A string quartet heightens our worship experience this week. The lively Capriol Suite by British composer Peter Warlock appears in movements for the opening voluntary, communion music, and closing voluntary. Our opening hymn Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence will feature the strings and a choir descant on the last verse. The choir will also sing Prepare the Way, O Zion by Kenneth Dake with violin and organ.
Archives for November 2016
No one has ever described me as a “morning person”—just ask Heather. For being a high energy kind of guy, it may come as a surprise to you to learn that I start my mornings slow: wiping the sleep from my eyes, putting on an old sweatshirt, wondering where I put my glasses the night before, and starting the kettle for my morning cup of coffee. My mornings also include stretching out and glancing at my NPR news app. At the break of dawn, it takes me awhile to find my bearings. A few years back, Heather and I attended a conference in Maine where we were invited every morning to begin our day by sitting in silence for 15-20 minutes. Leaders lit a candle, read to us a brief prayer or poem and then, with the sound of a bell, we sat quietly, breathing in and out and placing our day in God’s hands.
Here in Charlottesville, Heather and I have begun this spiritual practice. It doesn’t take a class or a special curriculum. Trust me. Starting off your day grounded and calm in mind and spirit changes the way you interact with others and how others interact with you.
After my silent meditation and a second cup of coffee, I start to feel ready—in soul, mind, and body. I’m ready to face the coming day. And when I pull into Westminster Presbyterian Church and I get out of my car, I say one more prayer: “O Lord, let me rise to the challenges of this day.” My day begins.
Many of us have our morning rituals and routines. We have our own unique way of summoning up the right attitude so we can be more fully engaged in our everyday relationships. Indeed, we all need some time to wake up. One of our Advent hymns (#17) begins this way: “Sleepers awake!” A voice astounds us . . . .” For me, Johann Sebastian Bach’s classic tune calls us to wakefulness. Like many of our Advent hymns, we sing of the joyous news of preparing for Christ’s coming. “Awake, Jerusalem, arise!” this hymn calls and beckons. In essence, the hymn cries out, “Wake Up! Wipe the sleep from your eyes! Put on an old sweatshirt! Stretch out! Meditate in the light of Christ. Get ready!”
“For unto us a child is born, a son is given and authority will rest upon his shoulders; and he will be named, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6)
So, sleepers, wake! For Advent is here!
Volunteers are needed to help with communion preparation. This is a simple but necessary element of our worship service for which we need people once a month. It is a good way to participate in the life of the church AND to make it even easier, I will be preparing communion for all 8:30 services. I will also be there to help with preparations for the 11:00 service. Please consider giving back to Westminster in this special and important way. You can email me, Liza M, to express your interest in this opportunity.
The Peace, Justice and Inclusion Committee has continued to press forward in issues of immigration and refugees and is offering a two part series during the Christian Education hour on Dec. 4 & 11. We invite everyone to attend so that we can discern together how to live in to our mission to work for justice in a complex world!
December 4, 9:30 a.m. Solidarity With Our Immigrant Neighbors.
Our speaker is Lana Heath de Martinez, a fellow of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and a recent Master of Divinity graduate at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond. Her background is primarily in immigrant rights advocacy. She has been the Virginia chapter president of American Families United, a grassroots organizer with Virginia Organizing and Organizing For Action, and a Public Policy intern for VICPP.
December 11, 9:30 a.m. Political, Historical and Economic Perspectives in Immigration.
David Martin is the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor International Law at UVA. He has helped shape immigration and refugee policy while serving in several key U.S. government posts, including as principal deputy general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security from 2009-2010. He will be leading this class and is joined by Peter Gates, peace and justice activist and Rev. Gene Locke who participated in the 2016 spring break mission trip to the US/Mexico Border. All three presenters are from WPC!
If you have any questions, please contact .
On November 20th, in light of Ken being installed as the new pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Dick Redding gave the following charge to the congregation.
On behalf of the pastoral nominating committee and the congregation, thanks be to God for Ken answering our call to be our senior pastor. So, what is our responsibility, as a congregation in this partnership with our new pastor? It is a partnership, right? Together, we can be a very powerful force for Christ, as we discern what the Holy Spirit has in mind for Westminster Presbyterian Church today and beyond.
The Book of Order describes Christ’s ministry and this relationship in the following way: pastors and people share in the ministry/mission of the church together complementing/completing one another under the one and same mandate of Christ. Ministry is not just for ministers.
First, a few dos and don’ts for us the congregation. Ken is a faithful Shepherd to this flock, but it is a large flock, with a lot of personalities. Do be patient with him and don’t be offended if he doesn’t return a phone call or email right away. Trust me and remember, that he cares deeply for each of us. Do be direct and clear in your communication with others and particularly when there are differences, speak your truth, leading with love. Do be mindful of Ken’s priorities beyond this congregation. His first allegiance is to God. His second allegiance is to Heather and his family in Oregon. Do respect the time that he sets aside for family. Remember, Ken’s day off is Monday. Do honor his time to recharge and be with family. Refrain from reaching out to Ken on Mondays.
Do allow Ken the flexibility to take us out of our comfort zone. That may create the best place for a growth opportunity in stretching our faith. Do be open to change.
I challenge myself, and all of you to willfully and joyfully share your gifts with this church and community in our ministry together. Do revisit your calling as disciples. Take a step towards serving others in the name of Christ, not only in this place on Sunday, but out in the world during the week as well. Do listen for the Holy Spirit to move you into action.
Several years ago, I was the overnight congregation representative for PACEM. One of our guests that evening, a fellow the men referred to as Doc, had a medical emergency. The rescue squad was called, but they were unsuccessful in reviving him. A few days later, the pastor called me to be sure I was OK. I said yes, “I’m fine, but it would have been nice if a minister had come over that night to pray with the men.” In looking back, I realized I had missed an opportunity to do more to serve and comfort that evening. I should’ve been the one empowered to lead the men in prayer. Ministry is not just for ministers. Why not me Lord?
To illustrate my point further, I know many of you have seen Ken juggle. For those of you who haven’t, trust me, he’s a really good juggler. Imagine that each ball that he juggles with represent one of his spiritual gifts of ministry. So, close your eyes for a minute, as we explore this thought. Now, let’s imagine that the back of the sanctuary is glassed in and completely transparent. Next envision Ken juggling away here behind the pulpit. Imagine people walking or driving down Rugby Road by the glassed in sanctuary. A passerby might peek in and say “man that guys a good juggler, but he seems all alone in what he is doing among that big crowd, and they don’t seem to be reacting to it, maybe it’s not that big of a deal.” Now think about your God given gifts being represented by a ball in your hand. Imagine that you start flipping your sphere in the air, along with the rest of the congregation. Those walking by take another look, and Ken is juggling away, joined by you folks in the pews, tossing your balls in the air as well. It’s a sea of motion and energy as the balls go round and round. Now the people on the street exclaim, “wow, that looks amazing, let’s go in there and see what this is all about!
So, do take the ball, your gifts, out of your pocket, and share it with the world joyfully and toss it together with Ken. The Spirit is there to encourage us. With all our oars in the water at once, we can be a powerful force for Christ. And let’s be sure we keep our ball out of our pockets and visible when we leave here today.
Come ye faithful people, come. Do pray for Ken and our other pastors, Lynne and Tracy. Do pray for this new partnership of ministry with Ken and go forth with confidence that the Holy Spirit is guiding us in our ministry together in a way that is pleasing to God.