Advent and Christmas at Westminster

Friday, December 1: Westminster Performing Arts Series presents A Christmas Carol
5:45 | Westminster Hall | Christmas Dinners | Purchase Tickets

Saturday, December 2: Westminster Performing Arts Series presents A Christmas Carol
1pm | Westminster Hall | Matinee performance with Cookies | Purchase Tickets
5:45 | Westminster Hall | Christmas Dinners | Purchase Tickets

Sunday, December 3: Advent 1 
8:30am | Chapel and Livestream | Worship with the Rev. Dr. Meghan Gage-Finn preaching
10:30am | Sanctuary and Livestream | Worship with the Rev. Dr. Meghan Gage-Finn preaching
11:30am | Advent Coffee Hour (fresh greens and Advent devotionals available) 

Tuesday, December 5: Service of Remembrance
6pm | Chapel and Livestream | Worship with the Rev. Dr. David Tsai Shinn preaching
7pm | Meisel Room | Dinner

Wednesday, December 6: Advent Organ Recital
Noon | Chapel | Andrew Jacob (Organist and Co-Director of Music, Augustana Lutheran Church); the Rev. Alexandra Jacob, mezzo soprano

Sunday, December 10: Advent 2 
8:30am | Chapel and Livestream | Worship with the Rev. Dr. Meghan Gage-Finn preaching
10:30am | Sanctuary and Livestream | Worship with the Rev. Dr. Meghan Gage-Finn preaching

Wednesday, December 13: Advent Organ Recital
Noon | Chapel | Kenneth Vigne, organ; Joseph Trucano, cello (Organists, Westminster Presbyterian Church)

Sunday, December 17: Advent 3, Festival Sunday 
9am | Sanctuary and Livestream | Advent Lessons & Carols with the Rev. Dr. Meghan Gage-Finn preaching
11am | Sanctuary and Livestream | Pageant with the Rev. Dr. Meghan Gage-Finn preaching

Wednesday, December 20: Advent Organ Recital
Noon | Chapel | Dr. Stacie Lightner, organ (Cantor, St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church); Dr. Donna Hyrniewicki, flute

Sunday December 24: Advent 4 & Christmas Eve 
10:30am | Sanctuary and Livestream | Worship with the Rev. Dr. Meghan Gage-Finn preaching
4pm | Sanctuary and Livestream | Family-centered Christmas Eve Worship with the Rev. Alexandra Jacob preaching
8pm & 10pm | Sanctuary and Livestream | Candlelight Christmas Eve Worship with the Rev. Dr. Matthew Skinner preaching

Sunday, December 31: First Sunday after Christmas 
10:30am | Westminster Hall and Livestream | Worship with the Rev. Alexandra Jacob preaching

Service of Remembrance: December 5

by David Tsai Shinn, Associate Pastor for Congregational Care

In Psalm 139, the psalmist writes: In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! I tried to count them – they are more than the sand; I come to the end – I am still with you. (vv. 16-18)

All our days are held in God’s eternal love. Yet, the pain of losing our loved ones is still heart breaking. Years later, their memory can bring us to tears. Grief is universal. We also live with the assurance of God’s unending love.

As we approach the holiday season, we invite everyone whose loved one has died, especially those who lost loved ones this past year, to come to our Service of Remembrance. Join us for this beautiful candlelight service on December 5 at 6pm in the chapel.

We will be cradled with soothing and comforting music, poetry, and the simple act of remembering our loved ones. Afterward, we will gather for dinner with conversation and sharing. Please RSVP to Deb Wagner if you are staying for dinner.

Celebrating a Decade of Reimagining Westminster’s Future

by Kelsey Crouch-Dodson, Director of Stewardship

As Minneapolis began to consider its changing downtown population in 2010, Westminster leaders began reimagining what it meant to be an urban congregation. Then in 2011, the adjacent property to the church was for sale, drastically expanding the possibilities for Westminster’s future.

Guided by six principles and values (see below), the Open Doors Open Futures campaign began with a goal to expand the church’s building. Last year, the Enduring Hope campaign continued the work by building a sustainable financial future for Westminster.

With Open Doors Open Futures, we expanded and increased accessibility to our building; developed welcoming, public green spaces; and increased our support of local and global organizations with $8 million of new investments. Through Enduring Hope, we added $2.2 million more in support for our global, national, and local partners; renovated the chapel; and established a sustainable financial future for the church. All of these efforts will help our congregation continue to grow and thrive for the next 100 years.

In October 2023, we reached the conclusion of this decade-long project. We are excited to announce that as campaign pledges are paid in coming years, the church will have the resources to meet our financial obligations to lenders and our mission partners.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to these campaigns. Each of you has played a part in opening the doors to Westminster’s thriving future. Even as the campaigns conclude, our congregation will continue to live out the bold vision that guided us through Enduring Hope: Compelled by God’s call, Westminster’s enduring hope is for a sustainable future for our church, and justice in our city and beyond.

