St Francis Bulletin
April 2015, Volume 22, Issue 4

From the Rector
Fr. Len Giacolone

Holy Week
Holy Week is upon us again and we will have all of our regular services commemorating the Lord's passion, death and resurrection.

Wednesday, April 1, I will celebrate Holy Communion and give the last of my reflections of The Practice of the Presence of God.  After the series is over, the entire collection of reflections will be made available either on the website with my other sermons or possibly on a CD for those who are interested.

April 2 is Maundy Thursday and I will again celebrate Holy Communion in remembrance of the supper Jesus had with His disciples on the night before he died.  Maundy, as you may know, comes from the Latin word mandatum from which our word mandate comes.  There are many things that the Lord commanded us to do, but this command speaks specifically of the command to love one another.  We do this on Maundy Thursday by celebrating the Eucharist remembering the greatest act of love toward us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  This will take place at 7:00 pm.

On Good Friday, April 3, we will remember the Lord's passion and death with readings from Scripture, including the Passion according to John.  Our service also includes the Veneration of the Cross, the primary and most recognizable symbol of Christianity.  The Veneration takes place with a bow, perhaps a genuflection before the cross, or even kneeling to kiss the cross as a sign of our love for Jesus and what he did for us on the cross.  Also at 7:00 pm.

On Saturday, April 4, at 7:30 pm we will celebrate the Solemn Easter Vigil.  This is the first announcement of the resurrection of Jesus in the Pascal Proclamation along with the first Eucharist of Easter.  The Scripture readings for the evening present us with the history of salvation and remind us of the fulfillment of God's great promise to us that He would not leave us in our sins.  This service is somewhat lengthy but beautiful.  I strongly encourage anyone who has not experienced this liturgy before to attend.

Our Sunday services for Easter will be at 9:30 and 11:00 am.  The latter service will be preceded by the flowering of the cross by our children.  It is, of course, my hope to see all of you at one (or more) of our Easter services, as well as those in Holy Week.

Something New
From time to time I will need to be away from St. Francis on weekends, not to mention the fact that I am allowed four Sundays off each year.  In the past we have been able to have another priest cover our services.  That is no longer the case.  Once we become affiliated with a new jurisdiction it may be possible to have coverage from another priest of the jurisdiction.  Until that is the case I have had to come up with another solution. 
At our Vestry meeting on March 9, I proposed to the Vestry that one of our lay readers lead Morning Prayer on the Sundays that I am not able to be with you.  I would likely ask the lay reader to read a sermon which I have prepared for that Sunday.  No one on the Vestry objected strongly to that proposal.  Given my strong preference for celebrating the Eucharist each Sunday I do not consider this solution ideal by any means.  However, it may have to suffice for a while. 

Palm Crosses
Becky Hunt

Come make palm crosses with the Altar Guild on Saturday the 28th of March at 10 am!  Instructions provided.  All welcome.  

Easter Flowers

The sanctuary will be adorned with flowers and lilies beginning with the Easter Vigil.  If you would like to make a remembrance or thank offering for the flowers, there are envelopes on the table in the back of the worship space for this purpose.  Gifts will be collected through the 29th of March.

Retirement and Nursing Center Visit
Amy Crandell

As this newsletter is going out at the end of March, I wanted to remind everyone that St. Francis holds a hymn sing intermixed with prayers and Bible readings at 3:30 pm on March 29 at the Retirement and Nursing Center located a mere three miles south of our Burnet Road location at 6909 Burnet Lane.
This is typically the only Sunday afternoon activity for the residents and many are brought out to sing along with us.

A group from St. Francis has visited this facility for over 10 years.

I would encourage you to come out and join us.  Many of these residents appreciate someone sitting and speaking with them - I can tell not many have visitors very often.  Speak to any of the St. Francis "regulars" who come - Jim Crandell (who plays the piano), Claire Ducker, Martha Freeman or me -- for more information.

Sunday School News
Missy Bernard

The younger class has begun the Spring 2015 curriculum One Room Sunday School.  Unit 1 prepared us for Easter, and Unit 2 is entitled Easter and Beyond. The Bible verse for this unit is John 20:31: "But these things are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, God's Son, and that believing, you will have life in his name." The lessons in this unit are Easter, Thomas, Breakfast on the Beach, and The Great Commission. 

The children are looking forward to making Resurrection eggs on Easter morning and then coming together for the Flowering of the Cross just before the 11:00 service.  We will begin preparing the flowers at about 10:40, and the flowering will begin at 10:55.  Children of all ages are welcome!

In addition to creating a timeline of Jesus' life, the older class has been working on several topics so far this year:
1. The Ten Commandments
2. The Names of the Apostles
3. The Incarnation
4. The Logos
5. The Transfiguration
6. Slowing Down and Remembering God

As always, thank you for bringing your children to Sunday School!

Anglicans for Life
Phoebe Hughes

Anglican for Life continues to collect diapers for the Austin Pregnancy Center, sizes 3, 4, and 5.  The Parish has been very supportive of this and we hope that it will continue.  We also again will be supporting the Texas Alliance for Life Annual Walk for Life to be held on May 9 and hope you will also back our walker this year.  As you know, you pledge a certain amount of money for this person and it will be collected after the race. 

The National Chapter of Anglicans for Life has started a new campaign to help people, not just the woman who had the abortion, but all who might be involved with problems that often follow.  This program is called "Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion" and there is literature available for anyone interested.  Please contact Phoebe Hughes, 512-476-6216 if you would like more information.

AFL would like to thank all of you at St. Francis for your wonderful help.   We couldn't continue without you.

(Don't forget "Choose Life" license plates. Click here to order.) 

What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus?

Published by Explore
By:  R. Robert Creech, Ph.D.

Being a Christian means following Jesus. Well, what does it mean to follow Jesus?

In 1978 Michael H. Hart, an astrophysicist and historian, published a somewhat controversial book called The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. Unsurprisingly, Jesus Christ made his list. Hart caused some commotion among Christian readers, however, by ranking Jesus third, behind Muhammad and Sir Isaac Newton.

Hart acknowledged that Jesus' teachings were “surely among the most remarkable and original ethical ideas ever presented.” But he continued, “If they were widely followed, I would have no hesitation in placing Jesus first in this book.”  In Hart's opinion, Jesus' influence on the world has been considerably diminished by those who claim to follow him but do not abide by his teachings. 
So what does it mean for one to “follow Jesus”?

An Invitation
Jesus frequently encountered people with spiritual questions. They wanted to know how to live life more fully. They wanted to connect with God. They wanted to love others more deeply and authentically. They wanted to know about death and eternal life. They wanted to experience God's forgiveness for their failures and sin. They wanted to understand how to pray, how to worship, how to understand the words of Scripture. 

To such people Jesus frequently offered a simple invitation: “Follow me.”

What did he mean by that? For those to whom he spoke directly in biblical times, it was often quite literal. He was inviting them to go with him, to stay with him as he journeyed throughout Palestine, teaching and healing. But the early church preserved such stories within the Bible, with a sense that those words of invitation were extended to people throughout the ages.

The invitation is offered as an opportunity to learn from Jesus how to live authentically. The beautiful life Jesus lived—marked by a passionate love for God and a compassion for people, is something we can learn. Humility and forgiveness are traits we can develop. The practices of prayer and worship can be cultivated.

But we need a teacher and an example. Jesus offers to take on that role in our lives.

A Master
If we want to learn how to do something well, whether a craft or skill, we might apprentice ourselves to a master. We spend time with them. We observe them. We let them instruct us and correct us. We seek to model ourselves after them. Craftsmen, artists, and athletes alike hone and perfect their abilities in this way.

The late Dallas Willard, a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, compared following Jesus to becoming the apprentice of a master: “A disciple, or apprentice, is simply someone who has decided to be with another, under appropriate conditions, in order to become capable of doing what that person does or to become what that person is.”

So what do you do if you want to learn to live life well? Where do you go if you want to live in a way that corresponds to the way God created human beings to live? You seek out an example of a life that has been lived in that way. This is what Jesus offers when he says, “Follow me.”

A Disciple
Willard expounded on the nature of being an apprentice to Jesus: “First of all,” he wrote, “we should note that being a disciple, or apprentice, of Jesus is a quite definite and obvious kind of thing. To make a mystery of it is to misunderstand it. There is no good reason why people should ever be in doubt as to whether they themselves are his students or not.”

What it means to follow Jesus—to be his apprentice in learning to live life—is then relatively straightforward. It first means that we have come to desire the life he offers.  We have determined that Jesus is who he claims to be and that he is the source of the wisdom and knowledge that we are seeking.

In biblical accounts, Jesus uses hunger and thirst to describe our spiritual longings and portrays himself as the bread of life and the living water. Following Jesus begins with faith or trust in him and his promises, as it would with any teacher.

Second, following Jesus means being with him. This is not an online course. Christians believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of humankind but was also resurrected from the dead and thus remains personally available to his followers—available to be known and experienced. We experience his presence and hear his voice through practices like prayer, worship, and reading the Bible. These practices allow us to be intentionally with our teacher so that we may learn to follow him.

Third, following Jesus means learning to obey him. Ultimately, what is the point of having an expert teacher if one does not do what the teacher says? We do not follow Jesus by occasionally going to him for advice when we're in pain but by trusting him as the source of wisdom from which we wish to learn. Take a look at some of Jesus' own words:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

A Directive
The purpose of this apprenticeship, as Willard often notes, is not to live the life Jesus lived. That has already been done—and we could never be perfect as Jesus was. The purpose is to learn to live your real, present life with all its responsibilities, relationships, and roles as Jesus would live it if it were his.
How might one get started on the adventure of following Jesus in the twenty-first century?  Begin by asking. Christians often ask Jesus to help them to see him more clearly and to know his reality. This is one way of expressing the desire to learn what Jesus has to teach us about life in God's kingdom.
Then start to use every means available to learn more about Jesus and to understand his teaching. Reading the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—is a good starting point to come to know Jesus and his ways more fully.

