A Message from Pastor Scott

Christmas Offering

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I am going to brag for a moment, and it will not make you happy. I am done with all my Christmas shopping! I purchased my last gift on Black Friday. I had to gloat a little; it is the first time I’ve ever accomplished this miracle. It feels great. No pushing and shoving in lines, or ruining evenings when I could have stayed home with Jill. It is freeing to get it done early. No, wait, I was wrong. I have one more Christmas gift to offer…the one to the church.

 

I would never re-gift. That is, receive a gift, re-wrap it and give it to another person. This is what King David is saying to Araunah. “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” At Christmas time, we often do that by giving God our leftovers. “Oh, I overspent this Christmas, so I better not give anything to the church.” Your gift to God at Christmas is a valuable part of your Christmas experience. It shouldn’t be a leftover, or skipped. It is important to give the church a Christmas gift because God has given you everything you have, and giving back to God is the reason for the season.

 

Your Christmas gift to the church is a huge blessing and helps us meet our end-of-the-year budget. Your Christmas gift helps us continue to provide for our children and youth, so they can strengthen their faith in Christ Jesus. Your gift helps fund the worship of our God, which is the foundational aspect of the Christian faith. Your Christmas gift helps continue outreach to the community, fulfilling the Great Commandment to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Your Christmas gift helps us provide care for our elderly and those in need within our congregation.

 

Your Christmas gift is an expression of gratitude for all that God has given you. The Christmas season is a time when we reflect on all our blessings. Today, by offering your gift, you are saying, “thank you,” to the God who has blessed you in so many ways. On behalf of all the people who will be blessed by your generous gift, I say, “thank you.” We cannot offer God our leftovers that cost us little or nothing. Give God your very best this Christmas season. Get this important gift sent early this year.

 

God Bless You,

 Scott Paczkowski

Working as One


A powerful service took place this past Sunday on Pentecost. What spoke to my heart were the varied ways different ministries in the church continue to support and enhance one another. I was sitting in the Sanctuary, looking at the beautiful art pieces on the walls. Adults, preschool, church school students, youth, and others all working to present a unified theme for Pentecost worship. Then, the congregation was blessed with the opportunity of watching one of the youth present a liturgical dance. Worship, Music, and Arts, Christian Education, the Preschool, the youth program, and others working together with the Chancel Guild to provide spiritually meaningful Pentecost worship.

 

I’ve also experienced this multiple ministry support in our mission activity. Our Westminster Preschool has started going to Calvin Community and visiting the residents. Different preschool students have gone to visit Calvin Community on two separate occasions. They played games with the residents of the skilled and memory units. I was told it was too difficult to determine whether the preschoolers or the residents had more fun.

 

Working under a unified mission is key to the long term health of our congregation. The committees, units, and staff continue to work in harmony, as we work together for the overall mission of Westminster. We have committees offering to share their resources with each other. “We” continues to be more important than “I.” This humble mutuality is a faithful example of how God called each one to work toward the common good, rather than individual goals.

 

This mutual support continues with the ongoing study of issues, most recently related to immigration and refugees. The Social Justice Committee and the adult, youth, and children’s committees are working together on these issues. These ministries are doing a wonderful job of providing education leading toward a direction for mission in action. I am excited to find out where the Spirit is leading each one of us as we discern God’s leading in this challenging time.

Beyond all other goals, the mission of Westminster, or any other Christian Church for that matter, is to honor God through our worship, music, study, mission, care, compassion, and justice. These areas are not individual means of honoring God. We honor God when all these areas of Christian life work together to provide a systematic approach to glorifying the Almighty.

 

Continue to pray for our church as we move forward in faith. As you pray, ask the Spirit to continue to provide a guiding hand upon all the ministries of our church. Ask God to weave the “good news” through all the activities of the church. As the Spirit binds our ministries together, God is recognized in our midst. Remember, we are here not for ourselves, but for the glory and honor of our Triune God.

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