Resurrection Celebration is this Sunday!
First Church News & Updates - March 16, 2018

We begin Holy Week on Sunday. It is a time to commemorate and enact the suffering and death of Jesus Christ leading up to the glory of the resurrection on Easter. Read more about all of the worship opportunities below and join us during this special time.

Don't forget...our final spring cleanup days are today and tomorrow. We appreciate all those who have helped with cleaning, weeding, mulching and more!

Enjoy this First Church News!
This week in worship...
Sermon Series

Lenten Sermon Series: Metamorphosis
At the touch of Christ, lives change - spiritually, emotionally, physically and relationally. Sometimes our lives change quickly and sometimes slowly over time, but the difference is often striking. With that in mind, during the Sundays of Lent and Easter, we will be preaching from the miracles of Jesus, culminating in the difference the cross and the resurrection makes for us personally and for the whole world. The goal of this series is for each of us to have a metamorphosis of our that we become witnesses of Christ's life-changing power.  Metamorphosis  will be a series you won't want to miss!

Sermon: " Unashamed"
Scripture:   Luke 9:18-27

Dr. Will Cotton will preach at the 8:30, 9:40 and 11 am worship services. Rev. Van Dickens will be the liturgist at 8:30 and 11 am. The Alleluia Chorus children's choir will sing at the sanctuary services.

The Source , our weekly devotional guide, is available on the  church website Please join us in worship this weekend...Sunday at 8:30 am (Sanctuary), 9:40 am (Family Life Center) or 11 am (Sanctuary).
Words from Will...Saying farewell to Rev. Dr. Beverly Jones
Thanks, Beverly!
This Sunday, before and after the 11 am service (meaning also after Sunday School and CrossRoads), the Staff Parish Relations Committee will be hosting a reception to honor the outstanding ministry of the Rev. Dr. Beverly Jones. Last month, Beverly made her announcement that she was taking a Medical Leave of Absence following her recent bout with cancer and treatment. Thanks to early detection, she is cancer free and in that we
Rev. Dr. Beverly Jones
rejoice. But the recovery from treatment remains. She is also discerning what her next steps in life and ministry will be. We all grieve that Beverly will no longer be serving on staff, but we fully support her in doing what is best for her health.

On a personal note, one of my great privileges in coming to First Church has been to serve with Beverly. She and I became probationary members in the New Mexico Conference together and served as colleagues even when she was in campus ministry at Southwestern. At that same time, she was attending First UMC Round Rock as her home congregation. So her history with you and me goes back a long way!  Beverly served as District Superintendent in El Paso from 2007-2009 and lived in the same parsonage as Tina and I did from 2001-2003.

As a church, we have been blessed by her loving and congenial manner, her insightful preaching, her inductive way of teaching, and her open caring heart and ear to many of us, both on staff and in the congregation. On the pastoral team, she has been the one to help us not take ourselves too seriously (with surprising zingers you don't expect because of her classy style), to consider things we might have overlooked, and to encourage us on the basics of our ministry. Her nearly four years on staff have touched us all and we are grateful to God in more ways than we can express.

Make sure and drop by the reception outside the sanctuary to join me in saying thanks to Beverly for ministry well done!

Sincerely in Christ,
Will Cotton Signature
Dr. Will Cotton
Senior Pastor

Beverly Jones Reception

Experience Holy Week at First Church
Palm Sunday

We hope you will join us in worship on Palm Sunday, final Sunday of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week, as we commemorate the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.
Resurrection Celebration

Resurrection Celebration is this Sunday! Children and families will experience five stations where volunteers will be in costume portraying someone who was present during Holy Week. Look for Lewis the Donkey in the courtyard to begin the celebration. In order to avoid waiting, please sign up for a start time!
Maundy Thursday

This year our  Maundy Thursday service will be a come and go service of remembering and receiving the touch of Jesus' ultimate love as he faced the cross. All are invited to come to the Sanctuary anytime between 7 and 8 pm on Maundy Thursday for prayer and reflection. Brian Batch will share his gift of music which will form the backdrop for this time to draw near to Christ in the events of Jesus' life and ministry. There will be special focus on the Last Supper, Jesus washing his disciples' feet and the power of anointing in Jesus' ministry. Childcare will be available in Bldg. 2-B.
Good Friday

