Monday, April 24, 2
Congregational Meeting Follow Up
Westmorelanders took an important step yesterday. We voted to enter into a $1.7 million contract with a construction company to renovate and remodel our church building. Another $300,000 will be used for contingencies, inspections, landscaping, etc. We also voted to take out a $1.25 million loan to pay for this construction. That loan, plus about $700,000 already in the bank, will pay for the construction. Our total pledges toward this project are slightly less than $1.5 million.
This project is the largest construction undertaking on our church building since it was built in 1948. This work will make our building more welcoming and more usable. Plans include a new driveway and drop-off from Massachusetts Avenue; a new entryway and elevator on the Mass Ave side; a remodeled and functioning kitchen; a gender neutral restroom on the sanctuary level; handicapped accessibility in the women's restroom on the sanctuary level; and reconfiguring the choir room, social hall level closets, church offices, and library.
Your financial gifts make this possible. Thank you for your generosity. And thanks to our Building 2020 Team, Capital Campaign, Governance Council and others for the tremendous output of time, energy, prayers, and thought that bring us to this point.
Yesterday's vote was important and hopeful. Now the hard work begins -- dirt-moving, jackhammering, surprising dislocations, planning and thinking and re-planning, seeing dreams turn into bricks, and making sure we can pay for it all.
As we move ahead, let me lift up five areas:
Things will be messy. The electricity will go out unexpectedly at terrible times. A favorite tree may disappear. Pipes may burst. Meetings may have to be rescheduled at the last minute. You may show up for worship some Sunday and find ladders and dust in the sanctuary. The parking lot may unusable on the day of a funeral. Be prepared for surprises and for messiness.
Our pledge campaign is about $400,000 short of the expected cost. Some of you raised thoughtful concerns about this at yesterday's meeting. Thank you. If you have not yet pledged to the campaign, please consider a generous gift. If you have already pledged and are able to increase your gift, that would be very helpful. Your support of the regular budget is also vital. And looking to the future, is Westmoreland in your will? If possible, make that happen.
These are exciting times at Westmoreland. Be present. Show up early and visit with others. Stay a few minutes late and share handshakes and hugs.
What is important to you about Westmoreland? Music? Social justice work? Learning groups? Thoughtful theology? Who do you know who might benefit from those things also? Invite them to come to Westmoreland with you, pick them up, and introduce them to others. Keep any eye out for guests and say hello. (A welcoming building is best when filled with welcoming people.)
We ended yesterday's meeting with people saying why they love Westmoreland. Keep sharing that love. What do you love about Westmoreland? Call another Westmorelander and tell them. (Seriously, right now! Call them!)
In my sermon yesterday I said, God is with us. I often forget that. I breathe easier when I remember that. I am grateful for the promise: God is with us. Thanks be.
Rev. Timothy B. Tutt
We need cardboard boxes to use as props for the Children's Musical. We need file-sized boxes, liquor store-sized boxes, or moving-sized boxes (larger than shoe box-size, please). Boxes need to have lids and be in decent shape. If you have boxes to donate, please drop them off at the church this week or on Sunday, April 30. Please no boxes after the 30th.
Thanks, Amy Prichard Tutt
Sunday, May 21
We will honor all our graduates in worship on May 21 at 10:00am. If you, or someone in your family is graduating this Spring, please send their full name, institution graduating from, and any future plans to Mimi Miller by May 17 so that we can include them in the bulletin.
June 19-23, 5:00-8:00pm
Peace Camp, our summer learning experience for elementary school-aged children, is scheduled for Monday through Friday, June 19-23, 2017, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. We begin each evening with a light supper, then move on to music, games, and arts and crafts, all aimed at helping children learn about cooperation and peacebuilding in a fun setting.
Be sure to visit our Sermon Archives to read or listen to past sermons.
The flowers on the chancel add much beauty to our worship. Individuals or families may sign up for any given week to provide flowers with a dedication included in the Sunday bulletin.
Please contact Judy Fogt and let her know that you are interested. The cost is $55.
You can mail your check the church office or drop it in the collection plate with a notation that it is for chancel flowers.
You are Needed in Church School
Our children need kind, caring grown ups to lead in our Preschool, K-2nd, or 3rd-5th grade class for a few Sundays over the course of the year. It's fun and important, To volunteer, contact Alexis at email@example.com or sign up at SignUpWestmoreland.org.
|Olive Oil Sale
The Middle East Committee will sell olive oil on behalf of the Olive Oil Ministry at least twice each month after church in the Social Hall. However, olive oil and olive tapenade are available daily in the church office during business hours.
Westmoreland Sermons on iTunes! You can subscribe to the Westmoreland Sermons on iTunes Podcast! Search for "Westmoreland Sermons" or click the icon below.
|Sign Up for Coffee Hour!
