Letter from Fr. Peter Coelho

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Dear Father Cliff and Christ Church,

It is strange to think back and realize that tomorrow is our sixth month anniversary since being sent out on Christ the
King Sunday, November 22nd. In some ways it seems like just yesterday, and in others it feels like much longer ago.
In light of the six month “anniversary” and Christ Church’s “Deep Roots, New Season” meeting this Sunday, I thought
you and the Christ Church community might be blessed with an update on the life of Church of the Cross (COTC).

We have been worshipping consistently on Sunday mornings since the first Sunday of Advent on November 29th. This
is no small thing, each week the Gospel is proclaimed in Word and sacrament as volunteers sacrificially serve in a variety
of capacities to make this happen! In this time we’ve grown in number with an average of around 115 people in
attendance; we originally left CC with about 80 people. That number continues to trend upwards as we’ve consistently
had more than 120 people worshipping in the past weeks. During this time a few Sundays have stood out for their
vibrancy and for the number of people present: our “Official Grand Opening” on January 31st and Easter, both of
which had 190 people, our first Service of Holy Baptism with 175, and Pentecost this past week, which involved a
potluck, and a dance party (true to our Christ Church roots!). Pentecost was especially rich as we celebrated the striking
diversity of our little community.

In January we began meeting in Neighborhood Groups throughout our area of the city. As you’d expect, these groups
are focused on sharing life together, growing in Christ-likeness, and embodying the Gospel in our communities. We
currently have four groups and are looking to add several more in the Fall. We’ve also had the opportunity to reach out
in Gospel hospitality and generosity. We’ve connected with a family of Syrian refugees (with whom CC is also
connected) and have been able to provide a bed and cover the cost of much needed dental surgery. We’re also
facilitating the donation of a car to this family by a member of COTC! Additionally, this Eastertide we’ve run the Alpha
Course, in a small way, as a pilot program, focused on introducing the basics of the Christian faith to new Christians in
our midst and to others who are interested.

Looking forward, we are excited to baptize eight individuals and celebrate the renewal of baptismal vows of one other
person in the coming weeks! Entering the summer season, COTC will be focusing on hospitality as we seek to be a
community of Gospel warmth and welcome, and to grow to self-sustainability. On the question of sustainability we are
far ahead of where we thought we would be at this point, as God has generously provided and people have responded to
His call. We have a ways still to go, but are confident in God’s faithfulness, His care for us, and of His desire to see an
Anglican community in Northeast Austin announcing, embodying, and demonstrating the Gospel in our shared life.

A great deal of our confidence in this season comes from looking to Christ Church; from the history of God’s provision
and faithfulness in your life, and also from your sacrificial support of us in these early seasons. I am personally grateful
beyond words to Christ Church’s significant financial support as part of “Deep Roots New Season”, to the leadership
and staff at CC for their continued, informal assistance and ongoing friendship, as well as the blessing of a healthy and
loving send-off and fantastic genes to carry forward! The entire community of COTC shares in this gratitude; we
continue to thank God at every remembrance of you, and regularly pray for you all.

As beneficiaries of Christ Church’s “Deep Roots” and some of the initial fruit of this “New Season” we are excited for
what God has in store for you. We are cheering you and eagerly anticipate the full flowering of God’s abundant blessing
in your life and through you, in Austin. Keep at it, mother-ship!

Joyfully in Christ,
Peter+