Our students will be leading the congregation in our  Good Friday service. This will be a contemplative worship service that will combine drama, reading, music, and communion.  In the season of Advent, we light candles as we anticipate the coming of our savior.  In this reverse Advent service we will extinguish candles as we prepare our hearts and minds for his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Childcare will be available in Bldg. 2-B.
Easter Sunday
  • 9 and 11 am: Traditional worship in the Sanctuary
  • 9 and 11 am: Contemporary worship in the Family Life Center
In order to offer families the opportunity to worship together, there will be no Bible Buddies or Children's Sunday School on Easter Sunday. Childcare for 2 years and younger will be in Bldg. 2-C during all services. There will also be no Sunday School for youth and adults. The Twin Oaks Cafe will not be open on Easter Sunday. In order to improve traffic flow, we will have two buses running shuttle service from the Texas Baptist Children's Home, 1101 North Mays, beginning at 8 am.

Flowering Cross
Help bring our flowering cross to full bloom!
Everyone is invited to bring fresh, cut flowers on Easter morning to create our flowering cross. The cross will be prominently placed outside the church so that flowers can be placed on the mesh frame, as a sign and witness to the joy and beauty of our Easter proclamation, Christ Is Risen!

Easter Sunday is an amazing celebratory time at First Church. We encourage you to invite your family and friends to join you in worship.

Alleluia. Christ is risen!
Spring Forward in April
Spring Forward

The Spring season is a crucially important time in the life of First Church...Easter, Confirmation, preparations for Vacation Bible School, music and youth mission trips, as well as maintenance of our outstanding facilities. It is a time when expenses for operations go up. Cash flow so far this year is lagging and your help is needed. Every gift large and small helps. The Finance Committee wants to offer a challenge to our congregation to make April our Spring Forward month. This is an effort that pays the salaries, keeps the lights on, keeps us cool, and helps First Church do what it does best - share the love of God in Jesus Christ!

During this time of preparation, when we are awaiting the arrival of new pastors and a new director of Handbell Ministry, as well as the launch of Vision 2025, it is important to keep on praying, keeping on being present, keep on serving and keep on giving. We have five Sundays in April to make a powerful difference in ministry. Let's Spring Forward together!
Spotlight on...Retired Clergy-in-Residence
Retired Clergy-in-Residence are Bridging the Gap!
We are blessed to have several retired clergy who call First Church home and they are stepping up
Rev. Barb Hart
during this time of transition to support and fill many pastoral responsibilities such as pastoral support in the office, assisting and officiating during worship, hospital/homebound visitation, and clergy connection to various church ministries. Retired clergy include Rev. Van Dickens, Rev. Kathy Clark-Dickens, Rev. John Clifford, Rev. Marion Childress-Usher and Rev. Barb Hart.

Let's see how Rev. Barb Hart will be assisting.

Rev. Barb Hart will be assisting with congregational care and Holy Communion. Barb is also involved in planning the Maundy Thursday service and will assist in other worship services.

We appreciate the gifts and graces that Barb shares with First Church. 

When you see any of our retired clergy, please take a moment to thank them!
Ministry Focus
Children's Ministry
Twin Oaks Cafe
Children's Ministry will be staffing the Twin Oaks Cafe in April
The Twin Oaks Cafe is staffed by a different ministry/mission group each month and April is the month for Children's Ministry. All proceeds from the cafe will benefit Vacation Bible School 2018. We need some volunteers. If you can spare a couple of hours on a Sunday morning, we would love to have your help.

More from Children's Ministries...  
Student Ministry
Sunday, March 25
6 - 8 pm

Join us on Sunday, March 25 in the Family Life Center for dinner, games, worship and small groups. We meet at 6 pm for pizza ($3), followed by games and worship. This week we are going to be exploring the hope that comes from the death and resurrection of Jesus.Following worship we will meet with our small groups for discussion in Building 5. Come and bring a friend!
More from Student Ministries...  
Adult Ministry
JOY Senior Fellowship

