Stephen & Cindy Snyder

Cindy and I have been members of Westminster since 2003.  Our previous church had grown too intolerant over our 25 years there.  It was time to find a church that was welcoming to all, and that both preached and practiced Community.

Cindy and I are quite organized, perhaps too much.   So, with a new church home as our goal, we made a check-list of churches to attend in our search.  It was on Youth Sunday in May 2002 when we first attended Westminster, which was near the top of our list.  And when we heard the high schoolers preach, we both agreed.  We wanted to be a part of a church that can raise young people to think like that.  We terminated our search.  We had found our church home.

The Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Andersen gives an informative and inspiring sermon each Sunday, no doubt about that, but for the Snyders, it was those thoughtful, challenging words from the Westminster youth that put us in the pew. We made the right choice.  And we support this church.

I read about an interesting study in the Economist magazine some time ago.  The magazine reported on a statistical analysis that found a direct correlation between being happy and being generous with charities, which often is a person’s church. But that begs the question: which causes which? Does giving generously make someone happy, or are happy people, in general, more generous?  Statistics can’t answer that question because statistical analyses can only show correlations among data—they don’t prove causation.  But, based on my observations,  I personally believe that both are true.  I have noticed that happy people do tend to be more generous—with their time, talents and assets.  And being generous can make us happy too—fulfilled and with a purpose beyond just our own wants and needs.

For Cindy and me, the key to stewardship is to understand our priorities. Westminster, and its mission in this Beloved Community and beyond, is very important to us.  So we want our priorities to reflect that—as to our time, talents and, yes, our money too.  So we support this church.  And we made the right choice.

Next Sunday, November 17, is Stewardship Sunday.  I hope you will join with Cindy and me to fill out Pledge Cards to demonstrate our commitments in 2020 to Westminster’s ministries.

Justin & Sophie Komlan

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters in Christ of Westminster, my name is Justin, and my name is Sophie, and we are the Komlan Family.

We are humbled to be in front of the congregation today to share a story of our journey with Westminster as part of the 2020 Stewardship Program.

Many of you do not know me and my family. Sophie and I moved from Togo (West Africa) to Minnesota on July 21, 2004.  The following Sunday, we landed at Westminster to continue our regular Sunday worship that we so love not to miss in our congregations back in Togo.

Our experience here that first Sunday was quite remarkable. The first person we met entering the Sanctuary was Barbara Mauk. After greeting us with kindness and asking us about where we were from, she connected us to Emmanuel Ablorh, the second person and Usher we met. I want to thank all the Ushers for the warm welcome they extend to every stranger like me entering this Church. You are the face of the Church. The welcome that day gave us courage to return the next Sunday, the Sunday after that, until we became members of the Church four months later.

Adjusting to our new Church was not that easy, but was filled with acceptance of who we are, support, encouragement, and love.  Coming from a French- speaking country, attending worship in English and understanding the sermon was a challenge. The classic and silent way the service was conducted was not to our taste, but there was one thing undeniable about Westminster: making everybody feel welcome and loved. That is what keeps us here 15 years later.

The theme of this season’s stewardship Program is “Building the Beloved Community”.

I remember when Sophie was pregnant with Prisca our daughter and Barbara Mauk took the liberty to throw her a Baby Shower. She invited Church members most of them seniors, gathered around us that day, in the Bates Room, to share their presence, kindness, and love, with strangers like us. Seeing people we do not know making us feel like one of their own gave us a sense of belonging and respect. It exemplifies their love for neighbor as themselves.

On Christmas Eve 2012, our son Nehemie was probably the first “black baby Jesus” to have played in the Christmas Pageant here at Westminster.  Feeling the love of this congregation, he slept peacefully through the service and was dubbed a “sleeping baby Jesus”. Until today, Nehemie is well known around the Church. He told me one day: “Daddy, I am very famous!”

Fifteen years after becoming a member, it is my call and responsibility to help extend the same love I have experienced in this church to others, and to support programs at the heart of this Church, such as feeding and sheltering the needy, improving race relations, Criminal Justice reform, and being the voice of the voiceless.

During every stewardship season, my wife and I pledge. It is our modest way to show appreciation to God’s love for us, and also an act of faith.  We give not because we have in abundance, but because we believe “It is more blessed to give than receive.” (Acts 20:35). It is our moral duty as Christians to contribute to the work of God and support all these good programs. Our contribution also helps care for the house of worship we dearly enjoy to gather in as one family of believers.

We invite you to prayerfully consider sowing in the work of God by pledging this season under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Stewardship pledge invitations will arrive in your home the week of November 11; please pledge online or bring your pledge to church on Stewardship Sunday, November 17.  May Our Lord Jesus Christ guide each one of us when considering our pledge amount.

Thank You!

Jim & Jacque DeBuse

Jim
Good morning. I’m Jim DeBuse, and this is my wife, Jacque.

Ten years ago, we moved to Minneapolis and started looking for a church. We visited a lot of places – some even recruited us for committees the moment we walked in the door! But when we came to Westminster, two things were apparent right away.

This is a church that’s truly engaged in the community and living out social justice. We loved that – and we wanted to be part of that.

And, this place is serious about being a church for the 21st century – not standing still, but staying relevant. We loved that even more. As a couple, we invested in that future then, and we’re still investing in that future today.

Jacque
Our life looks a lot different now than when we became members at Westminster — two young kids, various jobs and a few moves across town. And in that time, we’ve had the chance to be involved. As a Deacon … an elder … and part of task forces, nominating committees and many Sunday School classes along the way.

