Westminster's Blog

May 18, 2020

The future is out there and it is up to you to shape it. That will be a common message this time of year at graduation speeches, even those given virtually this year. Speakers make it seem like an enjoyable challenge but it’s also a gigantic task and can be a bit overwhelming. That’s especially true this year. There will be calls to rebuild the economy, and help us return to normal. No, say others, we want something better than the old normal. 

It’s also a true statement for Westminster as you bring on a new pastor in the face of continuing challenges caused by the pandemic. Overwhelming indeed. To help you feel merely whelmed, we can get lessons from the way Da...

May 5, 2020

In Isaiah 43:19, the Lord God says through the prophet “Behold, I am doing a new thing.” A large number of those hearing this word were in exile in Babylon. They did want a change. They wanted to be released from captivity in a foreign land. They wanted freedom from fear of their oppressors.

And today, we too are praying for a release from captivity, freedom from the exile to our own homes, and freedom from the fear of illness and death. This has been long enough, Lord. Do a new thing and free us.

I have no doubt though that what most Israelites wanted was a new thing (release) that led back to the same old thing that they were used to - autonomy for Judah/Israel...

April 22, 2020

M.O.M. Orphanage in Sierra Leone receiving supplies shipped to them

In times of trial, anxiety and fear, one possible reaction is to narrow your view to most pressing concerns and fears. There are times this is a necessary way for us to focus our energy to deal with an immediate challenge or need. Continual narrowing of our view, though, can lead to unintentional hardening of our hearts and limiting of concern for others. In faith, we pray to God to be gracious to us. In faith, we are called to keep our prayers as spacious as the reach of God’s graciousness.

Here at Westminster Presbyterian Church (WPC), we are blessed by the witness of partners in mission both f...

March 27, 2020

As I was reflecting on the story of Jesus raising Lazarus, I was struck that despite the happy ending, there was a lot of grief in the early part of the account. Mary and Martha grieved over the illness of Lazarus and sent word to Jesus. After Lazarus’ death, Martha’s grief came out as anger at Jesus for coming too late. And even Jesus wept in grief for Lazarus, despite knowing the outcome. Even when we know all is not ended and life will go on, there is grief.

It’s the same with us now.

Some of the Presbytery’s ministers met virtually the other day — a screen full of faces in a scene becoming more common everywhere. We talked about the adjustments we’re making i...

March 16, 2020

Where do we start? We feel threatened by something we can’t see but whose results are increasingly, painfully obvious. It’s a time to breathe deeply, admit we are confused and stunned, then to pray, and stick together in spirit and in reality.

There are websites to help tell us, "What it means, What is True, and What to do." Some very tense religious people are going to insist that their Scripture answers all these questions. Some quote Psalm 91:5-6: “You will not fear the terror of the night, . . . , or the plague that stalks in darkness.” “Trust God and pray,” say others. There’s nothing wrong with that but we can’t then just sit back. God’s answers to our pra...

February 25, 2020

Hang around a church this time of year, and eventually you’ll get asked what you’re giving up for Lent.

The tradition of fasting from food, alcohol, or anything you devote a lot of your time to is derived from Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry. So our efforts to abstain from certain foods, alcohol, chocolate, Facebook, video games, or cursing can be noble pursuits.

We also realize our attempts at fasting from this or that have been about as successful as our New Year’s resolutions or our commitment to the latest best-selling diet. For many of us these attempts at doing without are but a flash-in-the-pan, glittering promises of a...

February 3, 2020

Versions of this have floated around churches for 20 or more years. I adapted it to fit Westminster.

Reason #10: 

You are at a point in your life where you’re interested in going to church whether or not it will thrill your parents or make friends chuckle.

Reason #9:

You are put off by hierarchy and energized by community. Us too.

Reason #8:

You are looking for a spiritual community where not everyone believes the same things. WPC does not expect you to “leave your brain at the door” when you come to church. Quite the opposite. This is a congregation that values education and thoughtfulness. You will find a wide diversity of theological and political beliefs. We real...

December 12, 2019

Isaiah 35: 1-10

“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,

   the desert shall rejoice and blossom”

When I was in 6th grade, my family spent part of summer at the Ghost Ranch Presbyterian Conference Center near Abiquiu New Mexico. It was a landscape of red rock mesas, scrub brush, cactus and desert. Some was more barren than other parts, with little to nothing growing. At the ranch, we learned that the land had been overgrazed by sheep herds in the past, increasing run-off of what little rain fell. The Ranch staff for years had been helping with replanting of desert grasses and bushes, even some trees. Hillsides were anchored and water retention inc...

October 24, 2019

Halloween or Hallow’s Eve would not be possible without All Hallows Day, or All Saints Day, Nov. 1. The frights of the Eve were banished by the power of the saints’ example the next day. Nowadays, zombies get more press in public media than saints. There are movies, AMC TV series, novels, comic books, and even Zombie walks in cities scheduled for Halloween.

Zombie stories ask this religious question: 

What reason do we have for the hope within us? 

Why, in the face of the global food crisis, a genocide every decade, climate change, world poverty and finally, the ravenous dead -- why, in the face of all that, do we not just lie down and die? 

The example of the sain...