Rev. Chandler Stokes
Is every day the same as every other day? They are each made of 24 hours, but does that similarity tell us anything important about how they are the same? Jesus suggests that the same thing is not demanded of us at every time, that time is not all the same. Perhaps, we cannot flatten out the Lord’s claim into a series of ethical demands. Join us as we ask these questions on Sunday.
We ask you to let us know what you think of this latest issue of the Chimes "The Geography of Mission." How well has it met our goal of taking on a reflective role - to reflect back to us that "this is who we are" - hoping that this [new effort] will be educational and inspirational, prompting us to take measure of the meaning, the value, and the practical application of our life together.
Linking Lives is an expression of our participation in mission. We go into the world in peace, linking our lives together to help each other through open-ended, long-term relationships. This is how we honor all people.
The logo depicts geese flying together in a V-formation. It's a picture of the shared leadership that has long been the tradition of the people of Westminster.
When geese travel in a flying V, the wind resistance wears out the front goose much faster, so each goose takes a turn in the lead. Ornithologists say the rear geese "honk support" from behind. If one is injured and falls out of formation, two other birds remain behind to protect and support the weakened goose.
Their support of each other is cyclical, shared, and collaborative. Everyone has a role to play. These principles are at the core of our understanding of what it means to link our lives with others.
Linking Lives is about relationships that help us all move more wisely and compassionately. It’s about companionship with the fallen; it’s holding someone's arm just right and communicating, “You can do this.” It's cheering those in the lead, taking responsibility for those we travel with, and facing the wind for the good of others when it's our turn at the front.
Linking Lives is right here. In our city. With our neighbors. And we have to get into formation together—close enough to just about touch wings to make it all work.
Rev. Chandler Stokes
Geese fly in formation—and it is an amazing metaphor for the church. Geese are lifted by their being in that V-formation that V-relationship; they rotate leadership, they accompany the fallen, and they honk encouragement from behind. We have a lot to learn from geese. Join us for an exploration of participation in community.
The Volume 2016, #1 issue of Chimes: The Geography of Mission is now available. In this issue:
- Introducing Linking Lives
- Rev Stokes Letter: Mission 2016
- The Geography of Mission
- Mission Committees
- Camp Henry Forest Management
- Black Lives Matter
- Much more!
The Baptismal Cord - Lent 2016
March 6 - The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Rev. Chandler Stokes preaching
Scripture: Isaiah 55:1-9
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
March 13—The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Rev. Chandler Stokes preaching on
Scripture: John 12:1-8
Music: Chandler Stokes at 8:30a
Sanctuary Choir at 11:00a
"Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii
and the money given to the poor?"
The Tale of the Three Trees
March 20—Palm Sunday
Rev. Jen Porter preaching
Music: Cherub Choir and Chapel Singers at 8:30a & 11:00a
Tenebrae: a Service of Shadows
March 24, 5:30p— Maundy Thursday
Rev. Sarah Juist preaching
Scripture: John 18-19
A contemplative service focused on Jesus' last days.
(Appropriate for children 2nd grade and above.)
March 24, 7:00p— Maundy Thursday
Rev. Jen Porter preaching
Scripture: John 13:1-17
Music: Sanctuary Choir
Community Good Friday Service at Central Reformed Church
March 25, 12:00p— Good Friday
Participating churches are Westminster Presbyterian, First United Methodist,
LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed, First (Park) Congregational,
Fountain Street, the Cathedral of St. Andrew, and Central Reformed
Rev. Stokes preaching on
Music, Singing, and meditations will be featured
Say Her Name
March 27—The Resurrection of the Lord
Rev. Chandler Stokes preaching
Scripture: John 20:11-18
Music: Sanctuary Choir and Brass at 8:30a & 11:00a;
Cherub, Cantus, and Carol Choirs at 11:00a
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"-Jeremiah 31:35
Westminster Presbyterian Church is a co-sponsor of the following event:
For Immediate Release February 29, 2016
Refugee Crisis is a Humanitarian Crisis: West Michigan Responds
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan -West Michigan interfaith organizations join together to discuss how the local community can make an impact on the refugee crisis. Officials from the City of Grand Rapids, Bing Goei of the Michigan Office for New Americans along with representatives from Bethany Christian Services, Lutheran Social Services and Welcoming Michigan will be on hand to discuss local refugee programs that are currently in place. They will be joined by several refugees who will share their stories of settling in West Michigan followed by time for discussion and questions.
The major theme of the event is ‘Do Unto Others’. "A fundamental principle in nearly all religions is care for the stranger. We find it in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Scriptures as well as in other religious texts." says Doug Kindschi, Director of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute.
