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January Newsletter 
Friday, January 6, 2017
UKirk  Wooster 
"Go Together"
This past week, January 2-5, UKirk Wooster traveled to North Carolina for the 2017 College Conference at Montreat.  The theme was "designed to help participants see in the ancient text 'how God gave an ancient people a holy nudge towards diversity' as they are challenged to consider how God is similarly nudging God's people today."  Read more here.
Peace Pole
As we start a new calendar year one cannot help but embrace the human capacity to look back on the past year in reflection as well as anticipate what a new year might bring. While we cannot control much, we hope that we can continue to learn and grow and mature in being.

If there is one thing that seems to stand out this past year, it is that we are as divided as ever as a nation, and in many ways, as the world community. This past presidential election was, for many, the cause of awkward table conversations and strained family dynamics, and for some, relationships may never be the same.  In all honesty, I am asking myself if we can simply blame the presidential election for this sad state of affairs.

In response, my first inclination is to offer you some diagnostic, that we have lost our common humanity.  But then again, my impulse to find a solution in isolation might be part of the problem, as this reactionary way of living is part of the reason we ended up in this mess in the first place. How, then, do we proceed from here as a community of faith that desires to be "Intentionally Inclusive?"

While I will refrain from answering the question, I will invite you to an even deeper and more concrete reflection in the midst of community this coming year as to what it means to be "people of the Way," a name given to the first Christian communities.

This coming month offers many such opportunities to be in conversation with diverse peoples, and I encourage you to participate for your own sake and that of the greater good.  In fact there is no better time for such contemplation than  the season of    Epiphany .  This season starts with the  Feast of the Epiphany on  January 6, with the coming of the Magi, and normally lasts through the Tuesday after the Transfiguration just before Ash Wednesday.  To travel the Epiphany journey is to go deeper in our understanding of Jesus of Nazareth and the radical inclusion that God brought about in  self-manifestation to all people.  Such contemplation can lead us to identify values and practices to help us discover our common humanity.

We can enter the conversation this Sunday morning, January 8 at 8:30am in the Meeting Place, where  we invite you to join a new contemplative  worshipping experience. A number of sojourners  enjoyed our "Walking in Mindfulness" experience this past summer at Oak Hill Park. Now that winter is upon us, you are invited to a change of venue the second Sunday of each month. This contemplative worship experience will be about 45 minutes long. Afterwards, this Sunday, you are welcome to g ather with us in the Lounge at 9:30am to hear the faith stories of our elders who are up for election for the Class of 2019: David Noble, Sandy Schmidt (through 02/19), and Linda Barbu. 

I also want to remind you that the Annual Meeting of our Congregation will be on February 5. As in past years you are are invited to see this yearly meeting as a time of rich conversation and fellowship, instead of just another Book of Order requirement.

On a personal note, I want to let you know that I will be traveling to South Africa on Monday, January 16 and will be back in Wooster on Saturday the 28th.  Beth and the boys will not be traveling with me as I visit my family.  For all pastoral care needs you are invited to contact Beth at the office or on her cell.

It is with excitement for our ministry together that I wish you all the best for 2017!

Mooi loop,
Grow Spiritually in the New Year
I would like to invite you to an opportunity  for spiritual growth as we study the book,  Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr  in the new year.  We will have two opportunities: Wednesday nights from 6:00 - 7:00pm with Joe Hartzler (beginning January 11, 2017) and Sundays at 9:30am with Dave Schmidt (beginning January 15, 2017), as study leaders respectively . Looking at the  spirituality of the Twelve  Step program, this book study is for everyone who wants to become more aware, embrace their own vulnerabilities, and grow in wholeness . On the amazon.com website it says of the book:

We are all addicted in some way. When we learn to identify our addiction, embrace our brokenness, and surrender to God, we begin to bring healing to ourselves and our world. In Breathing Under Water, Richard Rohr shows how the gospel principles in the Twelve Steps can free anyone from any addiction - from an obvious dependence on alcohol or drugs to the more common, but less visible, addiction that we all have to sin.
If you would like to participate in the study you can e-mail Dries for more information.  You can pick up a copy of the book after worship or at the Church Office for $12 or download it on your kindle here. Personally, I hope that many of you will take advantage of this opportunity to engage in community and spiritual growth.  I have already read the book, but am looking forward to being part of a group, as so much of the growth we experience as people of faith takes place in the midst of community.
Why We March!
In December Westminster announced in wholehearted participation in the Women's March on Washington on Saturday, January 21st in Washington, DC.  For this event Westminster is chartering a bus in order to facilitate transportation for 55 women interested in attending. 

