18 February 2017
Dear Friends of Westminster,
It is with a heavy heart that I share with you some changes that are coming at Westminster Presbyterian Church (Tacoma). At the Annual Meeting of the Congregation this past Sunday, February 12th, the Session read a statement of intent to begin the process of closure for this congregation.
This decision comes at the end of a long journey. In my almost nine years at Westminster, we have strategically attempted several methods of redevelopment and revitalization. Over the past three years, we have been talking with the congregation, with the church’s leadership, and with the Presbytery about the issues facing Westminster. Like many congregations in our denomination, we have been seeking to faithfully care for an aging population, and living in the reality of declining membership. In addition, our congregation has also been working through conflict that took root here over fifty years ago and has spanned many generations of our congregation’s life.
In January, the Congregation participated in Veritas, a tool from the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) designed to help congregations tell themselves the truth about their energy, vision, and means as they think about following God into the future. The congregation was united in their recognition that we are at a critical or at risk moment in our life together.
As a result of the Veritas conversation, and following feedback, the Session was unanimous in their recommendation that our congregation become a “Living Legacy” church. The Session has worked diligently to craft a meaningful plan for handling our affairs in a way that seeks to bring blessing to our neighborhood, our Presbytery, and our world. It is our desire that by making what we believe to be a difficult and faithful decision in this matter, we will allow space and resources to open the possibility for a new worshipping community (or communities) to emerge.
We are deeply grateful to COM for their partnership with us in the past few years as we have desired to be faithful in worship, discipleship, and stewardship - despite these many challenges. We would appreciate your prayers for our members and friends as we walk this road together. We trust God will continue to lead us as we seek to serve him faithfully in this, as in all things.
Rev. Heather James