Christians 2004

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2004 Live Oak Christian Fellowship News

December 2004

The UU Christian Fellowship, Austin Chapter, celebrated the Advent season with early morning worship on the four Sundays preceding Christmas. We started with just about a half dozen of us on the first Sunday (Thanksgiving weekend!), but more than a dozen adults and children joined together on the final two Sundays for Christmas hymns, lighting the Advent candles, readings, and prayer.

On December 20, Jeff VanMeter led us in a Gnostic Solstice celebration, an innovative and sacred service.

The UUCF will not host a worship service on the first Sunday in January, which is New Year’s weekend. We will resume our monthly worship services on February 6. We will also have a chapter meeting in February. Please see next month’s newsletter for meeting date and time.

November 2004

The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, Austin Chapter, will hold our monthly worship service at 9:15 am Sunday, November 7, in the church sanctuary. The theme is “Finding God Within” and the service will feature communion, along with inspiration from historic Unitarian, interdenominational, and interfaith sources. All are welcome, including children (child care is not provided).

The first of a series of worship services celebrating the traditional season of Advent will be held at 9:15 am, Sunday, November 28, in the church sanctuary. The theme for the first Sunday is “Hope”. The UU Christian Fellowship is sponsoring these services on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. We will light the candles of the Advent wreath and sing the hymns of the season, with a different theme each week.
 

October 2004

GNOSTIC SERVICE

On Sunday, October 3, the Austin chapter of the UU Christian Fellowship will be presenting a very special and unique worship experience. At 9:15 am, in the sanctuary, we will be presenting a service on the ancient Christian sect known as “gnosticism”. It will include the unique Gnostic Eucharist.

All are welcome.

Please join us for this very special, one-of-a-kind service presented by your friendly neighborhood liberal Christians. For more information, please contact Jeff VanMeter at jlanvan@yahoo.com  or call 693-2259.

The UU Bible Study class, facilitated by Jeff VanMeter, is held on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. This month the class is scheduled for October 10 and 24, in Room 103 of the church at 9:15 am. The book of Genesis will continue to be the topic of study.

The next Fifth Sunday UUCF Prayer Breakfast will be at the church on October 31. All are welcome.

September 2004

The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship Austin Chapter will hold our monthly communion service at 9:15 am, Sunday, September 5th, in the church sanctuary. All are welcome.

On Saturday, September 11th, the UU Christian Fellowship Austin Chapter will meet at 10 am in the Fellowship Hall. Our special guest will be Jon Porter, candidate for 31st District U.S. Representative, who will have a conversation with us about being a UU/liberal Christian running for Congress in culturally and religiously conservative Texas. This is your chance to meet the candidate from your own congregation and ask some questions about this important election. The UUCF and Live Oak Church are religious organizations that do not endorse any candidate for election to public office.

The Austin chapter of the UU Christian Fellowship met Saturday morning, August 21st, at James and Bobbie Hamilton's. The Rev. Kathleen Ellis was kind enough to be our guest and give all who had not yet done so the opportunity to meet Live Oak Church's new Minister of Congregational Life. It was noted that Live Oak and the local UUCF are lucky to have two ministers who have been so supportive of the chapter's founding and existence and of theological diversity in the church. Nine people, including First UU Church members and newcomers, were present for a wide-ranging discussion of topics. One suggestion arising from our discussion was to develop a program to assist other congregations in addressing the dynamics of the liberal Christian presence in their church communities, much as was initiated at Live Oak last year by Chuck Freeman. Discussion will continue on this topic

August 2004

Come join the Live Oak UU Bible Study, as we read and learn from these important texts and scriptures from a new, fresh, and (hopefully) stimulating perspective. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Sunday of every month at 9:15 am in Room 103. For more information, please contact Jeff VanMeter at jlanvan@yahoo.com , visit the Bible Studies e-list at www.groups.yahoo.com/groups/liveoakuubiblestudy  or look for the “Man in the Black Hat” on Sundays.

Please join the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, Austin Chapter, on Sunday, August 1 at 9:15 am for a special Mary Magdalene service, whose traditional feast day is July 22. This service has been enthusiastically and lovingly prepared by women of the congregation. This will be a communion service and all are welcome at the table. “[T]he question has to be asked: was this marginalized and maligned woman actually Jesus’ true successor and not Peter…?” (from Mary Magdalene by Lynn Pickett)

 The Austin UUCF will meet on Saturday, August 21 at 10 am at the James and Bobbie Hamilton residence. Our special guest will be the Rev. Kathleen Ellis, for conversation and discussion with the group. Chapter business will be discussed briefly. All interested are welcome to attend. Contact James Hamilton, jacobus@juno.com or 257-2912 for further information.

July 2004

IMPORTANT REMINDER: The UU Christian Fellowship will NOT hold our monthly worship service on July 4, since so many of our members will be out of town. Our next service will be on Sunday, August 1, at 9:15 am.

The UUCF Austin Chapter met Saturday, June 12, at the home of James and Bobbie Hamilton. Members of the Live Oak and First UU churches were present. We concluded our discussion of the 8 Points of Progressive Christianity and decided to affiliate with the Center for Progressive Christianity as soon as we raise the suggested group membership dues of $50. We also decided to continue discussing the prospect of affiliating independently with Austin Area Interreligious Ministries. This would be in addition to our home congregations’ current affiliations with AAIM.

We have invited the Rev. Kathleen Ellis, in her new capacity as minister at Live Oak, to be our special guest for a meeting of conversation, questions, and discussion. This meeting is tentatively scheduled for late August. We have also invited Jon Porter, candidate for 31st District U.S. Representative, for a conversation on being a UU/liberal Christian running for public office in a region where the influence of the Radical Religious Right is pervasive. The date and location of this meeting is still to be announced.

