.

SUNDAY, MAY 31st LIVESTREAM

A Word from Pastor Molly Vetter

A word from Pastor Molly for this morning, as we prepare for Pentecost worship, powerfully aware of the pain and racism in our city and nation. Our worship was recorded over the past several days, so this word is for today.
.

WESTWOOD KIDS – Sunday at 9:45am

.

THE LOFT – Sunday at 10am

.

THE SANCTUARY – Sunday at 10am

Download the worship guide.
.


.

SUNDAY & MIDWEEK EVENTS

WESTWOOD KIDS
Sunday, May 31st (9:45am) Facebook / Website

Westwood Kids will be celebrating Pentecost, sometimes thought about as the birthday of the church. If you like, on Saturday, make cupcakes to share for this celebration on Sunday. If you have any birthday candles handy, that would be great! Making a festive headband and a mobile in addition to other artwork will add meaning to our day!
.
BIBLE PRESENTATION TO 4TH & 5TH GRADERS
Next Sunday, June 7th, we will be presenting a Sparks Bible NRSV to all our 4th and 5th graders! The presentation of these special Bibles has long been a beloved tradition at Westwood and serves to deepen each child’s relationship with God as they continue in their personal faith journey. If you have a 4th or 5th grader who would like to receive a Bible, please email Pastor Diana at diana@westwoodumc.org by Monday, June 1st.
.
THE SANCTUARY
Sunday, May 31st (10am) Facebook / Website
“Spirit-Given Unity” – Rev. Molly Vetter

Pentecost invites us to consider the Holy Spirit’s gift of life and unity to the church. In the midst of pandemic, in a week of increased awareness of the deadly consequences of racism, we need that gift of life.
.
THE LOFT GATHERING
Sunday, May 31st (10am) Facebook / Website
“Love That Unites”
Rev. Molly Vetter, Josh Lopez-Reyes, and Jeanne Roe Smith explore #loveinthetimeofcorona asking: How is the Holy Spirit moving through our world? How can we offer encouragement and life to one another?
.
THE LOFT CONVERSATION
Sunday, May 31st (Immediately After the Gathering) via Zoom

Connect and discuss the themes touched on during the Sunday livestream. All are welcome. Hosted by Josh Lopez-Reyes. Contact josh@theloftla.org for the Zoom link.
.
FOLLOW UP
Sunday, May 31st (11am-12noon) via Zoom

“Our Story to Tell: A Two-Part Writing Workshop” – Larry Owen
We all have our own story to tell. And to write. You may not know very much about your grandparents or great-grandparents, but you can write about your own life for your grandchildren and generations to come. Imagine them reading about your life fifty years from now! Join Larry Owen on May 24th and 31st for a two-part workshop where you’ll learn how to write your story and share some of your own writing as well. Larry taught English classes for forty years, the last 33 at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.  Those Swedes did not corrupt his Texas twang. After being retired two years and living among many retirees is Arkansas, he invited folks who needed help writing their life story to meet him at Hill Country Bar-B-Que on a Tuesday morning. He keeps encouraging folks to write their life story as a gift to their loved ones. For the Zoom access link, please refer to the weekly enews or contact Sabrina Simmons at sabrina@westwoodumc.org.
.
COVID-19 ASSISTANCE
We are in the midst of unprecedented and uncertain times, and we know that a lot of us will face unforeseen circumstances and needs over the next few months. As a church community, we are committed to supporting our members, especially in times like this. As part of that commitment, we are making funds available to meet needs that have surfaced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find yourself needing assistance during this time, please let us know by filling out this Google Form or reaching out to Pastor Molly Vetter at molly@westwoodumc.org. This invitation extends to your communities as well—if you know of anyone in need, we want to try and relieve that need as much as possible.
.
BURYING WHITE PRIVILEGE – A POC BOOK STUDY
Sunday, June 7th (12pm) via Zoom
The People of Color Theology (POCT) group is currently reading and discussing Miguel A. De La Torre’s poignant and timely book “Burying White Privilege: Resurrecting a Badass Christianity.“ Rev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre currently serves as Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. All are welcome and encouraged to join this fascinating conversation. For our next meeting, please read chapter two on “The Fallacy of Whiteness.” Email Josh Lopez-Reyes at josh@theloftla.org for information.
.
FAREWELL OPEN HOUSE FOR REV. DARIN ARNTSON
Sunday, June 14th (11am-12noon) via Zoom
We are so grateful to have had Rev. Darin as a Pastor at Westwood Church this year, and are excited for her upcoming appointment to be Senior Pastor at St. Mark’s UMC in San Diego. We invite you to help us send her to this new adventure with gratitude, blessing, and prayer. We invite you to contribute to a Love Offering for her by selecting “Darin Arntson Love Gift” from the dropdown menu. Email Sabrina Simmons at sabrina@westwoodumc.org for the Open House Zoom link.
.
EVENING PRAYER
Tuesday & Thursdays (6pm) via Facebook Live
Join Pastor Darin Arntson each Tuesday and Thursday evening at 6pm for a short time of Scripture reading and prayer in the Westwood Church Community Group Facebook Group. (If you’re not already a member, simply click the link and request to join.)
.
“GOD TALK” with Rev. Dr. John Holbert & Reg Gipson, JD.
1st & 3rd Tuesdays – Next Class: June 2nd (7pm) via Zoom

