Dear United Christian Church,
This Sunday we will recognize the beautiful Indigenous Mexican tradition of el Dia de Los Muertos, a tradition inscribed in UNESCO's Representative List of The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
You are invited to bring a photo of a loved one (or many loved ones) who has/have died. If you have a photo that you want to email to the office (email@example.com). we will print it and place it on the altar/ofrenda for you. If you bring your photo(s) on Sunday, you can place them before worship or when you come forward for communion. The ofrenda will stay in place until the All Saints Day service on November 5.
NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...There may be some of you who would like to talk to me about the church, where it has been, where it's going, or just to visit. I have set aside Mondays for time to talk. If you'd like to meet at another time, just contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the office and we can arrange a time.
If you'd rather talk church in a group, fear not! I'm going to schedule some times in November when small groups can meet in person and others via Zoom. I will also visit the regularly-scheduled Small Groups in the next few weeks. I look forward to hearing from as many of you who want to talk about your concerns and dreams for this wonderful congregation.
In the meantime, don't forget Game Night and Trunk or Treat...let's have fun!
One of the things we see all the time, but might not always notice, is our logo. It's a delightful symbol of growth in Christ. A beautiful flourishing tree of life sprouts from a rainbow.
In staff meetings and at the recent Executive Committee meeting, it was discussed and agreed upon to freshen the look of the logo and bring it into some of our worship ideas for the next year. Our ideas reflect the Christian Calendar, valuing how the lectionary takes us on an annual trip from anticipating and celebrating the birth of Christ, and then through journey up to the cross and onwards from the resurrection. Through these conversations, we have made a few updates to the current logo.
As you can see, the center symbol and the colors of the rainbow have been updated. The rainbow serves a dual purpose. It hints at the diversity and affirmation of all the world, and the new version is composed of the liturgical colors of the church calendar: purple/blue, green, gold/white, and red. Within the tree of life and the colors of all the world is the symbol of Jesus who became the Christ: a cross.
We are excited to begin a new year where our refreshed colors will be reflected in slides, social media, the website, and church publications. These colors and symbols speak to us as we reflect on all of the meanings they have for us. As we lean on the truth of the cross, we rejoice in the resurrection and life that emerges from it.
What symbols are touch points for you? What helps you feel grounded in your faith? Are they visual cues or auditory or olfactory? Signs and symbols point us to things that may be just beyond our grasp to explain...without a lot of words...yet lead us in the directions we hope to journey.
The church and our worship services are full of signs and symbols. Take some time this week to look around to find them in your lives and in our church.
With you on the journey,
Rev. Janet, the staff, and Executive Committee
Thank you for inviting me to travel with you for a while on your journey. You are a congregation dear to my heart. I first worshiped with you many years ago when you were located on Cameron Road, and I’ve popped in over the years for a visit now and then. To be your Interim Minister is an honor.
A bit about me: I was born into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but I’ve worked within many denominational settings…Seventh Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian USA, United Church of Christ...and I’ve served in community based non-profit organizations. Although I’ve moved a bit, Austin has been my home base for the past thirty-two years (I’m one of those who’ve never quite gotten over the loss of Liberty Lunch!). I’m the mother to three grown sons, Austin, who lives in Austin, Ben who lives in Indianapolis, and Nico who lives in Kalispell, Montana. I have a giant fluff ball of a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees mix named Pearl. And, I perform as Ma Gothic with my partner Tom Booker. Once boxes are unpacked and I have my feet grounded at work, we will re-launch our monthly show, Texas Gothic.
Please let me know if you want to meet with me. I am available to meet with you Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. There are certain standing meetings I’ll need to work around, but I can make time for you in the mornings or in the afternoons. If you’d like me to come to you, I can do that as well. I look forward to getting to know you and to hearing your hopes and dreams for United Christian.
You are a wonderful congregation, and I’m so happy to be here.
October is here and we are ready to start celebrating, y’all! Bring on the pumpkin spice, cooler temps (Hello, highs in the 80's!), and fall colors (I know, Texas is either brown or green, but let’s pretend we have seasons here, ok?).
Part of this time of Fabulous Fall is Halloween, and UCC has been hosting a Halloween event for a number of years now, which has brought neighbors and friends together for an evening of celebration, fellowship, fun activities, and, well, let’s face it…candy!
Trunk or Treat is a favorite tradition that UCC Austin has hosted a few times over the years. It started with a humble pumpkin patch first, and as all truly great ideas are formed, someone said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we did a Trunk or Treat here?” Over the years it has looked many different ways. We have had pumpkin decorating, costume parades, story time in the patch, games, and more. In 2020, the event was off-site – families had an opportunity to drive around town and visit the homes of church members. That was how we adapted during that first year of COVID, and we called it "TREK or Treat!" But no matter how the event has looked, it has become a beloved event where we enjoy getting together with our neighbors and our church family, building connections, and just having fun!
This year, on the last Sunday in October, we will once again have an opportunity to ignite our creative spirits, tap into our fun sides, and present an evening of Halloween celebration!
On October 29th, from 5-7 p.m. at the church, we will host a TRUNK OR TREAT event! Join us with your trunk decorated, donate candy, dress in costume and come for some treats...or just come as you are! Families from the neighborhood are welcome to come trick-or-treat among the cars in a protected area of the parking lot. There are so many ways to participate and we hope you’ll make this an annual tradition for your family, too!
With love, always,