The six principles and values that guided the Open Doors Open Futures planning:

  1. Ministries of the church will be enhanced
  2. Long-term access to Westminster will be ensured and improved
  3. Environmentally responsible development will be pursued
  4. Decision making will be transparent and inclusive, with input from church and community
  5. Quality of life for our neighbors will be enriched
  6. Design will be welcoming and inspiring

Join Us in Reimagining Community Safety

by Gretchen Musicant, Elder, and Alanna Simone Tyler, Associate Pastor for Justice & Mission

As Westminster prepared to receive the Peace and Global Witness Offering on September 24, we welcomed Marna Anderson, United States Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce, one of a growing number of organizations around the world using unarmed and nonviolent approaches to protect civilians and prevent violence. Anderson said, “People are looking for responses to conflict that do not involve force or threat of force, but rather seek to address the systemic causes of conflict and resolve those through dialogue, negotiation, and peaceful means to protect civilians through unarmed accompaniment and presence.”

Peace and safety are both global and local concerns. The Rev. Denise Anderson of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Office of Racial and Intercultural Justice has invited us to examine what safety could look like in our wildest and most just dreams. Westminster’s Social Justice Ministry Team would like to convene a group to reimagine community safety locally. The group will learn through engagement with local community efforts and help create a new Westminster statement on safety.

If you are interested in joining with other Westminster members to discern how God is calling us to new ways of creating safe communities, contact Alanna Simone Tyler or Gretchen Musicant.

A local opportunity to learn about new ways to promote peace and safety will occur on Tuesday, November 14 when the Nonviolent Peaceforce will celebrate the opening of their Hub for Nonviolence and Safety in North Minneapolis. The event will include food, music, art making, and conversation about the Nonviolent Peaceforce’s Community Peacebuilders. Please join us if you are able. Contact Anna Zaros for more information.

Westminster’s Christmas Dinners: A Community Event

by Amanda Weber, Director of Worship and the Arts

For decades, Westminster has gathered for a special holiday feast the first weekend of December. From the first Christmas Dinner, which featured a reading of A Cup of Christmas Tea, to last year’s Amahl and the Night Visitors presented by the James Sewell Ballet, this tradition remains an important part of the Advent season at Westminster. This is an “all hands on deck” event, which is a large part of what makes it so special. Westminster members are actors, singers, servers, and more as we all come together to celebrate.

This year the dinners will be Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2, and will feature a staged reading of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, led by former Artist-in-Residence Sam Bardwell and with a cast of 15 Westminster members. Evening performances will be accompanied by a sumptuous meal by Breaking Bread Catering, an enterprise of Appetite for Change, which is an organization supported in part by Westminster. Breaking Bread’s delicious food celebrates the roots and honors the legacy of Black Americans while also helping to build health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis. 

Evening performances are on Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2, and will feature a pre-dinner social time with cash bar and musical entertainment starting at 5:45pm, and dinner seating will begin at 6:30pm. Tickets for dinner and the performance are $50 per adult and $25 per youth. 

There will be a matinee performance on Saturday, December 2, at 1pm with Christmas cookies and hot cocoa. Tickets for the matinee performance are $25 per adult and $10 per youth. 

Learn more and purchase tickets online

October Community Partners Highlight

Each month Westminster highlights organizations that are part of the Community Partners program, or local organizations selected as partners for their work to transform social systems, challenge inequalities, and practice love of neighbor for those who are poor, hungry, or homeless. This October we highlight Urban Homeworks.

Urban Homeworks
By Suzanne Kelley

Housing justice is at the heart of Urban Homeworks’ mission, inspired by Isaiah 58:6, for all people to have a safe, stable, and dignified place to live.

With the support of Westminster as a Community Partner, Urban Homeworks has built over 100 homes, reconnected communities and challenged systemic racism and inequality giving hope and vitality to North Minneapolis. To learn about opportunities to get involved visit their website.

Exciting Campaign News

By Tim Hart-Andersen, Senior Pastor

I am pleased to announce exciting news! Last fall, Westminster launched the Enduring Hope campaign to pay down debt, support mission, and renovate the Chapel. In early August, we reported that the campaign funding gap was still more than $10 million. The finish line seemed far away.

By the end of August, the gap had dropped to $7.5 million. Thanks to a major gift in mid-September and the generosity of many members, I am delighted to report that we are now $3.1 million away from the finish line of the campaign! The Enduring Hope Steering Team and I invite the congregation to help Westminster close the gap. All gifts –no matter the size – make a difference. With everyone’s help we will complete the campaign and open the door to a thriving future. Be part of creating Westminster’s sustainable future by:

We hope to have all commitments by Sunday, October 15. Following the 10:30am worship service, we will celebrate the conclusion of the Enduring Hope campaign during a short program in Westminster Hall.

