July 9, 2020

Dear friends and fellow disciples,
 
I stole up to the mountains for a day over the holiday to deliver my daughter to my parents. All of us are having to adapt in our time away, for ourselves and our families, aren’t we?
 
On Monday afternoon I hiked Lookout Mountain in Montreat. Any who have been to Montreat for a conference or retreat have likely hiked it as well. It isn’t easy, but it doesn’t take too long, and you get a wonderful view - up into the valley, back down to the heart of the conference center, and back towards Black Mountain. On the average summer afternoon it is packed, but in my hour on the mountain I was one of just a dozen people there. We would greet each other kindly as we pulled our masks up to step past each other on the narrow trail. I was alone at the top of the mountain for a good five minutes. Part of my view is pictured below. I don’t think I’d ever been up there alone before. I didn’t need to think about anything else, offer to take someone's picture, or run into a friend I hadn’t seen since last summer. I was alone in the glory of God’s creation and was swept up in it, and the accompanying silence, for a few precious moments.
As I began the descent I realized that while I was up there I'd been swept away enough to completely forget about it all. All of the turmoil, the virus, the violence, the protests against racism and the backlash against them, my worries about the world and my family and our common life. For just a moment I had forgotten. It was a privileged moment for which I am grateful, knowing so many cannot forget, even for a second, the immense pain they are feeling.
 
My prayer for us all is that, at some point this summer, you have a moment to glimpse the glory of God’s creation and be caught up in it. And in that holy encounter may you be renewed and strengthened and given courage as you head back down the mountain. There is much to do, and we are called to be a part of Christ’s kingdom work. There are plenty of ways to be a part of that work below. For that and for you, I am grateful.
 
Chris
Thanks to Kaitlyn Simonson for these great photos!
Update on the Congregational Survey  

Thank you! We’ve received more than 210 responses to our recent survey, asking you all to share your perspectives on using our Westminster campus this summer. Your feedback will help us sort through options as we collectively navigate the implications of a pandemic. Here’s what we’ve learned:
  • 62% of us said they would either wait for a vaccine or until after Labor Day to decide on returning to campus.
  • 45% of us would be interested in attending a small Sunday evening worship service, with face coverings and social distancing.
  • 4% of us would be interested in attending a small fellowship event inside one of our buildings, again with face coverings and social distancing.
  • 16% indicated an interest in either hosting or participating in some way small gatherings either on campus or online.
In addition, we also clearly heard through your heartfelt words, caring enough about one another to urge we act with a bias of caution for the health and well-being of all members of our congregation. With these insights, as well as ongoing COVID-19 developments, and corresponding health guidance, we are updating Westminster’s “ Return to Campus Operating Guide .” In this work, we are exploring how we best support on campus activities, like hosting a small Sunday evening outdoor service, in ways that balance the need to protect our physical health with the desire to enrich our spiritual health. We’re also discussing with the staff options for online connections. As this work progresses, we’ll be back to share more updates. Thanks again! –– Kim Garcia, Russ Lange, and Sally Keener
July 12 is (Virtual) Youth Sunday!

WPC’s youth are preparing a wonderful worship service for you this Sunday! Be sure to join us for worship, then drop by the WPC Virtual Courtyard afterward, where you can speak with our Youth Sunday preachers, liturgists, musicians, and artist. Check the list of quick links above for the Zoom link to the Virtual Courtyard or contact Bob Lamont with any questions.
Take Virtual Tour of the Latest Nasher Exhibit

Join WPC’s own Ruth Caccavale along with other Nasher Museum guides for a virtual tour and interactive discussion of the exhibition, Ebony G. Patterson...while the dew is still on the roses .” Dates are Sunday, July 12, at 7:00pm and Wednesday, July 15, at 11:00am . Registration is limited, so sign up now to reserve your spot . A Zoom link will be sent prior to each tour. There is no charge for the presentations, but participants are encouraged, if able, t o support The Nasher with a membership .   Contact :   Ruth Caccavale
Time to Register for Phase TWO of “Under Construction,” WPC’s Habitat for Humanity Mission eXperience@Home!  

Our June Mission-X wrapped up with participants sharing what they made and learned about Habitat for Humanity and how we, as followers of Jesus, can share what we have. The July Phase kicks off next Sunday, July 19 – MONDAY, July 13 is the LAST day to register! You might be wondering...
  • Should I register if I already did Phase 1? YES! Each crate has new activities, and you will continue to learn and grow as you explore, create, and build.
  • Should I register if I didn’t do Phase 1? YES! Same answer - see above! 
  • What’s new and exciting for Phase 2? Our July crate includes bird house kits for you to assemble and decorate as you choose.  
  • Where on earth did we get so many bird house kits? GREAT question! Habitat volunteers cut them for us, and our own Habitat volunteer-extraordinaire Bill Pogue put them all together to make them easy for you to build. All you need is a hammer or screwdriver. 
Register now for one or both of our two remaining phases! Contact “Contractor” Dawn Wilcox with questions .
Continuing Our Dialogue on Race and Racial Equity   

Sunday, July 12, at 5:00pm , Chris and Marietta will facilitate a discussion on the 21-Day Race Equity Challenge . If you’d like to participate, please contact one of the facilitators to receive the Zoom link.

