Week of 2/6: Parents’ Night Out, Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day, and Welcome New Staff

This week:

Parents’ Night Out: Sat. 2/11, 5:30-9:30pm
Parents – Let SC help you enjoy a night out! Parent’s Night Out is open to children between the ages of 2-10 yrs. All are welcome (you do not have to be part of Servant Church)!

  • RSVP and payment must be received by Wed Feb 8.
  • Register here and pay here using the “Parents’ Night Out” designation.
  • Suggested donation of $25 for first child, $10 for each additional child, $40 max per family.
  • Drop off starts at 5:30pm, and pickup is anytime before 9pm.
  • Dinner will be provided for children during this time.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day: Sun. 2/12, 12:30-4pm
Join us after church at Umlauf Sculpture Gardens. It’s free and lots of family friendly activities are offered such as crafts and yoga. We’ll meet at Umlauf after church. Text Kristen Hillert at 214-384-1416 if you go and are trying to find the group. All are welcome!

Welcome New SC Staff: Nick & Lucy
So glad to welcome new folks to the church staff team – it takes a village to raise a church! Nick Reith is our new communications coordinator. Talk to Nick for help publicizing your church event or team.

Lucy Loewen is our new financial administrator. Send Lucy an email if you have questions about your 2016 statement of tax-deductible giving, which you should have received.

Volunteers Needed:

JFON Emergency Clinics
Sunday 2/12; 2-5pm @ St. Helen’s Catholic Church
Saturday 2/25; 11am-2pm @ Akin’s High School (TBD)
A coalition of attorneys are providing emergency consultation clinics to the community over the coming months. These clinics are for anyone wondering whether they should apply for or renew DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) during this little window. There will also be a “Know Your Rights” presentation. Please feel free to invite people you know to this clinic if they have these sorts of questions.

We need volunteers for all of these clinics! We particularly need bilingual (Spanish-English) volunteers and immigration attorneys. Non-Spanish speakers can help with childcare and check-out. Please email esteglich@law.utexas.edu if interested. Volunteers will need to be at the clinic sites one hour prior to the starting time for training and assignments. Garden will be open from 12-4pm. All are welcome!

Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ Community Cinema Needs Volunteers!
Servant Church’s own Ed Travis heads up the Community Cinema program at MLF, and he’s looking for some folks to volunteer on an ongoing basis beginning in March. This would be a once to several times a month commitment, with lots of flexibility. The Community Cinema hosts free outdoor movie nights on Fridays, open to the wider Austin public. These events are awesome ways to share the vision of the Community First! Village with our city, and to provide dignified paid labor opportunities for the formerly homeless residents at the village who will sell concessions and more. These events couldn’t happen without a team of committed volunteers. Please speak to Ed or email him at edtravis@mlf.org if this sounds like a fun way to get involved in the MLF vision.

Save the Date:

Share Your Story Potluck: Sat. 2/25, 11:30am-1pm
It’s always fun to find out more about one another, especially over a meal. Bring a dish that shares some of who you are. Did you travel somewhere interesting? What is your heritage? Is there a meaningful item a relative always cooked? Maybe you can’t cook but have a favorite restaurant to share 🙂 Bring recipe cards too if you can! As always, we’ll be inviting our neighbors to join in the fun. Contact abby@servantchurchaustin.org to go inviting the evening before.

Service Sunday: Sun. 4/2, 10am-12pm
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS! We’ll be working in our neighborhood with our neighbors to worship God through work and celebration of creation. We’ll have a short service of communion at 10:00am and then head out to work until noon. There will be something for everyone to do!

Childcare is available at Servant Church and will include lessons on caring for creation as well as creating bags to hand out to our homeless neighbors around the city. We’ll need volunteers to help wrangle kiddos, make cookies, and create bags full of treats. More info coming soon…

Second Annual – All Church Retreat: Fri. 5/5 – Sun. 5/7
We’re already excited about this year’s Second Annual – All Church Retreat on the weekend of Friday May 5th through Sunday May 7th. Once again, we will be camping and glamping at Bastrop State Park with a ton of fun activities for kids from 1 to 101. There will be lots of meals and prayer together, guided hikes and yoga, swimming and kayaking in the nearby lake, yoga, and plenty of camp fires and s’mores in the evenings. Both cabins and tent-camping spots are available, but cabins are limited and first-come-first-serve. So please check out the links below for more information and to register/pay.



Sexuality & Gender Series
Starting January 15, we began a 7 week sermon series on sexuality and gender, and how we can receive those as gifts from God and discern God’s calling for these parts of our lives. You can hear sermons in the series on our website at servantchurchaustin.org. A very heartfelt thanks to Trina Bolfing, Emily Sawyer, and Weber Schulz who shared during our special gathering of lament and hope the previous Sunday on 1/29.

We recognize that the wider big-C Church hasn’t always done that well, so let’s pray and encourage one another to press in to authentic and vulnerable conversation together! Let’s seek the good healing and transformation God has for us.

Life groups are an important part of how we grow as a community, and how we engage our questions around this and other hard topics. They began discussions of sexuality and gender in conjunction with our sermon series in the week following 1/15.

