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. The financial support went to general projects and for the purchase of digging equipment requested by past participants.
ASP Trip 2018: Thursday, October 25-Sunday, October 28
Individuals of all construction skill levels are encouraged to learn about Westminster’s October mission trip to Guyan Valley, West Virginia, where we will help ASP provide safe homes for vulnerable residents in the region.
Come to an informational meeting on Sunday, August 25 at 11:15 AM (following worship) in the Haverkamp Room. Please contact [email protected] with questions and/or interest.
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.
Corn Gleaning Trip 2018: Saturday, July 28
Glean corn to be distributed through Healthy Harvest Food Bank. We’ll meet at a farm near Colonial Beach, VA, at 9 AM. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Bdecan Presbyterian Church at Spirit Lake
For nearly fifteen years, Westminster has supported the programs at Bdecan (pronounced Bah-DAY Chan) Presbyterian Church in Tokio, ND on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Part of the Northern Plains Presbytery, Bdecan is the only Dakota Presbyterian church in North Dakota. Our partnership with Northern Plains Presbytery in sustaining the Bdecan ministry is as strong as ever, but our support remains critical.
In 2013, Westminster supported Bdecan’s hiring of a Youth and Outreach Coordinator. Joe Obermeyer recently celebrated five years of service at Bdecan in that role, and Westminster continues to provide financial support for his salary and benefits. Joe has been able to maintain children and youth programs—including vacation bible schools and a weekly KICK children’s ministry—and created an annual Bdecan PUSH (Physically Uniting to Support Health) 5K walk and run. Recognizing that the Bdecan ministry is not possible without Joe, our church has made a particular commitment to his personal and professional development. He has been a tireless and passionate advocate for this community! In addition, Westminster funds other small and large needs for Bdecan—from the purchase of a snow blower and lawn mower to manse repairs. Bdecan also runs a monthly food pantry, which delivers an average of 1,500 pounds of food to 87 families each month. In 2017, the Bdecan Kid’s Winter Wear Giveaway, which our church supported financially, outfitted over 100 children with new coats, snow pants, and boots.
In 2015, the committee established an educational fund to support higher education for members of the Bdecan community. Cankdeska Cicana Community College facilitated the award of the first Bdecan Presbyterian Church scholarships in 2016 to eight of their students. Eleven more Bdecan Presbyterian Scholarships were awarded in 2017. The recipients share the common dreams of providing for their children and giving back to their tribe and community. It is not hyperbole to say we are making those dreams achievable one semester at a time.
Cents-Ability Collection: Sunday, August 5
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.