Looking Back On 2022
WELCOME to the 2022 Annual Report! Here's a word from your pastors, sharing highlights of this past year.
Council President's Report
As we look ahead to 2023, Council is poised to guide our Westwood congregation through transition and change. However, we first must pause to celebrate the milestones and noteworthy accomplishments from the past year. There is so much to be proud of–the achievements of our leadership team and talented staff–as well as the ongoing support of this congregation. As a result, the strength of our Westwood organization is evident. We are thriving and continue to grow at a time when similar churches face significant challenges. During the past year, Westwood has built a solid foundation for the future based on the vision of its leaders, dedication of staff members, and prayerful planning of Council.
Our 2022 Westwood accomplishments include:
Preparation to support Pastor Tania’s decision to step down from the Senior Pastor role and continue working in a reduced capacity.
Creating a communication plan and establishing feedback loops for gathering congregational input via Coffee Chats and listening sessions.
Updating our Constitution and By-Laws to allow for Council, committee, or congregational meetings and votes to be conducted in-person or via remote technology.
Distributing information and gathering feedback prior to the congregational vote calling Pastor Jason as our new Senior Pastor.
Development of a Westwood site profile and Call Committee to begin the process of calling an additional pastor.
On behalf of the Council, I am honored to serve our congregation and be a part of the meaningful contributions Westwood is making in the world. We are grateful for our visionary leaders, the ongoing efforts of our exceptional staff, and the support of our beloved Westwood community. A special thank you to Pastor Tania Haber for her 19 ½ years of service as Senior Pastor at Westwood–your passion and leadership were integral in building the thriving ministries we have today.
Faithfully and with good courage,
My wife, Nancy, and I have been members for 8 years. When I’m not spending time in nature at our cabin or while walking the dog, I enjoy helping with the community meal, offering rides to elders at church and participating on the properties team.
Justin and his wife, Sarah, and kids Grace, 8, and Gus, 6, have been Westwood members for 11 years.
They have been involved with the young adults/adults with young kids small groups and helped with food packing events over the years.
Sara and her husband, Jake, have been around Westwood for 15 years. Their kids, Luke - 14 and Lana - 11, were both baptized at Westwood and have been actively involved in much of the youth and music programming. Sara volunteers with Westwood's Youth programs and has been a part of the Worship Team for over 10 years.
Re-Elected for Year 2
Scott Hagen, Deb Waldorf and Mark Zimmerman
(4 year term)
Hello! My husband, Chris, and I have been members of Westwood for about 14 years. We have two daughters, Lyla (14) and Macy (11). In my professional life, I work for Park Nicollet as a Director for Primary Care. Westwood has been an important part of our lives and I am excited for the opportunity to serve on the Council.
(3 year term)
My name is Tom Hegblom and I live in Golden Valley with my spouse, Zac. We started attending Westwood in 2014 and became members in 2015. I was baptized Lutheran and attended a different church in Golden Valley as a young person. My faith journey hasn't been all sunshine and unicorns, but I feel welcome, validated, and seen for the person I am at Westwood, so much so that you can usually find me in the second row at the 11 am service just about every week. In my professional life, I am a resident faculty member in the Integrated Behavioral Health and Addiction Counseling programs at the University of Minnesota. I am licensed as a professional clinical counselor (LPCC) and alcohol and drug counselor (LADC) and carry a small caseload in private practice in addition to my full-time teaching work. I'm excited to serve on Council and play a role in envisioning what the future of Westwood might be.
(3 year term)
My husband and I joined Westwood in the mid 70’s where we raised three sons and started our faith journey as a family. I have been involved as a parent, spouse, and now a widow.
I was an elementary school teacher for 40 years, and I have been a tutor for 18 years. I enjoy being on the Caring Response Team, helping with the Community Meal, being a prayer warrior in our Joy circle, leading the widows group- my most recent role- helping others with the loss of a spouse and prayerfully navigating the grieving process. I look forward to furthering my faith journey by serving on the church council.
