Weekly e-communications from University Presbyterian Church  December 18, 2018
DECEMBER 23, 2018

Pastor Krystal Leedy preaches on the canticle of Mary.


Matt Gaventa's sermon on the second Sunday in Advent:

" Two Coats "

You can find other UPC sermons at
Bring your favorite Christmas treat to the Great Hall December 24, 4:30 p.m., to share and enjoy fellowship. Children are invited to choose a costume for the instant pageant that will take place during the 5:30 pm Christmas Eve service. Free parking, University Co-op Garage. Invite friends and bring your extended family!
Celebrate the birth of the Messiah in a special candlelight service at UPC on Christmas Eve. Our early service at 5:30 p.m. includes an “instant pageant” with the children of UPC. At 8:00 p.m., our candlelight service includes communion and a candlelight procession to the courtyard. O come, let us adore him!
As Pastor Matt said in last week's sermon, many of us spend time in search of the perfect gift — the gift that communicates to friends and family how much we know and love them. We search our memories for indications of what gift might cause the faces of our loved ones to light up. We scour the stores and shops, hoping to come across the thing that will communicate a depth of love that our words cannot.

As important as gifts to loved ones are, we have an opportunity to give gifts that help many people we do not know through the Christmas Joy Offering. These gifts in particular draw us back to the manger and God’s perfect gift to us — Jesus Christ. Jesus came to live among us, bringing light into darkness, and reconciliation to God and to one another. A perfect gift from a gracious God.

During this Christmas and Advent Season, we celebrate leadership — past, present and future — through support of the Christmas Joy Offering. We do so because church leaders greatly impact our lives of faith, walking with us down the path to be more like Jesus. We want those church leaders and their families who find themselves grappling with a critical financial need to have the resources they need which are provided through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions. We also support the offering to help our future leaders in the church and world, like those educated at our Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. Supporting these students helps the whole church develop leaders who reflect the wideness of God’s intended diversity. For those supported through the Christmas Joy Offering, this help is truly a gift from above. May our gifts, and the leaders who receive them, point us always to the truth of the one whose birth we celebrate, Jesus Christ — the truly perfect gift.

Please give generously:

To learn more about the Christmas Joy Offering, please visit:

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary presents an Advent performance of
Olivier Messiaen's La Nativite du Seigneur "The Birth of the Lord"
Nine meditations for organ

Eric Wall, organist
Assistant Professor of Sacred Music
and Dean of the Chapel, Austin Seminary
wirh reflections by Austin Seminary Students

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
7:30 p.m.
University Presbyterian Church Sanctuary

This past weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel back to St. Meinrad Archabbey in Southern Indiana to complete my year and a half long novitiate and become a Benedictine Oblate.

Wow, that's a lot to process. Let me back up. I first came to be aware of St. Meinrad Archabbey as a part of a doctoral research project on praying the liturgy of the hours (or, as we Presbyterians call it, Daily Prayer). I had read all I could read on the subject and decided I needed to immerse myself in a community where the hours of prayer are lived on a daily basis. A good friend and pastoral mentor of mine, Fr. Larry Covington of St. Teresa's Catholic Church here in Austin, offered to escort me to St. Meinrad, his alma mater, in the summer of 2017. As I did some advance research on St. Meinrad, I stumbled across their Oblate program. An Oblate is a person who chooses to offer his or her life up to God in a special way. To be a Benedictine Oblate means that I make an intentional set of promises to God that order the way I live and work in the world. In return, Oblates become members of a particular Benedictine community and receive support, prayers, resources, and the blessings of fellowship with the monks and other Oblates.

When I visited the Archabbey last year, I took time out from my research to interview with the Oblate director and became a Oblate Novice. The Novitiate is a year long process of study, prayer, and reflection guided by the Novice Master of the monastery. This past Saturday, I completed my Novitiate and made my vows alongside several other new Oblates in a special service presided over by the abbot of the monastery. It is an honor to join a community of over 1,500 other Benedictine Oblates in the United States and to be in fellowship with the monks of St. Meinrad. 

Being a Benedictine Oblate requires I commit to three promises and five duties. The three promises are
  • Stability of Heart
  • Fidelity to the Spirit of the Monastic Life, and
  • Obedience to the Will of God

The five duties are
  • Praying the liturgy of the hours
  • Being formed by the Rule of St. St. Benedict
  • Practicing lectio divina
  • Participating in the sacramental life of my church, and
  • Seeking the active presence of God in my life

While each of the promises and duties can be explained in much further detail, I want to be sure to let you know that none of these commitments conflict with my ordination or vocation as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and, in fact, only enhance my ability to maintain a healthy inner spiritual life in the midst of my pastoral duties. On Sundays when UPC is celebrating a sacrament, you'll see me wearing a slightly different style of vestment to reflect my monastic affiliation.

