Westminster’s mission statement is to share God’s love and work for justice in a complex world. Our church’s programmatic activities in Mission and Outreach are organized into several committees, resourced by the Division Head Elders, Steve Wilson and Allen Hench, and Associate Pastor, Tracy Howe Wispelwey. The Benevolence Committee now administers two aspects of Westminster’s generous giving to the community at large. In 2016, approximately $92000 was designated for roughly 50 different causes, including local ministries Alliance for Interfaith Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, IMPACT, Charlottesville Dental Clinic, Charlottesville Mediation Center, the Haven, and Arbor among others. Also supported are international efforts for Middle East peacemaking, anti-trafficking work in Thailand, death penalty opposition, and seminary student support for Westminster-affiliated students. The same committee also disburses income from the Mission Endowment Fund through an annual call for proposals. We recently granted $18,400 to local `startup’ projects.
We’ve had an active PACEM hosting every winter for years, and this committee, led by Fran Sargent, is now planning Westmnster’s next hosting cycle in February. The Green Team, led by Polly Cushman, is concerned with reflecting God’s love through better environmental stewardship. They’ve spearheaded a solar panel leasing project that will commence soon, placing panels on the roof of the kitchen. We see this as a demonstration for other churches, and it may eventually grow to a larger commitment in this area. Peace and Justice and Inclusion activities, led by Laura Young, center around racial justice and justice for LGBT persons as well as immigration and refugee issues. This ministry is also supporting different advocacy and activism work by WPC members including ending gun violence, violence and sexual assault and prison ministry. Westminster has a Habitat team that gathers monthly with other Presbyterian teams in the area to build local housing; Habitat has just completed a major build off Elliott Avenue, and is now working on a six-plex in Crozet’s Wickham Pond development. Finally, Dan Heuchert is heading Westminster’s IMPACT presence this year, taking over from Chip Sanders. This group is in a process of discernment of how to redirect Westminster’s strong leadership over the past nine years.
We welcome participation of new folks in any of these activities, and we seek member input on our benevolence giving as well. You can read more on Westminster’s new website. Contact either of us, or Tracy, about how to get involved.
Steve Wilson, Allen Hench
Mission and Outreach co-chairs