Rev. Chandler Stokes
Once we receive the gift of attending worship, being in religious community, and of simply trying to follow God's leading, the New Testament tells us that receiving that gift makes us "righteous." And get this--Jesus then says: "...there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." Hmmm... More to ponder. Join us Sunday.
Our two texts this week create fascinating tension when read alongside one another. Moses says to choose life and live while Jesus uses strong language against life. What’s up with that? This Sunday we will enter into this paradox leaning into hope, love, and life.
We still need volunteer leaders, greeters, and teachers for both worship services and Education Hour! No experience required--the curriculum and routines are laid out for you, and training is available. We're looking in particular for Greeters, who assist our leaders and teachers by helping children focus on the story and providing an extra set of hands for projects and play--grandparents, non-parents, and high school students are especially encouraged to join us!. Must be able to pass a background check. Please contact Rev. Sarah Juist (email@example.com or 717-5541) for more information.
To help us ensure a safe and nurturing environment for your children as they learn and grow at Westminster, we've made some changes to our registration forms. Bonus: now, you can register up to three children on the same form!
Surprise! MissionMatters construction isn't quite finished. So, until we can move into our shiny new permanent spaces, we'll shuffle our program locations one more time. You'll also notice, beginning on September 11, a new check-in station in the Gathering Place. This is where you will drop off and pick up your children for ALL of Westminster's ministries for children (except for the nursery.)
Dates to Know/Choir Schedule:
This is where you can find the who/what/where/when of children's ministries, all in one place!
Rev. Chandler Stokes
Jesus calls us, no, really, Jesus commands us to humble ourselves. I think I may understand better why now, having spent so many hours with great providers of hospitality and time with Luke 14. How might we be inspired to appropriate humility? That's our question for Sunday.
Rev. Dr. Riley Jensen
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us….Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
“Freedom,” writes James Baldwin, “is hard to bear...I have met only a very few people - and most of these were not Americans - who had any real desire to be free.” Our culture sells us convenience in the guise of freedom. And we buy it in bulk. But in Jesus, we follow one who would have us be free—who liberates us!—and who also knows what it costs. That’s the challenge, the hope, and the invitation of Luke 12.
Rev. Chandler Stokes
Join us this Sunday as Rev. Chandler Stokes makes his return to the pulpit as he preaches on Hebrews 11:1-3. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
Rev. Jen Porter
In these uncertain days, God's living Word speaks again. This week, we listen in Luke 12:13-34 for the warnings and encouragements about how we live our lives. "Do not worry about your life." Together, we live in Christ, free from worry and fear.
Rev. David Baak
Surrounded by evil and violence, we sometimes find it easier to close ranks with those just like us, rather than seeking peace and reconciliation for our world. Yet, we are reminded in our confession “that God has revealed God’s self as the one who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people…and God calls the church to follow… standing by people in any form of suffering and need…" (Belhar Confession, 4.) This Sunday we look at Psalm 85 to help move us beyond despair or analysis toward the time when “justice and peace will kiss each other.” Rev. David Baak, preaching: “Bending Toward Justice, Becoming Allies.” Diane Helle, violin.
This text is really quite compelling, especially when situated in its large context. It is held in parallel with the Healing of the Blind Man and in contrast to the Rich Man. So the narrative of Zacchaeus depicts a person who is able to gain a newness of sight, a vision for living that isn’t contingent upon his wealth or status. Unlike the Rich Man, however, Zacchaeus is able to make the move down from his power position and privileged mentality, which I’ll symbolically connect to the sycamore tree. It is interesting that, upon meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus, perhaps for the first time, really hears the cries of the people around him, those whose suffering he has benefitted from, and responds to them by sincerely giving of himself. For Luke, “salvation” is pretty much synonymous with “healing” and “wholeness.” So the story ends with a “healing” and “wholeness” coming to the home of Zacchaeus as a result of his literal and figurative climbing down the tree. What might that look like for us? How might that affect our discussions around BLM?
Rev. Sarah Juist
Mary Oliver, the beloved American poet, wrote: “For a while I could not remember some word / I was in need of, / And I was bereaved and said: where are you, / beloved friend?” Words have an immense and somewhat mysterious power over us--power to shape us, to convince us, to bring us joy and fear alike. Somehow, that power outlasts our memory of the words themselves. This week, we'll hear Moses entreat us to choose life and love--but where are such words to be found these days? Could it be that the words we seek are nearer to us than we realize?
Rev. Jen Porter
This Sunday in Worship: Rev. Jen Porter preaching. "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is- that she is a sinner." Of course, Jesus was The prophet. And Jesus did know. E. Stanley Jones encourages us to keep the prophet alive in our souls. "Without them we sink from the "Is" to the "Was."" Join us Sunday for communion. Come, to be renewed again in Christ's Sprit.
Rev. Karen Stokes
We welcome Rev. Karen Stokes as our guest preacher this Sunday. She is a native of Oakland, California. After college, where she majored in music, she attended San Francisco Theological Seminary, receiving her MDiv in 1982 where she also met and married Chandler Stokes. She has served several congregations in Northern California and following her move to Michigan in 2010, has served as an interim pastor in UCC and PC(USA) congregations; currently she serves as Interim Pastor of Parkwood Presbyterian Church in Jenison. Karen loves living in Michigan, with its humane pace, dramatic seasons, and natural beauty. Her message on Sunday will be “Return No One Evil for Evil” based on Genesis 45:1-9; Matthew 5:38-48. Join us at 10:00a.
Rev. William A. Evertsberg
We welcome former pastor Rev. William A. Evertsberg as guest preacher this Sunday. Bill is the Senior Minister at the Kenilworth Union Church in Kenilworth, Illinois. He has also served congregations in Abington, Pennsylvania; Greenwich, Connecticut and here at Westminster from 1990-1997. He has degrees from Calvin College (B.A.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.) He will preach on Philippians 1:1-7; 2:1-7; 4:13 titled “Paraclete”.