Previous Worship Service Information
July 19, 2020 - Youth Sunday
Information On Earlier Services
If you would like information on services before July 19, 2020, please call the church office at 540-942-1145. Thank you!
August 30, 2020
Dear Westminster Family,
This Sunday, August 30 we are celebrating Holy Communion in worship. We invite you to bring bread and juice to outside worship or for worship in your home. You may be wondering what type of bread and drink to bring to the Lord's table. The Presbyterian Church welcomes bread and drink that are common to the area and represents God's grace in Jesus Christ. Bake bread or use a store bought item. If all you find in the kitchen cabinets on Sunday morning are hotdog buns and a capri sun, please use these items as your bread and juice. We believe in a miraculous God who can transform what we bring to the table into a glorious feast for the kingdom. We look forward to celebrating communion with you this Sunday.
The session met on Tuesday, August 25. Review highlights from the session meeting that were written by elder Lori Davis;
We continue to pray for many in our church, community and world. As schools resume prayers are lifted for teachers, students, administrative staff and families. We pray for the family of John C. Lindsay who died on Tuesday, August 25. John's graveside service is planned for Sunday, August 30 at 2:00 p.m. at Augusta Memorial Park.
Thank you for your patience and flexibility as the Personnel Ministry secures the next communications assistant to serve at Westminster.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. April Cranford
August 23, 2020
Dear Westminster Church Family,
The Personnel ministry has interviewed candidates for the communications assistant position. As we wait for this office staff position to be filled, several communication items at the church will not take place such as the fridge news and the weekly homebound mailings. We are grateful to Katie Ware as she updates the website and sends out information online to our congregation for a few hours each week.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. April Cranford
Naaman seemed to be a man who had it all as a high ranked official, respected at work and at home, yet he lacked one thing - healthy skin. Naaman's wife had a young servant girl who was captured from Israel by the Syrian army. The servant girl knew of a prophet in Samaria who could heal Naaman and shared this advice with his wife. This unnamed character in scripture spoke bold and humble words to move the story in the right direction toward healing a man with leprosy.
Naaman’s request to the Syrian king was to seek healing in Israel. His request was granted, and the King of Syria wrote a letter for Naaman to present to the king of Israel.
When the king of Israel received this request, he assumed that the Syrian King was picking battle and tears his clothes in rage. The prophet of Israel, Elisha calms the king’s anger and asks the king to send Naaman to him so that this commander of the army would know there was a prophet in the land of Israel.
Naaman had approached two kings in person and expected to see this prophet face to face as well. However, Elisha’s messenger steps outside to speak to Naaman. The servant share’s Elisha’s healing instructions, “to go wash in the Jordan River seven times.”
Like the King of Israel, Naaman is angry and filled with rage. Naaman expected a public healing with all the bells and whistles. This was Elisha's custom to speak through his servant. He is treating Naaman like everyone else, no special treatment for a guest or military commander, no special treatment other than offering a miracle that would heal him of leprosy. All Naaman must do is to let go of his expectations and pride long enough to receive the miracle by the water’s edge.
The Jordan River was not spectacular compared to the Damascus rivers in Naaman’s homeland. I agree with Naaman, when visiting the Jordan River, it was not what I expected either. This river was cloudy and narrow. Yet while at the water’s edge, person after person would walk down into the Jordan river and dip into its healing waters. This simple and humble river does not appear noteworthy, but God uses the simple and humble things in amazing ways.
We have to wonder how many times Naaman had sought healing from other sources such as medicine, magic or sorcery. Elisha’s ordinary healing instructions were not like anything he had heard before. The previous attempts did not work back at home. Naaman must have thought, the prophet’s intentions was to embarrass him to heal him.
Thankfully Naaman brought wise men with him that day and listened to their advice to lay aside pride and go down to the River Jordan. One of the most important aspects of a leader is to surround oneself with wise advisors and mentors. Pride can lead to feelings of anger, resentment, and bitterness. Pride almost kept Naaman from a healing because the healing came in simple packaging.
After Naaman was cured he returned to show his faith in God and his gratitude to Elisha. We know that faith or gratitude was not always the response in healing stories, yet Naaman exhibited both of these qualities.
First, Naaman tried to show his gratitude with a gift of gold, silver and clothing which valued at approximately $80,000. Elisha refuses the gift.
Next, Naaman makes a request so his new faith could continue when he returns home. He wants to take a portion of the land with him two mule’s worth of dirt - so he can worship the God of Israel. At this time, in the stories of the book of Kong’s and the books of the New testament as well, the belief was to worship a particular God you had to be on the land of that particular God or present near the temple where the god was located. Jesus transforms this thinking as we read in John’s gospel another story that took place in Samaria with the woman at the well. Nearly a century later in the same place of Samaria. Elisha and Jesus use water to share God’s truth. Jesus tells the woman by the well that worship of God is not dependent upon the temple in Samaria or the temple in Jerusalem, but God is spirit and those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth. (4:24)
Although the worship of God is not dependent on place, it seems that Naaman is granted the request to return with loads of dirt from Israel.
