YEAR IN REVIEW
Hello Westminster Chapel!
As I look ahead to next year, I want to begin by thanking each of you. Thank you for being Jesus’ people in our community and to one another this past year. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but you have been incredible. I hope this year has been one full of growth. It certainly has for our church family.
We’ve been in the process of adopting new mission and vision statements that will guide us in the years to come. Here they are!
Our Mission: A Jesus transformation
Our Vision: Growing to listen and love like Jesus
We believe these two statements reflect God’s heart for how are to live out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) in our very diverse and unique context. Neither statement will live without the other one; rather, the vision of growing to listen and love like Jesus brings clarity to how we pray a Jesus transformation will come about. I’m personally looking forward to a teaching series exploring our new mission and vision in September.
This is a HUGE vision that God is giving us for the Eastside. I believe He is calling us to be united as a church family around the good news of Jesus and his mission in the world. I am so excited for the year ahead!
– Pastor Ryan Falls
In the midst of the transitions of this past year, God has shown Himself faithful to His purposes and His people. Here are some of the stories of what He has done in our church community and beyond:
We had 9 counseling interns here who saw over 100 people for counseling this past year. Here is some. of what they had to say about their experience:
“Being at Westminster and working alongside Holly, Rachel, Brooks, and the other interns has helped me grow tremendously as a counselor. My experience there exceeded my expectations in that I feel far more prepared than many of my graduate school peers to “hit the ground running” and start seeing clients when I graduate. The work Westminster is doing to prepare counselors stands out! Thank you for allowing this work to continue!”
Amidst a collectively traumatic year I am so grateful Westminster is where I was able to do my internship, because of the consistent and committed support from Holly, other staff, and the other interns. My history with churches came with a requirement to belong that involved molding myself into who they needed and wanted me to be. Service to others always came at the cost of losing myself. In contrast, as I reflect back from where I started a year ago at Westminster I see that I am living into more of my authentic self which then invites my clients to do the same. Holly has a gift for seeing and empowering each of us to bring the presence we uniquely offer which has brought such rest, invitation, and freedom as a new therapist.
“My experience with the Care team at Westminster has completely changed my life and how I approach and love others. I was an intern working directly with staff on becoming a better counselor – the words and support I got from this team were so special. I always felt I could ask any question and that no question was “too much.” The supervision I received from Holly was again, life changing. What a gift this team is to the community. I hope to be a “Holly” when I grow up 🙂”
Well over 100 people signed up for grow groups once they restarted after a break during the height of the pandemic. This included 80 people signing up for the winter seasonal groups, which was one of our largest one-time signup totals. Small groups at Westminster are one of the best ways to grow spiritually, so that’s exciting!
We also welcomed our new groups director, Lishi Sander, to our staff. Lishi is a wonderful and gifted leader. She has been an incredible addition to the staff team and already made such a difference in how we help connect people to groups at Westminster.
LOVE IN ACTION TEAM
Launched April 2020
Total funds donated to COVID-19 response: $20,960.95 (as of 5/11)
1. Food Supply
- Jubilee REACH, Groceries for Families program
- 1330 Total Grocery Bags delivered $33,450 in groceries donated 104 families involved (ages of people helping = 7 years old to 84 years)
- Olive Crest, Freezer Friendly meals, gift cards
- 114 meals delivered $ amount for Christmas Notes of Encouragement and $500 in Amazon gift cards from our families to foster families
- CFH Meals April 2021: 28 meals delivered, 25 groups represented, $1,956.52 donated
- YMCA Snacks: various youth families provided 4 weeks of snacks to first responders kids’ who were cared for at the Y during the early quarantine
2. Mental Health
- Job Support: Volunteer led over zoom: Started with 1 participant, now currently running with 20-25 participants per week. Hosted over 32 different speakers
- YMCA Community Cafés: participated in weekly meetings
- Be the Bridge: 2 groups started
- Global total donated to WIND: $19,670.00
- Total donated for Christmas offering: $95,253.06
It was a year of transition and growth for NextGen ministry.
