Staff Reflection

Musicians of All Ages to Honor our Veterans

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Those attending worship on Sunday, November 11, will experience something special - musicians of all ages combining their talents to salute the selfless sacrifice of our veterans! The performance, made possible due to the generosity of Westminster’s Fine Arts Series patrons, will be led by long-time music educator Karla Killinger.

“Growing up in the band scene, I understand the value of the opportunity of younger musicians being able to perform alongside older, more mature musicians,” stated Karla. “It’s what my father did for me when I was young, and I’d like to create a similar experience for our youth at Westminster,” she added.

Not only is it a great opportunity for our church members, the reason is even more important – to honor our community heroes!
The message resonates with Fine Arts Series Coordinator, Eric Miller. Eric served over 11 years on active duty at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point). During that time, he sounded Taps at hundreds of funerals for veterans in the New York City area.  “Having looked into the eyes of widows and widowers, I have seen the selfless sacrifice of our servicemen and women in a very intimate way,” stated Eric. “I’m also inspired by other veterans who have moved on to successful careers in the civilian sector. All are worthy of recognition and celebration,” he added.

That is what Westminster’s intergenerational Band plans to do! The ensemble will bless our Sanctuary with patriotic music while publicly saluting the service of our veterans at Westminster and in the Des Moines community. Bringing church members, of all ages, together for a great reason is also a wonderful way to meet new people and cultivate relationships. The Worship, Music, and Arts Unit also hopes to increase engagement with Westminster’s younger members with the performance in this worship service.

For more information about upcoming Fine Arts Series events, please visit

Posted by Eric Miller with

VBS Recap and Fall Programming


What an exciting time we had on “The ride of a lifetime with God” at Rolling River Rampage VBS this summer!  This year’s theme was based on the Scripture passage Isaiah 43:2, which says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.”  The Rafters enjoyed daily skits with our Paddle Captain Scott and Romper the otter, our VBS mascot for this year, who shared important messages with the Rafters about finding adventure, peace, joy, rest, and acceptance on the river of life.  Our youth volunteers led music and performed daily Bible-story skits about Jesus’ life and ministry.  The Rafters also moved among four stations to experience the message in fun and interactive environments.  The Creation Station gave Rafters the opportunity to use art and science to reinforce the daily message.  Our Recreation Station was an engaging, high-energy way to experience fun and fellowship during the kids’ time at VBS.  The Godly Mission Station focused on refugees and how we can make a difference within our local community, starting with our on-site refugee garden.  And, always a kid favorite, our Snack Station had fun and delicious snacks for our Rafters to enjoy each day. 


Our team of River Guides consisted of 35 adults and youth working directly with 72 children over the course of the week.  Many hands were needed to create such a successful event, and I am thankful for the contribution of each one.  We also had several volunteers who helped to set up and tear down our stations, manage the administrative tasks, and many more who donated materials and snacks for the week.  The team of SUMMIT volunteers-Briar, Kathryn, Oliver, and Sarah-did an amazing job taking on leadership roles during VBS.  In addition to their work as station leaders, they planned and staffed the VBS Sunday Celebration event along with Mary & Matt Culp and Judy Sebern-Beachy, who prepared and served the walking tacos.  I want to thank every person that took the time to participate in VBS, even if it was to simply pray for our Rafters and River Guides during the week. 

 Check out our picture gallery here

I am grateful to find myself within such an amazing community of faith here at Westminster.  This was my fifth year participating in VBS, and my first year coordinating and running the event.  In my opinion, it was an exceptional faith-filled week spent sharing the love of God with our children and volunteers.  It would not have been possible without the parents and volunteers who came throughout the week.  Also, the staff here at Westminster was essential to making it all happen.  Each staff member had a role to play in this annual event, and they did an amazing job.  I thank them for their hard work throughout this process, as each of them had many other tasks to focus on within their role at the church.


Shifting our focus to the upcoming academic year, we are thrilled to engage the children of our congregation during our Sunday morning and Wednesday evening programs!  We hope your children and youth will join us for VBS-style activities throughout the year as we work to create a high-energy, Christ-centered ministry for them.  Join us on September 9 at 9:15 a.m. for our Fall Kick-Off event!  School-aged children will be invited to participate in Kid’s Worship after the Moment with the Children during Sunday worship.  After the service, we will all enjoy fellowship in The Commons before dispersing to our Sunday School programming at 10:30. 


We will also begin our Wednesday night Kid’s and Youth Club with dinner at 5:30 p.m. on September 12.  After dinner, children will engage in high-energy recreation and fun biblically centered games and crafts.  You may choose to stay and participate by volunteering in the program, take the time after dinner for fellowship with other parents, or drop your children off for dinner and return at 7 p.m. to pick them up.  We are also encouraging ride-sharing for families who may not be able to transport their children to and from our Kid’s Club and Youth Club activities.  If you might be able to bring a couple extra kiddos or have a transportation need, please contact Lisa Anderson at so we can connect families for this opportunity.


Fall Programming

Posted by Tiffany Hays with

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