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The Pits

The Reverend Matt Gaventa
Genesis 37:1-11, 18-28

A Reading from the Book of Genesis Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. This is the story of the family of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding …

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At its regular meeting February 20, 2010, the UPC session approved a statement to govern UPC in its ministries of hospitality and welcome. The statement reads:

University Presbyterian Church strives to embody God’s love for the diversity of creation by affirming the dignity of all persons as created in God’s image. We welcome people of all races, cultures, sexual orientations, gender expressions, and socioeconomic status in all ministries of the church.

In bringing this language to the session, the Christian Formation and UKirk committees spoke of a need for UPC to be a place where people in our midst could ask the questions they need to ask and be assured they are in a safe environment. This statement is intended to define the measure of that safe space. It is not meant to be the end of building. It is, instead, a commitment to doing together the work required of us as we seek to embody God’s broad welcome in everything that we do.

Click here to read the pastoral letter from Matt Gaventa, Krystal Leedy, and John Leedy.

— Affirmative Inclusion

“My daughter, Caroline, and I went on a mission trip with Don Bobb to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The trip has fostered a whole new and different sense of mission for me.  UPC’s mission orientation has been a continual source of inspiration for  its members, and the Congo mission trip is one of many examples”

— Craig

“In 2003, we returned to Austin and I was reminded that life sometimes brings challenges. Unlike in Memphis, there was no African American Presbyterian Church in Austin. We had to accept the challenge of finding a new Presbyterian church where we could each continue the service we were accustomed to rendering. We were welcomed at UPC with open arms and I found inner peace in knowing that I had a church home in which the presence of God never ceases.”

— Johnnie

“Back in 1998, when we first married, we visited several churches as we searched for the right fit. After that first visit to UPC, I remember, we were so excited as we were driving home from church. The pastors and community genuinely had welcomed us, encouraged our questions, and cheered our exploration of UPC.”

— Maureen

“Disconnected from church for fifteen years, I came to UPC to see if I could begin a faith journey, not walk a faith treadmill. Here I found my doubts and questions were not only accepted, but also encouraged as part of the journey toward an authentic, mature faith.”

— Bobbie

“UPC has been an important part of my life over the past twenty-four years, even more than I could have imagined. I think that we have become more and more mission-focused and justice-focused over time and that, with the help of our staff, we are building a culture that blesses the whole Austin community.”

— Bee

“Over time, my ideas about religious faith have grown, disappeared, wandered, reappeared with timidity, stretched, wavered, and hidden away. This church has provided a safety net for my thinking—a place and a community where I can be in thoughtful dialogue about what it means to learn to know God, even if that process includes doubt.”

— Nancy