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January Chimes: Leadership

  News Updates Chimes MissionMatters MLK Session
Monday, January 19, 2015

The January issue of Chimes is now available. In this month's issue: 

  • Session Report
  • Minister for Mission: Welcoming Heather Colletto
  • Sneak Preview: Capital Campaign - MissionMatters
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
  • Much more!

Courtney Smith and MissionMatters

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon     Worship Worship Blog
Sunday, January 18, 2015

How did one become a Christian abolitionist in 1861? It was not as simple as it might sound. At the climax of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus commands his disciples to baptize and to teach. Presbyterians have long believed that loving God with our minds is critical, in part because it is critical to our practice of justice. It was critical that Courtney Smith had been empowered to read the Bible with more than his heart, but also with his mind. Join us as we explore the connections between our abolitionist past and our present hope to serve faithfully.

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In A Day

Sermon     Worship Worship Blog
Sunday, January 11, 2015

We say, as Christ's body, that in our baptism that we have become Children of God. We quickly realize as we live into our faith, that the things that change us happen in a day and over lots of years. What has changed me? We continue to walk with that question as we reflect on Jesus' baptism.

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Can we interest you in a trip to Cuba?

  Mission Cuba
Monday, December 29, 2014

We invite you to learn more about a trip to Cuba—we will hold an informational meeting on Wednesday, January 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the home of Marc Bohland, our trip organizer, at 356 Maryland NE, Grand Rapids (just south of Michigan).  The trip is sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian Church, specifically the WorldWide Ministries Committee.  The dates are April 23-May 1, 2015.  Know that all of you are welcome at this meeting, if only for your curiosity and information—no obligation and no immediate confirmation is necessary; a deposit of $150 is needed by the end of January or shortly thereafter for those who decide to participate.  Here are a few of the “basics:”  (And, if you are interested, then it’s also time to apply for or update your passport.)

  • We will travel with First Hand Aid (see for further details) and our trip’s primary purpose is Humanitarian Aid for patients in hospitals and families in Cuba.  
  • But, in addition, this will be an educational, inter-cultural experience because we will have a chance to interact with a number of people, from the families in whose homes we will stay to government officials.  
  • We will also have plenty of time for being tourists—without the constraints that the Cuban government usually imposes on visiting groups, thanks to First Hand Aid’s status.  
  • Finally, this group is being formed within the mission of Westminster Presbyterian Church and we will have a number of opportunities to reflect together on our experience in Cuba and the difference that may make for our faith and lives here at home.

All of which is to say, we know of no better “combination” trip where we are able to both give a lot and receive so much.
The all inclusive fare is $2,835—this includes everything except some lunches, extra evening activities, alcohol and “spending money.” Specifically included are:
Housing in casas (private rooms in family homes)
Cars in Cuba; drivers, etc
Paperwork and program fees on both sides of the ocean
Visas for Cuba
Parking in Toronto
Exit Visa out of Cuba

Deposit of $150 by the end of January.  You may pay the fare in installments after that but you should be ready to pay the remainder by the first of April. 

We are recruiting up to 18 persons to travel, for a  unique combination of service (medical supplies), education, and tourism that is possible only because we travel to bring in medical supplies. This is a Humanitarian Aid trip to hospitals and clinics in Havana and Guines, Cuba and to visit the Guines Presbyterian congregation. First Hand Aid, now in its 16th year, provides medical supplies, family support and a “Meals on Heels” program in one of the Havana neighborhoods. Additionally, travelers will have an enriching cross-cultural experience and enjoy some of the tourist attractions of both the city and the countryside. For more information, contact David Baak at; cell: 340-6782. 


Rev. Jen Porter

Sermon     Sermon Sermons
Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Revealed" God often comes in ways that are easy for us to miss. We give thanks for the Holy Spirit at work in the world, and for the dedicated witness of the faithful in our midst. Simeon and Anna have waited for decades

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Worship Schedule for January

  Worship Worship Blog
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Body Language

What has Changed?


What Good is an Epiphany?