For more information, see our pages on the Live Oak website, www.liveoakuu.org, or the national UUCF website, www.uua.org/uucf. We also have a Yahoogroups email list with a web page. Contact James Hamilton, jacobus8@juno.com, if interested.

BIBLE STUDY GROUP FORMED

Come join in a detailed examination of the text, history, and language of the Bible from a neutral perspective. Meetings will be on the second and fourth Sunday of every month at 9:15 am. All are welcome.

Jeff Van Meter

 

June 2004

The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, Austin Chapter, will hold our monthly worship service with communion at 9:15 am, Sunday, June 6, at the church. All are welcome.

        On Saturday, June 12 at 10 am, the Austin UUCF will meet at the home of James and Bobbie Hamilton, 8005 Cahill Drive, to discuss topics old and new. Call or email for directions: 257-2912 or jacobus8@juno.com.

        On Sunday, June 13 and June 27, Jeff Van Meter will facilitate the first two in a series of semimonthly Bible Study classes. The class will meet at 9:15 am in Room 103.

May 2004

The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, Austin Chapter, will sponsor our monthly communion service on Sunday, May 2, at 9:15 am in the sanctuary. All are welcome.

On Saturday, May 15, UUCF will meet in Room 103 at the church. We will continue the discussion of The Eight Points of Progressive Christianity we began in March. All are welcome. Contact James Hamilton at jacobus8@juno.com  or 257-2912 for further information.

Our special Easter Vigil service on Saturday evening, April 10, was attended by 24 people, including 6 children. Because of the weather, the entire service was conducted in the sanctuary. The service was adapted primarily from the King’s Chapel Unitarian Christian liturgy, but also drew upon other sources. The “Christ candle” was lit and processed through the sanctuary, and the people lit individual candles from the Christ candle and placed them in the joys and concerns bowl. Readings included a responsive Psalm, a brief Gospel passage, and several contemporary authors to help interpret the Easter experience in the 21st century. We shared bread and wine in communion before the service concluded with the traditional celebratory declaration, “Christ is risen,” which reflects our faith that life and love are stronger than death and despair.

March 2004

The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship will sponsor a communion worship service Sunday, March 7, at 9:15 am in the sanctuary. All are welcome.

The UUCF will also meet on Saturday, March 20, at 10:00 am in Room 103. We will discuss the “Eight Principles of Progressive Christianity” formulated by the Center for Progressive Christianity, followed by any outstanding chapter business.

February 2004

The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship will sponsor a lay-led communion service on the first Sunday of each month at 9:15 am in the sanctuary. Our next service will be on February 1, when we will observe Candlemas, a traditional festival of light that looks back on the Christmas-Epiphany celebrations and anticipates the coming of the Lenten season and Easter. Communion is open to all and children are welcome.

The UUCF will also meet on Saturday, February 14, at 10 am in Room 103. Our topic of discussion will be prayer: what it means to us personally. Is it an appeal to an intervening personal God? Is it an expression of our hope and love in which we seek to change our own lives and those who listen? Or does it affect the lives of those near and far in ways that neither ancient nor modern world views can fully explain? How is prayer a meaningful spiritual practice for us?

At our last meeting in January a small group of us discussed our personal christologies. It was not just a discussion of theology and biblical studies, but was as much a sharing of personal spirituality. Although there were few of us, we represented three UU congregations – two in Austin and one in Houston

January 2004

The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship (UUCF) will sponsor a communion service at the church Sunday, January 4, at 9:15 am. This service coincides with the traditional holy day of Epiphany (January 6) that closes the Christmas season. Along with liturgy, hymns, and readings, a short homily will be given. Communion is open to all and children are welcome.

The UUCF will host a meeting at the church on Saturday, January 10, at 10 am. The topic for discussion will be "Your Own Personal Jesus" - what each of us thinks and believes about the historical Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels, Jesus Christ, the mystical Christ, the Cosmic Christ, etc., and what that means to us. Bring along any books on the subject that you've found helpful and any favorite Gospel readings (including the "lost" non-canonical gospels).

On Saturday, November 8, we had a special meeting at the church with the Reverend Ron Robinson, executive director of the national UU Christian Fellowship. With about a dozen people present, Ron briefly explained the UUCF's history, dating back to 1945, and described the other UU Christian groups (Council of Christian Churches in the UUA (CXCUUA) and the Magi Network). In his view, the UUCF is an organization for those who want to have a serious conversation about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the relationship of all of these to our culture. He believes our mission is, first, to witness to the importance of Christian beliefs to liberal religion, and second, to witness to the importance of liberal religion to Christianity.

Ron answered questions about:

bulletwidely varying beliefs among UU Christians about Jesus and life after death,
bullethostility to Christians in UU congregations (he sees less of it nowadays)
bulletwhy one should be a UU Christian (as opposed to joining another church)
bulletthe need many of us have for reverence in worship and spiritual practice, and
bulletthe place of God in UU churches and dealing with disagreements about it.

Several of us felt a sense of renewal and hopefulness after our discussion. Ron was the guest speaker that Sunday for the church's morning worship, after leading a communion service sponsored by our local UUCF.

Starting on November 30, for four Sundays our Austin UUCF sponsored an early morning worship service celebrating Advent, the season leading up to Christmas. An average of about 20 adults and children gathered each Sunday to light candles in the Advent wreath, sing traditional Christmas hymns, listen to readings, and join together in the liturgy and prayer. Many in our fellowship actively participated to make these services inspiring experiences for us. Offerings taken on the 2nd and 4th Sundays bought children's gifts for the church's Giving Tree program (2nd Sunday) or were donated to the Christmas Bureau (4th Sunday).

 

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