e-communications from University Presbyterian Church  December 18, 2019
DECEMBER 22, 2019


Reverend Matt Gaventa preaches about experiencing Advent
through the sense of smell.
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The Chancel Choir sings a French carol arranged by Andrew Carter: “A Maiden Most Gentle”.  An ensemble from the choir sings Phil Mattson’s setting of “Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming”.
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December 8, 2019, Pastor Matt Gaventa

December 1, 2019, Pastor Krystal Leedy

November 24, 2019, Pastor Matt Gaventa

November 17, 2019, Pastor Matt Gaventa

November 10, 2019, Pastor Matt Gaventa

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The season of Advent is filled with anticipation and joy as we prepare for the coming Christ child. Our Longest Night service is a recognition that, alongside all of its joyful expectation, Advent can also be a painful time for those of us grieving friends and family members or other losses. So we will gather in worship Wednesday, December 18, 7:30 p.m., in Fellowship Hall for a simple service of music, scripture, and poetry and, a chance, to mourn together even as we look forward to celebrating the incarnation. 

Many thanks to all of you who have made pledges of financial support for the ministry of UPC in 2020! You can still drop a pledge card in the offering plate or click “Pledge Now” on the UPC website and complete the online form.

REMINDER: As the year draws to a close, please note that contributions to the 2019 operating budget must be postmarked by December 31. Contact Trudi Capotosto if you have questions about your 2019 pledge. 
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 affect 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

December 22, 2019
Listening to Handel’s “Messiah

Room 201, upper level
9:15 a.m. Meet, Greet, Coffee & Eat
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Presentation & Discussion

Join us as Bobbie Sanders interviews Eric Wall, Music Director of Austin Seminary Chapel, and UPC choir member, about Handel’s great oratorio. In this Advent time of waiting for the light,may we hear with greater appreciation the beloved musical experience, “The Messiah."  
UPC Deacons are once again planning a Roving Christmas Caroling Experience after worship Sunday, December 22, and want you to join them! Plan to meet in Fellowship Hall for a light lunch, plus special treats from John and Suzi Parker, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on December 20. Then, we'll head out to Westminster Manor for a big sing. Finally, we'll divide up into smaller groups to visit with our members under Covenant Care and bring a bit of Christmas (Advent) cheer.

Groups will be loosely organized geographically so the caroling will be more or less on your way home, so stop by, have lunch on the Deacons, and go caroling! Previous sign up is not required, or even singing ability, just a heart for sharing the joy of the season!
All are invited to this year's Christmas Eve Fellowship Reception which will be hosted in Fellowship Hall. Starting at 4:30 p.m., this reception is an opportunity to enjoy some food and celebrate with our UPC community. It also allows our children the opportunity to prepare for their parts in the 5:30 worship service.

This year, we'd love to offer both sweet and savory refreshments:

Church members with last names starting with A through M
please bring some kind of finger food dessert (cookies, brownies, fruit, cupcakes, etc)
Church members with last names starting with N through Z
please bring a savory finger food appetizer (veggie tray, chips & dip, pigs in a blanket or roll ups, cheese & crackers, etc). Homemade or store bought is fine by us!

Special Note to Parents & Families with Children:
At 4:45 p.m., we will invite any children who would like to be a part of the pageant to Room 210 on the upper level, accompanied by our UPC Christian Formation staff and any parents who'd like to come along, for a brief music rehearsal and to get in their Instant Pageant costumes! The children will be brought back down to the Fellowship Hall at 5:15 p.m. - plenty of time to find your pew in the sanctuary before worship begins at 5:30 p.m. No previous experience in Laudate Choir needed for the music rehearsal! Even if you arrive a bit late and miss the music rehearsal, your kids can still find their costumes for the pageant up in Room 210 at any time during the Fellowship Reception.
As is our tradition, UPC offers two services Christmas Eve. Our early service features an instant pageant, with as many lambs, shepherds, wise men, angels, and stars as the kids choose, plus candles to conclude the service. If you have young family visiting for the holidays, they are welcome to come at 4:45 to Room 210 on the upper level to choose a costume to join in telling the wonderful story.

Then, at 8:00 p.m., we return to the sanctuary for our traditional communion service. We'll share in the light of Christ at the conclusion of this service, then, weather permitting, will process to the courtyard and sing "Joy to the World!" Children are always welcome to worship at UPC. Although there will not be childcare for this service, parents will be able to access the nursery on the lower level if needed. O Come, Let Us Adore Him!

Our annual Border Mission Trip in 2020 with Faith Ministry will again be during spring break. The dates: March 15-20, 2020.

Please consider going with us. If you have any questions, see Craig Deats or call him at 512-567-1419.

Don’t forget: everyone who goes needs a passport. So if you don’t have one, or it’s about to expire, now’s a great time to get a new one; the process takes awhile.
As the weather turns cooler, our neighbors who come to church on Tuesday mornings seeking food, warmth, and services also need warm knitted hats and gloves. The need is greater for men than for women. Please place items in the box just outside Fellowship Hall. Thank you for considering this opportunity to give to others.

UPC Service Committee
& UPLift Steering Committee
DID YOU KNOW? You can support UPC when you shop online throughout the Advent season at no extra cost to you. Simply shop through smile.amazon.com and choose University Presbyterian Church Austin as your designated charity. Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases when you choose University Presbyterian Church as your charity.
Be sure to choose the University Presbyterian Church in Austin! Thanks!
Please pray for

the family of Catherine Wharton McKie,  who died December 11, at the age of 93, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Catherine was baptized at UPC on Christmas Day of her first year of life, was confirmed and joined on profession of faith in 1935, and was a member until her marriage. In 1982, she returned to UPC by transfer of letter, maintaining membership for more than 52 years in all. No public services are planned.  Obituary may be found here.

the family of Dr. Bert Edwin Bradford, who died December 14, in Mississippi. Chris Bradford is Bert's son, William and Ben his grandsons, and Jennifer his daughter-in-law. Memorial service will be held Saturday, December 17, 2019, in Jackson, MS. Obituary can be found here.

Hazel Grice, who broke her hip last week. Neal Grice is Hazel's son.
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.
Celebrations and Concerns of the congregation are published weekly and include prayers and people to pray for. Download Celebrations & Concerns for Sunday, December 15, 2019, or pick up a copy in the narthex or outside the library.
UPC's Prayer Chain is a group of faithful prayer warriors who commit to praying for people throughout the week. If you'd like to be part of the Prayer Chain, click the button below. You will receive periodic emails (no more than one per day), with specific requests from members to pray. Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer.