Rev. Lynette Sparks
ONE service at 10:00a | July 5, 2020 | Livestreaming from the Westminster Sanctuary | Give It Up | Scripture: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Rev. Lynette Sparks
Rev. Lynette Sparks
ONE service at 10:00a | June 28, 2020 | Livestreaming from the Westminster Sanctuary | The Way Ahead | Scripture: Isaiah 43:16-21 | Rev. Lynette Sparks
Rev. Laurie Hartzell
Core Mission Sunday: Camp Henry | Chosen | Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1-10 | Jake Jacobs and Rev. Laurie Hartzell | Please click "Read Sermon PDF" below for the bulletin.
June 18, 2020
Dear Westminster Family,
Your Way Forward Committee continues to meet regularly to talk about and plan our way forward in these COVID-19 days. We know that so many are longing to get back to church for worship and to gather in person as we worship and work together. As beauty salons and restaurants open and as our Governor has lifted other restrictions in the past weeks, many of these kinds of longings have become stronger.
Your Way Forward Group and Session surely hear all these longings strongly. Amid the clamor to get back to church, we wish to reiterate that the primary concern of the WPC Session and staff is the health and well being of our members. We continue to gain guidance from our denomination, the Center for Disease Control, and are paying attention to local conditions. We are also learning a lot from policies and procedures put in place by others.
1. When will we be able to worship in the sanctuary again?
We will not be worshipping in large groups in the sanctuary at least through the summer and likely into the fall. We will start LIVESTREAMING WORSHIP from the sanctuary on Rev. Lynette Sparks' first Sunday with us, Sunday, June 28, 2020. So while we cannot be in person in the sanctuary for the unforeseen future, we can gather virtually in our sacred space to worship our God.
We do encourage small groups to safely gather to experience the worship service together.
2. When will we be able to celebrate the Lord's Supper?
The Lord's Supper is meant to be a time of communion with God, each other, and the communion of saints. Therefore, instead of offering space for the Lord's Supper in a recorded or livestream worship service we will create spaces for us to gather as we can right now. Dozens of us appreciated a ZOOM Communion experience in mid-June and we will plan another time to share the sacrament on July 8 at 7 p.m. Keep your eyes peeled for a sign-up!
3. When will the church offices be open as they had been?
The church staff is finding that we are able to continue "serving and being the church" as we work from home. Our custodial team has started a rotation to work on building matters and to support the Westminster Child Development Center which is fully operational this summer.
A rotation of pastoral and program staff will begin next week as we plan for livestreaming and any other essential gatherings that must be done in person. The church building will be closed through the summer. We will make decisions about the fall and winter in the coming days.
4. What about having committee meetings at the church?
At this point, even though many committees are fewer than 10 people, we are encouraging committees to continue to meet by ZOOM or teleconferencing. We wish to err on the side of safety, and if a committee can get their work done virtually, that is still the best option.
5. When will we be able to sing together?
Unfortunately, not in the foreseeable future. As we reported before, many authorities report that singing spreads the virus more readily. We will continue to monitor the research on this topic. Like many of you, we can't wait to start singing together again!
6. Are guidelines being established for when we are able to meet together?
Yes, members of the Way Forward group are working on some protocols and procedures to guide us when we can begin to formally gather together. We will not be sharing those until that time draws closer. Remember, the church building will be closed at least through August of this year.
7. What is going on at WCDC, Camp Henry, and the Food Pantry?
The WCDC opened on May 26. Following strict safety protocols, this week, 32 children have been showing up for childcare and another 11 have started in the school-age summer program.
The Camp Henry staff is in their second week of training and are looking forward to receiving day campers next week. Residence camp will open the last week of June. You can read about the many adaptations and protocols camp has instituted as they are guided by state, local and camping officials on their website.
Our Food Pantry continues to operate in a "grab and go" format on Thursdays from 10:30 - 2:30 through July and likely through August. We are glad to continue supporting our neighbors in this way. We are also excited that Angie and others are growing tomatoes and green peppers in pots and other spaces around the church. These vegetables will be harvested for the pantry.
So, that's all for now! We will keep you posted as things change. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email Laurie Hartzell (269-240-7565 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Grace and Peace,
The Way Forward Task Force and WPC Staff
Even before this COVID-19 pandemic struck, Kathy Cisler had been working on expanding ways for people to make donations digitally. We recognize that many are facing new and unforeseen financial implications in the wake of this pandemic and this message is not meant to put any pressure on people. However, we are also aware that many are able to continue, or increase, their offerings to help us pay our bills, our staff, and continue our ministry that brings justice, peace, and hope into a world God loves. Please click here for a document that provides information on new ways you can give digitally to the church. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kathy through her phone number at the church, (616) 717-5533. She is checking in at the church building daily and will gladly return your call and answer your questions.
Looking for ways to show support for those affected by COVID-19?
Please click here for a letter from our Mission Partnership and Social Justice committees that indicates how we can offer assistance to our Heartside and downtown neighbors.
Please click here to contribute online. We greatly appreciate your financial contributions to Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Rev. Riley Jensen
ONE service at 10:00a | June 14, 2020 | The Art of Leadership & Followership | Scripture: Exodus 17:1-7 | Rev. Riley Jensen | Please click "Read Sermon PDF" below for the bulletin.
