesus’ final act: “When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” But what if for today you place yourself in the role of Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus, the two men who received Jesus’ beaten and lifeless body, prepared it for burial, and laid it in the empty tomb (John 19:38-42)? What might it have felt like to truly believe your teacher, friend, and the person who just might be the Messiah, was dead? Gone. No more.
My encouragement to us all is that we sit with the grief, discomfort, and unknowing of Good Friday. Because in reality, Good Friday is a lot like our lives sometimes, isn’t it? We don’t always know that Love wins, hope is coming, and grief will be defeated. Let us not rush past this reality, but instead, pause long enough to feel the weight of Good Friday. That way the incredible hope of Easter Sunday will be that much more precious this year.