The following letter was sent out with the quarterly financial statements, thanking the congregation for their support, and listing some of the great things that have been happening at West Side recently.
Dear West Side family,
I want to personally thank you for your support of our church and its ministry. This transition time has not always been easy for us, because change is almost always hard. So I especially appreciate your regular and faithful giving during this time. Here are highlights of some of the positive and life-changing things that have been happening at West Side this past quarter because of your support:
- Thirty-five of our teenagers and 3 adults participated in the 30-hour famine, raising $6000 for World Vision and experiencing the hunger many in the world go through daily. Stacy Kutz said “The response by our youth amazed and challenged me. During our post-famine Bible study the youth shared that they would like us to adopt a refugee family. How can I say no to that?!!”
- Our 2 Easter services had a total attendance of 395, and worshippers heard a dramatic first-person account of the resurrection by Mary Magdalene (Sue Nealson), a great sermon by Shari and the thrilling Hallelujah Chorus witnessing to the risen King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
- Over 300 visited our first-ever Stations of the Cross exhibit which featured wonderful artistic expressions of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. I’ll bet you didn’t realize we had such gifted artists in our church family! It was great for them to be able to share their gifts and faith with us.
- Hundreds came to our huge garage sale; 105 adults and students helped with the set-up; over 90 worked the sale; 55 helped with the clean-up; 10 charities came at the end for unsold items and over $34,000 was raised to make our big Memorial Day Retreat affordable for our youth. Mary Ann DeVry, head of one of the non-profits wrote, “I thank West Side Presbyterian for the community service that your mega-sale provides. I realize it takes A LOT of work to prepare for this sale and to make it run so smoothly. It is a wonderful community service you’re providing!”
- On Scout Sunday we honored our own Troop 282, one of the top Scouting programs in all of Western Washington, with 80 Cub Scouts (ages 6-10) and 70 Boy Scouts (ages 11-17). As a Troop 282 charter member 69 years ago, I can personally attest to the life-changing leadership training and skills that young men receive from the Boy Scouts.
- Fifty-two young marrieds (26 couples, 21 from outside our church family), took part in our last Date Night. They heard a short talk on marriage from Shari and went out for a date while our young people took care of their children.
- About 50 have taken our first two Financial Peace University courses, half of those from outside the church family. Another class is just starting.
- A well-received community outreach is our West Side Wednesday program for children of working parents, when school gets out at 1:00 on Wednesdays. Thirty-three grade school kids participate, only 2 from our church family. One parent commented “this has been a life-saver.”
- Over 25 different volunteers help with the Community Meal every other Saturday. Recent attendance has averaged about 50. Lin Snavely reports, “Our volunteers often say that doing this service is ‘the real deal’ in following Jesus.” Seven West Siders are teaching ESL at Highland Park and reading at Highpoint Neighborhood House and four are helping with foster care support.
- The new monthly Fellowship Meal after worship on Communion Sundays has been well attended and has taken our sense of church family to a new level. Thank you to Madeline May and crew!
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…” (Philippians 1:3-5)
~ Dr. Ronald B. Rice, Parish Associate