We thank the outgoing Council members for their faithful commitment these past years
Laura Ramsborg, Dave Guenzel and Anna Martinez
I followed my 4 older sisters' "example" and joined the quilting group several years ago. The fun and fellowship we share are like going to a family gathering. It is so satisfying to finish a quilt and wonder where it will go! Will it go to a shelter for the homeless? To one of our graduates to remind them of their church home? It may even be the sole possession of a displaced child. We enjoy showing the results of the donations to our supplies by displaying them on Mother's Day. One group has led me to others that I find equally gratifying. There is something for everyone at Westwood to serve or be served. All are welcome is practiced here in my church home.
Total Gifts Given
faith giving for pledgers and non pledgers
given to the
General Operating Fund
Westwood’s Racial Equity Team continues to build on anti-racism education, events, and sustaining engagement. The team has community relationships with CLNE, the MPLS Synod’s Racial Justice Liaison Team, and Adath Synagogue’s Racial Justice Team.
Westwood continues its commitment “to a process of learning, naming hard truths, and engaging in meaningful internal, interpersonal, and communal conversations around race.”
In September, Westwood began its partnership with CLNE- the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement. CLNE is a local nonprofit directed by Pastor Kelly Chatman that supports congregational work to “disrupt racism and intentionally focus on organizational culture, climate, policies and practices”. https://www.clne-mn.org/
In October, eight Westwood staff and members traveled to Montgomery, AL, for CLNE’s Just Mercy Immersion Trip. The trip included guided learning at the Equal Justice Initiative Legacy Museum, EJI Lynching Memorial, and 5 other intensive immersions.
Westwood continues its internal work (started in 2018) using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). During 2022, Westwood’s entire church staff took or retook the IDI assessment in addition to 16 congregational members.
+8% from 2021
(ave. weekly in-person)
+109% from 2021
(ave. weekly livestream)
-75% from 2021
WECC remains dedicated to high-quality, faith-filled early childhood education and continues to thrive with strong enrollment and a devoted community of early childhood professionals. In 2022 WECC returned to hosting in-person indoor community events and once again invited local educators into our rich and inspiring spaces. Our values, including respect, care, and trust, guide our work and serve as a foundation for the loving, Christian environment we are committed to creating for this beautiful community of Westwood.
Pam and Jeff Muus
This fall we began attending Wednesday worship at Westwood with our daughter (Sonja), son-in-law (Todd), and baby grandson (Todd). Wednesday worship is always a highlight of our week. It provides the perfect opportunity to pause and gather together mid week without interference from busy weekend schedules. Our family is able to meet and connect with each other while sharing at the community meal. We worship together and join in the fellowship with other Westwood families. The music is wonderful, the sermon, excellent. Through the years Westwood has been steadfast in our life for big events and milestones: marriages, baptisms, confirmations, and in the passing of loved ones. We are thrilled that Wednesday worship provides the opportunity for us to connect and worship every week with our children and grandchild and the Westwood community.
Many thanks to the Westwood Community Partnership team for their guidance and to all of you for the ways you continue to work for the thriving of our world through this congregation’s efforts.
Highlights from 2022:
In June, Westwood received pledges for over $700,000 to go to the Rise Early 62-spot affordable High-Quality Early Learning Center.
In August, CommonBond Communities broke ground for the 120-unit affordable housing complex that will also house Rise Early. Opening is projected to be Nov. 2023.
In addition to a $20,000 gift to the STEP Give to the Max challenge, Westwood made a $9000 gift to support the new building that will allow STEP to further develop their mission.
Through both the Community Partnership budget and the Cause of the Month program the WECC has received funding for scholarships that has supported a refugee family from the Ukraine.
The Dodoma Christian Medical Center received funds to equip the recently built dental lab in addition to the dental clinic.
In addition, the Westwood Community Partnership budget supported the Minneapolis Area Synod, Every Meal, Redeemer Lutheran Church, the Arusha Road orphan ministry through the food packing event, and the Community Meal. Many thanks to Karl Cambronne, Nancy Schaefer, Ann Woods, and Brenda Knutson for their leadership on the Community Partnership team.