October 15, 2020

It came to me like a heart attack around 2:00am on Sunday morning! The sermon you would hear in just a few hours at 11:00am, recorded by me on a Tuesday afternoon and meant to be the second in a series on Stewardship from Jeremiah 31: 1-8 (our stewardship Scripture for the month), did not have a single, solitary word in it about, well . . . stewardship!
I know why this happened. I was concentrating on the Scripture itself. Seminary, which had trained me so well to exegete a text (read out of a text what it has to say for itself) and not to eisegete a text (read into a text what I want to find), had won the day and there was no way around it. The part of our Jeremiah text I was to preach on was about God’s love that looks for us even before we look for it.  

But traveling the road from Jeremiah to our present day, I do believe there's a theme of stewardship - the faithful care of God’s gifts to us - woven into the covenant of love between God and us that Jeremiah tells us about.  

It's summed up nicely in Paul’s words from Galatians 5.6b “The only thing that counts is faith working through love.” Stewardship, in some part, is about life’s counting of things. When we begin to count what matters, it is important to count first God’s love for us; a steadfast, loyal, kind love that finds us in desert places. A love that births in us a faith, a trusting, that we are valuable; that every single one of us has gifts and graces that God loves about us! Love that fills us up and bubbles over, making us in turn eager to share the love we know (mind, body, spirit, heart, and will – Bible's definition of the word "know") with all creation.

I guess what I’m saying is that if I had anything to add to last Sunday’s sermon it would be this: Remember that you are Christ’s beloved. No more. No less. All stewardship flows from that.

Courage and faith,
Westminster This Week - Quick Links 

Malia Schwing and Penny Morris, one of our WSYC teachers, have worked hard to tidy up the church garden. The preschoolers will soon be doing some planting.
Susan Rohde helped get nonpartisan bilingual voting and voter registration info to families served by Iglesia Presbiteriana Emanuel.
October is Stewardship Month
For the last few Sundays, we’ve been reflecting upon our common life and listening for the Holy Spirit’s leadings on our giving to the church as we walk through the month of Stewardship.
We chose as this year’s Stewardship theme, Grace in the Wilderness, which comes from Jeremiah 31, verse 2: Thus says the Lord: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness.”

Jeremiah 31 tells of God’s people in exile, far away from home and with much they knew destroyed. Yet they held onto a stubborn hope – a hope not in themselves and their strength, but in who God was.

Even in this most difficult time, we too have found grace – or more correctly, grace has found us…in creation, in each other, in the ways God has accompanied us and continued to teach us. God made promises to the people in exile then, and God continues to make promises to God’s people now. Through that grace, the Holy Spirit continues to teach us.

Now is not a time to “hold steady” until things can be “like they were.” We believe we are called to use this time to be even more fully who God calls us to be. As we grieve all we continue to lose and reach toward an uncertain future, let us listen for the Spirit’s call to be a people that worships with thoughtfulness and joy, gathers in community to learn, and reaches out to our neighbors in great need.

Where have you seen grace in the wilderness these last several months? How is God calling you to give back to WPC and our community? Take some time to reflect on these questions and review the Stewardship resources we’ve provided, listen in worship for the sermons and special messages from your WPC family, and prayerfully discern how God is calling you to respond with your giving in 2021.

Last but not least, make plans to come to our Stewardship Dedication Sunday Drive-Through event on Sunday, October 25, from 12:30-2:00pm! Drop off your pledge and get one of our new "Do-Love-Walk" signs for your yard. If you've already sent in your pledge or made it online, thank you and be sure to come on by to say hello, and pick up your WPC yard sign.