If you would like to discuss your giving in more detail, please reach out to Kelsey Crouch-Dodson. Thank you for supporting the church’s vitality and helping our congregation continue to thrive for the next 100 years!

September Community Partner Highlights

Each month Westminster highlights organizations that are part of the Community Partners program, or local organizations selected as partners for their work to transform social systems, challenge inequalities, and practice love of neighbor for those who are poor, hungry, or homeless. This September we highlight the Minnesota African Women’s Association and the Banyan Community.

Minnesota African Women’s Association
By Nancy Berg

One of our long-time Community Partners, Minnesota African Women’s Association (MAWA), just completed a very successful STEM summer camp for 42 high school girls in the area. This unique 5-week experience provided numerous opportunities, including speakers from the League of Women’s Voters, field trips to the Capital, the Walker Sculpture Garden, and the Arboretum, dancing, education, and more. To learn more, visit the MAWA Facebook page and website.

Banyan Community
By Suzanne Kelley and Kay Thomas

The metaphor of a tree with deep roots, a solid trunk and ever-expanding branches captures the Banyan Community’s philosophy, values and achievements. The Banyan Community has embraced the Native American and Muslim communities within the Phillips neighborhood with education and instrumental support of the families.

Like the tree’s leaves, young people who have been nourished return that nourishment; graduates remain in their community, strengthening the roots that nourish their growth. Even four graduates have full-time employment and benefits at the Banyan Community.

For more information including their upcoming events visit the Banyan Community’s website.



October Events at Westminster: Celebrating the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Andersen 

World Communion Sunday & Global Partners Celebration

Sunday, October 1 | 10:30am | Sanctuary and Westminster Hall 
Charanga Tropical offers music during worship and a celebration of our global partnerships, featuring food, music, and a special presentation follows in Westminster Hall

Bluegrass Sunday Worship

Sunday, October 8 | 10:30am | Sanctuary 
Featuring Monroe Crossing offering The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass by Carol Barnett 

Enduring Hope Celebration

Sunday, October 15 | 11:30am | Westminster Hall 
Following worship, celebrate the progress of the Enduring Hope campaign and the strong future of Westminster 

Cantus Sunday and Congregational Meeting

Sunday, October 22 | 10:30am | Sanctuary 
Worship with Cantus and special bagpipes music, then a Congregational Meeting and shortbread at Coffee Hour 

Wednesday Ta‍izé Worship and Reception

Wednesday, October 25 | 6pm | Westminster Hall 
Dancer Eve Schulte and the Westminster Choir will join Wednesday worship and a special reception will follow 

Reformation Sunday & Farewell Celebration

Sunday, October 29 | 10:30am | Sanctuary and Westminster Hall 
The Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Andersen’s final Sunday will include a brass quintet in worship and a reception event in Westminster Hall following worship 

Thank you to the Celebrations Committee for planning and organizing these events along with other ways to honor and celebrate Tim’s ministry at Westminster:  

Working committee members: Jock Donaldson, Cathie Fischer (co-chair), Kathy Fisher, Meghan Gage-Finn, Sarah Hall, Betty Heefner, Joan Hyde, David Koehler, Janet Leick (co-chair), Megan MacFarlane, Terry McEowen, Marcia Morine, Maggie Mukete, Wendy Ott, Nathan Petersen-Kindem, and Janice Teliczan. Advisory committee members: Barbara Brown, Carmen Campbell, Joan Dayton, Alice Mortenson, and Nancy Ulvestad. 

Global Partners Celebration

by Westminster’s Cameroon, Cuba, and Palestine Ministry Teams

As Christians around the world celebrate World Communion Sunday on October 1, Westminster will celebrate our special relationships with congregations, church governing bodies, and educational institutions in Cameroon, Cuba, and Palestine. These three global partnerships were established under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Andersen. Covenant documents with each of our Global Partners bind us in special ways now, and with plans to strengthen them in the future. We connect across cultures and circumstances, to learn, grow, and work together in hope toward a just, loving, joyful, peaceful, and sustainable world.

The 10:30am worship service on Sunday, October 1, will include special music from Cuban music ensemble Charanga Tropical, featuring Westminster member Doug Little on flute. After the service all are invited to Westminster Hall for the first of the October programs celebrating Tim Hart-Andersen. We’ll celebrate our partnerships with information tables; an ethnic food tasting from the three partnerships, including items prepared by the Cameroonian team; and a short program featuring partnership highlights, messages from and to our Global Partners, and a special moment with Tim.

© Westminster Presbyterian Church | 2023