topE-Link Newsletter | November 13, 2013  

From Your Pastor...



This Saturday I'll be taking part in the ordination of John Russell Strange, a soon-to-be Presbyterian minister whom I have never met. I've talked to John on the phone, though. About a month ago he called and explained that he was working for Presbyterian Welcome (a national organization dedicated to full inclusion of LGBTQ people into the life and ministry of the Presbyterian Church USA), and that he was about to be ordained in Mission Presbytery at Central Presbyterian Church.

When that service happens on Saturday, John will be the first openly gay person ordained as a minister in Mission Presbytery, a regional body of 152 churches located from the Hill Country all the way south to the Rio Grande Valley.

John invited me to be part of his ordination service as a way of "closing the circle." Seven years ago I was the first openly gay person approved to become a Candidate for Ministry in the presbytery, but because the rules of the national church had not changed, my approval was overturned by the highest church court.

I told John I was greatly touched by his invitation and would be honored to take part in the service. When I asked what part he wanted me to prepare, he said without hesitation, "I think you should lead the Confession. I think that's important."

I totally get why he thinks so....


                                                                                                 Read more ...

In This Issue
Sunday Morning Worship
Love to Cook?
Transgender Day of Rememberance
Cancer Support Group
Thanksgiving Potluck
Midlife Spirituality Retreat
MCC People of African Descent Conference
Our Prayers

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What's Happening at MCC Austin?



  17     Worship at 9 & 11 am

  20     Transgender Day of Remembrance

            24     Worship at 9 & 11 am

            26     Cancer Support Group

            28     Thanksgiving Day 

Sunday Morning Worship sundayworship



Worship at 9:00 and 11:00 am


Four Hot Men
Rev. Karen Thompson


Scripture: Daniel 1:3-9 

 Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king's palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king's court. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.


But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master.



*ASL Interpretation for the 11:00 service is available upon request. Please send your requests via email to the church office.  

Last Week for Socktoberfest


This is the last week for you to participate in MCC Austin's Socktoberfest. Socktoberfest Sock Drive helps support homeless people in Austin. Bring packages of new socks and put them in the box in the Sanctuary. Clean socks mean healthy feet and that is a huge blessing for people whose feet are their primary mode of transportation. Thank you for helping us be God's love to our community!


Love To Cook?


If you love to bake or cook, please consider sharing your gifts with our Sunday Morning Food ministry. Volunteers are needed to help with hospitality after each worship service. You can help by bringing food to share or help out occasionally on Sunday mornings with set-up or clean-up. This is an important way our church welcomes people each week. Please contact Julie Fielder-Kamerer for more information.



Transgender Day of RemembranceTDOR


The Transgender Education Network of Texas will host the 12th annual TDoR in Austin on November 20, 2013 at the Austin City Hall Plaza at 7pm.  The theme will be "Remembering Our Dead, and Celebrating Our Living."


Cancer Support Groupcancersupport


cancersupport MCC Austin's Cancer Support Group will meet again on Tuesday, November 26 at 7 pm. The group is open to those recovering from or affected by cancer. Through mutual support in a Christian self-help format, participants will be able to share cancer-related experiences, strengths and hopes. The group is open to GLBTQ people and allies who are church members/attenders, friends, or family members, whether survivors or caregivers. The Group meets in a member's home in North Austin. If you are interested in attending or would like more information, please call the church office or email the Cancer Support Group leaders.



Thanksgiving Potluckpotluck


Join us for MCC Austin's family Thanksgiving dinner. We will have a Potluck dinner at 1:00 pm. Please email Carly Diaz or Kathryn Lunsford for more information.    


 Midlife Spirituality Retreat on December 14midlife 

 Midlife Spirituality Retreat


With Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West

Saturday, December 14 from 9 am - Noon

Cost: $10 per person*


Aging is more than biology, it is a spiritual journey too--from the womb to the grave, God is always issuing spiritual invitations. More than any other time in our aging journey, mid-life is full of spiritual invitations. At mid-life, we move out of the first half of our lives in which we established ourselves in a career and doing the things the world requires, into a second adulthood in which we are invited to do our soul work and offer our gifts to the world. In this interactive half-day retreat we will use scripture, music, poetry and story to explore the spiritual themes of mid-life. This retreat will be led by Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West at MCC Austin on Saturday, December 14 from 9 am - Noon. Cost is $10 per person*.


*Scholarships available upon request.

Be the Change: MCC PAD Conference 2014change


The MCC Conference for People of African Descent (PAD) & Our Friends and Allies will be held May 15-17, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme for the 2014 PAD Conference is "Be the Change" reflecting MCC's commitment to Transforming Ourselves as We Transform the World. There will be amazing programming, soul-stirring worship, and informing plenaries on a wide range of topics that will support churches, clergy, and other leaders in becoming even more diverse and inclusive. To find out more and to register for this conference, please use the conference link:


Since 1998, each PAD Conference has been dedicated to achieving our mission:


To provide a groundbreaking ministry experience for People of African Descent, their families and their allies within MCC that inspires all who are involved to continue their individual and shared journeys toward creating a truly inclusive spiritual community committed to social justice for all.


Everyone is welcome to attend. If a person is descended from the indigenous peoples of Africa, he/she is a Person of African Descent. It does not matter if that person was born, lived, or grew up in the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the Asian-Pacific or Africa. "Families, friends, allies, and loved ones" include anyone who is connected to the PAD community, whether as a lover, a parent, child, co-worker, friend, or someone interested in striving with us to build the "beloved community." Our hope is simply that all who attend the Conference do so because they love, respect and want to join us on our journey toward diversity and inclusion!


Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of MCC, says:

Attending this conference is important to me because People of African Descent in MCC are important to me and to the future of our Fellowship. The gifts and ministry of People of African Descent need to be celebrated, uplifted, and increased! 

From Your Pastor (continued) fromyourpastor


Too many of us who are LGBTQ have been assaulted by those who believe our sexuality and gender expression are an affront to God. Too often we've been urged to "confess" our "sin" of homosexuality and turn from our "sinful" ways. It will be healing to have one of us lead the congregation in a confession that is not offered to satisfy each others' ideas of morality or meet each others' expectations of right behavior. It will be a blessing to offer a confession to God that is not coerced or demanded, but is simply a faithful response to our scriptures: "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed" (James 5:16). It will be a blessing to take on the healthy humility (as opposed to unhealthy shame) that comes from acknowledging before one another and God that we have made choices that hurt instead of helped, that we have criticized instead of encouraged, hoarded or wasted all kinds of resources rather than shared them. It will be a blessing to acknowledge that we are all human, all precious, all flawed, all in-process, and all created in the amazing diversity of God's image.


The best part of all is that after we offer our confession, we will offer each other the assurance that when we confess our failings, God who is faithful and just forgives us wholly, totally, perfectly.     That is very good news for today, for Saturday, and for every day.

Peace and Grace, 

        karen sig 5-4-11

Rev. Karen Thompson

Senior Pastor

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In Our Prayers...
  • For all the people affected by the typhoon in the Philippines 
  • For MCC Austin's building project
  • For our Transgender brothers and sisters
  • The ministry of MCC churches around the world
  • For all the people in the Austin area who have been affected by flooding this past week
  • For all who struggle with nicotine addiction and their loved ones

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