Weekly e-communications from University Presbyterian Church  May 15, 2019

MAY 19, 2019


Seminary Intern Savannah Demuynck
preaches from Acts 11:1-18

T his Sunday, Savannah concludes the first of two semesters with us. Over the summer, she will complete her required Clinical Pastoral Education, and we'll welcome her back for the fall semester.


Laudate Children’s Choir sings the traditional spiritual “Chatter with the Angels” by Anna Laura Page.
The Chancel Choir sings the J. K. Alwood gospel tune, “Unclouded Day”, in an exuberant arrangement by Shawn Kirchner.

May 12, 2019, Pastor Matt Gaventa

May 5, 2019, Pastor Krystal Leedy

April 21, 2019, Pastor Matt Gaventa

April 7, 2019, Pastor Matt Gaventa
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In Ecclesiastes, the poet writes that there is “a time to mourn, and a time to dance,” and I have rarely seen as literal a realization of scripture as I did this past weekend at UPC. 

On Friday night, we gathered in the Great Hall to raise money for the Cuba Mission Trip, and — many thanks to the team that pulled this event together — we had a fabulous time, complete with salsa lessons, amazing food, lavish auction items, and a totally joyful spirit. 

And then, of course, on Saturday, we gathered again to give thanks for the life of David Phillips, and to mourn his loss, and to grieve as a family of faith, buoyed by our choir and by the dozens of volunteers that emerged to help us host some 500 plus worshipers.

I want to acknowledge how many volunteer hours went into making last weekend happen. But I also simply want to acknowledge how much emotional work this entire congregation has done in living into the whole spectrum of the Christian faith in one short span of time.

As I said on Sunday morning, I’m proud of us this week. I’m proud of the emotional and spiritual work that we’ve done. And I’m proud that we are a church family where we can do all of that laughter and sorrow and mourning and dancing, all together, by the grace of God.

The life of the church keeps going. We will still be mourning, and we will still be dancing, and I hope this church always has room for both. Well done, church family. See you all on Sunday.
Let’s dream together about what campus ministry could look like at UPC! The UKirk Committee would like to invite members of UPC to come and share their ideas about campus ministry. As we are on the tail-end of a great school year, we wanted to offer an opportunity for your ideas to be heard.

On May 19, immediately following worship, we will serve a light lunch in the Great Hall and hear some suggestions about campus ministry from students who live in our neighborhood. We will offer you all a chance to look at the UKirk Outreach Plan, which the UKirk committee has been able to document, and then we will dream together about what this ministry might look like, particularly in the 2019-2020 school year.

So, please come and experience some food and time to look toward the future! See you on May 19!
Join us as we explore Hometown Nazareth at this year's Vacation Bible School! Together we'll get to know the world Jesus grew up in when he was a kid. This fully immersive VBS will be full of arts & crafts, games & snacks, learning and opportunities to serve, and the space for kids to grow together in God's love!

Dates: June 17 - 21
Hours: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Where: UPC Youth Room
Ages: Pre-K through 5th grade
Cost: $25 per child
Deadline to Register: June 1, 2019

SPECIAL : Children of UPC members can bring a friend for FREE!

Optional Aftercare  provided from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm for an additional $20.

How to Register:  Click the purple button below to register, pay, and download the registration form for VBS online through MyUPC. You can also download the Registration form by clicking the blue button below and submit the form and a check to Pastor John.

Please Note:  All registrants (member & guests) must return the Registration Form in order to complete their registration.
Austin Seminary is holding a donation drive to support the work of Sacred Heart Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX, and the UPC Service Committee encourages you to help them! They will be taking these items down as a part of a class travel seminar that they will take in June. Please bring these items to worship on Sundays to place in the shopping cart or drop them off in the office. Please mark all items clearly for the Seminary drive.

  • Gift cards to purchase food items
  • Phone cards 
  • Toiletries for men and women (deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, etc.)
  • Baby supplies for toddlers (diapers, baby wipes, baby bottles, etc.)
  • Sealed snack food (granola bars, chips, peanut butter & cheese crackers, etc.)
  • Plastic bags for families to pack sandwiches, snacks, and water for their trip.

Contact Allison Harris or Pastor Krystal with questions. Thank you!   
The Faith & Life Sunday school class, supported by the Christian Formation Committee and the UPC deacons, begins a four-week series this Sunday:
The Courage to Care
May 5, 12, 19, & 26, 9:30 a.m. coffee & conversation begins at 9:15
Room 201, Upper Level
May 19: “Caring when Memory Fades”
Shannon Haragan
Psychotherapist, Weavings Wellness

Shannon’s approach to counseling draws from a variety of theories and techniques—including EMDR, CBT, mindfulness, and interpersonal neurobiology—but her work is rooted in the fundamental principles of non-judgmental acceptance, authenticity and experience. Her focus is helping clients find solutions, not just exploring old patterns of belief and behavior. Her style is active, both in and outside of sessions, as she regularly seeks ongoing training to increase her knowledge and skill level as a clinician. Shannon works with adults and teens on many concerns: trauma/PTSD, anxiety, stress management, and codependency / boundary issues. Additionally, she has a special interest in providing support to families of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

May 26: “Caring for Self while Caring for Others” Sharyn Reynolds
Imagine what University Presbyterian Church could do with $26,900 more each year to support our ministries. Whether through UPLift, or to support UKirk, or to help steward our beloved building — $26,900 goes a long way in the life of this church!

