Community Outreach

He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:35-37

Dear St John-San Juan Family,
With the arrival of October, we welcome a change in season here in Austin, with cooler temperatures, shorter days and, hopefully, some rain. Autumn is a welcome relief after a particularly hot summer.
We use the word welcome in so many ways: to describe something agreeable, acknowledge a thank you, to invite, or to greet or acknowledge another person. In the passage from Mark 9, Jesus uses welcome four times in the same sentence, emphasizing the importance of welcoming even those who are not important.
We are a welcoming group of people here at St. John-San Juan – the sharing of peace each Sunday affirms that statement. I have heard from many of you that you would like to welcome more people into our community and that you are sad that we don’t have new families coming to share God’s love each Sunday.
Great News! We are going to be having our first outreach event, a Halloween Carnival, on Saturday, October 27, 12-5 pm. We will be welcoming our neighborhood families into a safe, fun, and child-friendly place where we can share candy, laughter, and God’s love. The Child Care Center and Stewardship Team are hosting and invite you to be a part of a new fall tradition. You can participate in the Trunk-or-Treat, where you park your car in the parking lot, decorate the opened trunk as creatively as you want and then stand there to give out candy like you would at your door. Or you can play bingo, try to win a gift basket, give a baked item for the cake walk or help with the kid’s games and pumpkin patch.
As we begin a new season, I pray that together we can continue to welcome others into God’s loving family.
Pr. Ellen

Categories: Pastor's Thoughts

Labor Day

“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.” (James 1:22–25 NRSV)

Dear Family in Christ,
We begin the month of September with Labor Day, the unofficial last day of summer, and a three-day weekend in which to take a break and relax. Labor Day was created to honor those who labored in factories, often for more than 12 hours a day and 6 days a week in difficult and dangerous conditions. We thank God that we have laws that protect workers so that we can work in healthier conditions than a century ago.

In the first chapter of James, the author also talks about laboring: Be doers of the word and not merely hearers. How can we be “doers” more than hearers? We are called to act for others, remembering that we are like those around us, human beings who struggle to survive and desire to thrive, who seek justice and liberty and love.  We in the ELCA are known as the “God’s Work, Our Hands” church because we believe that God’s grace has freed us to love and serve others.

I pray that we continue to be God’s hands in our world as we work together,
Pr. Ellen

Categories: Pastor's Thoughts