Beginning in August we were without a High School Director. We launched a teaching series that would take us through the months until our new NextGen Minister, Adam Hollingsworth, came on board in April. The students had opportunities to hear from staff members and members of our congregation during this time. Pastor Matt and Pastor Ryan were regulars each month, along with Shelly Smith, Nicole Larkin, Holly Pankratz, Mark Pedrin, Sylvia Ramquist, Brian Mistele, Steve Parsons, Bree’anna Walberg and Christian Downs. Tim Paek and Dan Costenaro, elders as well as HS small group leaders, also shared with the students. Topics ranged from Proof of the Bible, Christianity 101, and the Names of God. Students learned about basic Biblical Theology and about the character and attributes of God, but also got to meet and know some amazing adults in our church.
Small Group Leaders. In the past year, our small group leaders have had to step into leadership with our students as we were without a High School Director. It has been so great to see them show up each week on Zoom, and in September in person with their small groups. They have been so dedicated and willing to pour into the lives of their students, even amidst family difficulties of their own as they, too, dealt with the pandemic and other issues. We are so blessed to have each and every one of them on board, some who just joined us in the past year. They love our students and sacrifice for them each week in time, prayer and in-person meetings.
In-Person Meetings. In September, our Middle and High Schoolers began meeting in person on Sunday nights with their small groups. While the groups were small, they were so happy to actually be with one another. Those that were able to come bonded with leaders in a much stronger way. In April we began our In-Person Sunday Nights which is a much fuller program. Good weather has enabled us to spend time outside, then come in for worship, games and teaching time.
Reality | Truth is Not Ice Cream. In October we took about 10 students and leaders to the STR Student Apologetics Conference at Crossroads Bible Church. To be able to attend this major event during the pandemic was so exciting. Speakers such as J. Warner Wallace, Greg Koukl, Christopher Yuan and Alisa Childers prompted discussions and deepened students’ faith as they wrestled with different issues in our culture and came to a better understanding of their own beliefs.
Adam Hollingsworth. During the months between August and January we launched a search for a NextGen (formerly Family Ministries) Minister that could oversee birth through high school, as well as take on the role of High School Minister. Adam began in April and we are so grateful for his leadership, insight, and gift of teaching. Students are excited to be back on Sunday nights and there is a new energy that is such a blessing. God has provided in a big way through Adam and Megan!
This past year, it has been our delight to have time to invest in new leaders in special ways. We started Jump-Start, a training program for young adult leaders, investing in Middle School students, and High School students, investing in elementary children. We talked about the importance of growing in our walk with Jesus as leaders, how God has created us each uniquely, and the importance of relationship as we share the gospel with children and students. It has been so exciting to see the leaders that were part of this program grow as leaders this year. They have been instrumental in keeping students and children connected during a difficult and lonely time and making sure that they know more about Jesus. We are excited to see how God uses the Jump-Start program this year as we invest in more high school leaders who will work with children in our nursery, preschool and elementary classes.
CHURCH OPERATIONS MINISTRY
- During this COVID-19 pandemic year of near isolation, the Facilities team has spruced up things in anticipation of the days things open up again and we can welcome the return of our full WC community. We’ve missed folks from every age across our spectrum. In preparation for this, many rooms have been painted, the storage trailers cleared, plumbing and electrical systems repaired or updated. The parking lot was re-stripped. Even the children’s playground was refurbished by the planning and teamwork of Eagle Scout candidate, Tyler Long.
- Maintaining the safety protocols that the national, state, and county officials mandated has taken the valiant teamwork of Operations, Facilities, Security, and First Impressions. Our goal has remained the safety of all who have been able to gather in-person. This included housing 17 men, as part of the Congregations for the Homeless program, on site for two months.
2. Due to social distancing and safety precautions, much of the year required staff to work from home and communicate via virtual meetings. Still, ministry continued on many powerful platforms, as described elsewhere in this report. (ie. Prayerline, Jubilee Reach, Love in Action, ….)
3. Accounting is an integral part of the Chapel’s operations. While giving has been down during the pandemic, so has spending. This has allowed the church to maintain healthy balances and finish this fiscal year on solid footing. We are extremely grateful for this congregation’s steady generosity and stewardship during this difficult time.