Among our "Wooster Women" group, we are digging deep to boldly state why we are engaging in this historic moment and larger movement. As women, mothers, sisters, granddaughters, grandmothers, advocates and leaders at Westminster and in the Wooster community, here is why we are motivated to march:

"It is important to stand up for what is right even when the truth is simple: women's rights are human rights, meaning my rights are human rights. Everyone should be respected in a nation committed to justice, equality, and freedom, especially those without a voice. It is the cornerstone of democracy."
Sarah Huffman, 
Junior at the College of Wooster, 
Political Science major 

"I want to represent women who cannot take part and who have been kept silent by family and societal pressure. I am marching for a maternal grandmother who was severely abused by her husband at a time when abused women felt powerless and were powerless."
Linda Barbu, 
Member at Westminster,
Elder, Benevolences Committee, People to People Advocate and Seeker of Justice in Palestine 

"I want to attend the Women's march in Washington DC because I want to add my voice to the voices of the other women there. I want it to be known that we will be watching our new administration to ensure that our country continues to treat its citizens and the citizens of the world with dignity and respect."
Helen Siegel
Senior at the College of Wooster,
Baptized  Presbyterian, Living Wage Campaign 

"I plan to attend the Women's March on Washington because I wish to be part of a bold public statement to the incoming Administration about the necessity of protecting the fundamental rights of women. Women's rights are human rights."
Cheryl Weiss
Member at Westminster, 
Congregational Care & Vegan Potluck Coordinator, Passionate about Just Immigration and Palestinian Liberation

For more information contact Emily Oshinskie here
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday, January 16, 2017

College of Wooster MLK Breakfast
Kittridge Dining Room
The College of Wooster's 2017 MLK Day celebration begins with an ecumenical prayer breakfast. This year our time together will focus on the triumphs and struggles we have experienced in the greater Wooster Community with Pastor Andries Coetzee as one of the speakers.  Please RSVP to Nate Addington at naddington@wooster.edu.

College of Wooster 
The  2017 MLK Celebration at the College of Wooster will be held on January 16, 2017.  The tentative schedule of  Justice Dialogues  is posted here .  (All details are subject to change)

Wooster Community Celebration
5:00 pm Dinner, 7:00 pm Service
Advance purchase of tickets at $7 each.  Contact Beth at the Church Office here for tickets. 
7:00 pm at First Presbyterian Church
621 College Avenue
Guest Speaker, Edward Gilbert
Edward L. Gilbert is presently practicing law in Akron, Ohio at Edward L. Gilbert Co., L.P.A. His practice focuses on civil rights litigation and constitutional law violations.
Worship at Westminster promises to be spiritual, warm, welcoming, and accepting.  Grounded in our Presbyterian heritage, we strive, as a progressive Christian community,  to create a safe place for all people to explore their faith, regardless of ethnicity, creed, age, cultural background, or sexual identity.

We seek to give authentic expression to our faith as it relates to our daily lives and contemporary culture.  Our worship is made relevant through sermons, prayers, music, readings (biblical, ancient and contemporary), guest speakers, and participation from the congregation.  In our desire to be welcoming and inclusive we have added an all gender restroom that is handicap accessible on the same level as our worship space.
  • January 8 at 10:45am, Baptism of the Lord. Pastor Dries preaching. 
  • January 15 at 10:45am, Race Relations Sunday. Pastor Dries preaching. Installation of Elders.
  • January 22 at 10:45am, UKirk Wooster students will reflect on their experience at the 2017 College Conference at Montreat. 
  • January 29 at 10:45am, Nate Addington, Interim Director of Interfaith Campus Ministries at The College of Wooster, preaching.
Ongoing Meals, Fellowship, and Study 

Men's Breakfast
Meet on the first Tuesday of every month at the downtown Buehler's at 7:45 am  for Westminster's Men's Breakfast.
Women's Bible Study
The Women's Bible Study meets on the second Tuesday of each month through June 2017. 
Vegan Potluck
The Vegan Potluck is usually on the third Thursday of most months, August through April, in Mackey Hall.  Just bring a dish containing no meat, dairy, or eggs (no need for students to bring a dish, but always welcome). 
Fellowship After Worship
Westminster's fellowship following worship is an important time in building relationships between members of our community of faith.  It creates the opportunity for worshipers (new and familiar) to get to know each other on a more personal level.  
Agape Latte
Agape Latte endeavors to be a welcoming space for all students in the Old Main fish bowl (Kauke 025) every Tuesday morning - 8:30am- 9:30am.   Click here for more information
UKirk Wooster
UKirk (meaning University Church) is a network of ministries supported by the Presbyterian Church (USA). UKirk Wooster is open to all students, Presbyterian or not.

Student Led Bible Study
The Christian Dads Who Vape is a student-centered and student-led Bible study group. Anyone is welcome to participate and encouraged to bring forth the faith questions on their hearts in a judgement-free environment. 
3rd Sunday Intergenerational
The 3rd Sunday Intergenerational Activities are designed to make meaningful intergenerational connections, learn from one another, and just have fun as a community.
Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities

Meals on Wheels
Westminster delivers Meals on Wheels every Friday of the year to homebound and nutritionally at-risk individuals in partnership with Meals on Wheels of Stark and Wayne Counties.
 For more information click here
On the last Wednesday of each month Westminster  travels to the Central American Medical Outreach warehouse in Orrville to support the hospital in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras. 
Showing Hospitality is Peacemaking!
Help make  Westminster  the warm and inviting place we are called to be! Sign up to be a Sunday Morning Host, provide flowers, or bring goodies for fellowship time after worship. If you are interested in helping, please sign up at SignUpGenius  or by contacting the Church Office at  330-263-2398. Would you like to be the first friendly face who greets  those who walk through our doors Sunday morning? Call or email Beth at the Church Office. 
Contact Us:

Westminster Presbyterian Church

353 East Pine Street, Wooster, OH 44691

  T: 330-263-2398| F: 330-263-2228
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