The University Mission Committee and UKirk are excited to announce that the new website www.ukirkuva.org has gone live! The themes of Welcome, Wonder, Work and Worship guide viewers through the site and highlight the inclusive and inviting spirit of both UKirk and WPC. Please enjoy clicking through the links and learning all about UKirk’s programs, staff and student leaders. It is through these efforts that Westminster’s mission to serve our UVA student neighbors is being realized. Special thanks to the design team of Ashley Dunn-Jalenak, Dorothy Piatt, Heather Henry and Nancy Paulson.
UVA Medical Center Blood Drive
Virginia hospitals are experiencing a severe blood shortage across the state. UVA Health encourages members of the community who are healthy & eligible to contact the American Red Cross to make an appointment to donate at one of their fixed locations.
Charlottesville City Schools Free Lunch Program
Charlottesville City Schools is offering free lunch to students during the coronavirus pandemic. The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation is creating a school-based fund to support their food delivery efforts.
General Ways to Give & Receive Support
Support Cville is the most comprehensive website listing ways for people to give and receive support. Here are a couple specific links through Support Cville:
Donate to COVID-19 Support Funds
- Charlottesville Area Community Foundation
- United Way COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund
- Alliance for Interfaith Ministries
Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
Free Internet Access
COMCAST Xfinity is now offering free hotspots to anyone who needs them for free until approximately May 13, including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser. AT&T and Charter Communications are also providing free public Wi-Fi, now until approximately May 13.
We are experiencing the beginning of a season of collective mourning — not only for lives lost and livelihoods disrupted, but also for the loss of normalcy. Even those of us who are relatively privileged and healthy during this global pandemic are grieving postponed plans. Some of the plans I’m grieving included The Border Is Here immigration workshop led by UVA students, the dedication of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, an opportunity to care for the earth around us through a joint cleanup day with student environmental groups, and our ministry of hospitality with students during Open Study Hours at Common Grounds.
While these plans have been postponed, we can still practice compassion now. In addition to observing physical distancing policies to slow the spread of the virus and help “flatten the curve,” we at Westminster have been asking how we can be in solidarity with the most vulnerable people in our community during this global health crisis — how we can help “flatten the curve” of economic and other suffering.
The Benevolence committee has continued meeting remotely so that Westminster can continue our vital support for nonprofit organizations during a challenging time. We will share updates on our community partners in the coming weeks. In this edition of the e-newsletter, you’ll find a list of local resources and ways to (give and receive) help during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to supporting the church, several members of the Westminster community have decided to contribute part or all of our anticipated government stimulus checks to relief efforts. I invite you to consider what safe way(s) you might practice social solidarity with our neighbors during this time. Let’s “flatten the curve” together in whatever ways we can.
Finally, please pray for the university students among us who have experienced dislocation and disruption. I have been reaching out personally and through group messages on behalf of Westminster to offer pastoral support and will continue to do so. UVA’s administration is aware of our community’s presence and will share with us through United Ministries at UVA any opportunities to be of service that may arise. In addition, 20/30 CreW has made our Wednesday Wind-Down event weekly so that graduate students and young professionals have the opportunity to provide mutual support more frequently through Zoom conversations.
I trust that better days are ahead and that God is at work in the meantime, inviting us into partnership in healing.
Several weeks ago in worship, Gene Locke and Dick Redding spoke movingly about the importance of supporting outreach from our congregation to the community and wider world through benevolence and social justice activism. One of the most important ways Westminster has reached out to our community since our founding more than 75 years ago has been through University mission.
Earlier this year, after a period of discernment extending back to Jim Baker’s retirement and Laura Sugg’s call to Wheat Ridge Presbyterian Church in Colorado, Westminster’s Session concluded our congregation was ready to call two associate pastors, Lynne Clements and a second associate pastor for University ministry and social justice work. With Presbytery’s approval, our congregation elected an associate pastor nominating committee (the “APNC”) on June 10, 2018 to search for that second associate pastor whom God is calling to serve with us.
The APNC, comprised of Winston Barham, Taylor Beard, Susie Bruce, Kathy Redding, Heather Warren, Ken Young, and Ron Wiley, has been working since then. The committee has met ten times and continues to meet twice monthly. We are pleased to inform the congregation that our Ministry Information Form (MIF) has been posted and we have begun a national search for this position. If you simply click on the links provided in this article, you can read over the MIF and job description.
The APNC anticipates many potential candidates will contact the committee through the Church Leadership Connections system. The committee also will advertise the position in various progressive Presbyterian publications and, probably, through social media. The committee certainly will welcome referrals of interested candidates.
The APNC has great faith (and some trepidation!) many well-qualified candidates will apply and the committee’s difficult mission will be to discern the one God is truly calling to serve with us here at Westminster in reaching out to the University, community, and world. The committee believes this opportunity, as envisioned in the MIF and detailed in the position description, will be very attractive to candidates seeking a called position. The APNC prays we may discern God’s call in a candidate who will help Westminster for many years continue to find its way home to our University and social justice mission. The committee expects that prayerful discernment of whom God is calling to take several months. Keep us in your prayers.
Ron Wiley, Associate Pastor Nominating Committee, Chair