The final step is making a decision. We decide to follow Jesus. We apprentice our lives with him. We commit to listening to him, to obeying him, and to allowing him to shape our lives.

No one follows Jesus perfectly. But over time, the disciple begins to reflect his master's influence.

Readings for Upcoming Services

4/2  Maundy Thursday
Exodus 12:1-14a
Psalm 78:13-25
1 Cor. 11:23-32
John 13:1-15
4/3  Good Friday
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22:1-11
Hebrews 10:1-25
John 18:1-19:37
4/4  Solemn Easter Vigil
Genesis 1:1-2:2
Genesis 22:1-18
Exodus 14:10-15:1
Isaiah 55:1-11
Ezekiel 36:24-28
Romans 6:3-11
Matthew 28:1-10
4/5  Easter
Acts 10:34-43
Psalm 118:14-29
Colossians 3:1-4
Mark 16:1-8
4/12  1st Sunday after Easter
Acts 3:12a, 13-15, 17-26
Psalm 111
1 John 5:1-6
John 20:19-31
4/19  2nd Sunday after Easter
Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 98
1 John 1:1-2:2
Luke 24:36b-48
4/26  3rd Sunday after Easter
Acts 4:23-37
Psalm 23
1 John 3:1-8
John 10:11-16
April Calendar

Regularly Scheduled Events
9:30 am, Holy Communion (said service),
9:30 am, Sunday school for Youth
10 am, Choir Practice
11 am, Holy Communion with music. On the first Sunday, this service is sung Morning Prayer with Holy Communion.

12:00 pm Noon, Anglican Rosary

7 pm, Evening Prayer, except 4/2

1st Saturday, April 4
9 am, Prayer Walk

2nd Monday, April 13
5:30 pm, Vestry Meeting 

3rd Thursday, April 16
12 pm, Mothers' Prayer Group

3rd Sunday, April 19
12:30 pm, Anglicans for Life

April Birthdays

8              Robert Bernard
10            Shannon Adkins
17            Hannah Presley
20            Ray Merrill
21            Jim Crandell
                Ellen Harrison
23            Jace Phillips

April Anniversaries

5    Roy & Nancy Jones
10   Dan & Ellen Harrison

We the People of God as St. Francis Anglican Church are a community of believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ whose mission it is to spread that Gospel in what we preach and in the way we live.

We are called to know the Word of God, to act on it in our lives and to share it with our brothers and sisters in the world.

We are determined to hold the ancient faith of our ancestors in the Anglican tradition, to uphold traditional Christian values based on the Holy Word of God and to be faithful witnesses to the person of Jesus in the Austin Community.

St. Francis parish is dedicated to the presence of Christ in the lives of the poor, the needy, the sick, to each other and to all those to whom Jesus comes to minister in His life on earth. 

As a community of believers, we intend to entrust our growth in love, in faith and in resources to the generosity of God.

Rector - The Rev. Canon Len Giacolone
Music Director and Organist - Paula Blaha


Vestry Members - Senior Warden, Mark Rambin; Junior Warden, Keith Harrell; Treasurer, Michael Ready; Secretary, Jim Crandell; John Hatley, Anne Idsal,  Ed Sandlin, Fr. Len Giacolone
Acolytes - Fr. Len Giacolone
Altar Guild - Becky Hunt
Anglicans for Life - Phoebe Hughes
Anglican Rosary - Becky Hunt
Austin City Prayer Walk -  Claire Ducker
Choir - Amy Crandell
Christian Education for Youth - Missy Bernard, Doug Cooper
Christian Education for Adults - Fr. Len Giacolone
Evening Prayer - Jim Crandell
Home Group Hosts - Claire Ducker, Anne Idsal, Kim & David Norris
Hospitality - Kim and David Norris
Intercessory Prayer Group - Fr. Len and Nancy Giacolone
Mothers' Prayer Group - Charlotte Ready
Newsletter & Bulletin - Amy Crandell
Nursery - Missy Bernard & Grace Rowse
Prayer Shawl Ministry - Charlotte Ready
Readers - Mark Rambin
St. Claire's Guild - Eileen Cole
St. Polycarp's Guild - Jim Crandell
Ushers - Al Parker
Webmaster - Jim Crandell
Women of the Church - Leanne Read
Women's Bible Study - Becky Hunt
5th Sunday Nursing Home Service - Amy & Jim Crandell

St. Francis Anglican Church
10435 Burnet Road, #125
Austin, TX 78758
Copyright 2015 St. Francis Anglican Church, All rights reserved.