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2023 FALL CELEBRATION DIGITAL NEWSLETTER
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JOURNEY INWARD to JOURNEY OUTWARD

A theme of exploration for 2023-2024.

In the fall of 2022, Westwood began a two-year focus: “Journey Inward to Journey Outward.”  

In Year 1, we used spiritual practices and small groups to examine our interior lives. We heard the grace that God offers us in our innermost beings. We explored what it means to be broken and beloved. 

 

Now, staying connected to the internal work from the Journey Inward, we focus on the Journey Outward, asking ourselves, “what does it mean to be God’s hands and feet in the world?”  As we turn outward, we will be led by scriptures, readings, conversations and faith practices that help us notice creation, encounter our neighbors, make new connections, listen to the pain of the world, and join with God in active love. 

 

Our goal is to create a foundation for engaging with the world around us with humility and faithfulness. We are not saviors, but we do believe that how we show up in the world matters for the thriving of our neighbors. As we embark on Year 2, we stay connected to our internal work from Year 1, trusting that the outward journey and the inward journey are both ways that God’s grace is revealed in us and through us.  

 

From the week of September 17 through the week of October 15, we will explore the outward journey in worship and small groups. We have put together a Guidebook that will come out week by week as a Small Group Curriculum or for use on your own. Sign up for one of the five-week Small Groups below! If you don’t see one that fits your schedule, reach out to Pastor Sarah, and we’ll see about adding more.

Our fall schedule.

Note that our fall schedule is slightly different from past years.

Mark your calendars.
  • Installation of Pastor Sarah Scherschligt - Sept 17

  • Town Hall Meeting between worship services - Sept 17

  • New Member Classes - September 27 and October 1 (received in worship Oct 8) 

  • Family Play Date - September 30

  • Flu Shot Clinic - October 1  

  • Outreach Inc. Food Packing - October 13 & 14

  • Blood Drive - This fall, date pending 

  • Synod Senior Band Coffee Concert - October 17 

  • Trunk or Treat - October 28

  • Veteran’s Table Talk Coffee Gathering - November 9  

  • Holiday Fair - November 10-12 (see below) 

  • Parent's Night Out - November 18

  • Worship and Pie Fest - November 22

  • Advent Festival - November 26

  • Children's Program in Worship - December 10

  • Advent Music Sunday - December 17

Easy ways to engage at Westwood.

Join a Small Group this fall.

This fall, small groups will run for five weeks from the week of September 17 through the week of October 15. Groups will meet once per week, and Anna Martinez has put together wonderful curriculum on the theme of “Journey Inward to Journey Outward: A Path to Transformation” and this fall collaboration with Pastor Sarah. Each week there will be Scripture readings, other texts, and prayer practices, along with discussion questions for the group to follow.
 

If you want to be part of a small group, and you don’t see one that fits for you, contact Pastor Sarah at s.scherchligt@westwood.church or 952-767-5560.

Learn and connect with Westwood U
congregational and intergenerational learning.
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The learning that takes place here is called Westwood U. We have a strong belief that our hearts and hands must accompany our heads in our journeys of faith.  This model of learning creates opportunities for faith exploration by tapping into the life experiences of multiple generations with the understanding that the content of faith has no traction outside of faith-based relationships. 

 

Everyone is invited, kids of all ages, parents, grandparents, friends... EVERYONE! 

FALL WESTWOOD U CATALOG AVAILABLE
RALLY SUNDAY.
Be part of the fun with CYF!
(Children, Youth, and Families)
It's time to register for CYF!

Here are the various options available for children, youth, and families:

  • The Message

  • Faithful Families (preK-2nd grade)

  • Pre-confirmation (6th grade)

  • Confirmation (7-9th grades)

  • Youtherans (Senior High)

  • Cantemus Choir (5-12th grade)

  • Children's Choir (preK-5th grade)

The Message

Sundays | 9 + 11a 

We kick-off September 10!  

Sunday is a fun day for kids, ages preschool- elementary! Here’s how it works: 

  1. Check-in at The Message table found in the sanctuary entrance.

  2. Sit together in worship as a family.

  3. After the storytelling in worship, kids follow their Message leaders to the youth room (downstairs) for kid-centered faith-talk and activities.

  4. The Message kids return to you in worship after the sermon. 

  5. Repeat weekly with your Westwood friends!  

 

Register today—and join us any time! (Middle and high school helpers are always needed.)

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Faithful Families

Wednesdays | 5:45-6:05 p, Fireside Room 

Begins September 13!  

