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Monthly Archives: April, 2020

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  1. News & Articles : How You Can Help Our Community Partners & Neighbors in Need

    Our Local Missions Committee has been hard at work checking in with our 20+ community partners to see how they’re doing, what their needs are, and how the Westminster family can help.

    View the listing of community needs the Local Missions Committee is tracking and find out what you can to do help our neighbors in need. This listing will be updated with new needs and requests as we are made aware of them, so check back frequently. 

    Contact:  Cherrie Barton Henry, Associate Pastor of Congregational Care & Mission 


  2. News & Articles : Join an Online Bible Study! 

    Connect with your Westminster community, and join together online to learn and study God’s Word. These established groups welcome you to participate in their Zoom gatherings:

    Monday Morning Bible Study (Mondays, 9:30-11:30am) – “Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope During Uncertain Times” We know Jesus tells us, “Do not be afraid,” but with everything going on in the world, how is it possible not to be anxious? In this five-week study beginning May 4, author Adam Hamilton explores the worries and fears most of us experience and shares practical steps for overcoming them with the help of Scripture and a bit of faith. The series consists of a DVD and discussion via Zoom. Contact: Helen Harrison

    Bible Round Table (Sundays, 9:45am) The Bible Roundtable plans to begin its study of the book of James on April 26. We hope you will sign in and join what is always a friendly, lively interactive discussion. Contact:  Sam Bryan 

    Sojourners (Sundays at 9:45am) This group continues to work its way through the book, We Make the Road by Walking, by Brian McLaren. Contact:  Kay Wellemeyer

    The Present Word Join this group in exploring the theme of justice through the eyes of the prophets.  The Present Word is available online, so even if you don’t have a copy of the book, you can still access the materials. Contact:  Pete McWilliams

    Please contact Marietta Wynands, Director of Christian Education, for additional information.


  3. News & Articles : Celebrating Communion at Home on May 3

    On Sunday, May 3, we’re going to do something many of us never imagined we’d do:  We’re going to take communion together…virtually! That means each of us will celebrate communion in our homes as part of our worship on Sunday.

    This isn’t  the way we prefer to be in communion with one another, but now more than ever we as Christians long to meet Christ at the place where he has told us we will always find him. It’s time to gather with Jesus and the communion of the saints at God’s table; gathered to be fed, filled, and nurtured by the Spirit’s vision of the world.  With bread and cups in our hands and all of us doing this together, this sacrament will be a real celebration of Holy Communion.  Our PC(USA) denominational leaders and your Session have both approved this means of communion during this time.

    As your household – whether there is one of you or a dozen – prepares for communion, we ask that you make a few advance preparations. Get the details in this video by Cherrie, or follow the steps below:

    • Select a cup and plate to use. Your every-day cups and plates will work just fine, or you can get fancy and break out the china. Listen to the Spirit and do what you think most honors this time and space.
    • Find some sort of bread. A freshly baked loaf, a biscuit, a piece of gluten-free bread, or a cracker – it’s up to you.
    • Find some sort of drink. Grape juice or wine are the obvious choices, but any other kind of juice, coffee, tea, or even water (baptism!) will work. Again, listen to the Spirit’s call for the times.
    • If you need help securing any of these items, send us an email by Friday evening, and we will get them to you. If you are interested in making your own bread (as some of us did for Maundy Thursday), try this one-hour, four-ingredient recipe.
    • Place all these items in a central place before worship begins. This could be a table, a small stool, or a coffee table in front of your viewing monitor. When the time comes to share the elements, the pastors will instruct you what to do.

    Because this is a new experience for us all, be sure to take some time after worship to reflect upon your communion experience after worship on Sunday. As you eat lunch, ponder these questions to yourself or with those around you:

    • What did you notice?
    • How did this experience expand your understanding of the ways Jesus meets us in communion?
    • What concerns did you have doing communion this way?  In the end, were they justified?
    • Reformed Christians like to say that a sacrament is an “outward and visible symbol of an inner and spiritual grace.” How did this celebration of communion meet that definition of sacrament?
    • Are there other things in your life that might be sacramental by this definition of sacrament?

    Those interested in reflecting further on this new way of experiencing communion are invited to join the pastors in a Zoom time of reflection on Sunday at 5:00pm. To participate, send an email to westminster@wpcdurham.org by 3:00pm on Sunday, and a Zoom meeting connection will be sent to you by 4:30pm.  Contact: Cherrie Barton Henry

     


  4. Bulletins & Sunday Announcements : May 2020

    May 3, 2020Bulletin & Announcements, Children’s Bulletins, Communion At-Home Instructions
    May 10, 2020: Bulletin & Announcements, Children’s Bulletins
    May 17, 2020Bulletin & Announcements, Children’s Bulletins
    May 24, 2020Bulletin & Announcements, Children’s Bulletins
    May 31, 2020Bulletin & Announcements, Children’s Bulletins

    All music used by permission under OneLicense #A-718062. All rights reserved.
    Additional music and text in public domain

     


  5. WPC Staff Blog : “Bound by History or Blind to Its Lessons?” by Chris Tuttle

    When I encounter something I don’t understand, my default is to turn to history. Has something like this happened before? What can we learn from those who have gone before? There is much history can tell us, often leaving us in awe of the courage and tenacity of those who have lived in prior times. Yes, they also made mistakes, often horrific ones, but we should judge with care. In the times to come, history will also judge us.

    As it looked like the threat of this virus was growing, I ordered John Barry’s, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. Barry does extraordinary research around the 1918 so-called “Spanish Influenza,” though it likely started around an Army base in Kansas. The book is fascinating and filled with heartbreaking and inspiring stories. I commend the book to you. I learned something on every page, but here are a few takeaways:

    • A handful of key personalities brought the study of medicine in the US forward in the generation after the Civil War. The US was way behind Europe in terms of technology, lab techniques, and the quality of medical training and care. The work of these men did change the world.
    • But even in the face of this extraordinary work, the pandemic took over much of the country, and the world, between 1918 and 1920. At least 670,000 Americans died, and over 50 million people worldwide. The numbers are likely much higher.
    • But we didn’t talk about it much in this country because of the buildup to US involvement in World War I. President Woodrow Wilson didn’t make a single public statement on the pandemic for fear of undercutting his single-minded focus on a brutal and complete victory in Europe. Newspapers didn’t publish stories for fear of being branded un-American. Stories of the disease, especially the disease on Army bases, according to that school of thought, would signal to the world that we were weak and could not confront our enemies in the trenches in Europe with the force required.
    • Many public officials were ignorant and negligent. But heroic doctors and nurses stepped in, often at great risk. Seminary students in Philadelphia dug graves when no one else would.

    Two more key notes, from Barry’s afterword:

    1. These things come in waves. The last five global pandemics (1889, 1918, 1957, 1968, 2009) each had multiple waves. And each wave is a little different. Beware of thinking “it is over.”
    2. Trust in our leaders, and among people together, is absolutely critical. In 1918 and 1919 many leaders made things far worse by minimizing the risk and downplaying what was happening. They put far more people in danger. “For if there is a single dominant lesson from 1918, it’s that governments need to tell the truth in a crisis. Risk communication implies managing the truth. You don’t manage the truth. You tell the truth.”

    This is an extraordinary time, and history so often repeats itself. We should not be bound by history – we don’t always have to do what was done before, or react directly to what was done well or poorly previously. But we must not be blind to its lessons.


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