Welcoming the Rev. Dr. Jerry L. Cannon for King Holiday

Liberty Community Church and Westminster welcome the Rev. Dr. Jerry L. Cannon for our joint celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. In November 2022 the Board of Pensions (BOP) of the Presbyterian Church (USA)appointed him to serve as Vice President of Ministry Innovation. In this role Dr. Cannon, a lifelong Presbyterian, provides leadership for the BOP dues incentive programs to support churches and ministries. He is especially committed to connecting those serving in small congregations and nontraditional ministry settings to BOP benefits.

Dr. Cannon brings to BOP best practices from more than 30 years of ministry. Before his current role, he led innovative worship, faith community formation, and community service as Pastor and Head of Staff of C.N. Jenkins Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He guided the congregation to notice the surrounding community’s gifts and needs and to ask, ‘How am I in relationship with my neighbor?’

Dr. Cannon earned a Bachelor of Science from Virginia State University and a Master of Divinity from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, the only historically African American seminary among the 12 theological schools of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He earned a Doctor of Ministry from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He is married to the Rev. Veronica Obey Cannon, and they are the parents offour adult children.

As one who has held on to the joy of his call and is gratified by mentoring and coaching church leaders, Dr.Cannon will encourage Liberty and Westminster to consider opportunities to expand ministry in our respective contexts.

MLK Weekend Events

Saturday, January 13 | 9am

Workshop with Dr. Cannon | Liberty Community Church’s Northside Healing Space

Sunday, January 14 | 8:30am

Worship with Dr. Cannon | Westminster Hall and Livestream

Sunday, January 14 | 9:15am

Joint Forum with the Rev. Pamela Ngunjiri and the Rev. Dr. Curtiss DeYoung, Minnesota Council of Churches

Westminster Hall and Livestream

Sunday, January 14 | 10:30am

Worship with Dr. Cannon | Sanctuary and Livestream

Enduring Hope: Debt Reduction Update

by Kelsey Crouch-Dodson, Director of Stewardship and Nicole Cueno, Senior Director of Finance and Operations

This fall Westminster announced the successful completion of the Enduring Hope campaign. Together, Westminster celebrated the culmination of a decade-long project in which the church raised $93 million to fulfill a bold vision: create a sustainable future so Westminster continues to thrive for the next 100 years.

Thanks to the generosity of the Westminster congregation, the church was able to make two significant payments toward our final remaining loan with Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP).

On the last Sunday before his retirement, Senior Pastor Tim Hart-Andersen presented a $5 million check to PILP CEO and President Jim Rissler. In December, the church was able to make another significant paydown of more than $2 million on our PILP loan. It is a testament to the strength of this congregation that we have been able to pay down over 80% of the original debt taken on during the capital campaign!

Thanks to the ongoing generosity and payments on Enduring Hope and Open Doors, Open Futures pledges, we will continue to be able to paydown our loan and remain committed to the planned gift schedule that is part of the mission component of the two campaigns. Together, we are creating a sustainable future for the church and supporting the critical work of our mission partners.

Socks, Hats, and Gloves for Community Meal Guests

by Susan Gilmore, Hunger Ministry

Westminster’s Hunger Ministry Team has continued to offer a community meal, Friends Eating and Sharing Together (FEAST), on the fourth Sunday of the month. As the holidays approach we want to offer community meal guests gifts of new socks, hats, and gloves. Our goal is to have 300 items so each guest can pick at least two items of their choice.

You are invited to bring your donations to the church, and leave them in the boxes decorated with Christmas wrapping paper located next to the three Groveland Food Shelf donation boxes. There is one box by the chapel and two boxes near the church entrance doors from the parking ramps. We will collect these items through Sunday, December 24, Christmas Eve.

Most of our guests are men so look for socks and gloves in large or X-large sizes. For our women guests most appreciate a large size in both socks and gloves. Cotton, wool, or a wool blend are the most requested for socks. Stocking hats are mostly generic, one size fits all. Thank you so much for your donations! Our guests are already looking forward to this!

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!

© Westminster Presbyterian Church | 2024