Blog


16
Feb 2018

In preparation for my last Sunday at University Christian Church, I was asked if I had any particular requests for music in our worship planning. Immediately, I proposed Our Prayer by Brian Wilson. The following is the reasoning and rationale behind that request – I hope you get a chance to study this song (here’s a live version to get you started) in advance of Sunday’s worship! Between 1966 and 2004, a fair amount changed in our country. The It’s a Small World ride opened in Disney, Mao Zedong began China’s Cultural......

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15
Feb 2018
Helping Kids Cope with Tragedy

UCC Gives Back at Camp Erin Central Texas University Christian Church is excited to provide major funding support for Camp Erin Central Texas. Formerly known as “Camp Brave Heart,” Camp Erin Central Texas has been in operation for over 20 years, thanks to Hospice Austin, the only non-profit hospice care provider in Austin, TX. As a multi-day camp for children ages 6 to 17, Camp Erin Central Texas is the largest national bereavement program for children and teens grieving the death of someone close to them. It helps keep the family system......

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08
Feb 2018
Architecture, Theology, Disabilities, and Scotland: A Bit More about Topher's Next Steps

It’s never easy leaving a place where you feel welcomed and cared for, nor is it easy to leave a city like Austin (what with the incredible urban green space and all those delicious breakfast tacos). So, it may seem like a surprising move to many to hear that I’m leaving not just UCC or Austin, but the country completely. I’d like to share a bit more about the lead-up that went on behind the scenes so that everyone can not only see how I fell into this PhD program, but also......

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24
Jan 2018
There is Hope: University High School

There is Hope: University High School Here at UCC, we feel incredibly lucky to share our church space with University High School (UHS), Austin’s only recovery high school for youth struggling with the powerful disease of addiction. Housed (mostly) on the second floor of UCC, our partnership with UHS throughout the years has been nothing short of inspiring. We wanted to share how UHS and its incredible program battles addiction and changes lives, one student at a time. The History of Addiction Treatment and High School Students Studies show more than 66%......

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17
Jan 2018
Changing our Pews: Access and Worship

If you have ventured into the University Christian sanctuary over the past few months, you may have recognized that a few pews have lost a bit of weight. Specifically, four of our pews were cut by 36 inches each to ensure that any person who used a wheelchair could fully participate in the service. In the past, a person using a wheelchair had a few options. For starters, if they used the chair but could shift into a different seat, they could navigate out of their chair and around the side of......

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21
Dec 2017
Confessions of a Church Organist

From Handel’s Messiah sing-alongs and carolers to Salvation Army bell-ringers and department store Christmas ambiance, the air pulses with music this season. I recently saw a photo on social media satirizing how busy musicians are during the Christmas holiday, and as a church organist I can completely relate. December is without doubt the busiest time of my year; concerts, gigs, and church services consume my thoughts from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I consciously have to remind myself of why we celebrate Advent and Christmas, as my busyness often overshadows the miracle birth of......

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07
Dec 2017

Advent is a time of reflection. A time to meditate on the darkness of our lives and world, and to anticipate the coming of light in the form of Christ. Notice, that doesn’t say spiritual reflection. Advent certainly is a time for us to think critically about our spiritual selves, the innermost thoughts and emotions that we hold, and our faith practices. It is a time for us to be mindful of the ways in which we have lived into our brokenness, rather than the hope of our future wholeness. But one crucial......

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20
Nov 2017

According to the Mass Shooting Tracker, which locates news stories on any shooting event that involves 4 or more people, America has seen 388 mass shootings so far in 2017. Three hundred eighty-eight mass shootings since January – even if there wasn’t another shooting the rest of the year, we’d still average more than 1 a day. Of course, some of these shootings stand out far above others on a national level. An event like Las Vegas where 59 people were killed will stand out above even the four people injured in......

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01
Nov 2017
Recap: To Puerto Rico with Love

This past Saturday, University Christian Church came together to raise funds for our neighbors in Puerto Rico who are in desperate need of help after two devastating hurricanes. The benefit concert, “To Puerto Rico with Love” was a beautiful tribute of classical music by a group of highly talented local musicians. To date, we’ve raised $7,000 to go directly to United for Puerto Rico, an organization spearheaded by Puerto Rico’s First Lady, Beatriz Rossello, to help residents rebuild their homes. This is only a small dent compared to the scale of this disaster......

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26
Oct 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, plenty of us in Austin had family and friends that needed our help. Houston, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Port Arthur, Port Aransas, Beaumont, Rockport – these are places we know and love, and it was easy to justify spending our days in an emergency shelter for evacuees and planning day trips to help with clean-up. The need was real, and we felt it. Hurricanes Maria and Irma, however, didn’t hit Texas. But even though the areas they hit are much further away, and even though far less of......

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