Coffee Hour is a time to welcome guests and to strengthen relationships within our church community. This ministry is vital to the life, spirit, and growth of our church. Beverages (coffee, tea, water, juice/lemonade) and tableware are provided by Westmoreland. Food is a welcome addition and is provided by Coffee Hour Host(s). Please sign up to host coffee hour (once per year is recommended) with your family or pair-up with another member of the church.
Click here to sign up!
People's Climate March
Saturday, April 29
The UCC theme is "Be the Church."
Green is the UCC color for this event. Ordained clergy are invited to wear collars or stoles.
Bring your own water bottle
There will be water filling stations throughout the march route.
10:00 am, Ecumenical Prayer and Blessing
Lutheran Church of the Reformation at 212 E Capitol Street, NE
Hosted by the United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and Creation Justice Ministries. All are invited.
11:00 am, All-Faiths Line Up
3rd Street between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive,
near the reflecting pool on the west front of the Capitol.
UCCers are invited to be part of this.
12:30, March begins.
March up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House
2:00 pm, Marchers surround the White House
Cheers and chants of support for the earth.
3:00 pm, Rally
Gather at the Washington Monument
Church Photo Directory
Photo sessions are available on the following dates:
Thursday, April 27, 2:00 - 8:30 PM
Friday, April 28, 2:00 - 8:30 PM
Saturday, April 29, 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
There is no cost to participate and each household will receive a complimentary 8x10 portrait and free pictorial directory. You will also be able to purchase additional pictures for your personal use. The photo sessions are open to friends and neighbors (although of course, they won't appear in the directory). This is a chance for people you know to have lovely photos taken by professional photographers at our group discounted rates.
| Autism Awareness Discussion
with Elizabeth Graham
Sunday, April 30, 11:30am, Parlor
April is Autism Awareness Month. With the autism prevalence rising there is a good chance that you might interact, meet, or know someone on the autism spectrum. Would you like to know more about autism? Would you like to learn how to interact with people with autism? Learn from Westmoreland's own Elizabeth Graham, an autism/Asperger's self-advocate and autism service coordinator. She will introduce what autism is, basic common signs of autism, and what you can do to support people with autism. She will also provide a brief overview of different autism support services in the state of Maryland.
Syrian Refugee Support Group Dinner
Sunday, April 30, 5:00pm, Social Hall, Parlor
The Westmoreland Syrian Refugee Support Group, together with ACLU volunteers, has organized a dinner with several refugee families, to be catered by aspiring refugee caterers, on Sunday, April 30, at 5:00 pm in the parlor and social hall. Please contact Nancy Pielemeier (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 17 if you are interested in joining. The cost of the meal is $20/person, plus a contribution of drinks for 6 people. Space is limited, so we may do a repeat if we can't accommodate everyone this time. Thank you for your support.
Alternative Worship Experience
Meeting on Sunday, May 7, 9:00am, Parlor
A few Westmorelanders recently shared an idea with the Board of Spiritual Formation, and we'd like to share it with you! The nutshell: Explore an alternative worship experience (AWE) once a month in the evening. If you've been to our annual church retreat, you are familiar with the informal, intimate, lay-led service that concludes the weekend. It's AWE-some! We'd like to consider cultivating this kind of experience throughout the year as a way to deepen our sense of community, to complement our regular Sunday morning service and to possibly invite newcomers into our midst. Here are other ways to think about the idea: Sabbath-focused, silent meditation, personal sharing, acoustic music, Taize singing, candle-lit, you name it!
You will be receiving a survey intended to gauge congregational interest in a monthly evening service and to ask for your ideas on how to help shape it. We invite you to a conversation Sunday, May 7 at 9:00 a.m. in the parlor to review survey responses and explore whether or not to give this a try.
|StillReading Book Group
Sunday, May 7, 4:30pm, Parlor
Westmoreland's StillReading book discussion group will meet on Sunday, May 7 to discuss "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant. This telling of the biblical story of Dinah-sister of Joseph (of many-colored-coat fame), daughter of Jacob (of founder-of-Israelites fame), and otherwise all-but-invisible woman mentioned only briefly in our faith's historical record-celebrates womanhood, especially bonds of community constructed around, and from, the gift of bestowing and nurturing life. Please join us to explore this affirming reclamation of a woman's own story (and, of course, to enjoy snacks and each other's company).
|Men's Group Potluck
Monday, May 8, 6:30pm, Parlor
Join us as Adam Barth discusses his experience in Jamaica working with the deaf community. Adam will recount his experience and comment on his feelings/emotions.
