March 26, 2020 

Dear friends and fellow disciples,

It has arrived the mayor’s “stay-at-home” order takes effect this evening. Other counties will follow suit, with certainly more to come. We are all having to learn a new way of being. This is a pretty overwhelming and scary time, and I want you to know that I am praying for you for those times you are afraid or frustrated, for those times you feel safe and those when you are worried about yourself and those you love.

We are learning new ways of living as families and neighbors and as church. There is much information below that will help you see how we are seeking to BE church in this season. We must connect with each other. The TREE is a wonderful mechanism, but I want to remind you that anyone can call anyone at any time. Staying connected is at the heart of who we must be. We are calling our members, we are reaching out to community partners, we are adapting so that we can continue to worship together.

This is a crucial time, and it is a gift to be sharing this time together . It is good, good news we don’t have to figure it all out by ourselves.

Peace to you all,
Chris
Say Hello to The Tree

The Tree is up and running! With 36+ callers, we are making our way through our congregation, one call at a time.  

We are still looking for a few more people to serve as Callers. If you are interested here is how it works: Tree Callers are 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 are 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. 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 for handling the calls (via printed materials)

If you think you might be interested in serving on The Tree, please sign up here . If you are a trained counselor, social worker, or Stephen Minister, we especially hope you will respond to this call, if you are able. Anyone 18 years and older is welcome to join The Tree as a Caller. 

And for all of you who will receive a call from one of our Tree Callers, 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 . . . . Contact : Cherrie Barton Henry
Reaching Out to Our Community Partners

Many of you have reached out asking how we can all help our most vulnerable neighbors. Our staff and Local Missions Committee members are reaching out to our 21+ community partners to see how things are going and how WPC might be helpful. With so many check-ins to make, this is going to take some time so bear with us.

We’re also looking at ways we can collaborate with others to support our community partners. Last week we engaged a local restaurant to cater our monthly shelter meal for Urban Ministries of Durham. Cosmic Cantina received some much-appreciated business, and the shelter’s clients enjoyed a great meal. And thanks to everyone who has answered the call to prepare food and deliver it to Families Moving Forward next week as the processes for serving that ministry have shifted as well.

We’ll continue to look for ways we can work with new friends and partners to find solutions that benefit our community partners, and we'll circle back with you once we’ve been able to identify needs and ways to assist. In the meantime, here are some ways you can offer support now:  
Support the CROP Hunger Walk

This year’s CROP Walk has become a virtual event. Walkers won’t gather at Duke Chapel on April 5, but the need to raise funds for hunger relief persists now more than ever. You can watch a special video message from Kenzie Brannon about CROP Walk and why it's so important. Visit Westminster’s team website to sponsor a team member or make a donation. Help us fight world hunger, even during a pandemic. Contact : Neil McElroy
Support Durham Nativity School and PC(USA)'s Disaster Relief Fund

Westminster's annual Easter Offering will be collected now through April 12. Half of the offering will be given to 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. DNS is currently closed to students, and their staff is working hard to support them during this time.

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 in the check memo line. (Please avoid hand-delivering checks to the church office while the campus is closed.)
Come, Let Us Worship Together

It has been wonderful connecting with so many of you through our Facebook Live worship services. Yesterday we recorded our March 29 and Palm Sunday worship services, which will be broadcast through our Facebook page on Sunday at 11:00am. You do not need a Facebook account to watch. Mak e plans to join us! 

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 . Please email Sharon with any questions.

If you choose to give by personal check, please mail it. If you wish to bring a check to the church, please place it in a sealed envelope addressed to “Finance,” and drop it in the church’s locked mailbox (by the Sanctuary parking lot).

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. 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.