Thoughts from the Pastor: Church Shooting

As you know from the news, a man shot and killed 26 people as they gathered for worship in a church in Texas yesterday. The inability of our nation to deal sensibly with gun deaths is numbing. The multiple factors of an addiction to violence, easy access to guns, political machinations and polarization, collective paralyzation, and other issues create a problem of tremendous magnitude.

Our call to be the Light of Christ in the world and to live as people of grace, faith, and justice is as clear as ever.

What do we do? As we, again, sort through the levels of grief, anger, confusion, and pain, let me simply lift up four ideas:

First, I invite you to click here to read this prayer by UCC minister and poet Maren Tirabassi.

Second, on Sunday, November 12, we will have a letter to sign from all of us as a congregation to send to the people of Sutherland Springs Baptist Church where the shooting occurred. You may click here to read the letter here. Please be at Westmoreland Sunday to add your name to this letter.

Third, my sermon already planned for Sunday the 12th is about how disagreements are modeled in the creation story. I plan to incorporate into that sermon ideas about our national attitudes toward guns.

Fourth, I called Wayne LaPierre this morning. He is the chief lobbyist at the NRA. I told his assistant that I would to schedule an appointment with Mr. LaPierre and asked that he call me back. Will that happen? Who knows? I cannot continue to lament, to complain, to preach, or even to protest. I feel that I need to sit down face to face with a fellow human, whom I feel is wrongheaded in his views about gun ownership, and explain my views and ask him to change his approach.

God bless us all with wisdom, grace, and courage.

Timothy B. Tutt
Weekly E-News
Monday, November 6, 2017
Tim will lead a conversation every Wednesday in the parlor about the book, “The Virtue in the Vice: Finding Seven Lively Virtues in the Seven Deadly Sins,” by Robin Myers. Myers is the pastor of Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. In the book, Myers explores the connection between virtues and vices. For example, he says that emulation and envy are related. Participants may order the book ahead of time or just show up to join the conversation.

  • Nov 1 - Intro & Worthiness/Pride
  • Nov 8 - Emulation/Envy
  • Nov 15 - Righteous Indignation/Anger
  • Nov 22 - No Study
  • Nov 29 - Holy Eros/Lust
  • Dec 6 - Communion/Gluttony
  • Dec 13 - Wanting Wisely/Greed
  • Dec 20 - Contentment/Sloth & Conclusion

Worship Next Sunday, November 12:
Tim will continue his Sermon Series on 'Spending the Holidays with the First Family' with "The Bible Versus the Bible: How to Disagree."
Worship Last Sunday, November 5:

Tim began his Sermon Series on "Spending the Holidays with the First Family" with "Once Upon a Time: Stories That Shape Us." Listen to the sermon here!

To subscribe to our podcast,  click here   - the sermons will automatically download to your device!
Learn About the Upcoming Vote to Include Gender Identity in
Our Open & Affirming Statement

The Governance Council has unanimously voted to propose a change to our Open and Affirming
Statement. The Statement, approved in 1999, says, “We are an open church, affirming the dignity and worth of every person as created in the image of God, welcoming into our fellowship people of all ages, races, abilities and sexual orientation who acknowledge Christ as our foundation and who seek to embody the mind and spirit of Jesus.” The proposal is to change that sentence to read, “…welcoming into our fellowship people of all ages, races, abilities, sexual orientation, and gender identity who acknowledge…”  

The Governance Council has set a congregational vote to take place at the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, November 19, on this change. In preparation for this vote, Tim Tutt will lead one more informational sessions about the proposal on Thursday, November 9 at 7:00 pm. Church members are encouraged to come to whichever session works for their schedule.
Rally to Save the Moses Cemetery
Sunday, November 12, 1:30 to 3:30 pm
Macedonia Baptist Church, 5119 River Road, Bethesda

From the late 1800s until the 1950s the area near the intersection of River Road and Westbard Avenue in Bethesda was home to a primarily African American community that was founded by freed slaves. Tax records from 1911 indicate that a parcel of land was used as the Moses Cemetery, a burial place for African American residents. Records of the cemetery disappear about 1959. Members of Macedonia Baptist Church on River Road and other descendants of persons buried there say that the Westwood Tower on Westbard Avenue was built over the cemetery in 1966. That parcel of land is now open for study as plans to redevelop Westbard are being proposed.

