Please check this page often for updates regarding our response to COVID-19.
UPDATE - March 27, 2020 - 11:16 a.m.
Hello Everyone! Here is your Friday Update from Westwood. Please scroll through and see whats happening and how you can stay connected. As you may have heard, Governor Northam issued an executive order which prohibits gatherings over 10 people through April 23. As a result, your Church Visioning Council has voted to keep Westwood closed through the 23rd of April or until such time as the Governor rescinds the executive order. This is a tough time for all of us. But we do not need to be IN the church to BE the church. Find ways to reach out and be the presence of Christ right where you are. I hope to "see" you on Sunday!
Ways To Connect This Coming Week
•Sunday School - Several Classes are Meeting via Zoom. Your teacher will be in touch! If you would like to join a class please e-mail Pastor Stephen for info.
•Sunday Worship - March 29th 11:00 am FACEBOOK LIVE (facebook.com/WestwoodBaptist)
•Youth Sunday Night Live! - March 29th 6:00 pm ZOOM (email for link)
•Wednesday Night Bible Study - April 1st 6:30 pm ZOOM (email for link)
Irving Middle School Project
We have been asked to fill 1,000 weekend snack bags for students who need food and to help[ distribute those bags on Friday mornings at Irving. We will be doing the packing on Sunday, March 29th from 1:00 - 5:00. We will use Signup Genius to create 30 minute shifts of 7 people only. We will make sure everyone practices good distancing habits while here so join us!
Go here to sign up! signupgenius.com/go/805094DA5AE29A7FF2-irving
Youth Small Groups
Here is the Youth Small Group Zoom meeting schedule, through April:
•High School Girls Small Group - Wednesdays at 3 p.m.
•Youth Guys Small Group - Thursdays at 7 p.m.
•Middle School Girls Small Group - Fridays at 6:30 p.m.
Contact the Church Office for more information.
The ECHO food pantry is currently experiencing high demand, and supplies need replenishing at this time as they expect demand to continue to grow in the immediate future. ECHO will be accepting only donations of food, health/cleaning products, and financial contributions. Please do not bring clothing items at this time. Food and health items, especially hand sanitizer and wipes, may be dropped off at the ECHO donation door (7205 Old Keene Mill Rd. Springfield, VA 22150) Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 am- 12:30 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.; or left in the grey box outside the church office. Financial donations may be dropped off at ECHO; made on their website (www.echo-inc.org) using the Donate Money tab; or by a check marked ECHO on the memo line mailed to the church. ECHO is grateful for community contributions to aid their clients (and our neighbors), many of whom are in work situations where leave is not covered by other means.
Dick Marvin - ECHO Liaison for Westwood
Women on a Mission Update
The Women on a Mission had a great time at our March meeting. Thanks to everyone’s hard work we stuffed and sewed together 36 mastectomy pillows, which will be donated to the Women’s Hospital at Inova Fairfax. What an accomplishment! Thank you, ladies. We will not have our April meeting. We hope each of you is doing well during this stressful time.
Judi Kern and Joy Earner
Green Team Update
Greetings from the Green Team, and welcome to your new normal! As Bryan discussed in his March 15 Facebook Live sermon, it’s always something. For the Israelites, it was water for themselves and their animals. For us, it’s the corona virus that’s complicating work and home life, not to mention our need to be together physically.
Some are calling our current predicament the "Green Recession" because humans have not been treating God’s creation very well, resulting in freakish temperatures this winter of 92 degrees in Alaska and 65 in Antarctica.
You know what you can do, too, because you are doing some of these things now: Drive less. Walk more. Eat less meat, more vegetables. Use less water. Shop sustainably. Use (way) less plastic. Recycle and compost. Turn your thermostat down 1 degree and put on a sweater instead.
You can give a little bit back to our earth too. Carbon offsets allow individuals (and companies) to invest in environmental projects around the world in order to balance out their own carbon footprints.
Each American averages a carbon footprint of 16.6 tons of CO2 per year. That is pure waste that you unfortunately can’t see, so it’s easy to ignore.