Those experiences have shown us the impact the church can have, and give us plenty of reasons to support this church through stewardship.

For us – what truly makes Westminster a beloved community for our family is the supportive, safe and engaging environment our daughters are learning to call their church home.

We’ve met so many invested adults and engaged youth … we’ve made lots of noises in church pews, and bumped into plenty of people as our kids race to press the elevator buttons. And you’ve seen our kids even sit right in the middle of the aisle, just to get a better view.

Those little experiences are met by so many friendly glances or cheerful waves. Because of that, our girls enjoy church and are excited to come … and we feel supported by the broader Westminster community as we teach them about God’s everlasting love.

Jim
That’s why we continue to financially support Westminster and help grow and strengthen this community. We encourage you to think about what connections you find at Westminster and how that positively impacts you as you consider how to give your gifts this Stewardship season.

Stewardship invitations to pledge will arrive in your mailboxes the week of November 11, and Stewardship Sunday is November 17.  Please pledge online or bring your pledge on November 17!  Thank you.

Megan & Jordan Keith

Jordan

Megan and I both grew up on farms in rural areas, Megan in Montana, and me in North Dakota. My hometown had 250 people in it, and I had a graduating class of 9. In comparison, Megan’s hometown was a thriving metropolis of 1200.

Each of our communities was small and tight-knit where everyone knew each other. We had been taught to “love our neighbors as ourselves,” and as children we understood this to mean to love the people we are surrounded by, to love the people in our communities. But as we left home to go to college and began our adult lives, we were faced with other experiences that broadened our understanding of what it means to “love your neighbor.”

Megan

My first teaching job was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The people there were warm and welcoming, and I quickly fell in love with the country. It was also a country plagued by poverty and violence though, and I started to see how “love your neighbor” also means thinking about how the decisions I make impact others around the world. I learned that when I vote, I am not just voting for what happens in my country, but also for the world. I started looking at where the clothes I bought were made, and thinking about the working conditions of the people making those clothes. In short, my definition of who my neighbor is began to broaden.

Jordan

For me, my understanding of loving your neighbor deepened with my first job of working in an eye clinic that primarily served Chicago’s South Side most vulnerable population who had little to no access to healthcare. I repeatedly saw young to middle-aged people lose vision from preventable diseases because of lack of access to care. Suddenly loving my neighbor went beyond just treating my patients with kindness and empathy, and began to include being an advocate to fight for changes in our healthcare system.

Megan

When we moved to Minneapolis, it was important to us to find a church that lived this broader understanding of loving our neighbor. We were drawn to Westminster because of the work it does to serve our neighbors in this city and across the world, whether it be providing a FEAST meal, developing affordable housing units, or supporting peace-building efforts in South Sudan.

Since joining, we have experienced the love and support of Westminster members in our own lives. We were married in the chapel in 2017, and our marriage has been supported and strengthened through the counseling and encouragement of Westminster members. Our daughter, Willa, was born last December, and after her birth, the church set up a meal train for us, which was a lifesaver as we were adjusting to life with a newborn.

Jordan

Westminster lives out the mission of loving your neighbor both locally and globally. We ask you to help support the work Westminster does through the giving of your pledges on Stewardship Sunday, November 17. By giving generously, not only can we continue to support each other in this church community, but we can also show love to the most vulnerable in our city and beyond.

Andrea Knoll & Jane Oberrender

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 27-40.

Jane: Good Morning. I am Jane Oberrender

Andrea: And I am Andrea Knoll.

Jane: We are this year’s co-chairs of Westminster’s Stewardship Ministry.

Andrea: All around us we can see God’s spirit at work, even in the midst of these trying times. In fact, the call to love our neighbor becomes even more urgent.

We believe the church, in fact, THIS church, has a unique voice and perspective that is needed in these days. And, others feel so too. Despite reports of declining church membership nationwide, WPC’s membership and worship attendance have been growing.

Jane: Tim and the rest of our pastors’ sermons help us find our way forward with confidence that God provides a better way.

Worship at WPC informs our perspective, strengthens our resolve to live in hope and faith, and provides a community in which we can grow and engage together for change.

Andrea: Ministry opportunities abound, to support those experiencing homelessness, advocate for affordable housing, care for our environment, welcome seniors, and work together for justice.

But the church cannot do this work alone. It requires our partnership, through our gifts of time, talent and treasure.

The faithful practice of tithing—making a commitment to give of our “first fruits” to God, not our leftovers, is motivated by God’s love for us and gratitude for the gift of God in our lives. It engages us as a participant in God’s work to bring about the “beloved community”.

Jane: Through our gifts we provide for our pastors and staff, for the care for our facilities so that we might welcome all. We enable our ministries to grow and provide our resources to help others in need.

Andrea: With faith and gratitude, we are asked during this stewardship season to consider how we can each be a part of what God is doing here at Westminster, and through Westminster to our community and the world.

Jane: In the upcoming days and weeks you will see and hear many messages about how we are building the beloved community– on the website, in the mail, in the newsletter, the moment for Stewardship, and from the pulpit

This stewardship season, we ask that you prayerfully consider your giving to WPC. Our stewardship of this beloved community is an act of faith and an expression of gratefulness.

Andrea: Stewardship Sunday is November 17 and we will be asking you to indicate your financial support for the coming year.  Join us in collectively sustaining the work of Westminster with your pledges.

Both: Thank you for your faithfulness and generosity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Legacy of Justice

Challenging Racial Inequalities

The Love, Care and Protection of Seniors

Stewardship Moment for Justice

© Westminster Presbyterian Church | 2022