Faithful Families is geared toward young families with toddlers, preschoolers, and/or elementary-aged kids! Each week will be an immersive experience for kids and their grown-ups. We'll dive into Bible stories, interactive prayers, and hands-on faith activities. Once a month we'll practice open communion where all are welcome to share in the gift of the Lord's supper. Come meet and connect with other Westwood families, get hands-on practice in faith formation and have fun with us!

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Confirmation

Confirmation is an engaging and creative journey with monthly Parent/Student Learning and elective-based courses called Westwood U. This model offers flexibility and choice of study topics and class times, as well as intergenerational learning and growing. 

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Orientation Schedule from 6:30-7:30p 

Wed., September 13  |  8th & 9th grade 
Wed., September 20 |  7th grade 
Wed., September 27  |  6th grade 

Confirmation (grades 6-9) begins in October on Wednesdays from 6:30-8p.

 

A full calendar is provided at orientations.

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L.I.F.T.
(Living in Faith Together)

 

Geared for grades 2-5

Wednesdays | Open house style 6:15-7:45p, in the Youth Room 

Begins Wednesday, September 13

*Register above and stay tuned for more info.

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Youtherans (9th-12th grades)

Wednesdays | 8-9p, Youth Room 

Begins Wednesday, September 13

*Register above and stay tuned for more info

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Vocation of Elderhood.

NEW MINISTRY FOR BABY BOOMERS…NOW ‘ELDERS’ (which means ‘good stewards’!)
 

Pastor Tania’s new part-time role at Westwood will focus on those who are asking new questions for this next chapter in life…how to use my time, where, with whom? How can I take care of myself, and others, and continue to have an impact in our community and church? What’s next for me health-wise, financially, relationally? Do I have a new purpose, a new vocation ahead?

On Sunday, Sept 24, there will be an initial conversation between services (10a) to look at the beginnings of this ministry we’ll share. Sign up for an Elder Small Group in the 5-week fall small groups, and there will be a question each week for our stage of life to add to the week’s discussion. We’ll wrap up that time with a large-group progressive dinner in November for anyone interested.

This ministry will include a winter retreat, ‘thought partners’/small groups, some travel ideas, and ways to continue this discussion as a part of our regular and ongoing ministries as well.

How do I know if I ‘fit’ this group? Of course, anyone is welcome if you think you fit this life stage! Programming will focus on those nearing retirement, newly retired, and those entering the next new chapter with both vigor and important questions as to how to sort it all out as people of faith.

Technically, Baby Boomers are now 57-75 years old, and Elders are anyone who is older/elder than someone else, and by definition, who is a good steward of their life (or want to improve on this!)…so make your own call! 

Can’t wait to start this journey with you,

Pastor Tania

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New Baby Ministry

Expecting a baby? Recently welcomed a new baby to your home? We want to know and celebrate with you! Please complete this form. We will follow up with you and arrange for a meal delivery at your convenience.

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Broken & Beloved: The Midweek PAUSE

Wednesdays @ 6:30p beginning October 4

 

The Midweek PAUSE is an honest space to name our own growing edges and hurts; it’s a space where we can name that the pain of the world is sometimes too much to bear. We gather as a community to remember that we are broken and beloved. We are cared for, we are loved.

Wednesday evenings will be a sacred space for contemplation where all are invited into prayer, reflection, healing, and wholeness.

Reimagining Wednesday Evening Worship
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Volunteer opportunities in search of
hearts, hands, and voices.

Join us in a variety of Caring Ministries that strengthen our community.

Lay Visitor

Provide monthly visits and communion to our home-bound members and those in long-term care settings. Spend time sharing stories and build a friendship. Volunteer as an individual, couple or family.

Contact: Sara Moran

You can be part of the many worship ministries at Westwood.
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We'd love your light
in worship.

Whether coordinator, musician, greeter or technician, we have a place for YOU in the ministries of worship, music, and the arts. There are many opportunities to offer joyous praise to God as you serve the community and develop new skills while strengthening your faith in fellowship with others.   

 

Everyone has a place—you can sing, play your instrument, serve as an assisting minister or usher, participate in reader’s theater, assist with camera operation, video creation, and much more!  

 

We hope you will read the options below and choose a way to get involved with our ministries of worship and music this fall! Please contact Phillip Shoultz or the person indicated in the slides below if you would like to join or receive more information. 

