Westminster's mission work is coordinated by three committees: Local, National, and International.
Local Mission creates partnerships with community service organizations and nonprofits. Our local mission work is organized around the acronym CHESS: Children, Hunger, Education, Shelter, and Self-Sufficiency. The Local Mission Committee also sponsors the Westminster Community Grant Program, an annual award to local nonprofits to help further their missions.
National Mission 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.
International Mission works around the world through direct partnerships, through the Presbyterian Church, USA, and in cooperation with mission organizations. Westminster's international missions are primary focused on the United Orphanage & Academy in Moi's Bridge, Kenya, supported since its founding in 2001 by Westminster, Old Presbyterian Meeting House (Alexandria), and Lewinsville Presbyterian Church (McLean).
Serving in Our Communities: How to Help
Our local mission committee members are in close consultation with our local mission partners and keep this list of financial needs, donation requests and volunteer opportunities regularly updated. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions.
Updated October 21, 2021
The 4th annual 5k run fundraiser, Home Run for the Homeless, presented by WPC partner agencies Bridges to Independence and Community Lodgings, is on for Saturday, October 9. This event will support housing, employment and child care services to homeless parents and their children in Northern Virginia. Sign up here for this fun run (or walk) which begins at 9:00 am at Bluemont Park (329 Manchester St. Arlington, VA 22203).
ALIVE! | StepALIVE! 2021 Walkathon 2021 will take place on Sunday, October 17. Join other ALIVE! supporters for an outdoor kickoff at First Christian Church, a group walk through Old Town, and an outdoors post-walk celebration. Or, walk in solidarity with ALIVE! in a small group or by yourself around your neighborhood, place of worship, or local park. All are welcome at the post-walk celebration. All proceeds from StepALIVE! will be used to provide food, shelter, emergency financial assistance, and eviction prevention support to Alexandrians suffering from poverty and hunger. For more information, to register, or to donate, go to www.stepalivewalk.org. All registrants will receive an event T-shirt.
Bridges to Independence | Be creative and make Halloween memories for kids. Bridges will hold Trunk or Treat on October 30, from 2:30-6:30 pm in Green Valley, Arlington. Decorate your auto trunk for Halloween & hand out candy or toys to kids. Bridges also needs volunteers. You can sign up here. Contact Celeste McKenzie for more information. Several Bridges clients are new or expecting mothers. You can help them with the many things needed for babies on this Amazon Wish List.
Carpenter’s Shelter | Volunteer to join a group led by WPC congregation members that serves dinner on the first Monday of each month (food is prepared and provided by others). The Shelter is also seeking volunteers to staff the front desk, prepare and serve meals on other nights of the week, and donate specific items which can be purchased via their amazon wish list. Support Carpenter's Shelter by participating in its Octoberfest online auction. Funds raised go toward serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Alexandria. Bid through October 22 here. For more information on any of these needs, contact [email protected].
Community Lodgings has an Amazon Wish List of non-perishable food item needs and continues to accept financial donations to support their ongoing distribution of Giant gift cards. Their “Signs of Hope” campaign has been very successful - to participate, order yard signs designed by youth in our programs (original artwork and themes).
Friends of Guest House | Westminster is organizing a group of volunteers on October 16 and 23 to perform needed yard cleanup and repairs and maintenance to Guest House’s residence at 1 East Luray Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301. Work will include power washing, deck and ramp repair, staining, and yard debris cleanup. We will start at 9am and anticipate working into the afternoon up until 4pm. Join us on one or both days for just a few hours anytime between 9-4 or the duration. Contact [email protected] to volunteer or for more information.
Friends of Guest House also has a continuing need for volunteer GED Tutors, Basic Computer Skills Teachers, and mentors ideally between ages 30-50 to support their mentorship program. Mentors help Guest House’s women residents set goals, and develop the confidence, patience, and perseverance needed to reenter the community successfully. Mentees are typically 20-40 years of age, and have been incarcerated for substance-related issues rather than violent crimes. Training is provided. Due to COVID, mentors have mostly virtual, email, and/or phone contact with their mentees. For more information email Friends of Guest House or see the Friends of Guest House website volunteer page.
Just Neighbors seeks those who are fluent in Spanish who can do translations from home. They also need volunteers who are willing to come into the office to do telephone intakes. Lastly, they are also looking for a detail-oriented volunteer/intern who can input data into their case management system. They have social distancing measures in place. Contact [email protected] if you can help. If you would like to watch the recent event WPC co-sponsored with Just Neighbors and Fairlington Methodist Church on recent updates to immigration policy, go here.
OAR (formerly Offender Aid and Restoration) volunteer opportunities include administrative and computer work as well as assisting for court appearances.
Senior Services of Alexandria | Westminster's team of Meals on Wheels volunteers has resumed their meal delivery to local seniors on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. We need additional volunteers who are vaccinated and able to commit 2-3 hours/month. To participate, contact [email protected]. Senior Services is also looking for volunteers to help deliver meals on Mondays and Wednesday mornings to Alexandria School children, and/or to shop for and deliver Groceries to Go to vulnerable seniors. Sign up at seniorservicesalex.org.
A Surplus of Mission
In February 2021, the Session designated $82,000 of Westminster's 2020 surplus funds to provide relief for those facing economic hardship in the pandemic. Grateful for the assignment, our local, national and international missions committees have collaborated to put your funds to great use.
Locally, we prioritized rental assistance and donated $20,000 to the Lazarus Ministry of Christ Church Alexandria, a participant in Alexandria's Eviction Prevention Program. In the last year, 99% of Lazarus funds went to those facing eviction or housing insecurity. We also donated $30,000 to fund the rental assistance program of Bridges to Independence, our long-time partner helping many in Arlington and neighboring communities.
Nationally, we donated $8,000 to the Covid-relief funds of the Candeska Cikana Community College (CCCC) on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in North Dakota. These funds provide emergency assistance (food, utilities, medical expenses, etc.) for students on the reservation, where Westminster also provides scholarships through our partnership with the Bdecan Presbyterian Church.
We also donated $8,000 (total) to our two gleaning agency partners, Society of St. Andrew and Healthy Harvest Food Bank. We look forward to the day when we can offer our hands in the fields as well as our funds to provide nutrition to the food-insecure.
None of this happens without the blessings you have so abundantly shared. We will let you know how the remainder of this mission surplus will help those in need.