Like Elisha, Naaman asks for more. Remember that prior to Elisha stepping into the role as prophet of Israel. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's power. His request was granted which allowed him to perform 16 miracles where Elijah performed eight.
Naaman’s last request is to ask for a pardon of forgiveness when he returns to his job that requires protection of the king of Aram at all times even when the king goes into the shrine of Rimmon. Naaman is not asked to step down as commander but is given mercy to perform his tasks at work as he puts his faith in the god of Israel.
Naaman returns home with more than he expected and more than he could have imagined;
he returned with silver, gold and garments,
he returned with faith In the one true God,
he returned with ongoing forgiveness at his pace of work,
and he returned with a healing from leprosy
A very successful trip for this military commander who received more than one miracle that day. Naaman wanted his body to be restored but received instead restoration of his body, mind, and soul.
Often miracles come in simple and humble ways and offer a healing that we do not expect or cannot imagine.
I believe in miracles that can occur in the simple humble moments such as a long car ride taking in the scenes of the countryside, a day spent with loved ones without the time restraints of a watch or a calendar, and a visit to the mailbox that reveals a handwritten letter filled with words of gratitude, story and love.
I believe in miracles that restore skin diseases, remove brain tumors, and allow people to walk again. I believe in a God who makes the impossible happen. When sitting across from someone who desires to be whole again, their eyes tell the story and their words reveal their hope. When praying for someone who desires to walk again, for the tumor to go away, or for mornings without the first thought being cancer, prayers are offered to a powerful God who hears and heals.
The healing can be exactly what a person expects, the healing can be more than a person expects or can imagine, or the healing is beyond human comprehension and expectations.
Over the past five years at Westminster, I have witnessed many miracles. There are members with a second chance at life such as Jill Klippel and Curtis Foltz. Babies moved from the NICU to the playground such as Tanner Layman and Hampton Steele. Hands were held around a loved one as they passed from this life to the next such as Jean Martin and Renee Gibson’s dad Chuck.
As a pastor, often the best stories are the ones that cannot be told. Many miracles have taken place here. I believe more miracles are to come. And I look forward serving alongside Westminster in the years to come as we wait and witness for God to make the impossible possible.
Miracles are not expected or deserved, these moments of the divine love from God our Creator, Jesus our redeemer and the Holy Spirit our sustainer lead to awe and wonder. When we let go of pride, there is room for a miracle to shine through. May we recognize, receive and worship our miraculous God who is spirit, who is not controlled by time or constrained by a building, but lives and moves within us all.
God of surprises,
Open our eyes and lead our ears to listen to your still small voice as we are made aware of the unexpected graces that wait around the corner. Give us boldness to stretch out our hands and raise up our voices to believe in your great power and grace made evident in Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.
September 6, 2020
We do welcome Savannah Arrington as our new Communications assistant at Westminster. Her first full week in the office begins on Tuesday, September 8. We look forward to the personnel ministry introducing Savannah to everyone next Sunday, September 13 at the outdoor worship service.
Please read over the following updates and announcements as we transition toward having a fridge news in the weeks ahead.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. April Cranford
Church Office is closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 8
Tom Smith fell last week and has entered hospice care
Jim Deacon has pain in his knee and is receiving treatment at home.
Joel Spencer will begin chemo and radiation soon.
Westminster Building Use Guidelines
Session approved Westminster's buildings to be used with the following guidelines. Health kits should be in place for use by Sunday, September 13. Please contact any member on session or Rev. April Cranford with questions regarding building usage.
*Health Kits- Health kits will contain a thermometer, COVID -19 questions, extra masks, and hand sanitizer wipes to clean the thermometer. Health kits are in secure locations around the building such as the social hall, colonnade entrance, and church office.
This Sunday, September 6, will be the first Sunday of the month. Traditionally that week is when the children roll out the red wagon to collect the Five Cents A Meal donations. We plan to have a red wagon at two church exits and will appreciate any donations. This month's donations support international and national food relief programs as well as the local ministry, Disciples Kitchen. Also, we have noted that our Blessing box receives much more use at the end of the month when household income is low. Please consider bringing a canned food item this Sunday. Jack Hengert, pilot of Witness Ministry
Ministry Meetings this Wednesday, September 10
Christian Discipleship will meet outside TBD
Finance - 7:00 p.m. - Zoom
Pastor Relations - 7:00 pm 9/24 by zoom
Personnel - 6:00 p.m. - In Person
Location - Upper Handicapped parking. If raining, Personnel will meet in the chapel.
Property - 6-7:00 pm - In Person
Location- Side parking lot where worship takes place. If raining, property will meet inside.
Witness- 6:00 p.m. - In Person
Location- outside of the social hall kitchen entrance where picnic tables are located.
Worship - 6:00 p.m.- In Person