Hello Westport Presbies, Family and Friends,
We are ever grateful for you and all your encouraging words and deeds during this upsetting, tragic, heartbreaking time. Jesus said that you “gain your life by losing your life”. Here is an idea by which we are all finding meaning together in our collective struggle to transcend the pandemic that has surrounded us now for three to four months, and is certain to shadow our lives in so many ways in the weeks and months ahead.
We are thankful for all who have given generously to the Covid-19 Emergency Fund. To date, we have given away nearly $6,000 to ten people in our extended church family who have lost jobs, been laid off or suffered reduced work hours during this time. We will continue to empower people in the days ahead, and any gifts you want to make will be deeply appreciated.
Our dedicated shower ministry and worship teams continue to make Sunday morning through early afternoon a time of great work and deep meaning. Never has the need been greater, nor the joy deeper as we and you create a holy space in real space-time here in the church building and in cyberspace, which has a surprising reach.
This coming Sunday, May 31, 11 will be special. Joe Criswell and Jim Beckner are bringing their propane grill to the church parking lot and will be grilling hamburgers for the homeless men and women who come in to take showers, have clothes washed, eat breakfast and have a carry out lunch. Thanks to shower ministry team: Drs. Brooke and Chris Sweeney, Drew Irwin, Steve Zeoli, Karen Elmer, Stan Morgan, Riva Capellari and Carly Simon. Thanks to all who are donating food and other supplies.
Gratitude goes out to worship team: Emily Davidson, Deanna Capps, Joshua Stark, Jennifer Weiman, Neal Long, Megan Dobbs and Rev. Scott. An inspirational 60-65 minute interactive worship service is streamed live on Facebook starting at 11:00 am every Sunday. View our Latest Sermon
Via ZOOM, the church Session met for the first time in a couple months. And two of our major mission and outreach commitments, the Westport Center for the Arts and the Willow Woods Child Development Center have met by ZOOM.
The Session is extending the Live Stream Worship Service at least to the end of June, and perhaps longer. We don’t want to endanger vulnerable people in our congregation, both young and old. Our medical/safety team’s guidance is that it isn’t really safe until we receive the signal that the hospitals are open to visitors. Thus, we don’t want to open for in person worship services yet. We have a great building, and we are using it effectively during this time, but we are still the church without a building, and we can do that effectively as well. If and when we start to think in the direction of in person services, we will invite small groups of ten in for a mid-week prayer service, with masks and social distancing, just to see how it goes. Also, even when we do open for in person services, we will continue the Live Stream worship service.
The Willow Woods day care center is considering a “soft opening” in mid June with limited staff and children. More will be revealed. Nothing has been decided for sure yet.
The Westport Center for the Arts is sponsoring a Live Stream Friday night concert on June 26, 7:00 p.m. with two fantastic musicians, Sarah Tannehill, soprano and Robert Pherigo, pianist. WCA is also making plans to transform Kids Team Up for Art (KTUFA) into Kids Spread Apart for Art (KSAFA), hopefully by mid July. Our plan is to spread eight youth throughout the immense first floor of the church, along with two professional artists, lots of paint, canvasses and motivational, inspirational themes for two hours of painting. If there is interest, WCA will try to do more than one group, and run sessions through the end of August as an experiment.
Two AA groups continue socially-distanced meetings at the church. High quality sack lunches are given out to people who come to the door during the week. Rev Scott is working on a three-person team that includes Rev Eric Garbison and Nick Pickrell of Open Table at Second Presbyterian, to have an anti-racism audit done of Heartland Presbytery in the coming year. We have completed an initial planning and selection process and have chosen an experienced consultant to lead the audit. Eric, Rev Scott and two other ministers are also reading and studying the book White Fragility to gain some deeper understanding of the challenge and danger that structural racism (as opposed to individual acts of racial prejudice) poses to us as a church, a community, state and nation.
Congratulations to Trail White on graduating from the Metropolitan Community College. Keep climbing higher, Trail! We are happy to hear of Evan Barclay’s graduation from the Kansas City Art Institute. Hooray! Ave Sweeneykeeps reading up a storm and making jewelry. Mollie Sweeney turned herself into a giraffe via face painting! Fred Culver keeps thinking of ways to create global consciousness even during rehab at St. Luke’s Hospital for a cracked pelvis. We keep Nancy Brockman in our prayers, are always praying for Steven Thomas and his family as Steven has had several setbacks in the past few weeks. Stay alive and stay strong, Steven! We pray for our church family members in grief, the Maxine Lindsey family and the Wardlow family. Carly Simon is moving to Washington for a long stay, in order to care for her ill brother and sister in law. We praise God for the birth of Eli James Rozga Irwin, son and Drew Irwin and Alison Rozga. Rev Scott became a great grandfather last week (Yikes!), as granddaughter Andrea gave birth to Liliana Nova Cortez Myers. The little cherub’s mother and father, Bartolo, are quite happy, along with grandmother, Marisel and great aunts Naz and Ella and uncle Mickey. Roy Fester has a place to live! We praise God! Happy birthday to Gary Gall! Elidah Chibanda has moved to the Phoenix, Arizona area to stay with her daughter, Nyasha and family. She stays in touch through the Livestream worship services. Prayers from Memorial Day Sunday Livestream service for the Lakota Sioux, Navajo nation, Nicole Grechi and family in Brazil, Laurie Murlison on Grand Manan, family of Carol Beggs, business owners trying to stay afloat and pay employees, Ms. Mitchell who lost her brother.
You can give to the church and any of its missions by sending a check to 201 Westport Road, Kansas City, Missouri or going to the website
Photo 1: Our Earth Day Alter. Photo 2: Shower ministry. Photo 3: Shower ministry team preparing food in kitchen. Photo 4: View of the Plaza showing people in KC taking the stay-at-home orders seriously. Photo 5: Jeanne Reiss rescuing Baby Rackety who lost her mother and jumped from a 40-foot-high tree in the neighborhood.
At Westport Presbyterian, we believe that Jesus calls us to—
Love with abandon!
Stand up for justice!
Be healed ourselves!
We’ve recovered from two fires! Now we are on fire!
Our mission for nearly 200 years in Westport is the same:
Create compassionate community!
Make space for God’s grace!
Nurture relationships which create local and global neighbors!
Join us in a life changing adventure!