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Sermon: By Faith

Rev. Jen Porter

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Rev. Jen Porter | When we read the great litany of faith in Hebrews 11, we find a list of fairly absurd, ridiculous and even unbelievable acts of faith. The list includes repeated sacrifice and hardship and many steps into what is unknown. And, none of them even received what they had been promised. And, that is the good news. Join us Sunday as Rev. Jen preaches about our faith and as we welcome another group of New Members into our congregation. Again, this week we will be a different church. Praise be to God for all the names and stories and lives that we share in this life of faith and at WPC.

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Upcoming March & April 2019 Guest Preachers

  News Updates
Thursday, February 21, 2019

Gene Ryan | March 3 | Gene is the Middle School Ministries Coordinator and Seminary Intern at WPC. A student at Western Theological Seminary, he holds a degree in Religion from Hope College.

Kyle Nolan | March 6, Ash Wednesday | Kyle Nolan is the Minister for Faith Formation and Mission. He will lead the Ash Wednesday service on March 6 at 7:00p.

Rev. Dr. Tom Long | March 10 | Rev. Dr. Tom Long is the Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching; Director of the Early Career Pastoral Leadership Program at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Thomas G. Long’s primary area of research is homiletics (the history, theory, and practice of preaching his introductory textbook, The Witness of Preaching, has been translated into a number of languages and is widely used in theological schools around the world. In 2010, Preaching magazine named The Witness of Preaching one of the 25 most influential books in preaching for the last 25 years. Long gave the distinguished Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale, which were published in his 2009 book Preaching from Memory to Hope.

Long is also deeply interested in biblical studies, practical theology, and liturgy. He has written commentaries on the biblical books of Hebrews, the Gospel of Matthew, and the Pastoral Epistles, and his books on the Christian funeral, Accompany Them with Singing and The Good Funeral (co-authored with noted poet and funeral director Thomas Lynch), have generated interest both in the academy and the media. His book What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith, which addresses the issue of innocent suffering and the goodness of God, was selected as the Book of the Year for 2011, an award given by the Academy of Parish Clergy to the best book published for parish ministry in the previous year.

Rev. Dr. Andrew Pomerville | March 17 | Rev. Dr. Andrew Pomerville is the chaplain and director of spiritual life for Alma College. Andrew earned his Doctor of Ministry in Reformed Theology from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the University of Aberdeen and holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a BA in History from Alma College. Prior to his position at Alma, he served for seven years as the senior pastor for The Peoples Church of East Lansing, a 1,200 member interdenominational congregation with full standing in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, and the American Baptist Church. Before this, he served four years as the pastor for Church in the Hills in Bellaire, MI.

Andrew and his wife, Rachell, are proud Alma College alumni and feel particularly blessed to return to the College they love. They have two children, Denali and Bryce, both named after National Parks. Andrew was the chaplain for Denali National Park in 2005 and has also served as chaplain for Hospice of NW Michigan, Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, and currently is the chaplain for the East Lansing Police Department. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys long distance running with his border collie, Detroit sports, and cheering on his children in dance, sports, and musical events. Andrew and the children play a variety of musical instruments and their whole family loves to travel, camp, hike, bike, run, duck hunt, and fish together.

Rev. Paul Timothy Roberts | March 31 | The Reverend Paul Timothy Roberts Sr. is President of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA, a position he has held since the spring of 2010. Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary is one of the ten theological schools of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the only one that is historically African American.

Paul graduated from Princeton University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture and African American Studies. Paul later received the Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in New Testament Studies from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Paul is also an Academic Fellow of The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey in Celigny, Switzerland.

Paul is a contributing writer to Pastoral Care: A Case Study Approach by Orbis Books in 1998, and to Feasting on the Gospels by Westminster/John Knox Press released in December 2013. He writes occasionally for the Presbyterian Outlook, and has been a cohort leader with the Louisville Institute. A popular speaker, Paul has preached at the NEXT Church Conference, the Montreat Youth Conference, the Mid-Winter Lectures at Austin Presbyterian Seminary, the Baccalaureate Service at Presbyterian College, and at congregations around the country.  

Paul and his wife, Nina, have one daughter and two sons.

Rev. Dr. William A. Evertsberg | April 7 | William A. Evertsberg is the Senior Minister at the Kenilworth Union Church in Kenilworth, Illinois. He has also served the Abington Presbyterian Church in Abington, Pennsylvania (1985-1990); the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan (1990-1997); and the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich, Connecticut (1997-2013). Calvin College (B.A.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.) tried, in vain, to educate him, but awarded him diplomas nonetheless.

