On Sunday, April 30th, Rev. Tracy joined her university ministry colleague Rev. Deborah Lewis of the Wesley Foundation in taking a groups of students to Fluvanna Women’s Prison to lead worship and meet with some of the women incarcerated there. The students prepared songs and prayers and Tracy preached during their regular Sunday evening worship. Fluvanna Women’s Prison has had several different chaplains over the last year and the transition presents new opportunities to visit women and lead discussion groups and bible studies. The visit was profound for the students and uplifting for the women. We give thanks for this wonderful opportunity!
Westminster was the host site for the event serving as the gathering point as well as the primary location for the accumulation of trash bags, etc. We also provided parking for those who needed it, bathroom access, the registration table and a water/refreshment station for the volunteer workers (the UVA Club set up a “water bar” – connected to the church water supply – that filtered and chilled the water so the group did not use disposable water bottles). This provided 17 liters of fresh water during the event.
The trash pickup area ran in the Buckingham Branch Railroad right-of-way from the Culbreth Road Garage to 15thStreet, N.W. – a distance of 1175 feet.
Using 30-gallon collection bags (lawn and leaf bag size), 35 bags of recyclables were collected as well as 23 more bags of debris considered to be non-recyclable. Also, we retrieved a car tire, a chest of drawers, a wall-unit bookcase, a washing machine agitator and a couple of chairs. We were not able to remove three large carpets that were too heavy (but somehow managed to get thrown over the fence from Chancellor St.!) We will make arrangements to have them cut up and removed one day soon.
In all, forty-three people participated – a lot of UVA students but including a number of Westminster members – Nadine Roddy and Jim Brinkerhoff staffed the registration table; James Burch, Dick Redding, Dana Eastman, Peter Gates and Mike Balister joined me and Tom Mullen in picking up trash along the railroad tracks.
I had an opportunity to welcome the group and tout our church’s Green Team. I felt that many of the student volunteers were surprised to learn that our congregation and their Environmental Club had so much in common.
This Sunday the university students lead both the speaking and the music in morning worship. Musically, we will hear two Jazz pieces written by Spencer Hadley for trumpet and piano. Spencer will be joined by Garen Dorsey on piano. The anthem will be Away But Never Gone written by the Wailin’ Jennys, a female trio of singer/songwriters. Daniel Grotz will play Jesus Christ Is Risen Today by Belgian composer Flor Peeters on the organ. Daniel has also arranged the African-American spiritual Let Us Break Bread Together which will be sung at the 11:00 service. The final hymn is Amahoro, written by Tracy Howe Wispelwey. All off the university students will join together to lead the final hymn.
This year, University Sunday, a week given to our university students to plan and lead us in worship, falls at the very end of the semester when we also say farewell to our students for the summer, and send our graduating students with prayers and blessing. This year we have 5 graduating fourth year students:
Renée Colligan, Spanish (co-enrolled in Curry School M.Ed.)
Martha Fulp-Eickstaedt, psychology and creative writing
Claire Hart, Art (co-enrolled in Curry School M.Ed.)
Betsy Petit, Biology
Renée Ritchie, Architecture
The community has grown very close over this past year and so its our sadness at saying goodbye to friends that often hits first. But these young people have also grown so much and the world desperately needs the hope, faith and gifts that they carry. So we also send them rejoicing for the work God is doing in them.
The students chose community and communion as the themes for this Sunday’s service. In addition to celebrating communion together as a community, we will also be blessed by their creative offerings and reflections including original creative writing, poetry, music and choral arrangements! They are quite the talented group. They are also a joy and so I hope that you look forward to worshiping together this Sunday and celebrating our university students and this cornerstone ministry of Westminster.
Finals Hospitality May 3-12, 2017
Come be a warm and welcoming presence for college students at Common Grounds during finals! We open Common Grounds for extended hours, 8am-10pm, providing a safe and inclusive space to study and work. We need volunteers to take 2-4 hour shifts (sign up for two in a row for a 4 hour shift!) each day and night to be available if something comes up, to welcome students, and to keep the fresh coffee and hot water flowing! Most of the time volunteers will be able to read or work themselves. Its a wonderful ministry of presence and a fun way to peak into college life at U.Va.! Signup here: