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.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
Traditional African-American Spiritual; arr. Larry J. Long
Rejoice and Be Merry
by J. Alban Hinton
Si tuvieras fe/If you only had faith
Keep Your Lamps
Traditional African-American Spiritual; arr. Andre Thomas
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
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.
The Alliance for Interfaith Ministries (AIM) is a part of the ministry of Westminster Church as we seek to support important work beyond our church walls that fulfills our mission, sustained by grace, to serve Christ, share God’s love and work for justice in a complex world.
The Alliance for Interfaith Ministries (AIM) was formed by a group of Charlottesville churches years ago to centralize requests for assistance. Westminster’s Pastor Bill Smith was a founding pastor of AIM. Currently, Westminster Church is grateful to have member, Rich Gregory, actively involved as Interim Treasurer and serving on the AIM Board, and to Crystal Steiger-Smith, immediate past Board member.
For the last several years including in 2020 Westminster Church contributed $10,000 annually to AIM’s work.
AIM works with the working poor in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. AIM’s purpose is to provide temporary emergency assistance to families threatened with homelessness, loss of power or fuel, or other temporary financial crises.
AIM has developed a domestic violence fund to help victims of violence get new housing.
AIM and PACEM have started a senior housing fund that helps homeless people older than 55 get permanent housing.
In 2019 AIM served over 1,500 people in Charlottesville and Albemarle County with various needs, primarily housing-connected. AIM “moves mountains for the needy” and finds housing for threatened families within hours. AIM found housing for 30 potentially homeless seniors, and a number of threatened families and children.
AIM advocates with the city, county and UVa for more safe affordable housing. They alerted the community about issues such as the Belmont Apartments where affordable units were threatened with demolition.
Through direct financial assistance, AIM provided funds to pay utility costs preventing evictions and loss of service to approximately 300 households.
AIM advocates for the residents in our community in need by helping them work through the social service network, linking them to appropriate service providers, helping them get a handle on their finances. AIM is a last resort committed community resource and advocate for our neighbors of individuals and families, but it is also usual – before even the pandemic – that AIM is long on needs and short on funds.
For further information contact:
Alliance for Interfaith Ministries (AIM)
1807 Emmet Street North, Suite 6A
Charlottesville, VA 22901
PO Box 7331, Charlottesville, VA 22906
While self-isolating and working from home for several weeks, I’ve found myself thinking about
the environment. Of course, primarily I’ve been thinking about the pandemic and its devastating
impact on our health, our economy, our society. But in what perhaps represents a tiny glimmer
of hope, the worldwide measures to contain the pandemic have resulted in reduced carbon
emissions and better air quality.
This is not surprising, you might be thinking – people all over the world are staying home, after
all. That is certainly true. And it’s not that I’m naive enough to think we’re going to continue
staying home to this extent once the danger from the pandemic is over. But, the glimmer of hope
I see is that perhaps this will get us all to realize that our actions truly have a profound effect on
the environment. More importantly, perhaps we will all realize that we really do have some
control over the rate at which climate change occurs. After all, if humanity doesn’t come
together to reduce carbon emissions, who will?
Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22. As people of faith, let’s come together to care for the Earth.
Doing so is one step we can take to help ameliorate the disproportionate impact global warming
will have on those who are least able to weather its effects.
My vision is that Westminster will become a leader on this front in the local community. While
action needs to be taken on the local, state, national, and international fronts by individuals,
governments, and businesses, we all can start somewhere.
The Charlottesville Climate Collaborative is a great resource for getting started. Its website –
www.theclimatecollaborative.org – is full of ways to engage in this critical fight for our planet.
I encourage you to sign up for the Household Challenge. There is already one team at
Westminster participating – it would be great if more households did as well! And, the
Collaborative even has a virtual climate camp with activities and ideas for all ages while we are
staying at home.
You also might want to consider joining a group such as The Sierra Club, League of Women
Voters, or Friends of the Earth. They have climate newsletters full of useful information.
Remember – We Have No Other Earth!
Chair, Peace, Justice & Inclusion Division
On behalf of The Green Team