Last Sunday, following in-person worship, we had opportunities to “give back” by making the AMPED boxes and the college student care packages we send seasonally.
Every time we have a missional opportunity, the staff has a bit of anxiety because they/we wonder if it will be a burden to ask for your help.
Everything we do at West, we TRY to make it something that makes someone else’s life better. So AMPED box packing and college student care packages are a big deal.
As a West family was leaving (following the box packing), they shared with Dawn, “Today was an honor and a privilege to be able to put these boxes together.” The sincerity and passion struck Dawn in their words.
Tuesday, Dawn and Beth Packman attended a countywide breakfast focused on the faith-based support of the Iredell County School System. West was a highlighted presenter BECAUSE you take things like serving others and see it not as a burden but an honor and privilege.
The staff and I think it is a huge stroke of luck that you chose West as your faith community home!
I asked Dawn to share her thoughts with you . . . please take a few minutes to read her beautiful description of who you ALL (including online, remote, on-demand, digital, and in-person) ARE to the West community.
It is our honor and privilege to be your staff team!
Grace and Peace,
“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” – Romans 8:15 NRSV
I am reading an incredibly moving book about the spiritual journey of Michael Adam Beck, a mentor from the Fresh Expressions Leadership classes I’ve had the honor to be a part of in our United Methodist Conference. The book touches me deeply and has given my spirit a deep longing for truth and justice while encouraging me to discern and respond to where God calls me as a partner, mother, leader, and friend.
In his book Painting with Ashes, Beck speaks of his abandonment by his family and how the church filled that void. Please read his words below.
Shortly after my mother abandoned me, Pastor Holland Vaughn and the people of St. Mark’s gathered around me at my infant baptism. Together they took responsibility to surround me with “a community of love and forgiveness” and raise me in God’s family. They stepped into the gap of loss and abandonment in my life. They fed me through their never-ending potlucks and loved me into a relationship with Jesus.
I am because they are.
“My experience of church was of
a healing community that was accessible,
safe, and real.” – Beck
Tuesday morning, I had the privilege of accompanying Beth Packman, one of our fearless Mission Team leaders, to a Faith-Based Partners Breakfast for Iredell-Statesville Schools. Because you have been so generous with your time and resources, West Church was asked to be a part of the presentation.
We prayed for our schools, the leaders, educators, staff, students, families, and churches. There is a great need for community and faith leaders to be a part of the school’s strategic plan. You always rise to the “ask” in supporting our students, educators, and school staff. For this and much more, we are grateful!
“Salvation is a journey of restorative healing
that requires our ongoing response.” – Beck
After the presentation, Beth and I were approached by several other community leaders who have also been vital in partnering with our schools. They thanked us for our presence and the love we show to N. B. Mills, Third Creek Elementary and Middle, Cloverleaf Elementary, Lakeshore Middle, and Lake Norman High. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for each of you. Thank you for being a “healing community that is accessible, safe, and real.”
Your generosity is affecting our community and beyond in positive ways!
Thank you for “stepping in the gap of loss and abandonment” in our community.
Through your prayers, presence, and financial contributions, students have warm clothes during the winter and meals throughout the school year.
Educators and staff have been encouraged and loved through food, your words, and hospitality.
The Backpack Mission, which partners with St. Therese church, is celebrating ten years of sending meals home bi-weekly with students.
That wouldn’t be possible without you serving alongside your church leaders.
You may never know how this impacts each of their lives, but it was/is a way of spreading the love of Jesus. There is power in that, so much power! You are “a community of love and forgiveness” that makes a difference in the lives of others.
We hope to see you on Sunday as we Embrace Our Inner Villian so that God can use us in even greater ways in the days ahead.
With Love and Peace,