Parish People and Places

It was wonderful to begin Lent with so many of you during our Ash Wednesday services. It was fun too, to be among friends back at Christ Church. I’m grateful for the continued friendship and prayerful support of our “mother” church. If you’re interested in a few more resources about Lent, read this article in Vox and this one in Christianity Today.

It has been a long while since we’ve done an installment of “Parish People and Places” where we feature a person or particular business or institution in the Northeast of Austin. This won’t be a full installment, but I wanted to highlight for you three quite different organizations I was able to connect with over the past two weeks, and invite us all to uphold them and their constituents in prayer.

First, this past week I was able to sit down with Archbishop Sterling Lands, who is the founding pastor of Greater Calvary Bible Church, located right on Berkman, just up from the new Parish House. Greater Calvary has existed in Austin since 1984, at the current location since 1994, and is a part of an international family of churches including congregations in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Pakistan. Interestingly enough, Archbishop Lands was consecrated a bishop in line with the Archbishop of Canterbury, so he has Anglican connections! It was a blessing to connect with him, to hear about the work of Greater Calvary, and I’m hopeful that we can get to know them better in the years to come. Please join me in praying that Greater Calvary would continue to be a commitment that faithfully embodies, announces, and demonstrates the Gospel.

Second, this week I met with the staff of the Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN), who office on 51st near Cameron Road. The ADRN exists to network and prepare churches to respond to crises and disasters and to support disaster victims in the Austin area. They’ve been actively involved in responding to the Bastrop fires of 2011, the flooding around Halloween in 2015, and, most recently, the tornado that struck Williamson County. Several members of COTC have trained as volunteers with the ADRN serving in a variety capacities to meet the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of those suffering in the wake of disasters. Please pray with me for the staff of ADRN, their volunteers, and those they serve.

Finally, this week I had the opportunity to sit down with Sheikh Attiah Emarah, who serves as the imam at the Islamic Center of Greater Austin. Originally from Egypt, Imam Attiah was very welcoming, and I was blessed to hear about their community and learn some more about Islam.

It was exciting to get to know some of our neighbors in the area. Would you join me in praying for these neighbors of ours, for their flourishing, and for them to know the love and grace of Jesus. Please pray that we might know how to love and serve them as our neighbors.

I’m grateful for the opportunities to connect with a few of our neighbors. I don’t know where these connections might lead, but as we seek the Lord in prayer, and to faithfully know our neighbors, I’m excited for how the Holy Spirit might guides us to participate with what God is already doing in Northeast Austin.

Grace and peace,

Peter+

Peter Coelho