A parking garage is proposed on top of the old cemetery. Members of Macedonia Baptist Church, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), River Road Unitarian Church, and others are asking that the location of the cemetery be commemorated with historical markers and a museum. The land owners, the Housing Opportunities Commission, County planners, church members and others are engaged in ongoing conversations about this effort.

Macedonia Church is hosting a rally on November 12 to call attention to this effort. You are invited to take part.
So Others Might Eat - 16th Annual Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger

Please join us in supporting the hungry and homeless in Washington, DC by participating in SOME’s Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger starting at Freedom Plaza in DC at 9:00 am on Thursday, November 23, or by donating to support a participant! Go to for more information.
Sabbatical Plans for 2018
Rev. Tim Tutt, our Senior Minister, will be on sabbatical from January 1 through April 1, 2018. Tim had planned to take his sabbatical this fall but deferred that due to staff changes.
Rev. Tom Lenhart has agreed to serve as our Sabbatical Minister. Tom and his wife Lynn were active members here starting in 1978 up until Tom left his work as a lawyer to attend Harvard Divinity School from 2002 to 2005. Tom was ordained in 2005, then served as the minister at First Congregational Church of Chappaqua, NY. After retiring from that role, Tom served as the interim pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn. Tom will be our Sabbatical Minister from January 3 through Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. We look forward to welcoming Tom and Lynn back “home” to Westmoreland.
During his sabbatical, Tim will take two classes in his Doctorate of Ministry program and will work on his D. Min. Project. His project is tentatively entitled “Preaching Peace.” He will examine and compare sermons preached at Westmoreland during times of war in the 20th Century. He will also use the sabbatical time to worship with other congregations, especially Macedonia Baptist Church, the historically African American church in River Road in Bethesda.
We look forward to having Rev. Lenhart with us and are fortunate to have our talented staff in place during the sabbatical time. Thanks to Adam, Alec, Farid, Janet, Pat, Martell, and Samantha.
Giving to Westmoreland & A Letter from Geoff Lilja, Stewardship Chair
Westmoreland Friends,

On October 15, we closed our service with the hymn, “We cannot own the Sunlit Sky,” by Ruth Rock. The words are a beautiful call to action – of how we are God’s instruments and how our blessings can touch others and give purpose to our lives:

 God calls humanity to wake, to join in common labor,
 that all may have abundant life in oneness with their neighbor
That new world beckons from afar, invites of shared endeavors,
that all may have abundant life and peace endure forever.

This month, we are on a ‘Journey to Generosity,’ as we prepare to pledge our planned 2018 contributions to Westmoreland – our spiritual home. Our goal of $575,000 will reduce our continuing reliance on the use of funds from our Permanent Endowment to fund our programs.

Westmoreland has always had a positive impact, and it can continue to be a transformative force in your life and in the lives of Washingtonians through your gifts. To those who have made and continue to make an annual contribution, we thank you. Would you be able to increase your financial gift this coming year? If you have not made an annual pledge in the past, please consider whether a regular gift would be
possible, so that we may better plan for 2018.

Remember as you fill out your pledge card or pledge online that God works through us to accomplish positive change and, together as a congregation, we can feed each other spiritually and be a difference for good.

Geoffrey Lilja
Gifts to support the ongoing life of our church -- music and worship, spiritual formation programs, fellowship events, staff salaries, and building maintenance. 

Gifts to our four-year campaign to build a new entrance, add a new elevator, add a gender neutral restroom, and an updated kitchen. 

