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First Word from Pastor Taylor – Black Lives Matter to God and to Us

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Black Lives Matter to God and to Us

  Last week, we hung a banner on the Family Life Center that reads, “Black Lives Matter to God and to us.” The banner hangs at a time when fewer people are driving by our building than ever before, thanks to the Coronavirus. So why hang it? FUMC has been on a...

UMW Circle Up Receives Grant Funding

UMW Circle Up Receives Grant Funding

Circle Up, a subgroup of United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church Austin, has received a Just and Resilient Communities Grant offered through the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church. Circle Up was formed in 2018 to focus...

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Will we ever get there?

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Will we ever get there?

Will we ever get there? One part of traveling that I do not miss is the nearly-constant barrage of questions from the back seat, all centered around the same theme: Are we there yet? Children have a different sense of time--I’m not quite sure I’ll ever figure it out!...

First Word from Pastor Taylor – The Wounds of Racism

First Word from Pastor Taylor – The Wounds of Racism

Dear Church, Part of the nature of providing virtual worship is that everything is completed several days in advance, in order to allow time for post-production editing and uploading to the platforms where you can view and participate in the worship service....

First Word from Pastor Taylor  – New Video Worship Service

First Word from Pastor Taylor – New Video Worship Service

"...Let us go to the House of the Lord." -Psalm 122 Dear Church, Things are moving and shaking around FUMC! We are gearing up for our summer worship series, summer Bible and book studies, summer programs for children and youth, and a new website (coming soon)...wow!...

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Spiritual Practice of Worship

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Spiritual Practice of Worship

Fasting. Service. Giving. Now, worship. At times in this series on the spiritual disciplines, I worry that I am just nagging you, trying to get you to do the things that you “should” do. Perhaps the better approach is that these practices are the windows of your spiritual life. Opening them creates an opportunity for the fresh wind of God’s spirit to blow through your life, and opening more than one creates a cross-breeze that can even change the temperature of the house.

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Reopening

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Reopening

  Dear Church, I want to share with you that our leadership is hard at work developing guidelines and protocols that will govern our approach to reopening the FUMC building in the future. Our approach is cautious; we are taking very seriously the call to “Do no...

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Spiritual Practice of Service

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Spiritual Practice of Service

I’ll be honest. When deciding which of the spiritual disciplines to lift up in this Eastertide series of sermons, we intentionally decided not to do a sermon on Service. Truth is, service is an area in which First Church excels; when others ask me about our church, I am always quick to note that this is a church where we don’t just write checks—we get our hands dirty in the actual work of serving others. It’s one part of our “personality” that I appreciate the most. I’d like to lift up a distinction that may be helpful for us in consideration of service, and that is the distinction between service carried out as an act of love and care for another and service taken on as a spiritual discipline. These aren’t mutually exclusive—hopefully all service is done with a measure of love for others, and really any service can help us to grow spiritually, but I invite you to consider what might be different about a practice of serving for the purpose of training your spirit.

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Spiritual Practice of Solitude

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Spiritual Practice of Solitude

We’ve set out to explore the Spiritual habits and disciplines that can help strengthen us during times of trial. With a six-week worship series, we are unable to cover all of the many spiritual disciplines practiced by Christians over these thousands of years, so I’ll use these messages for the next several weeks to reflect on some of the practices we will miss in the worship series. Perhaps the strangest one to talk about right now is the Spiritual Discipline of solitude.

Taylor’s Weekly Pastoral Letter – Spiritual Disciplines

Taylor’s Weekly Pastoral Letter – Spiritual Disciplines

We will spend the next six Sundays exploring the Spiritual Disciplines in our new worship series, “A Strong Spirit in Troubled Times: The Practices that Sustain Us.” Each week our podcast and live worship will be focused around one discipline, with sermon, music, and prayers centered on that theme. We’ll skip some of the more obvious, traditional disciplines and delve into a few you probably haven’t tried, at least not intentionally, and we’ll pay particular attention to the ways that God might use these disciplines to sustain us through this particular moment in history.

First Word from Pastor Taylor – “Yes, and…”

First Word from Pastor Taylor – “Yes, and…”

I have always been taken with the idea that the Christian life is one of improvisation. We take the model we are given—through what we see of Jesus and other disciples in scripture, through the witness of the saints—and we improvise on that. We adapt it to new circumstances, a different time, and we add to it, using creativity driven by necessity and the ever-generative Holy Spirit.

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Gift of Simplicity

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Gift of Simplicity

Perhaps one of the gifts available to us in these days is simplicity. I need regular reminders that not everything has to be complicated! In this crisis times, even small things—the things we would usually take for granted—make a big difference. Think of the scenes of thousands of New Yorkers out on their balconies cheering for the medical workers who are selflessly caring for so many right now; simple applause, and yet it is deeply moving. One day this week, I received two cards—two!—from members of our congregation offering their thanks and encouragement. I wept then, and I’m weeping again now, just thinking about it.

First Word from Pastor Taylor  – Times of Suffering

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Times of Suffering

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are...

First Word from Pastor Taylor – New Circumstances

First Word from Pastor Taylor – New Circumstances

Dear Church, As I write to you, circumstances are changing at a dizzying pace. It’s hard to keep up with the latest recommendations and bans and risk levels and grocery shortages. And yet, I am reminded that God is steady…and steadfast. The rhythms of life that God’s...

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Coronavirus

First Word from Pastor Taylor – Coronavirus

Dear Church, I write to assure you that the leadership of FUMC is monitoring public health communication and advice regarding the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19). Based on recommendations from public health authorities, we do not believe there is a need to make...