Letter to the Congregation
Dear Members and Friends of Westminster,
In October 2022, the Session of Westminster (our governing body) commissioned an Organ Committee to assess the condition and future of our organ, particularly as it relates to worship and music ministry. After several months of study and input from experts, the committee determined that the organ is near the end of its useful life and that attempting to rebuild or refurbish it would be neither feasible nor financially responsible. At their July 2023 meeting, the Session affirmed that finding and charged the Organ Committee to research options for a new organ and appropriate enhancements to the sanctuary to maximize our experience of the spoken word and music.
The sanctuary organ represents music in worship, an important aspect of our church’s life, but replacing it will entail a capital investment of several million dollars. This provides the congregation with both a responsibility and an opportunity to think beyond this specific need and focus on our overall ministry going forward in our neighborhood, region, and world. It allows us to build on the strength we have experienced coming out of COVID and face the challenges to Christianity in our country that have arisen or increased over the past several years. It allows us to thank God for who we have been as a congregation and to hear God’s renewed call for who we will be.
To that end, Session members will be leading a series of focus groups during the month of September to present opportunities the Session is developing for our ministry looking toward a capital campaign to be conducted (along with our annual stewardship campaign) during the first three months of 2024. This process, to be guided by James D. Klote and Associates of Great Falls, Virginia, will give every member and household the opportunity to learn more about where we are, to hear about possibilities for our ministry, and to contribute ideas, in preparation for supporting our ministry with gifts of time, talent, and financial resources.
As this process unfolds over the next several months, we urge your prayerful attention and participation in each phase, starting with attending at least one focus group whose dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
As we live in challenging times for Christianity, the church of Jesus Christ and many Christians around the world face threats because of their faith that make our concerns about secularism, polarization and decline in adherents to Christianity in our nation pale by comparison. Still, it is a challenge and calling to live into our faith in the complex context in which we live, and it is a remarkable honor and great joy for me (Larry) to serve as Pastor/Head of Staff for all of you as together we go forward with this joyful calling.
Larry R. Hayward
Pastor/Head of Staff
Katherine B. Gunter
Clerk of Session