January 4– Epiphany Sunday
Rev. Chandler Stokes preaching
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12  
Music: Leslie Wilkinsion, Violin, and Andrew Wilkinson, Flute at 8:30a
Sanctuary Choir at 11:00a


In A Day

January 11 – The Baptism of the Lord
Rev. Jen Porter preaching
Scripture: Mark 1:4-11
Music: Viviana Kloostra, Soprano at 8:30a
Sanctuary Choir at 11:00a


Courtney Smith and MissionMatters

January 18 – The Second Sunday after Epiphany
Rev. Chandler Stokes preaching
Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20
Music: Nancy Patterson, Mezzo-Soprano at 8:30a
Chapel Ringers and Sanctuary Choir at 11:00a


The Day You Actually Want to Hear From John the Baptist

January 25 – The Third Sunday after Epiphany
Rev. Tom Are, Jr. preaching
Scripture: Luke 3:7-17
Music: Westminster String Ensemble at 8:30 and 11:00a Sanctuary Choir at 11:00a Annual Meeting following the 11:00a service

Sitting in Darkness

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon     Sermon Sermons Worship Worship Blog
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

“Sitting in Darkness" - God did not wait till the world was ready, till...the nations were at peace. … God did not wait for the perfect time. God came when the need was deep and great. Come celebrate with us the Birth of the Messiah, the Light of the World.

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Heather Colletto appointed Minister for Mission

  News Updates
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Heather is thrilled to get to know the people and the work of Westminster. She is passionate about connecting individuals to his/her unique role within a mission. A non-profit donor relations professional, she has previously worked in Slovakia and northern Thailand, but most recently served as Development and Communications Coordinator at the YWCA West Central Michigan just one block away. She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and holds a BA in English from Rutgers University.

Heather and her husband, Michael, moved in Grand Rapids in 2010. They live in Eastown, where Heather is a board member for the Eastown Community Association. Their daughter, Beatrice, is 14 months old and attends Westminster Child Development Center. Beatrice and the family cat are blissfully unaware that they are about to share the spotlight when Baby-to-Be arrives in March!

Today, or Tomorrow?

Monday, December 22, 2014

There is a natural eagerness in our lives for things to happen today.  We are eager to work for and to see change now.  What can we do?  There is also a faithful response of steadily waiting for God's timing and setting our hearts on what will be tomorrow.

For the December Worship Schedule

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The Light of Love

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon     Sermon Sermons Worship Worship Blog
Sunday, December 21, 2014

This week also gives us a chance to introduce an addition to our pastoral care team: a mental health referral panel that gives us some great confidence about making referrals for members of Westminster. It is a very comforting and exciting development.

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The Light of Hope

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon     Sermon Sermons
Sunday, December 14, 2014

In addition to our children’s choirs singing at the 11.00 am service, we will also be offering a sneak preview of our plans for the MissionMatters campaign in the new year and introducing our new Minster for Mission. It will be a grand day.

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December Chimes: Holidays and Holy Days

  Chimes Advent Christmas Music acolytes
Monday, December 8, 2014

The December issue of Chimes is now available. In this month's issue:

  • Gifts in the Darkness and in the Light - Advent 2014
  • Christmas Joy Offering
  • Bringing in the Light
  • Music at Westminster
  • Much more!
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Moving in Darkness

Sermon     Sermon Sermons
Sunday, December 7, 2014

There is always an obscure quality to our living. There will always be unanswered questions, places of unease, of irresolution… darkness. But we move through it. We move through life without resolution but with a “deepening sense” of it all. It is solved in the walking… As the disciples walked the road to Emmaus, we too walk without resolution, and yet with the promise that, for a moment, as we pause and eat together, there will be a bit of … calm, sense, maybe even light around the table. And get up… and walk again.

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The Luminous Dark

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon     Sermon Sermons
Sunday, November 30, 2014

We will begin by rememberingeven the darkness is not dark to God—and that when we find ourselves in oppressive darkness, we are not alone; God has habitually met God’s people in their darkness: pointing to the stars at night for Abraham to count his descendants to come, starting their exodus on Passover night, meeting Moses in the darkness on Mt. Sinai, converting Saul in his blindness, and raising Jesus in the dark of the tomb. All these liberating gifts, all given in the darkness.

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