April 2, 2020 

Dear friends and fellow disciples,

I confess I was skeptical about last Sunday morning’s worship. I was all set on my porch to watch the service we had recorded the following Wednesday. But beyond the normal awkwardness of seeing oneself on video, I was overwhelmed watching folks chime in on the comment feed, checking in and encouraging each other. It was deeply moving. Your presence and support, and pictures of you sharing worship in your office or on the couch or porch, have meant the world to me and our staff this week. Thank you. The only way we get through this is by sticking together, BEING church.
The Session met last week and decided to extend the campus closure, in accordance with Durham and North Carolina officials, through Sunday, May 17 . We're in this for the long haul. This is so hard, but please be safe. We’ll all work hard to keep adapting, continuing to love God and neighbor, as we pray for our whole world especially those who are sick and those amazing front line medical workers who are offering so much care, often at great personal risk.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday . If we were together, the children would gather in the courtyard and come in waving palms, and there would be smiles on all of our faces. This week we encourage you to do something more in keeping with this Sunday's Scripture, Matthew 21: 1-17 . Grab a branch from a bush or tree in your yard, clip it and bring it in with you to wave at the beginning of worship. Send us a pic of that, and then place it on your front porch, or affix it to your door. Let us all offer our proclamation: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” A little more detail on worship is below; if you know of anyone having trouble accessing worship online, please email me and we will have someone from our technology team reach out to help.
CROP Walk is Sunday . Please sign up to sponsor or to walk or both . My family will be walking around our neighborhood – why don't you do the same? Please give and help support hunger relief. This is a really big deal and your support is key for brothers and sisters locally and around the world.
TREE calls are happening! We have enough callers now, but if you have not received a call or suspect there is someone we have missed (we want to make sure we reach everyone), please be in touch with Cherrie . See below for more from Cherrie on The Tree. Thanks to all of you who have been a part of this crucial work. 
There is a lot happening. Please read all the way down, and we’ll be in touch again soon with more on the rest of Holy Week. Stay connected, stay connected, stay connected!

Peace to you all,
Palm Sunday Worship
April 5, 11:00am via Facebook Live

Join us on Sunday morning for a broadcast of our Palm Sunday service, which our staff recorded before the stay-at-home order was in place. Catch the broadcast via our Facebook page on Sunday at 11:00am. Here are a few tips and resources to help you enjoy and experience the day all the more:
From Cherrie: An Update on The Tree

Friends, I pray this week's call finds each of you doing well. I know some of you are very busy, and some of you are very bored, and some of you are feeling numb to it all right now. I know too that these calls can come to you as a welcomed break, a ray of hope, or as a bit of an annoyance; according to where you are in your week. Still, I want to say how important these calls are. As a pastor, I know the church is at its best when we minister to people and situations we take the time and make the effort to understand and know; when we take the time to listen. Of course, the only way to come to understand and know someone's need is to spend time together doing just that. Time together in good times, in boring times, and in everyday times. Times together so that when the tough times come, we know something of the heart of the one who is before us and can respond to the suffering with more Christ-like compassion.

I appreciate all of you who have and will take time to talk with your church friend who calls you during these weeks of COVID-19 isolation. Whether you share hard and deep things or only kind greetings, you are building relationships. Relationships will make us stronger as a congregation now and when this is all over. Relationships will allow us to understand and know one another's hearts better. Relationships like seeds in the ground will burst forth in their time at the bidding of our Creator to bring the nourishing help all of us need.

If an every week call is too much for your schedule or these calls are just not working for you right now, please let your caller know. If you prefer an email or a text to a phone conversation, let them know that too. Some folks are choosing to be contacted every other week. Our callers are flexible and you are not a burden to them. On behalf of us all, they want to be in contact with you! The point is what it always is: To share our life in Christ together by bearing one another's burdens, whether in sorrow or boredom or busyness or joy. The point is always not only to belong to the church, but to BE church to each other and God's world 

Look for the courage and faith,

P.S. If you have not been contacted by a Westminster TREE Caller, please email me . We are finding we have some incorrect contact information, and it may be yours! We'd love to be in touch with you.
Easter Offering: Support Durham Nativity School and PC(USA)'s Disaster Relief Fund

WPC’s annual Easter offering will be collected from now through April 12. Half of this year’s Easter Offering will be given to the Durham Nativity School (DNS). DNS provides a tuition-free, enriched learning environment and a twelve-year support system for middle school boys from financially-challenged backgrounds. The school promotes a rigorous academic program and nurtures the whole child to reach his potential through knowledge, moral values, learning skills, discipline, and character development while instilling the value of service for others. Check our Facebook page for a special video message from Jaylen, a former DNS student. He spoke to us at Westminster about four years ago when he was an eighth-grader at DNS – Find out where he’s been attending high school and where he’s planning to attend college!

The other half of the Easter Offering will support One Great Hour of Sharing , an ecumenical effort that began in 1949, and continues to provide relief to those affected by natural disasters, provide food to the hungry, and assist in helping to empower the poor and oppressed.

You may give to the Easter offering through our website or your myWPC account. We also offer a text-to-give option. Text WPCDURHAM Easter $25.00 to 73256 to give $25 to the Easter Offering fund using your text messaging. To donate a different amount, just change the amount from $25.00 to the amount you’d like to contribute. Standard text messaging rates may apply. You may also mail a check to the church office; be sure to write Easter Offering on the check memo line. Please do not hand-deliver checks to the church while North Carolina is under the stay-at-home order; the church office is closed through May 17.
Your Giving is Essential
Please continue to give your offering and make your pledge payments even though we can’t gather in person at this time. Our Business Manager, Sharon Morgan, has created easy-to-follow, downloadable instructions on giving through your myWPC account. You can make a one-time gift or set up an automatic recurring gift . If you choose to give by personal check, please mail it to the church office. Your check will be received and timely deposited and recorded by our finance staff. Feel free to email Sharon with any questions.

Lastly, a friendly reminder:  The church will never ask you for gift cards or donations via email. There are scammers seizing the current crisis as an opportunity to get money, sending fake emails meant to look like they came from someone you know or a legitimate nonprofit. Take careful when clicking links in any emails or responding to financial requests through email.  

Thank you for supporting Westminster’s mission and ministries - we can’t do any of this without you!
Please remember: Westminster’s campus is closed through May 17. If you have questions about any of Westminster’s ministries, please email a member of our staff or westminster@wpcdurham.org , and we will be in touch. Thank you.