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In Passion and Praise

Each week at Westside, we speak and hear words that are meant to inspire, to educate, to encourage, to amuse. We hear music that is light-hearted, and music that is deeply reflective. We consider topics that are uplifting, and those that are upsetting. What connects all of this? How do we decide just what goes into our Sunday services? Though I may be the most visible person up front on Sunday mornings, our worship experience is created by a whole team of amazing people with a wide range of gifts, talents, passions and interests. Our team of worship associates— Sue Draper, Chris Edkins, Ellen Greenwood, David Howell, and Suzanne Molnar—gathers regularly to choose the broad themes, specific topics, and particular speakers that are presented on Sundays. We work with the Religious Exploration team—Grechen Wingerter, Linda Chavez and Program Coordinator Wendy Weiss—to come up with concepts that will match well the programs being created for the children. And of course, the music team—Music Coordinator Anne Scott, pianists Mary Donovan, Geoff Mazeroff, Sandra Thomas, and the choir—plays a huge part in shaping our worship experience. And we add to this a congregation filled with wisdom on many topics, from many different areas of expertise, and the pool of presenters expands a great deal.

But even all that doesn’t answer the question, “What drives what we do on Sunday mornings?” The best answer I can give is this: passion and praise. What guides us most deeply in our choices is the things that we care about and value most deeply. The things that we are passionate about inspire us to explore further, learn more, and ask deeper questions. We bring to worship things that we love, that entertain us and lighten our hearts, or make us feel at home, or reassured in difficult times. Choices for each week, each season and each year are also shaped by the most pressing needs of the church. For example, Westside is currently coming out of a time focused on who we are inside the church, and moving into a phase of reaching out beyond our own walls more fully. Therefore, we’re looking at various social issues that Westsiders care about, and might want to do more, collectively, to address. What are you passionate about? What do you want to hear about, talk about, or learn about on Sunday morning? Sunday mornings are a time for all of us to create something special together, so we would love to hear your ideas. If you have a topic that interests you, either as a speaker or listener, please share it with me or someone on the worship team. If you have a talent you’d like to share, please let us know. And if you have ideas for ways we can improve our Sunday morning experience, please consider sharing that with us as well.

Looking forward to hearing from you, Rev. Carol

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