NOTE: Scroll through the box below for music ensemble schedules, key contacts, and first rehearsal dates. Please reach out with inquiries or to find out more.

Looking for friendly folks

Do you have the gift of hospitality? Do you enjoy checking in to make sure everyone feels welcome? If your answer is “yes,” then we would LOVE to have you join our team of Greeters and Ushers. Contact Lisa Boers for more.

Engage in the work of Racial Justice and Equity.
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We see racism as one of the most urgent issues throughout history and today. Our commitment is rooted in the belief that all God’s children are valued in furthering our vocation and call to live into beloved community. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, we strive to live as “repairers of the breach.” 

- from Westwood’s Racial Justice Statement 

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The Race Equity Team is partnering with the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement (CLNE) to offer a learning program for members of Westwood who are interested in helping build racial justice and systems change. Through this program, you will develop capacity for change-driven leadership and intercultural competency. All are welcome! We aim to have a cohort of up to 25 people committed by September 15. The time commitment is a monthly learning event in the evening (some in-person, some on zoom) and two immersion events, time and place tbd. Interested? Sign up or reach out to Pastor Sarah with questions. 

 

 

 

 

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Join our ongoing commitment to LGBTQIA+ 
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In God's church we find rest, safety and strength.  Whether we have been here minutes or decades, we are called to be ourselves across every spectrum imaginable—sexuality and age and race and gender and culture and stage of our faith journey—knowing we are loved, embraced and held up as precious.  This is the place of rest and safety and source of strength we seek to create in all we do at Westwood. 

- from our Reconciling in Christ Statement 

Supporting the LGBTQIA+ community is part of Westwood’s ongoing commitment, both to those here in our church family as well as in our greater community. Our LGBTQIA+ team builds church-wide educational opportunities, hosts Westwood’s Pride, partners with RIC, and strengthens inclusivity for all in worship.

To be part of the LGBTQIA+ team or to find out more, click on the button to email Pastor Sarah

Support vital missions by volunteering with Holiday Fair.

For 50 years our unique intergenerational event, Holiday Fair, has been held at Westwood and ALL of its proceeds are donated to local and global missions. Since the year 2000, over $355,000 have been granted. Examples of recipients include STEP, Global Health Ministries, Amazing Grace Ministries, and Westwood outreach ministries including the Community Meal, prayer shawl ministry, quilters, scholarships for WECC, and youth camps.  Grants for this year will be based on applications to be submitted by Friday, November 17. Disbursements are granted based on the purpose of the mission, need, and amount requested and/or available. Application here.

  

Here's how you can contribute to another successful year! 

  • Donate items. Items that sell best include Christmas décor, dishes and glassware, linens, toys, purses, jewelry, puzzles, and quality kitchen items. Drop-off dates for all items are Sunday, October 1 – Wednesday, October 25. Contact Gail Dahl

  • Creative? We would love your hand-crafted items for the very popular Westwood-Made shop. Customers love woodworking, needlecrafts, neutral baby afghans with caps, leg warmers, photography, and greeting cards. Contact Deb Waldorf.

  • Baker? Your goodies are needed at the Country Store. Contact Peggy Moeller or Kay Netland.

  • Donate to the Silent Auction.  Vacation homes, tickets to events, and valuable collectibles are ideal offerings. Or offer your talent, skill, or a service:  home repairs, carpentry, legal/financial planning, or baking/cooking lessons. Contact Claudia Kroeck. 

  •  VOLUNTEER!   Each year over 200 adults and kids are needed to make the days of Holiday Fair happen! Opportunities are available prior to the sale and for the all-important clean-up, too.  Contact Margo Chesley.

Holiday Fair dates are: Friday, November 10, 3:00 – 6:00, Saturday, November 11, 9:00 – 3:00

Sunday, November 12, 9:45 – 12:30

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A great place for great starts.

Westwood Early Childhood Center (WECC) is an integral part of Westwood where we foster the development of young children within a quality Christian atmosphere. Inspired by the educators of Reggio Emilia, our nationally accredited program uses elements such as natural materials, open-ended activities, and the arts to create a wonderful environment to nurture and grow.

WECC is an in-demand program, so we encourage parent tours and getting on our waiting lists for openings.

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This fall, consider an easy way to honor a place you love.

The Foundation at Westwood enables members, friends, and family to leave legacy gifts that benefit the church’s programming, its mission, and its outreach to others. It's a wonderful way to sustain an organization that has been as central in our lives as it has been vital and necessary in our communities and the world.

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