This Year's Theme
Our world has been through an extraordinary period with a global pandemic at the heart of our experience. And while there are elements of the pandemic that are not over, we are now in world that contains highly effective vaccines. As a result, we are IN A WORLD THAT’S RESTARTING. Given what we’ve been through and where we are now, what does it mean to be a person and a community that is claimed and called to be God’s hands and feet in this context?
Here are some of the questions we hope to engage
What assumptions drove our individual lives prior to the pandemic? What did pandemic reveal about those assumptions? Are there ways that our faith may readjust these assumptions as we move forward?
What were the assumptions that guided our communal life at Westwood before the pandemic. Does our experience of the pandemic and the emerging new reality point to new understandings and opportunities as a congregation?
The year will be designed as a conversation between our current context and the original context in which the Gospels were written. Each Gospel writer framed the Good News of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to a particular community that was restarting after a hard period. This fall we will begin with a focus on the Gospel of Mark. What was the Gospel of Mark seeking to communicate to that original context and what does that mean for us IN A WORLD THAT’S RESTARTING?
Fall 2021 Celebration
SUNDAYS IN SEPTEMBER | starting September 12
RESTART SUNDAY, September 12
8:45 AM - Traditional service returns!
10:45 AM - Contemporary service returns!
Refreshments outside after both services!
September 19: 'The Message' for children in Preschool-5th grade resumes during both services
September 26: Small Groups kick-off Sunday (for 5 weeks)
sign-up through enews, on the website, or at church on Sundays!
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS IN SEPTEMBER
5 - 6 PM - Wednesday Picnic (Starting September 15)
Outside in the West Evergreen Parking lot
6 - 6:30 PM - Wednesday Worship (Starting September 15)
Outside in the West Evergreen Parking lot
Westwood U 6:30-7:30 PM (Starting September 8)
September 8 on Zoom - Dr. Matt Skinner, of Luther Seminary talking about the Gospel of Mark, our fall preaching series
September 15 and 22 on Zoom - Darrell Joddock will be discussing what is our vocations coming out of a pandemic
6:30 - 7:30 PM Confirmation Orientations (Starting September 15)
in Good Shepherd Hall (*further information in grade-level emails)
8 PM Youtherans
(starts Wednesday, October 6)
*OCTOBER SCHEDULE: to be decided in late September, stay tuned for month-to-month updates as we navigate the continuation of the ongoing pandemic.
Join a group this fall!
Late September through October
This fall, small groups will run from the week of September 26 through the week of October 24. During these five weeks, small groups will meet once weekly, and the pastors will provide a week-by-week curriculum on the theme 'In a World that's Restarting'. Each week will incorporate scripture readings with a video, and discussion questions for each group to follow.
Look for the sign-up form coming soon in Tuesdays eNews and Sunday mornings in the Narthex.
Questions, contact Patricia Brusven at (firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-226-2695)
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 catalog coming soon.
Wednesday Worship continues to be awesomely messy but is now ‘growing up’ into an all age – family-style- worship that includes everyone! During September, Wednesday Worship stays outside – in the Evergreen lot on the west end of the building. Bring chairs or a blanket to sit on!
*Don't miss the Wednesday Picnic prior to worship from 5-6 PM. A boxed meal will be provided with a monetary donation, so you don't have to plan a meal, just show up!
Confirmation consists of 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.
from 6-7:15 PM
September 15 | 8th & 9th grade
September 22 | 7th grade
September 29 | 6th grade
Confirmation (grades 6-9) begins in October
from 6:30-7:30 PM
(full calendar given at orientations)
Senior High Youth Groupaka
Begins Wednesday, October 6th
from 8-9 PM
*stay tuned for more info
8:45 + 10:45 AM
The Message returns to SUNDAYS at both worship services! Families start in worship. After the gospel storytelling, kids (ages 3-grade 5) follow their leaders outside for The Message activities and God-talk. All kids return to worship for the closing prayer. More details will be emailed out to families in September! Register today!
opportunities to Volunteer
in Caring Ministries
Caring Response Team
Provides regular phone calls to homebound and greeting cards for baptisms, condolences, birthdays, thinking of you, etc. This is a great ministry that can be done from the comfort of your home.
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.
Funeral Service Support
Work alongside the funeral coordinator to help during a funeral service, lighting candles, move flowers, greet people. Volunteer as it fits into your schedule.
Looking for people who may have extra time in their week to help drive an elder to an appt or pick someone up for worship on Sunday morning. Great flexibility to help as your schedule allows.
Help prep, serve, clean up or wash dishes and feel the abundant joy that comes with helping and sharing a meal with people from our community. Volunteer as it fits into your schedule.
MUSIC + WORSHIP
We have a place for YOU in the ministry of worship through music. Our ensembles provide an opportunity for YOU to offer joyous praise to God as YOU serve the community, develop musical skills, strengthen your faith, and fellowship with others.
Everyone has a place in the ministries of worship through music—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’ll 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 below, if you would like to join or receive more information.
opportunities to Volunteer
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’d LOVE to have you join our team of Greeters and Ushers.