The event is open to everyone. ”Refugees are paying taxes, buying homes and starting businesses. They are adding so much to Grand Rapids.” Kristine Van Noord, program manager of Refugee Adult and Family Programs at Bethany Christian Services, one of the groups working with refugees in the Grand Rapids area. “We are hoping to be able to engage the public in a meaningful conversation about how each of us can take a stand against terrorism by offering a home to refugees fleeing from it.”
Welcoming Refugees: Do Unto Others
A Conversation on Community Engagement
When: Tuesday, March 8 at 7pm
Where: Catherdral Square-Catholic Information Center
360 Division S, 2nd floor Grand Rapids, MI 49503
The event is free to attend and parking is free. For more information or to RSVP online go
to https://grwelcomingrefugees.eventbrite.com or or catholicinformationcenter.org or call (616-459-7267)
Kindschi adds, "We are moved by the stories of refugees fleeing from violence and war but even more our religious values require us to treat them as persons bearing the image of God. Join with others in our community to hear the refugees' stories, learn what we can do to help, and reach out to these who are also "children of God."
The Kaufman Interfaith Institutes' mission is to promote interfaith understanding and mutual respect in West Michigan through interfaith dialogue and service, we promote a vibrant and diverse community for all generations.
The Catholic Information Center is a mission of the Paulist Fathers in Grand Rapids. Their goal is to help adults discover (or re-discover) the richness of the Catholic tradition through our classes and programs, as well as to promote dialogue and wisdom across all religious faiths.
At the date of this press release, the following are co-sponsors:
ACLU of Michigan - Western Branch
Aquinas College Community Leadership Program
Aquinas College Service Learning Office
Baha'i Faith Community of Greater Grand Rapids
Bethany Christian Services
Calvin College Center for Community Engagement and Global Learning Calvin College Middle East Club
Catholic Charities of West Michigan
Center for Inquiry - Michigan
Central Reformed Church
Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice
City of Grand Rapids
Congregation Ahavas Israel
Diocese of Grand Rapids
Dominican Center at Marywood
Dominican Sisters - Grand Rapids
Faith Alive Books
Fountain Street Church
Genesis United Methodist Church
Grand Rapid's Buddhist Temple and Zen Center
Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission
GVSU Community Service Learning Center
GVSU Division of Inclusion & Equity
Holy Cross Episcopal / Ascension Lutheran Churches
Institute for Global Education
Interfaith Clergy Association of Grand Rapids
Islamic Mosque & Religious Institute - Masjid At-Tawheed
Justice for our Neighbors - West Michigan
Kaufman Interfaith Institute
Kent Intermediate School District
Law Office of Richard Kessler
Lutheran Social Services
Michigan Office for New Americans
MIRC - Welcoming Michigan
National Heritage Academies
St. Luke University Parish
St. Andrews Episcopal Church
Taqueria El Rincon Mexicano
The Cathedral of St. Andrew
The Catholic Information Center
The Salvation Army Social Services of Kent County
Thrive Refugee Services
Trinity Lutheran Church
Trinity United Methodist Church
United Methodist Women
Wesley Fellowship at GVSU
West Michigan Coalition for Immigration Reform
West Michigan Hindu Temple
West Michigan Islamic Center
Westminster Presbyterian Church
World Affairs Council of Western Michigan
Rev. Chandler Stokes
Robert Frost was a child of the modern age; he knew how unsteady cosmology had become, how relative all things in our age had become. His poem Take Something Like a Star is a reflection of that understanding and yet, in spite of that awareness, gives us something “to stay our minds on and be staid.” His is, ultimately, not all that different from what Jeremiah offers us.
Rev. Chandler Stokes
How do we live with a dual citizenship—one that is always at work in this life of struggle, and that is our deeper identity, formed by Another’s Rule? The Apostle Paul calls us to live as citizens of heaven. Do we know what that looks like? Can we see ourselves as having our true home under the Reign of God?
For two weeks, staff member Heather Colletto is in Greece with a group called Carry the Future, distributing baby carriers to refugees as they journey to asylum with their families. After a dangerous rubber boat crossing, families take a long ferry ride to mainland Europe, where Carry the Future meets them on the docks and fits moms and dads with carriers to help the rest of their journey, which continues with hundreds of miles across Europe. "It's an emotional time, of course, but the families are so relieved to finally be in relative safety. They love the carriers! To hold their babies (one was a mere two weeks old!) and hug the parents is something so many of us long to do, so it is an honor to be here," says Heather. #missionmonday #carrythefuture
Rev. Chandler Stokes
Observing an older man's care for his ailing wife, someone once wrote: “I see the sparkle in his eye when he looks at her still, and it is both heartbreaking and inspiring. There is not measuring, no holding back, no keeping score or negotiating there. There is no use for pretense at this place in the journey, and he is all here, all in, with her. Getting married is easy. Loving anyone this way, for this long, is hard and messy, miraculous and graceful.” That’s the love of 1 Corinthians 13.