The five UCC offerings (plus our own outreach offering) that go across the country and around the world to meet needs.
Children's Collection
Items collect by our children in worship each Sunday to give to local helping groups.
Photo Directory Update

Due to numerous errors found in the roster portion of the new photo directory, it is going to be reprinted. We will not be distributing any additional copies and we are asking that those of you who already picked them up please return them and you will receive a corrected copy. These can be returned on Sundays in the narthex or to the office during the week. Thanks for your cooperation and we apologize for the inconvenience.
Volunteers Needed to Assist Refugees

The Westmoreland Refugee Support Group is working with the network of Montgomery County faith groups to assist refugees who now qualify to apply for Green Cards. We are seeking lawyers who are willing to assist applicants, ideally pro bono. Please contact Nancy Pielemeier at or 202-577-6389 if you can help in this way.
The church's Office Hours are:
Mondays & Tuesdays, 10 am - 5 pm
Wednesdays, 12 - 3
Thursdays & Fridays 10 - 5 
Leaders and Helpers Needed to Teach Church School
Every week, we need one leader and one helper to teach Church School for the preschool class, the K - 2nd grade class, and the 3rd - 5th grade class. Click on the link below for more information or to sign up!
Ushers Needed
The Usher Service (US) here at Westmoreland is looking for folks who are willing to usher a few Sundays a year. We’ll train you! If interested, email Greg Perla, the Usher Coordinator, at Please join US!
Shaw Community Center Urgently Needs Your Help

In these turbulent times, the political reality for funding out-of-school time programs has changed. SCC can no longer rely on DC and federal pass-through funding as it has for a decade. In addition to its current site at Lincoln Temple UCC, Shaw is opening a new site, and expanding its programming. It hopes to raise $50,000 by the end of the year to tide it over while finding new sources of funds.

How to donate: You can donate (including a recurring amount) here or send a check to Shaw Community Center, 1701 11 th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. 
Meet Our New Members

Please give a warm welcome to these individuals who joined Westmoreland on October 29:

Sarah and Dan Brady have been attending Westmoreland since Easter Sunday this year, having recently relocated here from California. Sarah, currently a full-time mom, has worked in several arenas including the Peace Corps, as a journalist, and as a consulting interior designer. Her interests include running, reading, and travel. Dan works for Entropy Capital in financial services. His interests include playing and following sports, history, and exercise. Together they are very busy parents to Aiden, 4, Sean 2 and Fiona, 5 months. Sarah and Dan live in the Bethesda neighborhood across Massachusetts Avenue. They joined by Reaffirmation of Faith.

Don and Rosemarie Noone have been attending Westmoreland since March. They moved here from New Jersey to live close to their son and his family. Don is a retired management consultant and professor of business. His leisure interests include reading and writing. Rosemarie is a retired elementary and middle school teacher and church musician. She enjoys knitting, cooking, and grandparenting. They have adopted condo living in downtown Bethesda where they can walk to everything. Both joined by Reaffirmation of Faith.

Lorrette and Karl Voglmayr made their first appearance at Westmoreland when they were married here in 2004. They returned in 2014 with a couple of children in tow. Lorrette, currently a full-time mom, has also been an elementary school teacher right here in our neighborhood Westbrook Elementary School. She likes tennis, running, interval training, dancing, and reading. Karl owns Washington Landmark Construction, a residential construction business, and he teaches at Georgetown University. His interests include teaching, fishing, tennis, and winemaking. Lorrette and Karl are parents to Alexander, 12, Bridget, 9 and Peter, 10 months. They live nearby in Washington, DC and joined by Reaffirmation of Faith.

Tracy Bridgham has been attending Westmoreland since July. She is an attorney for the Federal Communications Commission and also works part-time for a union, the NTEU. Her leisure interests include swimming, being near or at the water, and outdoor exercise. Tracy lives in nearby DC for six months a year and in Boca Raton six months a year. She will shortly be leaving us for her winter home. She joined as an Associate Member, retaining her full membership at Unity Pompano in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Donate Flowers for Worship
Flowers add beauty and meaning to our Sunday worship service. Individuals or families may sign up for a date to donate with a dedication in the worship bulletin. Please contact the Flower Chairman, Judy Fogt by phone (301-229-1183) or email ( and she will give you the details. And THANK YOU!
Sign Up to Host 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.