Greetings to all, in the name of Christ our Redeemer! This coming Sunday we will be celebrating the festival of Pentecost. The term "Pentecost" is derived from a Greek word that means "fiftieth" and marks the fiftieth day after Easter and the Resurrection. It was a moment of transition between the Ascension of Christ and the shocking and unexpected outpouring of the Holy Spirit on a very diverse early Christian community.
There is a poetry in Scripture that was probably well understood in the early Church. Though the Fall of Humankind in the Garden of Eden was initiated by our symbolic mother Eve, the redemption of the world was made possible through the actions and obedience of our spiritual mother Mary. And so it is with Pentecost. A few weeks ago, Rev. Cam Burton spoke to us about the story of the Tower of Babel. In that story God responds to humanity's hubris by confounding their speech so that they could not understand each other. In the story of Pentecost the opposite happens. God as Holy Spirit descends on people who speak many languages and makes it so that they can understand what each other is saying. In this act I invite you to see the seeds of unity, acceptance, and equality.
So, what should you expect this Sunday at UCC? First off, come to church wearing fiery-colored clothing. Red is the official color of Pentecost. Pastor Carl will be preaching, and if you feel moved to officially join our church on this festival day, you will be invited to move to the front of the sanctuary and go through a short liturgy with Linda Laurence, our Community Connections Team Lead. We will end the service with a neat worship moment by circling the sanctuary with candles and singing "This Little Light of Mine" like we do "Silent Night" on Christmas Eve. The children will be invited to come back into the service for this if they'd like to join, and those who join us online are encouraged to participate as well.
This is a wonderful, exciting time at our church and we hope you will be able to join us this Sunday and beyond. June will be off to a big start at UCC with Pride Celebration Sunday on June 4, VBS running from June 5-9 , and VBS Celebration Sunday on June 11.
See you in church!
Worship Team Lead
Dear Church Family,
Just as Christ calls us, this community consistently supports "the least of these," and this Spring has been an amazing example of that.
Our April Social Justice project collected for and assembled 35 Birthday Bags for the Round Rock Area Serving Center. This was no small task, so thank you for the generosity of time and donations to make this possible.
This month, we are writing postcards to legislators in our state. The legislative session is drawing to a close at the end of May, and there are many issues that need to be addressed. Our legislators and governor need to know where people of faith stand. There is a table up in the fellowship hall with suggestions about bills you might specifically want to speak to, as suggested by Texas Impact, Equality Texas, and the League of Women Voters. Postcards, pens, and a writing prompt are all provided so you can easily write messages if you wish. We will address them, add stamps, then mail them to make it as easy as possible for you. Please use your voice.
Next month, we will be hosting a booth at the Pflugerville Pride Pfestival. On Saturday, June 10th, we need volunteers to join us at Pflugerville Pride from 3-8pm and help us with our Chapel of Love! Our hope is that we provide a space that lets all in the Pride Community know that we want to affirm and love them for exactly who they are. We believe that Love is Love and ALL are welcome at the table. So come help us offer blessings over all who choose to visit our booth!
Thank you, as always, for being the hands and feet of Christ as we work together to build the kin-dom of God.
~ The Social Justice Team
As you all read this email, I will be in San Diego with a group of friends, supporting Izzy, the stepdaughter of our late friend, Cary. Izzy is graduating from college and would love nothing more than to have Cary there, but instead she gets this band of women (and men) who have been working hard to mother her and her siblings since Cary died last May. It’s a bittersweet trip but there’s no place I’d rather be: in community with those who have worked so hard to hold each other up over this past year.
I am grateful for this time away and amazed at how each time there’s a need to fill, this church is the direct reflection of God’s kin-dom, supporting and helping one another as only loving building blocks can do. While I am gone this weekend, Rev. Dr. Sarah Henseler is filling in for me, leading prayers of the people. When our A/V Tech Ethan is away a few times this summer, I’ll fill in for him in the sound room, and Rev. Dr. Sarah Allen, Rev. Dr. Jenny Veninga, and Carol Barrett will step in for me to lead the prayers again. Two weeks ago when Emily and I were out sick, Carol Barrett, Melissa Vasquez, and Andrea Larson all stepped in to fill our roles.
In March, when the Merryman family experienced the sudden death of Brant, our church community stepped in to send food and gift cards. A week ago when Andrea Simoneau had surgery, meals were provided for her family. On Monday, Kelley posted a Care Calendar for the Allison-Johnson family and within 4 hours, all but one of the slots was filled.
This church never ceases to amaze me with its love and generosity, as well as its ability to pivot on a dime. You support the children, the youth, each other, and the staff. Over the last few months, leadership has come to the staff repeatedly to let us know the congregation wants to help and wants us to know that we have their support and prayers. I assure you, we have felt incredibly supported and cared for, so thank you!
But what I want to know now is…how can we care for you? The love and generosity flowing towards the staff is amazing, but it's important that it flow both directions. How can we care for you, how can we care for our lay leadership, and how can you care for leadership, each other, and yourself?
As the lyrics in our communion music said this past Sunday, “I thank God every time I remember you. Constantly praying for you.” I thank God for this church, this community, and this love and care flowing throughout our congregation.
This past Tuesday, our Church Administrator Kelley shared the following poem with us in staff meeting. I immediately asked if I could share it as part of our ministry minute this week. As we prepare for our annual Graduate Sunday this week, this poem really hit home for me.
The Facts of Life
That you were born
and you will die.
That you will sometimes love enough
and sometimes not.
That you will lie
if only to yourself.
That you will get tired.
That you will learn most from the situations
you did not choose.
That there will be some things that move you
more than you can say.
That you will live
that you must be loved.
That you will avoid questions most urgently in need of
That you began as the fusion of a sperm and an egg
of two people who once were strangers
and may well still be.
That life isn’t fair.
That life is sometimes good
and sometimes better than good.
That life is often not so good.
That life is real
and if you can survive it, well,
survive it well
and meaning given
where meaning’s scarce.
That you will learn to live with regret.
That you will learn to live with respect.
That the structures that constrict you
may not be permanently constraining.
That you will probably be okay.
That you must accept change
before you die
but you will die anyway.
So you might as well live
and you might as well love.
You might as well love.
You might as well love.
- Pádraig Ó Tuama
This Sunday is always bittersweet for me, and I’m sure many others in our congregation. Serving the youth of our church has brought me much joy (and tears), but also much wisdom. I have learned so much from them, mostly just watching how they unabashedly care for those around them, being certain to create a space of inclusion and belonging. In a world, and especially a state, where so much is telling them to hate or dislike certain things, thoughts, or even people, they simply choose to love. Our youth have taught me to live and to love, even when it seems really difficult to do, and for that, I am grateful.
I hope you can join us, in person or online, this Sunday for Graduate Sunday. You’ll get to hear from all of our graduates, and witness first-hand the ways in which they choose to live and love. Congratulations to all of our graduates! This church loves you!