Contact Patricia Brusven
Calling ALL Readers, Drama Enthusiasts, Photographers, Videographers, and Visual Artists
As we continue to expand the ways that we express our faith together in our worship services and through our social media platforms, we are looking to engage with creative souls across a number of artistic disciplines. If you have an interest in sharing your gifts to enhance our ministry of worship arts in any of these ways.
Interested in learning more about camera operation, running slides in worship, or just making sure batteries are charged in our microphones? Contact Elsa to get trained and become part of our AV team.
CALLING ALL MUSICIANS!
We would love to have you share your musical gifts for our worship services and social media platforms. Don’t let your age or experience keep you from sharing something! If you have recital pieces, a favorite hymn, or other music that you feel would uplift and inspire, please contact:
Phillip Shoultz, email@example.com
A CAPPELLA CHOIR
This mixed voice choir leads the congregation in song and is the primary ensemble for our 8:45 AM service. A Cappella Choir is open to singers of all ability levels who will commit to weekly rehearsals and has numerous fellowship opportunities. If you like to sing, now is the time to join us as we expand our repertoire.
Rehearsal information: Wednesdays, 7:30-9:15 PM, Choir Room and Sanctuary
First Rehearsal: Wednesday, September 8
Director: Phillip Shoultz, firstname.lastname@example.org
This vocal ensemble for middle and high school students provides opportunities for creativity, faith development, and fellowship through music and arts-related activities. This year, we push the envelope and explore new ways to share music in worship on an occasional basis. Join us if you are looking for singing and fun!
Our bell choir meets weekly and shares music in worship each month. All who can read music are welcome, and all techniques are taught during rehearsals.
Rehearsal Information: Tuesdays, 7:00-8:15 PM, Sanctuary and Choir Room
First Rehearsal: Tuesday, September 14
Director: Alanna Taragawa email@example.com
WESTWOOD INSTRUMENT CONSORT
Anyone who can play an instrument is welcome! See Calling All Musicians! Rehearsal Information: To be arranged as needed.
Contact Phillip Shoultz, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Worship Team leads the congregation in song and is our primary ensemble for the 10:45 am service. All vocalists and instrumentalists are welcome to join this spiritual, creative, and musical outlet
Rehearsal Information | Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00 PM, Choir Room then Sanctuary
First Rehearsal | Wednesday, September 15
Director | Elsa Lee, email@example.com
Leaning In, Embracing the Mess, and Moving Forward!
Where we’re headed in 2021-2022
Extended Operating Hours
Increased Enrollment…from 70 to 86
Increased Staffing…from 23 to 26
What we’ll be doing
Savoring the outdoors
Serving in Jesus’ name
“As we seek change, we hope to also be changed. As we learn and grow along our journey, we will continually return to our Racial Justice & Equity statement ensuring our work and our words remain aligned with God’s vision of justice.”
- from Westwood’s Racial Justice Statement
Building an antiracism mindset in ourselves and within our Westwood culture comes from our commitment to truth, education, self-reflection, and commitment. Antiracism work is never done. Join us this fall as we continue this work together.
As God reaches out and gives unconditional welcome to all people, we follow God's lead in doing the same. All are equally welcome—and included—in God's space, and Westwood is a richer community when our congregation reflects our world. Naturally, this welcome includes people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and relationship statuses.
- from our Reconciling in Christ Statement
This year our LGBTQIA+ team was formed & hosted our 1st annual Westwood PRIDE event! As we continue to live into our call as a Reconciling in Christ congregation, we look forward to the journey ahead to ensure that all really do feel welcome at Westwood.
Earlier this summer when the staff was planning everything for this next program year, we talked a lot about a fitting title for the year theme and what are some visuals that would resonate with the theme. Lots of great ideas were named like: returning nature, metamorphosis into a butterfly, birds, rocks, rebooting your computer, sailing, canoeing, portaging, repacking your backpack, taking only the things that you need with you, and leaving the things that no longer serve us behind.
It's my job to then take ALL of these ideas and make art that will speak to everyone during this incredibly unique time that we all find ourselves enduring. Something that works with the theme, title, and Gospel stories we'll be discussing this next year. I felt energized by all of these suggestions, and as much as I want to picture myself and our current situation as a beautiful butterfly emerging from it's chrysalis into a new world, it didn't feel authentic. It felt like I was convincing myself and others that everything is fine and the hardest stuff is behind us--but that simply isn't the case. Most days I don't feel like a butterfly, but rather a snail, slugging along, and wanting to hide in my shell. I think this snail mentality resonates with a lot of people!
The truth is, that all of our ideas about the visuals are correct!! It's everything that we named in those meetings, and not just one but all! So how does that translate into art... COLLAGES! Which is exactly how life feels right now, like one big collage! Messy, with lots of Mod Podge trying to hold random parts together. Feeling good about the direction our boat goes, only to be stuck in the middle of a storm. And dreaming about having butterfly mentality but instead, you're a snail, or maybe you're still in a chrysalis growing and changing, not ready. All of this is fine and nothing makes sense right now, and that's ok.
So when you see the collages for this next year, I hope that they are thought-provoking and make you wonder. Maybe there's a meaning for you in them and maybe there isn't. Maybe you think 'that's just weird, and it probably is! But these are weird times and everyone's collage will look different! Thanks for hearing my ideas!