A decade ago, UPC took out a loan to help fund the most recent wave of capital renovation. Right now we’re paying $26,900 a year against a remaining loan balance of about $207,000. Your session would love to make that debt go away once and for all.

Together we can burn the note. Thanks to early gifts from your session and other UPC members, we’ve raised $180,000 against our balance, meaning we need about another $26,900 — one time — so that we never have to budget this $26,900 payment ever again. Let’s pay off the bank and use the rest for God’s glory.

There are pledge cards in your pews, or you can click the green button below to make a gift online. If we can raise what we need by the beginning of August, then this coming Rally Day, we will gather and burn this note for good!
For a long time I have known of UPLift. I knew there was cinnamon toast, something about work boots and that wonderful members of our church opened the doors every Tuesday to help those in need.

But on a cold February morning, I learned something more. That day I stood outside, watching and greeting a long line of folks winding their way down the outside ramp. They had been waiting for the doors to open for a while, their hands were cold and their line stretched down San Antonio Street. They carried backpacks, rolled up sleeping bags, grocery sacks stuffed with belongings and rolling suitcases, poignant reminders of the nature of their journeys to this place, on that particular morning.

They were welcomed again and again as they entered the warmth of a sanctuary we call the Great Hall. . .some 100 regular and new guests attended UPLift that day.

It was the quiet that struck me. So many people. Such need. But such quiet as they found a chair, released their baggage, their collect breath, and sat, quietly waiting together in this safe and welcoming and giving place. They waited for the piano, for the announcements, and for the prayer that bound us together as a congregation.

And that’s what it felt like. . .being in church. Together we breathed in the peace of God, together we breathed out the gifts of God’s grace, of comfort, of dignity and love. Being together, breathing together.

Our guest came, church volunteers served, stories were shared, some were assisted with rent, utilities, eyeglasses and cinnamon toast was served. It was impossible to tell who was doing the uplifting and who was uplifted.

We were, all of us, fed.
-Susan Stark

If you would like to experience UPLift, please come to the church any Tuesday morning before 9:00 a.m., and simply be with the folks who come faithfully. You will be very welcomed, and, if you wish, welcome to return and be a part of UPLift.

A big thank you to the saint at UPC who supplied our PINTO BEANS (25 lbs!!) to use for the next six weeks.  Four lbs of pinto beans are used in the weekly soup.

  •  Dried beans: Kidney beans and Navy (white) beans - We use 2 lbs of each of these beans weekly for soup.
  • Cans of diced tomatoes - We use eight 14.5 oz cans each week for the bean soup.
  • 10 lb box of oatmeal (not instant) - We use 5 lbs. of oatmeal each week.
  • Large box or bag of raisins for the oatmeal
  • Brown sugar for the oatmeal

Please bring your items any Sunday and place in the shopping cart during the offering. Thank you for your valuable participation in the UPLift ministry of UPC!
Saturday, May 18, 7:00 p.m., Unity Church of the Hills

Join us for an evening of African Drumming! Proceeds to benefit Girls Empowerment Network, a nonprofit that ignites the power in girls by teaching them the skills to thrive and believe in their ability to be unstoppable. GEN’s unique programs help girls discover they are powerful people, because societal pressures and the current statics show they don’t always know it, and they are being left behind. Each year, GEN works with thousands of 3rd – 12th grade girls to increase their belief in themselves, using its signature curriculum which girls experience on their school campuses, at summer camps, or at We Are Girls Conferences.

Sherry Gingras and her volunteer all-women group Drumsistas - including our own Pastor Krystal Leedy - are thrilled to be helping Girls Empowerment Network help girls discover they are powerful people!

For tickets, go to
Please pray for

the family of Robert "Bob" L. King, who died May 10, 2019, at the age of 100. Bob was a faithful member of UPC for 68 years, and was in skilled nursing care at Brookdale. A memorial service is being planned for June 22, 2019, in the UPC sanctuary, with reception to follow.

the family of William "Andy" Andrew Allen, who died peacefully Sunday afternoon, April 21. Memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, 1:00 p.m., in the UPC sanctuary.
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 request prayers for yourself or a loved one, email   upc@upcaustin.org .
Celebrations and Concerns of the congregation are published weekly and include prayers and people to pray for. You can download the folder here for Sunday, May 12, 2019 . You may also pick up a copy outside the church office or in the narthex.
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.