Our Session has established a team to study and coordinate Westminster’s efforts around race. Please contact Chris if you'd like to be a part of it. We encourage you also to dig into the growing database of antiracism resources our staff is compiling. Here you will find materials to read, watch, listen to, social media accounts to follow, and more. This is key work the church must be involved in, and we hope our efforts will lead us to discover tangible ways we can together take action
Give Locally and Globally at the Same Time

There are so many people and organizations needing support during this pandemic that the decision of where to give support can seem overwhelming. The Global Missions Committee wants to remind you of one giving opportunity where your purchases help local staff as well as artisans around the globe. Bull City Fair Trade (formerly One World Market) has an online store where you can have your purchases shipped, delivered within a 10-mile radius, or pick them up curbside. You can also shop in the store Monday-Saturday, 11:00am-5:00pm. Face coverings are required, and the staff is disinfecting surfaces diligently throughout the day. Shop now!
Order Handmade Face Coverings & Help a Family in Need   

A long-time member of Iglesia Presbiteriana Emanuel, who was laid off at the start of the pandemic, has begun a business making face coverings to help support her family. Angelica Moreno sews masks sized for kids, women, and men that are well-made and fitted, with soft, adjustable earbands. She uses a variety of fun and attractive prints, or you can supply the fabric if you prefer. Single masks are $10 each; $7 each if you purchase five or more. You may pick up your masks, or have them mailed to your home for a $5 shipping fee.  Shop now!
Find Out How You Can Help WPC’s Community Partners

Our Local Missions Committee is tracking the needs of WPC's community partners to discover ways we can help them. Access the listing of current needs at www.wpcdurham.org/community-partners-neighbors . Be sure to bookmark this link on your computer and check back frequently for updates. A couple immediate, ongoing needs:
  • Families Moving Forward is in need of diapers (sizes 3, 4, 5), baby wipes, and washcloths. You can drop donations off at FMF’s touchless drop-off bin in their lower parking lot (300 N. Queen St, Durham), or order online and have them delivered directly to their office. 
  • Iglesia Presbiteriana Emanuel needs volunteers to help with their Wednesday afternoon food distribution program, to bag rice and beans from home, and to donate food items. Sign up online now.
WPC Families: Let’s Read About Race Together   

Families are invited to join Marietta in reading some books with our children to help us have challenging conversations about race, how we got here, and steps we can take to make our world better for everyone.  

Older elementary and younger middle school youth are invited to read one or both of the following books to help better understand our history. Let Marietta know if your family is taking the challenge, and we’ll schedule a Zoom gathering to talk about it.  
  • Leon’s Story, by Leon Walter Tillage was brought to our attention by Amy Stanfield. Amy writes, “Leon is a boy growing up in rural Wake County in the ‘50s. There’s a lot of violence and death in the book, yet it still makes for a great middle elementary age read. I wish this book and ones like it were required reading for North Carolina history/social studies. I shudder to think how many more stories like Leon’s are out there, untold.” We encourage you to read this book ahead or alongside your child, so you can be ready for questions and conversations. Amy purchased two books for WPC; Please contact Marietta to borrow one of them, or you can purchase your own copy.
  • January’s Sparrow, by Patricia Pollaco is set further back in time, telling the true story of the horrors and occasional happiness of enslaved families just before emancipation. It’s a difficult but engrossing, suspenseful story about the Crosswhites, including young Sadie, who flee the Kentucky plantation they work on. This book is available, used or new at Amazon and other retailers.

To sign up, get Zoom links, or receive our weekly Families Forming Faith at Home newsletter, please contact Marietta Wynands .
WPC Youth Group Happenings

Christian Financial Literacy” with Mr Stapleton   If you attend Jordan High School, you may know the legendary Joe Stapleton, an English teacher and all-around good guy. He teaches a Sunday School class at his church on "Christian Financial Literacy'' that he's agreed to adapt for younger folks and present for us. This isn't your typical "Financial Literacy'' class - you’ll learn about the biblical concept of "Jubilee" and spend some time considering how to apply it to our lives. Dates and details coming soon!

An Affirmation Exchange!    Take some time to flip through Paul's letters in the New Testament. They're notes that Paul and his friends circulated to early Christian communities and they all start with beautiful affirmations - kind words sent to build up and encourage the people who read them. Affirmations are also a huge part of what we do as a Westminster community each summer at Montreat. Since we won't have the opportunity to go to Montreat this summer, WPC Youth will have an "Affirmation Exchange" by mail instead. If you would like to send or receive some kind words from other folks in the WPC Youth Group community, please email Alex with your name and mailing address. Use the subject line "Affirmation Exchange.”
Nominations for Elders and Deacons

Needed:   5 new elders, 8 new deacons + 2 additional elders to complete the remaining one-year terms of elders who needed to step down.
Please send nominations to nominations@wpcdurham.org .
Remember Those Fish Banks?  

Do you still have a fish bank full of coins at home? Although it's not practical to bring those banks to church physically, we can still make sure that offering gets to people in need. If you have a fish bank that you used to collect an Easter offering for One Great Hour of Sharing , please count the coins and make a donation, either online or by mailing a check to the church. Please make your donation by July 30 if you can, and be sure to note it’s for OGHS 2020 so WPC can send it on to help those served by this great organization.  Contact : Jennifer Feiler
PLEASE NOTE: Westminster’s campus remains closed through July 20. Only essential personnel are permitted on campus. Thanks for your understanding.