We also started two new groups during this series, if you’re looking for a short-term or gender-specific way to be a part of the sexuality and gender conversation.

  • Sundays: At 9:30am beginning January 15th, join leaders Jessica and Derek Miller as they begin a new Sunday morning Life Group. All are welcome. The first study the group will do will correspond with the Sexuality and Gender sermon series. There will be childcare available. Questions? Please email Pastor Valerie or Jessica.
  • Women’s Group: Monday nights at 7:45, join leaders Helen Heston and Sam Watkiss for a new women’s only short term Life Group. They will meet near 41st & Red River, contact Helen at 512-633-9444 or email questions to discuss the Sexuality and Gender sermon series and study guide. Questions? Please email Pastor ValerieHelen or Sam.
  • Men’s Group: Men’s Sexuality and Gender Life Group – Interested in joining a men’s only group to discuss our upcoming sermon series? Please email Pastor Valerie or Mike Kiser.

New East + South Life Groups
We are excited to announce the addition of two new life groups in addition to the new Sunday morning group and short-term sexuality & gender discussion groups mentioned above:

East: Tuesdays, 7:30-9:30pm – at the Vogt’s – down the street from the church space. Email Valerie for more info.

South: Every Monday, 6-8pm, meeting at The Thicket at 7800 S. 1st St. (they’ll rotate houses when there’s bad weather). The group will be reading Brian McLaren’s book We Make the Road By Walking. Email Catherine Harper for more info.

Holy Week and Easter Worship

Maundy Thursday, 4/5, 6:30pm Seder Meal to remember Jesus’ last
Passover with his disciples. Sign up with a host home at the service station or on Facebook.

Good Friday 4/6, 6:30-8pm
Stations of the Cross here at Servant Church. You can come and go as you are able, the doors will be open.

Holy Saturday 4/7, 10am Easter Vigil @ Mt. Bonnell
Meet at the top of the stairs.

Easter Sunday Egg Hunt and Breakfast 4/8, 9:30am
We are providing free food for anyone in our neighborhood, an egg hunt for the kiddos on Easter morning, and collecting canned food for the Maplewood Food Pantry. WE NEED LOTS OF HELP! Sign up at the Service Station.

Lenten Service: Clarification

“You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody”

– Bob Dylan

There are many forms of clarification. You can clarify a statement by restating it in more understandable terms. You can clarify an image but taking out the blurs and imperfections. You can clarify butter by melting it down in order to separate the milk solids from the butter fat (Milk solids burn at a lower temperature than the pure butter fat).

For Christians, Lent is a time of clarification; a time of restating, de-bluring, skimming. The what of the clarification, though, is not personal achievement but declaration of service. Who you gonna serve? Lent isn’t a time of past tense. It isn’t a time to live off of former glories and former pledges and deeds well done. It is a precise declaration of the present. Of the need for Easter, of the need for a savior.

The ascetic disciplines of lent are really simply idol testers. Do I worship this idol? I can ask myself a thousand different ways, but once I live without it I will know. It is like the distinction between money and the love of money (as being the root of all evil). How do I know if I love money? How do I know if I love God? My faith is in Christ but am I?

As a church community, we continually clarify our mission and our faith through service. Our service focus for Lent is on Human Trafficking. We have been providing resources during worship as well as decorating our new worship space with images of Human Trafficking from both around the world and in Austin. You can follow more updates and get more information at Freedom Together: Mediations on Slavery and Actions Towards Freedom.

Contribution by Wilson Pruitt

Life Groups, Conversation, and more

We believe God’s good news impacts every part of our lives. So a big part of what we want Servant Church to be is to share the ways we’re trying to listen and live into what God’s doing in our lives and the world.

We have lots of ways to do that. One is the “Life Groups” we’re starting this week. Right now there’s a women’s life group that will meet each Tuesday at 6:30 at Georgia Thompson’s house, and a co-ed group meeting every other Monday at 7:00. Life Groups are a place to share about your hopes and struggles, to ask honest questions of Scripture, and to pray. We’d love to see you there!

Monday Oct. 25 is our next conversation group…we’ll be talking about “what do Christians look like, and why does it matter?” All are welcome; we buy the pizza and we’d love to have you there.

On a related note, while we’re talking about “what Christians look like,” we’d love to hear your thoughts on the recent Austin American-Statesman article about Servant Church; even more, we’d love to hang out with you and share each other’s stories!

Check out the article here.

Weekly worship gatherings start Sept. 26

Servant Church has been forming as a young faith community for several months. Now is an exciting time for us, as we start gathering for worship each Sunday at 11:11. We meet in the fellowship hall at Asbury United Methodist at 1605 East 38 1/2 Street, just east of I-35 from the UT campus. (click for map)

Why do Christians come together to worship? Wherever you are in your faith journey, we believe that we can be more whole and help make the world more whole by coming together, sharing all our diversity – our joys and sorrows, our questions and stories. We come together because we believe that we’re family – broken, yes, but brought together by God’s love. Continue reading