A Word from the Pastor â€” July Newsletter
It is hard to believe that I have been with you for over a month! The past 5 weeks have been full of excitement and learning. I’ve enjoyed connecting with many of you from our Westminster church family and learning about you, what brought you to Westminster, what you love about our congregation and what your dreams are for our shared future.
As you have seen in my mid-week reflections, I’ve also been getting around in the community. I joined the downtown protests against police brutality and systemic racism that our African American sisters and brothers as well as other people of color experience. I met several of you at these gatherings. I was really happy that so many of us from Westminster attended the Juneteenth Liberation March, joining over 500 people in our quest for a more equitable society for our Black neighbors and indeed, for all God’s children.
At these protests, I made connections with people from the College of Wooster, local NGOs and faith communities. Last week, I had the privilege to join the Trinity United Church of Christ ministry feeding breakfast to neighbors experiencing homelessness. In my first week in the office, I shared with Gracie, our Office Administrator, that I love gardening. She invited me to join a new initiative to create a community garden on Spink Street. This adventure introduced me to folk from Habitat for Humanity and the Junior Women’s League. I already feel at home in this community and I look forward to deepening these relationships and discovering how we can join our passions and resources to make our city a better, more peaceful and just place for all.
Since the pandemic still prevents us from safely gathering in person for worship, I’ve been connecting with you through mid-week video reflections and on Sundays, by video recording my sermons. The necessity to shelter at home provides us with new opportunities to envision being church together. So, from this coming Sunday, July 5th, we are on a new adventure: we are moving our worship to Zoom! This platform will allow us to see each other, even if it’s only on screen, and to interact with each other after service, in our Zoom fellowship.
In Acts 2: 41-47, we find a poignant description of the church: an assembly of those committed to following the ways of Jesus Christ, who gather to praise God—worship, to study, to fellowship, to break bread together with glad and generous hearts, and share their possessions so that there won’t be any in need among them. This vision that we strive to embody inspires and energizes us to create spaces where people can experience community in these powerful ways that Acts speaks about. It also a timely reminder of our calling during this era of the pandemic and social upheaval.
From this coming Sunday, we’ll begin to gather on Zoom at 10AM to worship together—to stay grounded in the ways of Christ, to be challenged, inspired and transformed. After worship (35-40 mins), we will continue with a time of fellowship (15-20 mins) to catch up with each other and learn how we can support each other as we navigate these days filled with so much uncertainty, stress and pain, but also with opportunities for new things to unfold.
You will find the link to our Zoom Worship & Fellowship and instructions on how to join the meeting in this newsletter. Invite a friend, spread the word.
I am also working with the session to start a congregational small-group study that will engage the problem of racism. In the mid-month newsletter, we’ll include a sign-up document with date and time options for a weekly study. Stay tuned!
As we move forward, my prayer for all of us is for continued wisdom, guidance and courage. May we stay open to the stirring of the Spirit, who breaks down our inhibitions and the obstacles in our way as we work to embody the beautiful vision of Acts in new ways!
This weekend, as we celebrate July 4th, may we not take the freedoms we enjoy for granted. Let us commit anew to working towards a world where all people in our country can enjoy a good life—peace and safety, access to good education, healthcare and jobs, as well as a place to shape our public life together.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Grace and Peace,