Previous Worship Service Information

July 19, 2020 - Youth Sunday

Fridge News YouTube Video of Service SoundCloud Recording of Service Bulletin Sermon Text: Freedom in the Eyes of the Lord, by Joe Kearney Hello. I’m very happy to be here giving a sermon for Youth Sunday. I have been looking forward to speaking to you all for a while now. I’d like to thank you all, for being here to listen to me talk for 15 minutes, and I’d also like to thank my parents, for being here to listen to me talk for almost 18 years. Now, as the title of the sermon might imply, I’m here to talk about freedom. And I’d think I’m a decent person to ask, I recently graduated high school and am in the middle of what will probably be the freest summer of my entire life. So, I figured, if there’s ever a time to talk about it, it’s right now. This sentiment is echoed by the various events occurring in the nation around us. I can’t even list all the ways I’ve found that the struggle between the freedom of the people and the structure needed to hold a civilization. But I can talk about one. I [see/hope] [most/all] of you are wearing masks. I’m glad that you are taking precautions during this uncertain time. I’ve seen some of you over at the local Martin’s, where I work, and they don’t tend to be as flexible or willing on this particular issue. A common argument I hear people use to defend their choice is that being forced to wear one infringes on their freedom to wear whatever they like, and that the government should not control how one uses their own body. This is a good point, and the moral ambiguity surrounding this and similar issues should be handled with care. But all of that aside, how do we approach this as Christians? We know that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ grants us freedom and forgiveness from sin if we ask for it, but that doesn’t immediately free us from worldly consequences that may result, as I have learned countless times over the years. So, what does freedom in the eyes of the Lord mean? Well, one step to an answer is to crack open the Bible. One passage that came to me first Peter, starting at verse 3:16, offers a suggestion: “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up from evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” Now, this verse caused me some confusion when I first read it. I thought to myself, “How does it work that we can be free people while also remaining servants of the Lord?” I pondered this for a while, and the answer just came to me, as if it was sent straight to my brain: freedom isn’t about doing whatever you want. If that was true, America wouldn’t be a free country until I get to eat ice cream for dinner. Rather, freedom is about doing what we can to make the world a better place for everyone, because what use is freedom if we don’t do good things with it? I’d like to leave you with another passage that comes from second Corinthians, 3:17: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Unfortunately, I may have confused some of you with the interpretations of freedom I have presented here, but I believe this verse makes it simpler: if we, as God’s children, do what is right and just in the eyes of the Lord, then He will grant us all true freedom. Amen.

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;

-Celebrated five years of April's dedicated service to Westminster through handwritten notes. -Accepted a monetary gift to unrestricted funds presented to WPC by Bruce Layman behalf of the estate of Virginia Layman -Accepted an 'in kind stock" by an anonymous donor -Approved the motion to have our facility evaluated for use by the C4 local childcare initiative -Approved the use of our facility for November polling under conditions -Small change to money counting procedures due to COVID precautions -Nominations slate approved for congregational meeting and Youth Elder description was approved for the manual -Approved "Family Fun" Saturday on September 12th -Approved a congregational meeting on Sept 27th -Approved the motion to offer a highly qualified candidate the Communications Assistant position -Approved the "reopening" of in-person worship beginning in October -Approved and discussed the use of our facility for small groups. Session will provide and post guidelines for using the building soon.

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

Bulletin Wired Word Listen on Sound Clound

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

Bulletin Wired Word Listen on Sound Clound Sermon - Miracle that Heals, 2 Kings 5:1-19 by Rev. April Cranford from 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

Fridge News: Dear Westminster Church Family,
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

Prayer Concerns
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. Wear masks at all times in building Maintain social distance of 6 ft at all times Group leader completes Realm roster for each group meeting Group leader contacts church office by email ( or phone (540-942-1145) when space has been used for proper cleaning by the custodian the next day (or Monday if space is used on Thursday/Friday/Saturday) Group leader uses a *health kit for participants in group to take temperatures, ask COVID-19 questions that are available in the kit and provide masks/sanitizer if needed. If someone has a temperature over 100.4 degrees or answers "yes" to any of the COVID-19 questions, please ask the person to return home and come the next time the group meets. If food and beverages are to be used in the building, participants are to bring their own and the items are not to be shared with others.
*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. COVID-19 Questions Have you taken any fever-reducing medications in the last 24 hours? Have you had any exposure to COVID-19 in the last two weeks? Have you been sick in the past few days? Have you traveled out of state/area? Five Cents A Meal Announcement
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
Location- Sanctuary SoundCloud Bulletin Wired Word

December 27, 2020

This week's service took place virtually, on YouTube. Click here to access! Fridge News Click below for the Christmas Eve Services: Outdoor Service Bulletin Sanctuary Candlelight Service Bulletin YouTube Link Chapel Candlelight Service Bulletin YouTube Link

January 31, 2021 - Worship Services Cancelled

Due to inclement weather, worship services were cancelled on January 31. Fridge News Wired Word

February 7, 2021 - Virtual Service

February 7, 2021 - Worship Services Virtual due to Inclement Weather
Fridge News Wired Word Bulletin, Red Door Bulletin, Open Door Sermon Text Soundcloud and Youtube