April 16, 2020

Dear friends and fellow disciples,

This was truly an Easter to remember! While I really missed being together, connecting online for worship was very meaningful. I don’t think I’ll ever read the words from John 20:1 the same way again: “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb….” I’ll be drawn back again to that garden tomb, of leading worship with Cherrie and Alex from our gardens, and the pictures you sent of yourselves in those same places. Christ is risen indeed! Hope is alive.

But, those first disciples didn’t rush out in celebration. They were still unsure and afraid and locked themselves in a room out of fear. Yet as we read in this Sunday’s Scripture - John 20:19-31 - Jesus still showed up. Read this passage and note the blessing he offers them, three different times: “Peace be with you.” That’s something we all need to hear.

Please join us for worship on Sunday at 11:00am via WPC's Facebook page and invite a friend. Send the link to a neighbor, and share the ways this community continues to be at work. We are an Easter people, called to bear witness to Christ’s light and love. There is much work going on and much ahead of us. Please read through things below and find a way to check in. Even in this time of confusion and isolation and fear, you are not alone. I promise you that.

Peace be with you,
Worship on Sunday, April 19
Final Collection of Our Easter Offering

Thanks to everyone who has given to our 2020 Easter Offering to help support Durham Nativity School and PC(USA)’s One Great Hour of Sharing fund! We’re wrapping up our collection this week so that we can prepare the checks for each of these worthy recipients.

If you’d like to give, but haven’t yet done so, please take a moment to make your donation by Sunday, April 19. You may give through our website at www.wpcdurham.org/give , or through 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 dollar amount in your message). 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 during the stay-at-home ord er.
Assisting Westminster’s Community Partners

Our Local Missions Committee has been hard at work checking in with all 21 of Westminster’s community partners to see how they’re doing and what their needs are. During its recent virtual meeting, the Committee voted unanimously to offer financial support to the following programs:

  • Meals On Wheels - $4,000Given the need to protect clients and volunteers, MOW has moved from preparing meals themselves to delivering catered frozen meals one time a week. The additional cost for MOW to provide the catered frozen food has cost $8,800 to date. The Committee hopes our church’s donation will provide a little assistance in this desperate time for our community's most vulnerable people.
  • Iglesia Emanuel Food Bank - $1,000 Iglesia Emanuel is receiving more people in need of food assistance, with more needs than they are able to meet with current resources. As the crisis deepens, this population will be among some of the most vulnerable as many will lose jobs, be ineligible for any government assistance, and be in desperate need of emergency food assistance. Iglesia plans to maintain their food bank as long as possible. The Committee felt strongly the congregation would want to answer this desperate plea for help.
  • Love and Nourish - $2,000 An initiative started by Southern Harvest Hospitality Group in partnership with The Honeysuckle Farm and Unique Places to Save, Love & Nourish is creating family meal packages for the Durham and Cary communities to purchase that in turn provides free meals for families in crisis. Love and Nourish is working with agencies like Families Moving Forward, Durham Public School Foundation, and End Hunger Durham to connect families in immediate need with nutritious meals.  

There are still many other ways the Westminster congregation can help. View the listing of some of our other community partners and their immediate needs. If you have questions about how you can help, email Kim Tupper or the agency liaison listed in the link.
What’s Happening with WPC Youth?

Alex Stayer-Brewington has been keeping WPC Youth connected with gatherings and games through Zoom and Instagram Live. He has also created activities for the youth to enjoy at home, including a walking meditation and a challenge to take photos of and identify birds in their yards. The birdwatching was inspired by Job 12:7-10, Job asserts that by paying attention to birds we can gain spiritual wisdom from God.

This week Alex began offering Bible studies through Zoom on Wednesdays at 3:30pm for middle schoolers, Thursdays at 3:30pm for high school students . Each week the youth will tackle one question; the questions can be about religion or the Bible or about life in general.

To connect with WPC Youth's gatherings, games, and studies, please email Alex to receive the Zoom link and password.
Finance Team Working Hard During Quarantine

While the church property is closed and the staff is working from home, there is some “essential” work being done by the finance team. Jerre Graham, our Finance Assistant, continues to go into the church office twice a week to check the mail, pick up any packages that have been delivered, deposit checks received, and process the online contributions coming in from myWPC and from text giving. 
Sharon Morgan, our Business Manager, is able to work remotely for most of her job. She visits campus once a week (on a different day than Jerre) to cut checks, process payroll, and handle any paperwork that’s come in. She also (safely) meets with vendors who need to be on campus, such as our pest control company. 
Questions about your pledges, offering, or giving during quarantine? Please email Sharon , and she’ll be happy to help.
Supporting Families with Faith Formation at Home

Marietta has a new set of inspiration, activities, and resources for families this week, all exploring thoughts of peace - check it out !

Marietta sends an e-news to WPC families each week. Be sure to email Marietta if you haven't received yours, so we can get you on the list.

Last but not least, have you joined our Families of Westminster Pres Church - Durham Facebook group ? Join today to catch all the great photos and good stuff your WPC friends are sharing and awesome resources Marietta is posting. This group is open to all WPC members all ages.
Westminster’s YouTube Channel  

Did you know Westminster has a YouTube channel? As we continue to expand our video content, we’ll be uploading some good stuff in the weeks to come, including preschool story-time and Godly Play storytelling with Marietta, our past worship services, and more. Go to https://bit.ly/WPCyoutube to find Westminster’s YouTube channel, and click on any of the videos to watch; no sign-in or Gmail or Google account is required. If you have a Google or Gmail account, please click the button to subscribe. Help us reach 100 subscribers by the end of April!
Recommendations from WPC Staff
Things we’re listening to, reading, and doing during quarantine

Yo-Yo Ma has brought joy to listeners for decades with his incredible musicianship. Now, he is using his music to offer some comfort in the midst of the pandemic. He has been posting videos of himself performing what he has deemed #SongsofComfort on social media. His April 7 post featured a performance of Dona Nobis Pacem, which we’ll sing in worship this Sunday. Follow Yo-Yo Ma and enjoy his performances on Facebook at YoYoMa .

What brings you comfort during these days? Send us an email to let us know, and we’ll share them in upcoming issues of our e-news.  
Thanks, Westminster! 

A big thank-you to everyone who helped support the Durham CROP Walk. The Westminster team raised $8,885 for hunger relief for our brothers and sisters around the globe. Yay, team!
Meanwhile, progress on our new Fellowship Hall continues. Pray for the day when we can gather here and enjoy this beautiful space together. May it come soon.
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.