With gratitude from the Stewardship Committee: Elizabeth Feiler, Kim Garcia (chair), Chris McLaughlin, Anne Sherman, Amy Simonson, David Wilcox, and Lee Willard
Community: Race, Place, & Religion
with Dr. Malinda Maynor-Lowery
Aperture: Third Wednesdays,
October 21 at 6:30pm

Join us for Aperture via Zoom as we welcome Dr. Malinda Maynor-Lowery. In this intimate conversation, we'll consider what brings a people together and makes them a community. Malinda is a professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill, Director of the Center for the Study of the American South, and a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. She has published widely on the Lumbee people and the food, music, and religion of the American South. Ahead of our gathering, please consider reading Malinda’s excellent article “The Low Hum.”
WPC Youth Group is Back!

The monsoon-like weather last Sunday couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm for a brand new year of WPC Youth. Nearly 50 youth came to campus to participate, breaking into smaller, socially-distanced groups to talk about God and life.

All middle and high school students are invited to gather on the second and fourth Sundays. Friends are always welcome!

Middle School, 4:00-5:00pm
  • 6th Graders meet at WPC in the Cabin front yard
  • 7th Graders meet at WPC in the Courtyard
  • 8th Graders meet at the Fergusons’ (3752 St. Marks Rd, Durham)
High School, 5:30-6:30pm
  • 9th Graders meets at the Vaughns’ (3010 Glenwood Dr, Durham)
  • 10th Graders meets at WPC in the Courtyard
  • 11th Graders meet at the Stanfields’ (3940 Nottaway Rd, Durham)
  • 12th Graders meet at the Furmans’ (3817 Chippenham Rd, Durham)

But wait, there’s more! On Saturday, October 24, Collin Phillips, a WPC 10th grader and cycling enthusiast, will lead us on a bike ride on the American Tobacco Trail. Just imagine: fall leaves, a cool breeze on your masked face, friends a mere six feet from you on a bicycle. What more could a young Presbyterian want? Sign up now!

WPC Youth will go for a Photography Walk in downtown Durham on Sunday, November 1, 3:00-5:00pm. We'll gather at Five Points Park (in front of 9th St. Bakery) and end at Old North Durham Park (behind Cocoa Cinnamon). Bring a mask, a camera, and a friend. Sign up here.

Lastly – as wild as it is to think about – we're beginning to plan for 2021 summer trips. WPC Youth and parents, check your email for dates and details from Alex!
Join the WPC Youth Group listserv to receive Alex’s weekly emails with details on all our Youth Group happenings, plus inspiration and encouragement for these crazy times. Contact Alex to get on board.
October 22 Fundraiser for NCCU Presbyterian Campus Ministry at City Barbeque

Enjoy a great meal and help the students of NCCU-PCM at the same time! City Barbeque on Highway 54 will donate 20% of their profits on October 22 to NCCUPCM. When placing your order, by phone or in person, you must use the code FUNDA for City Barbeque to attribute your purchase to NCCUPCM’s fundraising effort. To order call City Barbeque at 919-237-9509 on October 22. Check out the menu now!
From the Global Missions Committee: How Can We Help?  

The Global Missions Committee continues to wrestle with how to respond to the needs of people facing wildfires, hurricanes, and COVID-19. In addition to the information we recently provided for individual giving, we want to offer an opportunity for you to respond as part of the church.  

In November, when we’re able to tour the new Fellowship Hall, you will have an opportunity to contribute financially to any or all of the areas mentioned above. Committee members are currently searching for organizations where a small amount of money may make a difference or there is a connection with a WPC member. If you have family or friends that have been impacted by one of these disasters or know of a non-profit that is doing exemplary work, please email Jami Howell with the name of the organization by October 31. We will select one organization from each of the three categories. There is so much need, and we want to respond in the most meaningful way we can.
Volunteers are needed every Wednesday afternoon at Iglesia Presbiteriana Emanuel. Anyone age 14 and older can help on-site, which involves helping to direct traffic, count vehicles, and load groceries. You can also help at home by bagging beans and rice for Iglesia Emanuel’s food pantry. Watch a video to see our volunteers in action and learn more about this much-needed ministry in our community. Sign up now