Rev. Chandler Stokes
My colleague Doug King wrote: “Baptism is not about inoculation, it is about destination.” And our destination is hinted at both in baptism and in Easter. This is a traditional service that will provide an opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to our faith at the beginning of Lent and to discern what particular spiritual work we may be called to for this season. Please join us.
“Claiming and reclaiming the bible” will continue on Wednesday evenings: February 17 & 24. Please, bring your questions, and I will hope to respond to them. In addition, “I will explore the nature of the Bible itself and various responsible ways to explore its riches. We will meet from 7:00p to 8:15p in the Sanctuary. I hope you will join us.” - Rev. Chandler Stokes
THIS Sunday, February 7th, please join us in this annual celebration as our high school and middle school youth lead worship during both our 8:30a and 11:00a services, including sermons preached by the senior class of 2016.
To those who have signed “An Appeal to Christians in the United States,”
We have self-consciously refrained from bombarding you with follow-up emails regarding the Appeal, but we are writing now to give you an update on developments and ask for your continuing help in its dissemination. The public rhetoric that occasioned its development has only gotten more strident and abusive, suggesting that the message of the Appeal deserves to be brought to the attention of as many who would want to join its affirmations as possible.
Here is a summary of what has happened thus far. As of this writing 2,618 church leaders and members have signed the Appeal. They represent many different backgrounds and denominations--small town pastors and pastors of large city churches; lay leaders; presidents of eight Presbyterian theological seminaries; a variety of other seminary presidents; Hispanic evangelical church leaders; Episcopal bishops; Mennonite pastors and church members; Pentecostals and evangelical leaders; African American church leaders; Lutherans from Minnesota and Calvinists from Michigan; Catholic friars and sisters; activists for the homeless; distinguished theologians, biblical scholars, and historians; Baptist pastors and Methodist leaders.
We are beginning to get the Appeal before the public. It is on a number of Facebook pages and websites--including the websites of several seminaries. At their request, it has been sent to White House staff. The Christian Century has published an announcement of the Appeal and it has appeared in the Nebraska City NewsPress, the Asheville Citizen Times and the Raleigh News and Observer. More recently an article in the Presbyterian News Service referenced the Appeal.
Please continue to do what you can to get the word out to friends and colleagues. Those of you working to get the Appeal in your local papers, please continue to make contacts and do what you can to have reporters see the Appeal and the diverse backgrounds of those who have signed it. In case they might be of use to you, a series of quotes from a variety of signers appears at the end of this communication. In your personal and media contacts let people know that the Appeal can be signed online via this link, http://goo.gl/ andthat the names of signers can be seen via this link,http://goo.gl/KTHD8X.
Thanks again for your commitment and help.
The Clergy Appeal Team
Some statements by signers
"Daily we face a clamor of voices filled with fear and pride that presume our security means harming those we label 'other' or 'enemy.' I choose life and peace with all those signing this "Appeal to Christians in the United States."
Weldon Nisly, Mennonite pastor, Seattle, Washington
"Thank you so much for this timely and significant effort to create a collective Christian voice on this important matter.
I am signing on."
Rev. Dr. James L. McDonald
President and Professor of Faith and Public Life
San Francisco Theological Seminary
"Like many other United Methodists, I have been concerned by the barrage of political rhetoric we have been subjected to in the past few weeks. I’ve received some great sermons from pastors attempting to help their congregations think like Christians about matters of terrorism, immigration and our responsibility to our sisters and brothers in other faiths. Of particular concern is that some candidates are invoking, in utterly inappropriate ways, the Christian faith as a rationale for their words and deeds.
So when my friend Erskine Clarke of Columbia Seminary assembled some of his friends and wrote an eloquent appeal to their fellow Christians, I was honored to sign on. I think it is a great act of witness. Now I share the appeal with you and hope that many of my Ministry Matters friends will find hope and help through these words."
Will Willimon, Methodist Bishop in Alabama and former Dean of the Chapel, Duke
"As an Evangelical Christian I wanted to be sure to express to the rest of the world that our primary allegiance is to the gospel. This gospel requires of us to love the stranger, welcome the refugee, and denounce othering in every form."
Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero
Pres., National Latino Evangelical Coalition
Pastor, Lamb's Church
"This statement addresses the most powerful idol holding sway over the world today: fear. I signed as an act of resistance. As Christian people we are called to live in faith, hope and love. Those who lead (and seek to lead) must be held to this same high calling."
Scott Black Johnston, 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church, NY
To sign the petition or receive more information, click here.