Back by popular demand...we are so excited to be bringing you another God at the Movies sermon series next month! With multiple staff members with small children, a Disney focus has been a desire for awhile now...so we're going for it! Introducing "The Gospel According to Disney"!
Our schedule will be:
July 3: Wall-E
July 10: Encanto
July 17: Soul
July 24: Coco
July 31: Moana
Throughout the month, we'll discuss topics like climate justice, truth and forgiveness, finding your purpose, family and loss, and vocations. The first four (Wall-E, Encanto, Soul and Coco) are available for streaming through Disney+ and all five are available to Rent through YouTube. You do not have to watch the movies before the service, but it will aid in overall theme explanations.
We hope to bring the beautiful music into our services as well as the themes in our teaching. So pop your popcorn, watch what you can, and then "be our guest" this July at UCC!
June 08, 2022
Dear Family of the United Church of Christ,
The Council of Conference Ministers, the Officers of the United Church of Christ, and the UCC Open and Affirming Coalition join together in this pastoral letter addressing the attacks on people of transgender or nonbinary experience across the United States.
We greet you in the name of the God of compassion and justice.
As leaders in the United Church of Christ, we want every person of transgender or nonbinary binary experience to know this: you are beloved by God. No earthly power can separate you from God’s love. God created you perfectly: your gender identity or expression is God’s gift to you and the world.
Yet, across America, laws and executive orders are criminalizing the lifesaving treatment that transgender youth need to complete their journey to wholeness and, at the same time, are depriving parents of the right to make medical decisions for their children. These laws, enacted or proposed in states across the country, are part of a broader campaign to reverse basic rights for LGBTQ+ Americans. Alabama, Arkansas, and Arizona already ban medical care for trans youth. In Texas, the state government has defined gender-affirming care as “child abuse.” Fifteen states have banned participation by transgender youth in school sports. Six states have adopted “don’t say gay or trans” laws that have erased any mention of LGBTQ+ people from school life.
The harm done when governments seize control from parents of their freedom to provide care for their own children is obvious. Even more dangerous is the message states are sending to transgender and nonbinary youth: “Your lives don’t matter.” Suicide is an epidemic among LGBTQ+ youth and has been for years. When politicians stigmatize children and teenagers who simply wish to live their lives with integrity, the cost of mental suffering is egregious. The ripple effect of this stigma and discrimination reverberates throughout the whole community.
Jesus said: “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The lives of trans and nonbinary people are precious. They are God’s beloved children, our siblings, created like all of us for a life free from hatred and recrimination. The church cannot be silent while our trans and nonbinary youth and their parents are subjected to abuse and exposed to public defamation.
And so we are not silent. To our transgender and nonbinary siblings: we offer you our encouragement, support, and love. We will remain at your side as long as others threaten your dignity and worth. We honor your courage and your faith. The world needs you not as others want you to be, but as you truly are.
To the congregations and ministry settings of the United Church of Christ: We ask you to surround persons of transgender or nonbinary experience and their families and loved ones with compassion and care. Do not be silent when this wave of persecution threatens human life. This is a time to love – not behind closed doors but out in the open, with word and action. Your visible witness demonstrates that all who struggle against defamation and hatred have a home in the United Church of Christ.
As Pride month begins in many states, we are reminded that “coming out” is a powerful moral force that transforms lives. This is true not only for LGBTQ+ people but also for churches. This is a time when congregations are called to come out to show the world that love is stronger than hate.
With every blessing,
The Council of Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ Officers of the United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President
Rev. Dr. Traci D. Blackmon, Associate General Minister, Justice and Local Church Ministries
Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson, Associate General Minister, Wider Church Ministries and Operations, Co-Executive for Global Ministries
Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ
Rev. Andrew Lang, Executive Director
If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out. https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/category/gender-identity/
So many things are happening right now and it’s a bit hard to contain all the joy in my heart, so I’ll share some of it here…
What a wonderful week it has been at UCC Camp! We had 37 kids participating throughout the week, and about 28 volunteers each day. Overall, we had 43 youth and adults volunteering as shepherds, station leaders, actors in our drama presentations, snack providers, and general helpers. We also had volunteers show up last week to help prepare all of the materials needed for this week. The main reason that our VBS week is such a positive and engaging experience for our children is because so many of you generously share your love and energy each day. You give joy and enthusiasm with your whole hearts and you help create a beautiful and meaningful week for these children.
Our Bible stories this year were: Samuel and Eli, Jesus and the Children, Feeding the 5,000, The Widow’s Offering, and The Four Friends. We talked about the importance of loving ourselves, sharing what we can, and working together to help others and make a difference in our world. We all have something beautiful to contribute to the world – YOU matter. You are important and you are loved.
This Sunday is our VBS Celebration in Worship at 10 a.m. I hope you’ll all join us online or in-person as we share about our week through music, art, drama, and more music. Thank you for your prayers and support this past week. We’re looking forward to sharing about our joyous week with you!
Director of Children's Ministries
PRIDE is BACK
Be a Part of the PRIDE Team
We are thrilled that the in-person Austin PRIDE Festival is back on Saturday, August 20th. Pre-pandemic, our church sponsored a booth at the PRIDE Festival for a number of years. This is exactly the kind of event for which our new church structure was made! We want to form a team of enthusiastic volunteers to plan and recruit volunteers to staff whatever this team decides what to do. The Social Justice Team will pay for registration fees and giveaways. We have some decorations on hand. What we need are organizers, planners, and volunteers. And if Austin PRIDE in August is not what this team wants to do, happily many of our surrounding communities where many of our members live are having PRIDE festivals in June in which we could participate. Many of our members live in Round Rock and Pflugerville where some of the events are happening for the first time. What the team chooses to do is entirely up to YOU!
Not only that, we have experienced volunteers who have participated before who stand to support and give any advice needed. Our own Judge Stacy Hackenberg helped organize the first Taylor PRIDE Festival and Parade and probably has some good tips to pass along.
If the team decides to do one of the June festivals, they will have to hit the ground running, but it will be a rewarding experience. Contact Diane Baker, Social Justice Team lead at email@example.com or contact the church at 512-218-8110 to get Diane’s phone number for a text or chat.
Our church has been open and affirming since 2007 and you can see our history at https://www.uccaustin.org/pride.html. We proudly state to the world that “We, the congregation of The United Christian Church, declare ourselves to be an open and affirming congregation, embracing diversity and affirming the dignity and worth of every person created in God’s image. We welcome into full membership and participation in the Body of Christ persons of every race, ethnic background, age, gender, gender expression/identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, social-economic background, marital status and faith background. We welcome all to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities and blessings of participation in our congregation.” Come help us live out our pledge.
Social Justice Team Lead