Oblates (and monks) also choose the name of a saint to incorporate into their baptismal name. I chose the name Chrysostom, from St. John Chrysostom, the 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople who was a renown liturgist and teacher. My name is now John Douglas Chrysostom Leedy (say that five times fast). I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about my being a Benedictine Oblate, Benedictine spirituality, or my time at St. Meinrad Archabbey. If you would like to know what my discipline of praying the liturgy of the hours looks like, turn in your Glory to God hymnal in the pew on Sunday to page 23 and check out the Daily Prayer offices. For more information about St. Meinrad Archabbey, visit saintmeinrad.org .

I am grateful to UPC for the opportunity to be spiritually nourished by this new addition to my vocational identity, to the monastic community of St. Meinrad Archabbey for their hospitality and confraternity, and to God for calling women and men into ever deepening relationships with the incarnate Christ in surprising and joyful ways. 

The Reverend John Douglas Chrysostom Leedy, OblSB
As the year draws to a close, please note that contributions to the 2018 operating budget must be postmarked by December 31. Contact Trudi Capotosto if you have questions about your 2018 pledge. And, thank you for your generosity!
We have scheduled a clean and shiny day for Saturday, January 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. We will be focusing on removing all Christmas decorations from the sanctuary, central courtyard, and the decorations through out the rest of the church. We really need your help because we have a memorial service in the sanctuary later in the afternoon, and it is important that the sanctuary be back in order in time for that service.

Please email or call Frank at the church office if you can help make our church ready for the new semester in the new year. Lunch will be provided, along with the usual coffee and donuts. Thank you!
UPLift has concluded its program for 2018, and the team is busy planning for a successful 2019. We could especially use H-E-B cards and snack bars to start January off right!
To make the soup that is served each week, we use 

  • 8 (14-oz) cans or 4 (28-oz) cans of diced tomatoes   
  • 3 to 4 (10-oz) cans of Rotel tomatoes
  • bag of rice
  • Leftover ham bones (Leave in downstairs freezer)

For peanut butter sandwiches:
  • jars of preserves or jelly

Thank you!!!!

The loosely organized UPC Panhandle Presbyterian Professionals, natives from the frozen north, are issuing a challenge to other UPC members (and friends) to remember Micah 6 for end of year donations. The PPP will match donations up to $2000, the amount needed to provide 3 weeks of food for the pantry. With your help, UPC can provide 6 weeks of food or more if the challenge is met or exceeded.

The PPP is led by Max Sherman; he is joined by George Henderson, Ken McWilliams, Lee Helms, and the Wofford Boys, David and Marvin. An ex-officio honorary member is former UPC pastor San Williams.

Please make checks payable to Micah 6 of Austin, write "PPP Challenge" in the memo line, and drop off in the Micah 6 mailbox in the UPC office. Thank you!
Sundays, 9:30 a.m.
Room 201, Upper Level

December 2 – 23, 2018
Advent draws us into a time of reflection, thanksgiving, and joy. We will be asking four questions to guide our reflections.

December 23: Bill Gaventa What Child Is This? “Who do you say that I am?” 

Join us for coffee and conversation at 9:15 a.m., with presentation and discussion beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Advent: Incarnation & Compassion
Parenting & Faith
Sundays 9:30 a.m.
Room 1, Lower Level

We're thrilled to welcome Dr. Bill Greenway to the Parenting & Faith class for three weeks beginning Sunday, December 2, for a new series entitled "Advent: Incarnation & Compassion."

Dr. Greenway is the Professor of Philosophical Theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, a fellow UPC parent, and is a speaker not to miss! Join us as we take a deeper look into what Advent and the coming of Jesus Christ is all about.
The Present Word
Room 3
Lower Level
Sundays 9:30 a.m .

The Present Word winter quarter topic is "Our Love for God." As we were taught as children, "We love because God first loved us." The lessons in this quarter challenge us to examine what this amazing grace means for each of us and what God's love may be calling us to do as individuals and as a church. We would love to have you come learn, share and pray with us.
Please pray for

The family of Barbara Engstrom, who died December 14, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. A memorial service celebrating Barbara's life will be held in the UPC sanctuary Saturday, January 5, 2019. An obituary may be found here.

Julia Wynn, who will have minor surgery on her shoulder this Thursday, December 20, 2018.

from Suzanne Freeman:
Thank you for your prayers for my friend Dan. He died peacefully this morning in Tacoma. His family was at his bedside. Please pray for them as they go through this time. Dan, his family, and I have been close friends since I was 18 and he was 22. I will miss him so much.
If you'd like to be part of UPC's Prayer Chain, please  email the church office . You will receive emails asking that you pray specifically for people who have requested to be on the prayer list.
To request prayers for yourself or a loved one, email   upc@upcaustin.org .
To have a deacon pray with you, look for the  Deacon of the Day  on the pulpit side front of the sanctuary any Sunday following the postlude.
To download the Celebrations and Concerns folder for Sunday, December 16, 2018, click here . You may also pick up a copy outside the church office or in the narthex.