News & Updates
Dear Westminster members and friends,
We are asking you to support our mission at Camp Henry with a financial gift. While Camp Henry has experienced tremendous success over the past year with record enrollment, new capital improvements, and a strong staff, there is one area where Camp Henry is in significant, urgent need of support:
The Camp Henry Scholarship Fund is drastically underfunded.
Foundations grants for scholarships have been reduced by a combined $32,000, and we are committed to only offering scholarships once we have the money. We have 73 campers on a waiting list, who need financial assistance in order to attend Camp Henry this summer—and this number grows daily.
The current need is $29,967 to get those 73 campers into camp.
Because we are financially healthy, every dollar you send goes directly to the scholarship fund.
We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure money is not a barrier to attending Camp Henry this summer.
Camp Henry is not possible without the faithful and consistent support of WPC. We invite you to be a part of extending the Westminster Welcome at Camp Henry and to helping us move these campers off of the waiting list and into camp.
—Rev. Chandler Stokes, senior pastor, and Dr. Jeff “Jake” Jacobs, executive director of Camp Henry
Over the past few years, Camp Henry has moved from a sometimes tenuous part of our ministry to a vibrant, steady and fully integrated part of Westminster. And this summer we will also be ending one of our ministries up at Camp. We will be conducting Sunday services on Sundays at Camp Henry on Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, but not during the rest of the summer.
It has become increasingly expensive and difficult for us to provide the appropriate coordination and staff support for these services. The overhead of energy, time and money, has become more than is sustainable or is in our best interests. Rev. Stokes will be preaching next Sunday up at camp, but we wanted you all to know of this change.
We are very happy to announce the start of summer softball! Westminster has two co-ed teams this season, both playing on Thursday evenings—and their season starts with a head-to-head matchup!
You can find the full schedule online.
All games are played at the Christian Recreation Center, 3450 36th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512. See it on Google Maps. You can also find rosters for each team online. Games begin this Thursday and continue through July. Come cheer on your home church team!
May 4: The second Sunday of Easter
Music: Hannah Nelson, clarinet at 8:30a, and the Sanctuary Choir at 11:00a.
Sacrament: Communion and reception of new members.
Sermon: ‘Fleeing in Terror,’ Ryan Donahoe preaching on Mark 16:1–8.
What do we do when we wake up after Easter and it appears as though the resurrection never happened—that the world is exactly the same as it was on Palm Sunday? The good news is that we know what to do—even when our faith is lacking, our doubt is overwhelming, and we don't comprehend what took place on Easter morning
May 11: The third Sunday of Easter
Music: Rev. Chandler Stokes at 8:30a, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse at 11:00a
Sacrament: Baptism at 8:30a
Sermon: ‘Namesake,’ Rev. Chandler Stokes preaching on Matthew 1:18–25.
“So, Gogol changes his name to Nikil. While not a name common in Kansas, it is a name that sets him free. But in time he discovers much to his amazement that there is too much Begali in him to be completely at home in America. He is … caught between two worlds….”
May 18: The fourth Sunday of Easter
Music: Min Jin, tenor and Hyun Ji, cello at 8:30a, and the Sanctuary Choir at 11:00a
Sermon: ‘Dirt in Our Shoes,’ Rev. Chandler Stokes preaching on 2 Kings 5:1–14.
Like Naaman, we all live in the shadow of the house of Rimmon. Call it Syria, Washington, DC, Jerusalem or Bethlehem, with an incarnational God, we are called not to rise above these houses, but to find the holy ground within them.
Summer worship schedule begins May 25: One service at 10:00a
May 25: The fifth Sunday of Easter
Music: The Sanctuary Choir
Sermon: Rev. Dave Baak preaching at Westminster, and Rev. Chandler Stokes preaching at Camp Henry.
June 1: The sixth Sunday of Easter
Sacrament: The Lord’s Supper
Sermon: ‘Closing the Distance,’ Rev. Chandler Stokes preaching on Matthew 26:47–58.
Blessed are the pure in heart? Peter walking on the water: he sinks but he’s out of the boat… It’s trust and a lack of trust at the same time. Faith is not black & white. We are a mixture. I follow, but only at a distance.
Westminster is searching for its next Minister to Youth and their families.
This is a full-time position with supervisory responsibility for a part-time High School director and a Middle School director. The youth ministry at Westminster is vibrant. Ministry Architects just came through and gave us glowing reviews. The ministry is already really working. It doesn’t need fixing; it just needs leadership.
We have a good and long history of youth ministry at Westminster. We’ve got about one hundred youth involved in the program and a number of highly dedicated lay leaders at the heart of it. We have regularly participated in the Montreat Youth Conference, and that helps define the ethos of our ministry: real, deep, authentic, life-giving and empowering.
You would be joining a cohesive and integrated staff—Minister for Educator, Minister for Music and Head of Staff all deeply committed to youth ministry. It’s a great position in a thriving congregation. Join us.
For more information, or to apply, please contact Joel Schultze, chair of the Youth Minister Search Committee. You can also learn more about the Youth Minister Search Committee in the April issue of Chimes, our congregational magazine.
The May issue of Chimes is now available. In this month’s issue:
- Celebrating the women of Westminster
- Presbyterian Women of Westminster reboots
- Feminist theology sparks a new conversation
- New cabins are being constructed at Camp Henry
- Our Heritage Sunday list of 50+ year members
This week, six members of the Westminster family are in Minneapolis for the NEXT Church Conference, a national gathering of PCUSA leaders—many of them young—who are amplifying a common missional focus around which Presbyterian churches can collaborate. Representatives include staff (Rev. Katherine Baker, Christian Bell, and Rev. Chandler Stokes) and members of the Youth Minister Search Committee and Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (Joel Schultze, and Steve Baron and Todd Helle, respectively).
