Westminster’s national mission work currently focuses on three primary areas: housing rehabilitation in Appalachia with the Appalachia Service Project; regional hunger concerns through gleaning trips in connection with the Northern Neck Food Bank and the Society of St. Andrew; and support of Native American ministry and mission with the Bdecan Presbyterian Church in Spirit Lake, North Dakota. Westminster members supported these projects through volunteer service outside the Beltway and donations, both in-kind and monetary. The committee also facilitated financial contributions through the quarterly Cents-Ability program for hunger.
All are invited to attend National Mission Committee meetings! The committee meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the church, unless otherwise advertised. Contact the committee at [email protected].
Appalachia Service Project
Westminster is pleased to have taken successful trips at least once a year since 2010 through the Appalachia Service Project. It is an incredible opportunity both to serve and to connect with other members of Westminster!
On our first trip to work with the Appalachia Service Project, in September 2010, our young adults laid shingles, replaced linoleum and gutters and built handicapped ramps for a family of four. In 2011, sixteen Westminster members, led by our most experienced teammates, worked to improve the living conditions of three families in southern Virginia.
In May 2013, nine members returned to the ASP Guyan Valley Center in Brenton, West Virginia. Working as two teams, these adults worked on two housing rehabilitation projects. The National Mission Committee sponsored a second ASP trip in October with ten participants, and again in October of 2014. We continue to strengthen our relationship with the staff at the Guyan Valley Center and also contributed to that center with monetary gifts in the 2013. The financial support went to general projects and for the purchase of digging equipment requested by past participants.
Our church continues to give our labor and resources to the Northern Neck Food Bank and the Society of St. Andrew, who work together to ensure unpicked produce from Virginia farms and orchards goes to Virginia’s neediest families. On two trips in the summer or into September, Westminster children, youth, and adults literally follow the professional pickers and harvest the leftover corn or apples.
In 2016, our groups made over 4,000 pounds of corn available to central Virginia food pantries via the Northern Neck Food Bank, and over 8,000 pounds of apples with the Society of St. Andrew at Marker-Miller Orchard in Winchester.
Bdecan Presbyterian Church at Sprit Lake
For the last ten years, Westminster has supported the programs at Bdecan (pronounced Bah-DAY Chan) Presbyterian Church in Tokio, ND on the Spirit Lake Reservation. In April 2013, the church hired a Youth and Outreach Coordinator, Joe Obermeyer. Committee members met with both Joe and Kevin Kaufmann, the pastor at the Lake Region Presbyterian parish, over Skype during the October committee meeting to open the lines of communication and express our support. Funds were provided to the Lake Region Parish to support Joe Obermeyer’s salary, and to cover the purchase of a snow blower and lawn mower for the manse at the Bdecan church.
Are you ready to collect some small change to make a big difference? Take a bank home with you, put in a few cents at each meal for each member of your family, and then bring it back to church on Cents-Ability Collection Sundays. In addition to supporting the national Hunger Programs of the PC(USA), a portion of the money we raise will support the annual Adopt-a-Turkey program run by the Local Mission Committee.
This is a wonderful opportunity, right around your dinner table, to have conversations with friends and family about hunger and poverty. These are realities that affect so many men, women, and children each day; sometimes in Kenya or Cameroon, sometimes just down the block. As we give thanks for our daily bread, please continue to support this program, which in turn supports so many others in our community, nation, and world.