Bill and his wife Kathy (née Van Dyken), a dental hygienist, have a son, Michael (29), a graduate student at the University of Michigan; and a daughter, Taylor (24), a second-grade teacher in Greenwich, Connecticut. Bill’s three favorite things are Books, Bikes, and Barks. He also fancies Wolverines (in Ann Arbor), Tigers (in Detroit), Patriots (in New England), and the sparkling erudition of Riley Jensen, Jack Stewart, and Chandler Stokes.

Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence | April 14, Palm Sunday | The Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence is the Transition Co-Leader/Stated Clerk for the Presbytery of Lake Michigan. Fran serves on the Board of Trustees for Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, the PCUSA’s only historically black seminary; she also serves on the GA Racism Truth and Reconciliation Committee, and is past moderator of the GA Committee on Theological Education. Prior to her service as the Transitional Co-Leader/Stated Clerk, she served for 9 years at the First Presbyterian Church in Niles, MI, and prior to that as Executive Director of Laughlin Memorial Chapel, a faith-based community center, in Wheeling, WV.

Fran and her husband, David, who serves as Pastor/Head of Staff at the First Presbyterian Church in Auburn, IN, have five children, Phillip, Jonathan, Donna, Sallie, and Ross. Ross will graduate this May and will be attending Kalamazoo College where he will study engineering and play football. In her spare time Fran enjoys walking, gardening, crocheting, kayaking, and hiking.

Rev. Jen Porter | April 18, Maundy Thursday | Rev. Jen Porter is the Associate Pastor at Westminster. She will lead the Maundy Thursday service at 7:00p at Westminster. We will celebrate Communion.

Rev. Jeremy Bork | April 21, Easter Sunday | Rev. Jeremy Bork is the Minister for Youth and Their Families at Westminster. He will lead our Easter Sunday services at 8:30a and 11:00a.

Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity | April 28As an artist, pastor, retreat leader, and creative entrepreneur, Lisle works with communities of all kinds across the nation. In addition to leading retreats and serving as artist-in-residence with churches, she is the founder and creative director of A Sanctified Art LLC, a collaborative arts ministry providing multimedia resources for worshiping communities. As an ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), she approaches her work as an artist primarily through the lenses of pastor and theologian. Residing in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with her husband and two wiggly pups, Max and Maven, she has a deep love for exploring mountains, creative opportunities of all kinds, and new ways to be church. Her work and writings have been featured in Reformed Worship, Call to Worship, NEXT Church, and Presbyterians Today. Learn more about her work by visiting and

Sermon: Guarding Our Treasures

Rev. Lynn Barger Elliott

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Rev. Lynn Barger serves as Affiliate Faculty at Calvin College in the Congregational and Ministry Studies department where she leads the Ministry Leadership Fellows program. She is also on the staff at Mayflower Congregational Church where she directs Youth and Family Ministries and coordinates Pastoral Care. From 2006-2007, Lynn was on staff at Westminster as the Interim Director of Youth Ministries. While she was at Princeton Seminary, she did ministry internships under two of our previous pastors, Bill Evertsberg and Riley Jensen. Lynn and her husband Mark have three children and live in East Grand Rapids.

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Sermon: Amidst the Cacophony

Rev. Jessica Tate

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Jessica Tate is the Director of NEXT Church (, a network of Presbyterians who are discerning how to be the faithful church in the 21st century. Prior to coming on board with NEXT Church, she served as Associate Pastor of Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Northern Virginia. Jessica is a lifelong Presbyterian, in fact, a joyful preacher’s kid. Upon graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jessica served as a Young Adult Intern for the PC(USA) at the denomination’s Washington Office. From there she went on to seminary at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, where she received a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Christian Education. Jessica and her husband John live in Washington, DC with their infant son, Huw and rescued chocolate lab -- both of whom regularly keep them humble with their gregarious affection.

Sermon: All Things Renew

WPC Youth Group

Sunday, February 3, 2019

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Sermon: How My Mind Has Changed: About the Trinity

Rev. Dr. Riley Jensen

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday, January 27 | Two services at 8:30 & 11:00 | Rev. Dr. Riley Jensen, Pastor Emeritus | This Sunday Riley Jensen concludes the series “How My Mind Has Changed”…with “About the Trinity.” The Cappadocian Fathers of fourth century eastern Turkey used the metaphor of the circle dance to describe the Trinity. Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion among Three – a circle dance of love. God is not just a dancer; God is the dance itself. Join us in worship!