“Resurrection” – Every Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and every Sunday before and after has been called a “little Easter.” The early disciples’ experience of resurrection lies at the very core of the Christian way of life. When we speak of the resurrection, what are we talking about?” How has the church understood this central claim in the past, and how can it be understood in the 21st century? During our discussion we will touch also on the Incarnation and the Ascension, and how these concepts are related to the resurrection. All are welcome to join these Bible study conversations on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month. For those of you joined the discussion last time, we’ll be using the same Zoom link.
.
CELEBRATING GRADUATES
Are you a graduate, or do you have one in your family? Whether it’s high school, college, or grad school, we want to know so we can recognize your hard work and celebrate you on Sunday, June 7th (in The Loft and The Sanctuary). Tell us where you’re graduating from, degrees given, where you’re off to next, etc. Once we have a list compiled, we will include it in an upcoming issue of the Friday enews! Please submit information to Sabrina Simmons at sabrina@westwoodumc.org.


.

A NOTE FROM PASTOR MOLLY

.
We celebrate Pentecost as the birthday of the church: God’s Holy Spirit arrives after Easter, giving life to the whole church. This gift of divine Spirit marked a unity that crossed as much diversity as people could imagine.
.
Today, we continue to live with the challenge of living into this kind of unity. We live in a space of holy tension: the mystical gift of unity in Christ has already been given, but we still have work to do to live as though that unity were true. We struggle to overcome racism, habit, language barriers, differences of worldview and experience and personality.
.
The Holy Spirit’s gift to us requires deep humility: acknowledgement that we can’t get it all right (and we certainly can’t get it right alone, as individuals). We need each other, and we need to continue to learn and see a more complete vision of God’s love.
.
During this time of pandemic and physical separation, there is so much to learn: lots of technical details about how to connect across new technologies, new rhythms for everyday life while working and schooling from home, new habits that help us navigate our anxieties and the grief of this moment in the world.
.
As a church, we are learning new ways to connect. We are returning to old practices, too–to letter-writing and a hymn-singing at home. To making old-fashioned phone calls and sharing daily prayers. Of course I look forward to when we will be able to be together in person again, but I’m also acutely aware that the Spirit has NOT stopped moving in our midst.
.
At our Church Council meeting in May, we had a conversation about the values that will help us make decisions about when and how to resume in-person gathering of our church. We affirmed our value in making decisions that are faithful to our mission and to the Holy Spirit’s leading. We named a priority on protecting the most vulnerable. We noted that, while we value excellence in what we do, we are also mindful of the limitations of this moment. We seek to make decisions out of a common value in relationships.
.
This past week, our state and county, as well as our regional church body, issued guidance about what is required before resuming in-person worship; there are significant changes we would have to make to be able to do so. I want you to know that we are already committed to continuing to offer online worship each week, and that we will carefully consider what new possibilities we might try that would allow smaller, safer groups of people to gather to experience the transcendent, sacred beauty of our sanctuary, or to connect with others in community.
.
As we celebrate Pentecost this week, then, we get to remember the Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit unites us, but also gives us assurance that God will continue to do a new and beautiful thing with us and the world, as we are. We give thanks that God is at work with us, still, and will continue to lead us on toward fullness of life, for all God’s children.
.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Molly