ONE service at 10:00a | June 7, 2020 | The Who and the Where | Scripture: Psalm 100 & Luke 13:29 | Hannah Nelson, PCUSA Young Adult Volunteer to Colombia | Please click "Read Sermon PDF" below for the bulletin.
This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media.
Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children:
Check out these books for children and young adults from the list of Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners
Listen to the Parenting Forward podcast episode ‘Five Pandemic Parenting Lessons with Cindy Wang Brandt’
Listen to the Fare of the Free Child podcast
Read PBS’s Teaching Your Child About Black History Month
Follow The Conscious Kid on Instagram
Articles to read:
“America’s Racial Contract Is Killing Us” by Adam Serwer | Atlantic (May 8, 2020)
Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement (Mentoring a New Generation of Activists
”My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” by Jose Antonio Vargas | NYT Mag (June 22, 2011)
The 1619 Project (all the articles) | The New York Times Magazine
“The Intersectionality Wars” by Jane Coaston | Vox (May 28, 2019)
Tips for Creating Effective White Caucus Groups developed by Craig Elliott PhD
”White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Knapsack Peggy McIntosh
“Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi | Atlantic (May 12, 2020)
Videos to watch:
Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers (50:48)
"How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion" | Peggy McIntosh at TEDxTimberlaneSchools (18:26)
Podcasts to subscribe to:
1619 (New York Times)
Code Switch (NPR)
Intersectionality Matters! hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw
Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
Pod For The Cause (from The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights)
Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)
The Combahee River Collective Statement
Books to read:
Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga
When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD
Films and TV series to watch:
13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent
King In The Wilderness — HBO
See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
Organizations to follow on social media:
Antiracism Center: Twitter
Audre Lorde Project: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Black Women’s Blueprint: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Color Of Change: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Colorlines: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
The Conscious Kid: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Equal Justice Initiative (EJI): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Families Belong Together: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
MPowerChange: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Muslim Girl: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
NAACP: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
National Domestic Workers Alliance: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
RAICES: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
SisterSong: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
United We Dream: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
More anti-racism resources to check out:
75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
Jenna Arnold’s resources (books and people to follow)
Rachel Ricketts’ anti-racism resources
Resources for White People to Learn and Talk About Race and Racism
Showing Up For Racial Justice’s educational toolkits
“Why is this happening?” — an introduction to police brutality from 100 Year Hoodie
Zinn Education Project’s teaching materials
Document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020.
Rev. Laurie Hartzell
ONE service at 10:00 | May 31 | Pentecost Sunday | Rev. Laurie Hartzell | A Pentecost Conspiracy | Scripture: Acts 2:1-14 | Please click "Read Sermon PDF" below for the bulletin.
Rev. Jen Porter
ONE service at 10:00 | May 24 | Sixth Sunday of Easter | Rev. Jen Porter | Living the Questions of Jesus: Do you want to be made well? | Scripture: John 5:1-18 | Please click "Read Sermon PDF" below for the bulletin.
ONE service at 11:00 | May 17 | Sixth Sunday of Easter | Rev. Jeremy Bork | Living the Questions of Jesus: What are you discussing with each other as you walk along? | Scripture: Luke 24:13-35 | Please click "Read Sermon PDF" below for the bulletin.
Rev. Laurie Hartzell
ONE service at 11:00 | May 10 | Fifth Sunday of Easter | Rev. Laurie Hartzell | Living the Questions of Jesus: What do you want me to do for you? | Scripture: Mark 10:46-52 | Please click "Read Sermon PDF" below for the bulletin.
Many of you have been asking about how our Core Missions are holding on amid this COVID-19 crisis. We will begin sending out regular email updates on our Core Missions and what is going on.
Today, we will fill you in on what is happening at the Westminster Child Development Center (WCDC). Under the thoughtful and strong leadership of Executive Director Amber Marz-Momany, and in conjunction with their Board of Directors, the WCDC had to make the difficult decision to close its doors in late March. The employees at the Center continue to be paid through the support of parents who paid tuition through mid-April and are now paying small fees to keep their child's space. Some parents are generously continuing to pay full tuition to support the Center even though it is closed! Because of parent tuition payments, resources from the Payroll Protection Loan from the CARES Act, and because the Center has some reserve funds, we will continue to pay our WCDC employees and cover their benefits into the forseen future. Thanks be to God!
Even though the WCDC has been closed, many of the classes continue to meet with their teachers via ZOOM meetings. The children love to see their friends and connect. Here is a link to a few minutes of a Dinosaurs class led by Patti and Michelle held on May 6! You will thoroughly enjoy catching a glimpse into the life of a preschool ZOOM class!
Also, teachers are posting ideas for families and other fun information on the WCDC Facebook page. You can see that here https://www.facebook.com/wcdckids
Finally, Amber and the center staff are carefully monitoring the Center for Disease Control guidelines and information coming from the State and other entities about reopening and ensuring safety protocols during these days. Please continue to hold the WCDC, the staff and families in your prayers.
It is with deep joy and gratitude to God that we announce that Rev. Lynette Sparks has been elected as our new Senior Pastor/Head of Staff.
Click here to learn more about Rev. Sparks.
Thanks be to God!