April 8, 2020

Dear friends and fellow disciples,

There is a note circulating online that says, “This is the Lentiest Lent I ever Lented.” It's true! The season, which always feels long, feels particularly so this year. We’re keenly aware of our mortality and the weakness in our world. You don’t have to remind me for a second that we all stand in deep need of God’s grace. As much as ever, we yearn for it. I yearn for God to break in, to DO SOMETHING, to wake us up, to help us be who we are called to be to each other. I yearn for God to bring healing and hope, life from death.

Thanks be to God the church has stories about that.

As we settle into this holiest of weeks, worship will obviously look different. I will very much miss being with you in the Sanctuary in the darkness of Thursday or the joyful celebration of Sunday. But let’s use this time to hear the story differently, to let the Spirit create a different access point for us, to teach us something new. Settle into the story, and let it hold you.

Details are below for worship, along with wonderful Holy Week resources for children and families Marietta has developed. Maundy Thursday comes with a liturgy we will do in our homes, around tables, as Jesus ate with his friends on their last night together. On Good Friday at noon, we’ll have a worship service on Facebook Live and one on Easter Sunday at 11:00am. These two services, in particular, follow the story in John’s Gospel (chapters 18-20). As we prepare for this weekend, let us pray for the church and the world. What possibilities might God be creating, even in all of this?

Peace to you all,
Maundy Thursday Home Worship

“Maundy” comes from the Latin word mandatum, or commandment, reflecting Jesus' words "I give you a new commandment." It was on this day that Jesus had his last meal with his disciples. Jesus broke bread, washed the disciples’ feet, and hinted at his coming crucifixion and betrayal. At the time, the disciples did not realize the significance of this moment, but now we recognize how powerful and special this last supper was. As a result, it is our Christian tradition to celebrate this evening with the gift of worship and the sacrament of Communion, just as the disciples did on that night. 

This year, we are unable to gather together in person to share in Communion, so our staff has created an at-home liturgy to remind us that God meets us at every table. There are two versions - one for individuals and one for families or groups.
If you are alone and would like to “meet” with others to worship together via Zoom, you can join Marietta virtually on Thursday at 6:00pm. 
Good Friday Worship Service
April 10, 12:00 noon, Via Facebook Live

Join us for a short intimate worship as we meditate on Jesus’ last days, the passion and death. We will have prayer, music, and thoughtful questions to guide your reflections on what Jesus accomplished on this holy day. 
Easter Morning At-Home Liturgy

Greet Easter morning with a brief time of prayer and song! Use this short liturgy created by our staff at home to greet the new day as the sun rises, as a pre-breakfast liturgy, or before we gather for Easter worship on Facebook at 11:00am .
Easter Sunday Worship  
April 12, 11:00am, Via Facebook Live

Christ is risen indeed! Join us on Sunday morning for a broadcast of our Easter worship service, which has been recorded by our staff at their homes. The pastors will each share “Reflections from the Garden,” thoughts on Easter for our times.
Supporting Families with Faith Formation at Home
Holy Week Resources for Families

Faith formation doesn't stop after Sunday morning; it's an ongoing journey for families, one that's more important than ever. Our Director of Christian Education, Marietta Wynands, has been working hard to create an incredible batch of resources, videos, activities, Zoom story-time for preschoolers, and so much more to support Westminster families in forming children's faith at home. Marietta sends an e-news to WPC families each week with all the details (be sure to email Marietta if you haven't received yours, so we can get you on the list). Check out this week's awesome Holy Week resources for families!
Easter Offering: Support Durham Nativity School and PC(USA)'s Disaster Relief Fund

Each year we donate the offering collected at Easter to a community organization selected by the Local Missions Committee, in addition to One Great Hour of Sharing , an ecumenical effort that provides relief to those affected by natural disasters, provide food to the hungry, and assist in helping to empower the poor and oppressed.  

Durham Nativity School (DNS) is the community organization we're supporting this year. 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! You can also watch a video message from Carolyn Davidson , a long-time Durham Nativity School volunteer and supporter, on why the deacons selected DNS as a recipient of our Easter Offering and the incredible work this school is doing for its students every day and especially now. Please give generously if you can .

You may give to the Easter offering through our website (look for the GIVE button on our home page) , 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 care 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!
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.