JOY Fellowship Day Trip to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens
  • Date: April 16, 2018
  • Time: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
  • Cost: $5 for bus; $10 entrance fee
  • Lunch: Lunch on your own at Tomatillos Café Y Cantina
Registration is due by Thursday, April 12, 2018. Click here to registerFor more information, contact Ann Bell,, or 512-240-5252 (H), 512-876-6986(M).
UMM Spring Retreat
UMM Spring Retreat April 4 - 8
The Spring Retreat will be at the Lakehouse at Willow Point Resort on Lake Buchanan. It is a come and go event with charges only for the time actually spent, so please plan to come even if you are not able to participate the full number of days. Activities include eating, domino playing, fishing, reading, napping, tall tale telling, and there are nearby golf courses as well. For more info, contact Steve Oltmanns at 512-636-6299 or
Book Study
New Sunday school study begins April 8
Half Truths...God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn't Say , by Adam Hamilton.  Everything happens for a reason. God helps those who help themselves. God won't give you more than you can handle. All true? Not so fast! These statements capture some element of truth, yet miss the point in important ways. In  this study , we will compare common Christian clichés to the message and ministry of Jesus. Join us on   Sundays, 9:40 am, Bldg. 5- 136. Contact Debby Utley, for information.  All are welcome.
More from Adult Ministries...
  • Women's Book Club: April 3, 11:30 am in Bldg. 5-127. Current book is 
    Before We Were Yours  by Lisa Wingate.
MIssion Focus
Heifer Project

Progress report on the Heifer Project

Our Elementary Sunday School classes all selected an animal as their goal to purchase during this spring mission and are working steadily toward their goals. Several classes have met their initial goals and have set second and even third goals! Many thanks also to generous donations from congregation members who have given to support this Children's Ministry mission.

Heifer Update

Click to learn more about how the  Heifer Project empowers families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity.
Other Mission Opportunities...
This week at First Church
Saturday, March 24
  • 9:00 am - Spring Scrub-a-dub Day, Church campus
Sunday, March 25 - Palm Sunday
  • 8:30, 9:40 and 11 am - Worship Services
  • 8:30 am - LifeGroup-Spiritual Growth, Bldg. 4- Rm 2
  • 9:30 am - Resurrection Celebration, church campus
  • 11:00 am - Life Groups, Bldg. 5-124, 148, & 222
  • 11:40 am - Alleluia Chorus Children's Choir, Bldg. 4-2
  • 5:00 pm - Youth Choir, South Suite
  • 6:00 pm - FUSION, Bldg. 3/FLC
Monday, March 26
  • 4:00 pm - Kids of the Kingdom Bells rehearsal, Bldg. 3/FLC
  • 6:30 pm - Vision Core Team, Bldg. 5-127
  • 7:00 pm - Boy Scout Troop #157, Bldg. 3/FLC
  • 7:00 pm - Adult Christian Education meeting, Bldg. 5-124
March 27
  • 8:30 am - UMM Tuesday Breakfast group, Juárez Restaurant on South Mays
  • 8:45 am - Ring of Joy rehearsal, North Suite
  • 9:30 am - Women's Bible Study, Bldg. 5-122
  • 9:30 am - First Church Crafters, 115 Winsted
  • 12:30 pm - Brown Bag Theologians, Bldg. 5-124
  • 7:00 pm - Community Bible Study, Bldg. 5-223/224
  • 7:00 pm - Church Council, Bldg. 5-124
  • 7:00 pm - Council Oak Bells, North Suite 
Wednesday, March 28
  • 6:15 am - UMM Breakfast, fellowship, & devotional, FLC/Bldg.3
  • 9:30 am - Disciple Bible Studies, Bldg. 5
  • 9:30 am - Women's Bible Study, Bldg. 5-232/234
  • 5:00 pm - Revelation Ringers Tins, FLC-East Cry Room
  • 5:00 pm - Revelation Ringers Bronze, North Suite 
  • 6:00 pm - HeartSong Choir rehearsal, South Suite
  • 6:00 pm - Writers Group, Bldg. 5-119
  • 6:30 pm - Disciple Bible Studies, Bldg. 5
  • 6:30 pm - Women's Bible Study, Bldg. 5-232/234
  • 7:00 pm - Jubilation Bell rehearsal, North Suite
  • 7:15 pm - Chancel Choir rehearsal, South Suite
Thursday, March 29 - Maundy Thursday
  • 9:30 am - Heart to Heart Quilters, 115 Winsted
  • 7:00 pm - Maundy Thursday worship, Sanctuary
Friday, March 30 - Good Friday, church office will be closed
  • 9:30 am - Ministry of Motherhood (MOM), Bldg. 5-232/234
  • 7:00 pm - Good Friday worship, Family Life Center/Bldg. 3
  • 8:00 pm - Narcotics Anonymous-Right Stuff, Bldg. 4
Saturday, March 31
  • 9:00 am - Easter Choir & Orchestra rehearsal, Sanctuary

There is always a lot going on at First Church. Visit the website, find us on Facebook or Twitter, and check the  Church Calendar so you don't miss out! 
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