NEXT Church is a network of leaders across the Presbyterian Church (USA) who believe the church of the future will be more relational, more diverse, more collaborative, more hopeful and more agile. The National Gathering will take place March 31-April 2, 2014 in Minneapolis, MN and provide conversations about the theology, culture, and practice of ministry. This time will serve as a catalyst for new mission callings and support strong leadership in a time of adaptive change--particularly exploring themes on Leader-ship, Creativity, and Culture. Also, save the date and look for further details on our Midwest Regional Gathering (November 7-8, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan).
For more information, visit NEXT Church’s website. http://nextchurch.net/
In our emphasis on mission, we stress participation, rather than patronage, in our mission work. This vision of participation begins with a simple discernment of our expertise and values, and an invitation to those around us to join us in our passions—even as we develop new ones.
With that in mind, will you to please take time to complete our Congregational Mission Inventory Survey? It’s a brief, open-ended questionnaire that allows you to express how you might like to participate in mission.
We are thrilled to be having Westminster Week at Camp Henry this summer! Campers from Westminster are certainly welcome to attend Camp Henry at any point during the summer. Even so, we’ve set aside the week of July 6-12 as “Westminster Week”. If you are wanting to come to Camp Henry this summer at a time when other WPC kids will be at camp – then this is the week for you. Adam and Sarah will be onsite at Camp Henry all week and jumping in on the fun.
Campers can choose from all of the week long overnight camping options – or our 5-day Day Camp program Monday, the 7th, through Friday, the 11th. There is daily transportation available from WPC for Day Campers. Also, don’t forget that all WPC members get $40 off a full week of camp or $20 off Day or Mini Camp at Camp Henry.
From Rev. Chandler Stokes, senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church:
In light of Judge Bernard Friedman’s ruling, I thought it would be important for you to know my view of same-sex marriage. Back in 2010, I delivered a rather thorough account of my theological understanding. In short it is this:
“In the public debate over marriage, it’s as if we have confused the treasure with the earthen vessel. ‘Heterosexual marriage is a vessel; the real treasure is the steadfastness and fidelity of love. We bless the vessel, because it holds the treasure… We bless the treasure rather than elevating the clay pot to ultimacy.
“We bless love, respect, mutuality, accountability, joy, and compassion. These qualities point beyond our human frailties to God’s relationship with us. That is the standard, the ultimate covenant to which we aspire in all our relationships. The church should bless and encourage covenantal, faithful relationships wherever they may be found.”
I am deeply grateful that the way appears to be opening for LGBT couples to seek the legal blessing of marriage in the State of Michigan. May all who already enjoy that blessing be mindful of the privilege and honor it.
An Easter treat: Buttery, flaky pastries that are ready to bake! Westminster Women are taking Butter Braid orders after worship the next three Sundays. Orders can be picked up on April 6 or 13. Proceeds benefit the Westminster Women’s Fall Retreat at Camp Henry. For more information, contact Chris Dugan or call the church office at 616-456-1456.
Winter has driven blood donations down—but you can roll up your sleeves and do something about it. Westminster Deacons are holding our spring blood drive this Sunday, March 16, from 9:30a–12:15p in the south dining room. We hope you’ll join in!
We received a wonderful thank you note recently from Our Hope Association, in response to the Valentine Bag Project these women helped put together. Here’s what Our Hope had to say:
The women of Our Hope Association would like to express their most sincere gratitude to Westminster Presbyterian Church for the Valentine Gifts.
The support of Westminster and the meaning it brings to our women is immeasurable as they work to build a newfound sense of strength and confidence. Hidden away in an historic home in a West Michigan neighborhood, Our Hope Association provides a voice for women against a disease known for shame and silence.
The thoughtful donation from Westminster supports our mission of providing a dignified space to do difficult work that is rooted in honesty, healing and hope.
We are very happy to announce the start of summer softball! Westminster has two co-ed teams this season, both playing on Thursday evenings. Within this post you’ll find important info about the season.
Where we play: The Christian Rec Center
The CRC (or Rec Center) was formerly called the Christian Reformed Rec Center.
What you need: A glove
All you need is a glove. If you have softball bats, please bring them.
First game: Next Thursday
Our first game is next Thursday, May 15—with an intra-church matchup! Westminster Team A vs. Westminster Team B at 8:30p at the Rec Center on Diamond 1.
Rosters and schedules: Online
Jerseys: Please order
Kuiper Orlebeke is once again graciously subsidizing the cost of our jerseys. If you played last year, you do not need a new jersey.
We are still working to determine final costs for jersey and team fees, but expect this cost will not exceed $25/person. If you have not yet repaid your CRC registration costs, we will contact you.
Thank you for your energy around this recreational ministry! Looking forward to the mercies of the Lord, and maybe a few home-runs
Now through March 9, our middle and high school youth are selling pie kits from Grand Traverse Pie for $15; each kit includes one apple, cherry, and blueberry pie. To purchase a pie kit, contact any youth group member. Pies will be delivered on March 30.
This fundraiser will benefit the Westminster youth ministry summer trips to South Manitou Island and the Montreat Youth Conference. For further information, contact Shelly Boeve, youth ministry coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.