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Unanticipated Love

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, May 14, 2017

Just a week ago, the session finalized its decision about a new position for adult faith formation. We will announce on Sunday the plan for filling this critical role in our seeking to be faithful in our generation to the call of God at Westminster.


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Unimaginable Grace

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, May 7, 2017

This is how Luke describes the earliest church: They would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God… My colleague, Erin Keys, writes: “When the first Christians made the choice to worship a God who came to us as a person in the world; a God who took something so basic and everyday like bread and made it holy; a God for whom the highest form of worship is to give away everything we have for the benefit of all, those first Christians chose to see all of life as sacred because they chose to worship a God who sees it that way, too.”


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Unexpected Love

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 30, 2017

Luke tells us that When Jesus was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. It is an amazing, unexpected gift that he is there, but then: Vanished from their sight? Oh. That’s disappointing. And yet… is that not the way that it is? This holy, holy gift is really present and really out of our hands…


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In the Walking

Rev. Jen Porter

Sermon    
Sunday, April 23, 2017

On Easter morning, Jesus told Mary "Do not hold on to me because I have not yet ascended to the Father." We walk by faith and not by sight, and we do not get to hold on to Jesus. Saint Augustine offers us this encouragement, that "it will be solved by walking." The way of spiritual growth comes not as we hold on to this day, but as we walk all the way through Easter.


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Living into Tomorrow

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon     Easter
Sunday, April 16, 2017

The theme for Eastertide will be Unanticipated Love. We begin on Easter with the gift of God’s love in the resurrection. After all the preparing of our ears and hearts throughout Lent, still what the gospel brings is beyond, graciously, miraculously, unanticipated-ly beyond our expectations and hopes. It is Unanticipated Love.


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Matthew’s Witness

Rev. Jen Porter

Sermon    
Thursday, April 13, 2017

As we gather on Maundy Thursday to celebrate the sacrament of communion, we listen to the witness of the gospel of Matthew. This witness of Jesus' final days lead us deeper still.

Humility and Humanity

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 9, 2017

Mary Oliver has a short poem that includes these lines: On the outskirts of Jerusalem the donkey waited. Not especially brave, or filled with understanding, he stood and waited. … Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient. I hope, finally, he felt brave. I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him, as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward. It is this line that has always captured me:… stepped, as he had to, forward. The poem brings me closer to Jesus’ own steps. In focusing on his silent resolve, I have felt encouragement for my own steps that simply must come, one after the other. I pray they may be for you as well.


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Bones and Breath

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 2, 2017

Israel felt that their being sent into exile meant that God’s will had been thwarted. It made no sense to them. They had dozens of ways to explain it. In Ezekiel, as soon as he is given the scroll with the word of hope and warning, he is told by God to eat the scroll [God is still willing this.], and Ezekiel goes mute. How is the Word to get out of his belly and into the ears of Israel!?!? It’s bizarre, but it points to a real problem that ends up with Israel in exile, feeling abandoned, dead in the water. However we got there, that is the problem that Ezekiel and we face. God said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”


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Once Upon a Parable

Sermon    
Sunday, March 26, 2017

God’s great story is filled with countless, timeless short stories. God’s big story uses these little stories to delight us, inspire us, and change us. God’s story is a message of hope in trouble, light in darkness, and love in rejection. It is a message of peace on earth and welcome to absolutely everyone.


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Suffering and Hope

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, March 19, 2017

We will consider closely the life of Jesus Christ and the struggles we have in following him. As we are invited to follow after Christ by denying our self, taking up a cross and following him, we might think that only a masochist, a fool, or a loser could embrace such a life… …or perhaps it would be one who understands that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.


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Chimes Volume 2017, #1: Westminster’s Servant Leadership

  Chimes
Friday, March 17, 2017

The Volume 2017, #1 issue of Chimes is now available. In this issue: 

  • Servant Leadership: A Letter from Rev. Chandler Stokes
  • Memorial Trust
  • Elders
  • Deacons
  • Trustees
  • WPC Staff
Files Size

2017-03_Chimes.pdf

2 MB

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Minister for Adult Faith Formation

 
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Since Sherrill Vore's retirement in 2015, Session has been evaluating our children’s and adult educational ministries. We realized that we needed two full-time equivalents to lead that wide range of programs. With Nancy Greidanus now our Minister for Children’s Ministries, Session has appointed a search committee for full-time leadership in Adult Faith Formation. We ask your prayers as they begin their work.

Part of the session's discernment process included asking Ministry Architects (a firm with whom we had worked on evaluating our youth ministry) to evaluate our children’s and adult educational ministries as well. We found that—from young adults and old, from newcomers to our long-seasoned members—people are expressing a longing for more in-depth exploration, study, and practice in their faith. We are excited to begin to address our congregation's deep hunger for greater spiritual growth in intentional and sustaining ways. We pray that will be a step toward feeding that hunger.

The creation of this position has been considered and approved by the Minister for Children's Ministries Search Committee, the Personnel Committee and the Session. A full-time Minister for Adult Faith Formation position is currently posted.

Then, a search committee was formed under the guidance of Session, and funding for the position is being considered by the Memorial Trust Committee.

The members of the Adult Faith Formation search committee are: Kelley Barr, Jim Bottenhorn, Francisco Calderon, Lara Dengerink-Van Til, Nancy Janisch, Bruce Klein-Wassink, Larry Slager, Kathy Speeter, Amy Strand, and Ed VanderPloeg.

Trust and Leaving

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, March 12, 2017

This week, I have been deeply inspired by my colleague in the Moveable Feast, David Lewicki. He has drawn my attention to a deep irony in God’s call to us. The paradox is that trust, which is our orientation to God’s promises, which are full of new life, full of new possibilities, full of… well, promise—our trust, our leaning in to those promises also inevitably entails loss. We must leave in order to move ahead. In that is a deep truth. David says it this way: Faith is leaving, holding tenderly to the grief of leaving’s loss.


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Humanity and Humility

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jesus’s obedience is what the temptations in Matthew 4 reveal, not his trying to be God. The temptation that we share with Jesus is not to be human. Against that temptation, we seek to live on the side of obedience to God with the Holy Spirit keeping us company on our side, and hope to keep our presumption to be God on the other. It is a genuine temptation to cross the line.


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Hunger Walk 2017

 
Friday, March 3, 2017

To register for the 2017 Hunger Walk, visit accessofwestmichigan.org.

Click on “LEARN MORE” button under the “REGISTER NOW FOR HUNGER WALK 2017” heading. This will take you to the Hunger Walk page.

Click on “REGISTER NOW” button at the top of the Hunger Walk page to be redirected to the Hunger Walk Fundraising Site.

Once you are at the site, login to access your personal profile.

Once you reach your personal profile page, click on the “MY FUNDRAISING” button, which looks like a pie chart. This will take you to your fundraising page.

In the box at the top of the page you will see the words “PERSONAL PAGE:” with a link listed below. Copy and paste this link. This is the link you are to use when linking the button to your page. This is also the link you are to use when sharing your personal page with others.

Use the image below as your “button” on your homepage to link your personal link to.

If you have any questions contact Angie Kelley at angiek@wpcgr.org or (616)717-5581.

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