Sermon: How My Mind Has Changed: About How God Saves

Rev. Riley Jensen

Sunday, January 20, 2019

This Sunday, we continue with the series "How My Mind Has Changed." Riley Jensen returns to preach his second of three sermons "How My Mind Has Changed: About How God Saves." Father Richard Rohr reminds us that "Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity. Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God." Join us for worship as we also commission the group traveling to Cuba.

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2018 Annual Report & Meeting

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Westminster Presbyterian Church 
Session Narrative Report regarding the 2019 Budget
Annual Meeting January 20, 2019

2018 Final Income and Expenses

We are very grateful to the congregation for completing 2018 with a surplus of $12,633.70. Significantly increased year-end gifts, pledges and “Double December” provided $1,765,004.71 in revenue against $1,752,371 in expenses—both income and expenses were under the 2018 budget of $1,779,840.

2019 Income 

Westminster pledging income has been generous but has remained flat for the last several years, while costs in all areas have increased and some programming has been sustained by Special Funds—designated gifts, Memorial Trust grants and restricted funds. However, for 2019, there is a significant drop in anticipated regular income—nearly $200,000 less than last year. There are several reasons for this, including any effect that this transition year may have:
               Several households have moved away
               Several households have reduced their pledges.
               Special designated funds are ending, as expected
               Expenses have increased for facility, program, and personnel.
               Other factors that we do not know, including changing tax laws or individual priorities.


Session Ministry Prioritization:

WPC has long included many part-time staff persons in such areas as children’s education, nursery, youth, greeters, sound, music, and other program areas. Since 2010 we have added programming in communications (after a congregational survey); mission (with our “participation rather than patronage” focus); administration (adding the executive pastor and mission administrative assistance); and, faith formation (after our congregational study.) The Session used 2010 as themost recent year that provided a baseline in each program area as a way of living into the funding available and of retaining at least minimal capacity in all program areas.

Accordingly, the reduction in both regular and special income will impact program and personnel in  Mission, Communications, Faith Formation and Administration. Current staffing levels are retained in Music, Youth, Children’s education and Pastoral Care since these ministry functions are principally unchanged since 2010 except that Congregational care has been merged with Pastoral Care. 

Impact of reductions to meet the 2019 Budget.

  1. Non-Personnel:
    • The Core Missions have generously agreed to provide budget assistance to the General Fund in 2019:
      1. Camp Henry will reimburse $5,500 for central services and WPC Mission funds will not fund $4,500 for scholarships
      2. WCDC will increase custodial salary reimbursement by $4,000 and WPC Mission will not fund $6,000 for scholarships
      3. WPC Mission funds will reduce Pantry salary support by $5,000
      4. WPC Mission General funds (last allocated for three years to Camp Henry and three years to WCDC) will be suspended: $24,000.


  • NEXT Church funding is reduced by $7,000 in 2019 to $5,000
  • We have made non-personnel reductions in technology, hospitality and professional expenses.
  • Reduction in Communications program functions for 2019 to the most basic internal informational functions (bulletin, Weekly, News and Notes, etc.) to be included, as has been done before, in the responsibilities of the Executive Pastor, within the current .4 FTE assignment.
  • All program budgets are reduced 5% from 2018 levels (Membership/Growth/Development, Hospitality, Education, Faith Formation, Families, Music, Youth)
  • We have increased both Administration and Facilities allocations, but to a level of 2% less than the amounts requested by committees and staff. We expect to review actual costs and make further adjustments as necessary in July, 2019.


