March 19, 2020

Dear friends and fellow disciples,

Today I begin with gratitude for the ways we were able to gather together in worship last Sunday. Some wonderful saints worked very hard to make online worship happen, and we are making some technical improvements for this Sunday. Worshiping together feels as important as it ever has at any point in my lifetime. Staying connected in this way matters deeply, and I look forward to sharing that time with you on Sunday. The text for the day is Psalm 23 , words I surely need this week.

I can’t stress enough how absolutely crucial it is that we stay in touch with members of our community during this time. I’ve challenged you to call church members you know and call your neighbors, especially those who might be more isolated. Cherrie is looking for a team of folks to make weekly check-in calls with church members. Please read her note below to learn more and sign up to help .  

Many of you have reached out asking how you can help our most vulnerable neighbors. This is crucial work as well. The faith community, working with many nonprofit and governmental partners, is organizing. But I've heard it said recently that one of the best ways we can help protect those most vulnerable is to be cautious and not, even unintentionally, share the virus with them. In the rush to help we must take great care. We are reaching out to our key partners and the school system to find out about specific needs, and we hope to have some more ways to support our neighbors to share with you soon. In the meantime, you can visit our CROP Walk page to walk or sponsor or both, and we are working to ensure safety so that we can keep our commitments to Families Moving Forward and Urban Ministries of Durham. More on all of this in the weeks to come. Also, please know:
  • Westminster’s campus is closed through March 31. Only essential personnel are permitted on campus during this time.
  • You can worship with us on Sundays at 11:00am via Facebook Live. It's free, and you don't need a Facebook account to watch. View instructions for accessing the broadcast. You can also view/download the Worship Bulletin and kids' bulletins.
  • If you have any questions about Westminster’s ministries and members during this time, please send an email to anyone on staff or to westminster@wpcdurham.org, and we will be in touch. Thanks for your understanding.
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Dear Westminster Family,

In my sermon on Sunday, I talked about how like the woman at the well, we may all have the opportunity to meet Christ at the well of our social distancing. Among so many other things, this may be a time of long conversations for many of us. Toward that end, as COVID-19 marches toward us, and we answer the call to be church together, the Congregational Care Committee is organizing a good old-fashioned phone (or cell phone!) tree. We will call it “ The Tree .” We hope that with its help, should we find ourselves more and more isolated by this pandemic, we can still honor our Christian call to be in communion with one another.
If you think you might be interested, please sign up here . We’d like to find about 35-40 persons who are able and willing to be Callers for The Tree. Callers will be given about 10 households from our directory to make contact with at least once a week. This contact can be by phone or cell phone (our first preference), or by email or text if a call is not successful. These calls will be simple check-ins; a time to hear how the household is doing and if there is any help we can offer. If a household is found to need help or be in distress, the Tree caller will let one of our pastors know so they can follow up. We anticipate serving on The Tree will take callers about two or three hours each week. Volunteers who sign up for The Tree will be equipped with detailed instructions and training on handling the calls (via printed materials).

If you are a trained counselor, social worker, or Stephen Minister, we especially hope you will respond to this call, if you are able. With the restrictions on travel falling heaviest upon those 60 years and older, we are hoping some of you might be itching for a way to stay involved with our church during a time when you’re required to stay home. Anyone 18 years and older is welcome to join The Tree.

For all of you who will receive a call from one of our Tree volunteers, we hope you will appreciate the check-in from your church and time with the person who calls you. Enjoy the opportunity to have a good old-fashioned conversation! Remember, when two or more are gathered . . . . 

Let us all thank God for our faith community. Especially during this time of social distancing, let us remember that our hearts can still touch. We can still pray for each other. We can still talk with one another. We can still be the communion of the saints Christ calls us to be.

 Courage and faith all,