Your pledge to Westminster supports our pastors who preach the Word of God, lead, teach and empower us to serve Christ. This stimulates us to grow as disciples and share God’s love. In response to the recent pandemic, your support has allowed us to provide regular worship services online and reach new worshippers seeking spiritual guidance during these challenging times. The church continues to welcome visitors and new members, while many church members assist with the worship services. Your generosity will enable us to return to worshipping in a well-maintained and welcoming sanctuary once it is safe to do so.
Have you been keeping up with the anti-racism uprising taking place across the country and world these past couple of weeks? If you want to support the struggle for justice and equity but are not sure what to do, this list offers several starting points for concrete actions. The following links are from Claire Lampen’s article “How to Support the Struggle Against Police Brutality.” Join others at Westminster in the continual journey to resist racism and end police brutality by taking the next step.
Direct aid for victims’ families:
- George Floyd’s family has started a GoFundMe to cover funeral and burial costs; counseling services; legal fees; and continued care for his children. There’s also a GoFundMe to provide for his 6-year-old daughter, Gianna Floyd, and a GoFundMe to support “peace and healing” for Darnella Frazier, the woman who filmed Floyd’s death.
- Another GoFundMe is raising money for Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, donations to which will similarly fund the family’s legal battle.
- There’s a GoFundMe for Breonna Taylor’s family, to help with legal fees and offer extra support.
- There’s a GoFundMe for David McAtee’s mother and family: McAtee was fatally shot just after midnight on June 1, after police officers and National Guard members fired into a crowd of people who were not taking part in the evening’s protests.
ActBlue has a page that will let you split your donation between 38 community bail funds, or if you’d like to focus your donation directly, here are some options.
- The Bail Project, a nonprofit that aims to mitigate incarceration rates through bail reform.
- The National Bail Fund Network also has a directory of community bail funds to which you can donate, along with a COVID-19 rapid response fund.
- Another list of bail funds is available here, and another list of bail funds by city.
Support for protesters:
- A Gas Mask Fund for black youth activists in Minneapolis is raising money to buy gas masks for demonstrators who’ve faced tear gas during protests.
- The Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund is raising money for physical resources, bail, and medical care for black, transgender protesters, which will be redistributed to black, trans-led organizations “in the event these funds don’t need to be used.”
- The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy, litigation, and education.
- The Legal Rights Center is a non-profit law firm based in Minneapolis, offering legal defense, educational, and advocacy services.
- Black Visions Collective, a black, trans, and queer-led social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
- The Know Your Rights Camp, an organization founded by Colin Kaepernick that provides education and training in black and brown communities, set up a legal fund for Minneapolis protestors.
- Organizations working against mass-incarceration and police abuse:
- Communities United for Police Reform is an initiative to end discriminatory policing in New York, helping to educate people on their rights and document police abuse.
- Showing Up for Racial Justice works to educate white people about anti-racism and organizes actions to support the fight for racial justice and undermine white supremacy.
- Communities United Against Police Brutality, which operates a crisis hotline where people can report abuse; offers legal, medical, and psychological resource referrals; and engages in political action against police brutality.
- No New Jails NYC aims to keep the city from constructing new jails, and to instead divert funds that currently go toward the police and incarceration toward housing, ending homelessness, mental health, and other community support systems.
The murder of Ahmaud Arbery highlights how white supremacist violence is bolstered by people in positions of power and closely tied to police and the courts. One of the assailants, Gregory McMichael, is a former Glynn County police officer and a former investigator with the local district attorney’s office. Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is advocating 4 ways to take further action in the aftermath of the arrest of the two suspects. Click here to learn more.
In this time of social isolation, we all need words and music to uplift and comfort. When we think of comforting songs, there are many that come to mind. The Westminster community is full of talented people. Some of them have sent us recordings of themselves performing music they find comforting. These selections are collected with love by our community of faith, for our community of faith. The photograph above was taken by Ron Evans, a Westminster member. While we cannot gather in person to raise our voices in song, we can sing, and we can share our music as we share this experience of isolation. We are not alone.
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Bird family
from Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music
How Can I Keep from Singing – Westminster Adult Choir
by Robert Lowry; arranged by Taylor Davis
by Gabriel Fauré
Spirit of the Living God
by Daniel Iverson
How Great Thou Art
Swedish Folk Melody
by Septimus Winner
by Maria Theresia von Paradis
by Camille Saint Saëns
Sonata in G minor: Largo
by Henry Eccles
Sonata no. 3: Largo
by J. S. Bach
In the Garden
by C. Austin Miles
I Will Come to You
By David Haas
Be Thou My Vision
arr. David Abramsky
In Deepest Night
By David Schwoebel
What a Friend
by Charles Converse
by John Newton
By John Michael Talbot
Son of God, Whose Heart Is Peace
God, Be the Love to Search and Keep Me
by Richard Colligan
On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand
April 26, 2020
The Session began their meeting over “Zoom” at 1:00 PM. Ruling Elders Present: Ruthie Buck, Jim Cauthen, Wayne Cilimberg, Hal Collums, Dana Eastman, John Echeverri-Gent, Anne Hedelt, David Heflin, Dan Heuchert, Will Hochstetler, Rebecca McGregor, Mike Moore, Alyce Outlaw, Meredith Powell, Nadine Roddy (Stated Clerk), Candace Spence, Ellen ThomasClarke, Sabra Timmins, Irene Townsend, Ken Young. Teaching Elders Present: Dorothy Piatt, Lynne Clements, Ken Henry. Also present: Barry Parks, Recording Clerk; Megan Sharp, Director of Fine Arts; Sandy Wilcox, Church Administrator.
Key: M/S/C (Moved/ Seconded/Carried)
Action—Westminster Child Care Center. A written request for rent relief from the WCCC Board of Directors was presented by Sandy Wilcox. Nadine Roddy moved to waive the rent for the month of April 2020 and postpone a decision on the following months until the May 17 Stated Meeting of Session. (M/S/C)
Action—Worship at WPC. Hal Collums made the motion that WPC continue the suspension of in-person worship services from May 1 through June 7, 2020. (M/S/C) In lieu of in-person worship during this period, pastors and staff will continue to use video and audio technology to provide a weekly worship experience on Sunday mornings. The Session will re-evaluate the situation at their May 17 Stated Meeting to determine whether it would be advisable to resume in-person worship (in some form) on June 14.
Action—Paying our Hourly Employees. Anne Hedelt moved that we continue compensation for our laid-off hourly employees (nursery workers and Assistant Sexton) from May 1 through June 7, based on the hours that would normally be worked during this time period. (M/S/C)
Action—Rugby Entrance Improvement Project. Wayne Cilimberg moved that the session allocate approximately $5,500 of previously approved funds to pay for additional costs associated with plan/permit revisions and, if necessary, the removal of the stump of the large ash tree that was recently cut down. (M/S/C)
Dorothy Piatt closed the meeting with prayer at 2:23 p.m.