Adult Study - The Pastor's Class
Sundays, 9:00am, Library
You are invited to join me in the Library at 9:00 on Sunday mornings. As you may know I am in a doctoral program at Wesley Seminary, focusing on how the church engages (or not) in public life. I will lead this class based on material I am reading in my program. Each week I will bring paragraph, an idea, or an article for discussion.
April Children's Collection
So Others Might Eat
So Others Might Eat (S.O.M.E.) is an interfaith organization that helps the poor and homeless of Washington, DC by providing food, clothes, and health care. Additionally, they offer services such as affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment, and counseling. They are a Westmoreland Volunteer Corps host agency and a Westmoreland Social Justice grant recipient.
We will collect the following items for their food bank:
- Pancake Mix,
- Ground Coffee,
- Non-Refrigerated Creamer
Want to be kept in the loop about UCC's refugee ministries? Sign up for their monthly newsletter here.
Want to take action on the justice issues you care about, including immigration and refugees? Join UCC's Justice and Peace Action Network (JPAN) here.
Want to help plan how Westmoreland will carry out our motion in Support of Extravagant Welcome to Immigrants and Refugees of All Faiths? Email Lori Mosher to get involved.
Giving to Westmoreland
Look for information in the mail and via email about ways that you can support Westmoreland and our work in the world.
2017 Annual Giving
Gifts to support the ongoing life of our church -- music and worship, spiritual formation programs, fellowship events, staff salaries, and building maintenance. Click here to pledge on-line to the Annual Fund.
Gifts to our four-year campaign to build a new entrance, add a new elevator, add a gender neutral restroom, and make our kitchen functionable. Click here to pledge on-line to the Capital Campaign.
Items collect by our children in worship each Sunday to give to local helping groups.
The five UCC offerings (plus our own outreach offering) that go across the country and around the world to meet needs.
|Prayers for Science
The Science March took place on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington DC, and in places around the world to rally in support of science, scientific education, and the appropriate use of science in public policy decision-making.
Rev. Tutt offered the following prayer was offered in the worship service at Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ on Sunday, April 23, 2017.
With the Science March in mind, let us pray...
We give thanks for science and life and community.
We give thanks for Easter and hope and possibility.
We give thanks for radiology and helium
and differential calculus and gluconeogenesis
and for worship and for prayer.
We give thanks for all of the things that make us human
and all of the things that are part of creation.
As we gather for worship and pray and think and feel,
we give thanks for the human brain...
The pons and the medulla oblongata
and the thalamus and the pituitary gland
and the basil ganglia
and the 86 million neurons
that are dancing with abandon
in each of our brains right now.
And we give thanks
that we can know love
As we take part in this time of worship and sing and listen,
we give thanks for music
and for the compressions and rarefactions
of longitudinal waves that allow music
to make its way to our ears and into brains
and to invite us into the beauty of the world.
As we sit and stand and are alive,
we give thanks for our bodies.
We give thanks for Keratinocytes and Langerhans cells
and fibers of collagen and elastin that make up our skin.
And we give thanks for the ways
in which our souls are warmed
when we shake hands with another person
or share a hug
or see a smile.
We give thanks
for the social sciences
and all of the ways in which we are connected,
all of the ways in which we can care for each other,
all of the ways in which we share
the joys of life
one with the other.
The Voices from the Holy Land Film series offered a screening of the documentary, "Out of Cordoba," at the Washington National Cathedral on the afternoon of Sunday, April 24, 2017. Rev. Tutt was asked to offer an interfaith invocation prior to that screening. The film centers on the lives of Averroes, a Muslim scientist, and Maimonides, a Jewish scientist. Here is the prayer from that event:
With yesterday's Science March in mind,
and in the spirit of Averroes,
a Muslim geographer and mathematician
and in the spirit of Maimonidoes,
a Jewish astronomer and physician,
let us pray...
We give thanks for microscopes and telescopes
and for the people who use them.
We give thanks for quarks,
which scientists say
are the building blocks of hadrons
and for other things we don't understand.
We give thanks for calculus,
which is used to quantify derivatives and integrals
and for other things we've long forgotten.
We give thanks for quantum physics
and wonder at what it tells us:
that a particle can be of two states
at the same time.
We give thanks for anthropology
and wonder at what it tells us:
that the human state
is connected to fossil hominids
and to the dust of stars.
We give thanks for nuclear power
and the power of love.
And we pray that we would use one with caution
and the other with abandon.
We give thanks for Buddhist biologists
and Muslim meteorologists,
for Sikh psychologist
and Jewish geologists.
We give thanks for atheist astronomers
and Christian chemists
and for Hindu hematologists.
We give thanks for grace
And we give thanks for the ways in which
we are bundled together
as creatures and as creation.
For science and spirit,
we pray with thanksgiving.