Westminster is a vibrant community of faith that seeks to do God’s work. When we reach out to help others, it is not only the recipient of our outreach whose life is changed, but ours as well.
We have captured real stories of joy and gratitude from our members, our friends, as well as our local and global partners as God’s abundant love echoes through their lives and reverberates through the lives of others. We are calling these powerful stories “Echoes” and we want to share them with you.
It is an unusually hot day in September. I sit down with Debbie at one of the long tables in the basement of the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew at 720 North Orange Street, which is Friendship House’s Women’s Day Center. The doors opened this Wednesday at 6:30 a.m., as they do every weekday, to homeless women for the early morning hospitality program that offers a place to shower, a rest room, beverages, and a sanctuary from the heat outside.
In 2008, my friend Shelly invited me to come to church with her. I was hesitant because I had never gone to a youth group before and had not gone to church in years. I remember telling her I didn’t want to go because I felt like I was too non-religious and socially awkward to join such a group. Also, I had just moved from Seattle, Washington, and didn’t fit in at my school, so I didn’t think I would fit in a church youth group either. Shelly convinced me to go with her, and it was probably the best decision I’ve made.
I have spent my entire life as an active member of Westminster Presbyterian Church. I was baptized here, spent a couple years in the cribbery as a baby, progressed through the various grade-level Sunday school classes, and participated in the Sunshine Choir, Youth Club, and, currently, 180°.
As an eight-year-old at Westminster Presbyterian, coming to church each Sunday was something I assumed everyone did. All of my friends were Christian, and all of my family was Christian. The idea that somebody might not believe what I did just never occurred to me.
By becoming an academic mentor to kids in need, a Westminster member built a relationship with a fourth grader and found hope and encouragement in our youth as future leaders.
The image of bullets flying and the prospects of a short life are all too real for our kids and families. Our ability to serve these children relies on the generosity of those of us who have so much.
Funds from Westminster help Gloria, a 47-year-old single parent to a 16-year-old son, get through a difficult time.
Saturday May 23, 2009, was the day that my cousin died of a very specific cancer that I did not know existed until she was diagnosed in 2007. I know this exact date because that was my 14th birthday. I don’t remember much about that birthday other than receiving the news that she had passed.
We see them everywhere... part of the urban landscape. Dark ill-fitting clothes, shoes coated with dirt, much in need of a haircut. Mostly men. Some are poor because of bad decisions, bad choices. But most are in this impoverished state because of circumstances they did not create.
Going through life at Westminster has given me opportunities to learn about my faith, and has helped me to understand the faith of others. My experiences in church have taught me how important diversity is, and how meaningful my church family can be.
I will be 30 tomorrow. I have lived in Delaware since I was three. I spent six and a half months in the Gateway Foundation, a long term treatment facility. I was going to move back to Dover where my son lives, but I knew I needed a completely fresh start.
As a Westminster Urban Mission and Family Promise volunteer, I am continually reminded how important our WPC outreach programs are to so many families in New Castle County. I had the fortune to get to know the Ruggiero family in late November during their stay at Westminster through Family Promise.