  1. Personnel (total reduction by January 1, 2020 of five persons in a total of 4.625 Full Time Equivalent (FTE)*positions  
  1. Eliminate January 1, 2019: 1.0 FTE Custodial position not filled for 2019
  2. Eliminate December 21, 2018: .375 FTE Administrative Assistant 
  3. Reduce February 1, 2019: by 10 hours/week (.25 FTE) Financial Manager 
  4. Eliminate February 1, 2019: 1.0 FTE Mission Associate (.5 FTE Mission Admin Asst/.5 Prog Assoc) 
  5. Reduce February 1, 2019: Director of Communications and Mission to half time (.5 FTE) for four months for web completion and ServeGR coordination. Position to be eliminated on May 31, 2019. (.5 FTE)
  6. Eliminate December 31, 2019: Minister for Faith Formation and Mission (1.0 FTE) 


Staffing Level                                      2018                   2019                                     2020

Total Full Time Equivalent (FTE)*     18.4                    15.3                                      13.8

Persons                                                33                    30                                            28


Changes                                                           Reductions:                              Reductions:

                                                                        -Admin Asst                 .375     -Dir Comm & Miss    .5           

                                                                        -Custodial                      1.0        (as of 5/31/2019)**

                                                                        -Reduce hrs Fin Mgr     .25       -Minister FF & Miss 1.0

                                                                        -Mission Assoc                         .5           (as of 12/31/2019)

                                                                        -Mission Adm Asst       .5

                                                                        -Dir Comm & Mission             .5

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Sermon: How My Mind Has Changed: About How God Changes God’s Mind

Rev. Riley Jensen

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Riley Jensen, our senior pastor from 1998-2007, returns for a three week series titled: How My Mind Has Changed. Preaching from Jonah and 1 John, this week's sermon is "How My Mind Has Changed: About How God Changes God's Mind." Join us for worship as we celebrate the sacrament of baptism.

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Sermon: Big Enough Questions

Sherrill Vore

Sunday, January 6, 2019

January 6th is Epiphany Sunday. It marks the close of our season of Advent/ Christmas by inviting us to think once more about light and gifts, surprises and mystery. We'll read the story of the visit of the three wise men to the little family in Bethlehem and wonder together about how amazing it was that those visitors recognized the light of God there, before them. Indeed, that is the nature of an epiphany--to see God revealed in a moment of time, in a concrete experience and know what it is that you have seen.

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Sermon: Hope In The Dirt

Kyle Kooyers

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Christmastide, or the "twelve days of Christmas," is a period of time in the church calendar celebrating the gift of God brought to us in a the dirt of manger in Bethlehem. To us, perhaps, it's better known as the season of gift returns, last minute impulse buys, and the countdown to a New Year's resolution. With the days still dark and the distractions and obligation of the season looming large, how do we live into the hope of Christmas in the very places we find ourselves today? Jeremiah offers us an image of life in light of resolute hope as he purchases something completely unexpected... Spoiler: it's not a partridge in a pear tree!

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Sermon: Turning Toward Love

Rev. Jeremy Bork

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Rev. Jeremy Bork is preaching this Sunday, and in place of a typical sermon, he'll offer a first-person, creative retelling of Matthew 1:18-25 from the perspective of Joseph. Jeremy will wonder his way into the story as this soon-to-be husband who learns he's a soon-to-be father. And just maybe, by leaning into our own imagination, perhaps each of us will find ourselves somewhere in the story, too.

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Sermon: Turning Toward Joy

Rev. David Baak

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The message of John the Baptist is a hard word in Advent but it is also clear about the one who is to come: “he will baptize you with the Holy Spirt"…So, John “...proclaimed the good news to the people.” But, the people’s question still was (and is): “What then shall we do?” The answer (from the prophet): “Rejoice and exult with all your heart.” As Walter Brueggemann says, “...especially exultant is that joy which is completely unexpected, or which breaks suddenly into the midst of our gloom.” Join us Sunday at 8:30 or 11:00 for music from harp and choir and a word about...turning toward Joy.

Sermon: Turning Toward Peace

Kyle Nolan

Sunday, December 9, 2018

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety,” wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe.” The great theologian, pastor, and prophet who died in a German concentration camp toward the end of the Second World War longed for peace in his own time. He didn’t live to see it. Had he outlived the war, it’s possible that he wouldn’t have called what followed “peace.” “Peace,” he said, “is the opposite of security.” Along with second Sunday of Advent comes another prophet, John the Baptist, who might seem an unlikely herald of peace. But if we are to take the words of his father seriously, that’s precisely what he was preparing us for: the One who would "give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Join us.

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Sermon: Turning Toward Hope

Rev. Jen Porter

Sunday, December 2, 2018

This first week of advent we turn toward hope. In the midst of a world that appeared to be falling apart, Jeremiah brings a declaration of comfort and hope. We can see differently. What is coming is of God. God brings new things to life. In advent we begin again. Join us for worship, Rev. Jen preaching on Jeremiah 33.

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