Our carbon footprint is the sum total of how our everyday activities impact the environment, measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). CO2 is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases. Understanding how big your carbon footprint is— or how much your lifestyle impacts the environment— is a key first step in living sustainably. You can’t manage what you don’t measure!
Think of it in terms of getting a diagnosis of high cholesterol when you visit your doctor.
1. Your doctor does a blood test to measure your cholesterol levels. (Carbon Footprint Calculator)
2. If your cholesterol is high, the first thing you might do is try to lower it by changing your lifestyle, with things like exercising more or eating healthier. (Recycling, walking, using less electricity, etc.)
3. If that’s not enough, you might also need to take medicine to help control your high cholesterol. (Carbon Offsets)
Clean-up costs are hitting us now, and will certainly affect the lives of our children and grandchildren. You can buy carbon offsets from companies like terrapass.com for $5 per half-ton to fund projects like building wind farms or reducing landfill methane emissions. Also, you can buy renewable energy through Dominion Energy Green Power for a couple extra dollars per month: https://www.dominionenergy.com/home-and-small-business/renewable-energy-programs/va-green-power/green-power-for-my-home
Please listen to Bryan when he says, "God’s always there to help us!"
Dave Schmitz - Green Team Rep
UPDATE - March 16, 2020 - 3:49 p.m.
Dear Westwood Family,
What a strange time we are living in. As I mentioned during our live-stream on Sunday morning – this is not normal. We can’t pretend that life is not weird right now - and we can’t pretend that it will be easy to go back to the way things were. The virus that we are all "social-distancing" from will be gone in due time. However, the consequences will affect us for many months to come. We need each other now more than ever. We need to be the church together now more than ever.
This letter is designed to share with you what Westwood has planned for these next few weeks as we seek to build community. I hope you will take the time to read it and more importantly, find ways to join us as we continue to be the presence of Christ.
Beginning on Tuesday, March 17th I will be sending a daily e-mail devotional to everyone on our e-mail list each weekday. These e-mails will include scripture, prayers, and a brief devotional along with prayer requests. If you are not getting e-mails from us please send an e-mail to Martha Newman so we can put you on our list. If you would like to request a hard copy of these devotionals, please contact us at the church office and we will send you a batch of them every Friday.
Kids Time with Pastor Bryan
Starting on Thursday, March 19 I will be doing a ZOOM call with our kids each Thursday afternoon at 2:00. We will be reading a story and talking about it. We will use ZOOM so that kids can see each other on the conference. To access the video call, just go to this website: zoom.us/j/822507320 We will also post a link on Facebook and via e-mail on each morning of the call so kids can log on, listen to a story, and connect with me and each other. Parents feel free to share this link with other families!
Wednesday Bible Study
Beginning this Wednesday, March 18th Pastor Stephen will be leading a Facebook Live Bible Study. Join him on Facebook Live at 6:30pm. You can also watch the video replay on our Facebook page if you can’t make it live.
Sunday Morning Worship
We will join together on Facebook Live each Sunday morning at 11:00. I strongly encourage you to join us live for these services. It’s important to “connect” with everyone. For those of you who were with us last Sunday, you know that the Holy Spirit bound us together in a unique way. The Spirit works in amazing ways and I am convinced that God is present with us in our time together. Please make Sunday mornings a priority by joining live if at all possible.
During our time away from each other our Deacons will meet via ZOOM on a regular basis to touch base on family needs and to pray for our congregation. If you have a concern or a need please do not hesitate to reach out to your deacon.
Youth Small Groups
We are working with our Youth Small Group Leaders to be able to have small groups via ZOOM. Each small group leader will be in touch with their students to set up a schedule for meeting weekly.
Virtual Dinner Parties
We are encouraging you to try having a virtual dinner party every Friday night! Just pick another family or two, set a time, and join each other for dinner on-line. You can use Skype or Zoom or Facetime. You can also use Facebook Messenger video calls. It’s a great way to stay connected.
Check on Your Neighbors
Take some time this week to knock on the door of a neighbor or two. Just stand at the door and ask them if there is anything they might need. Write your name and phone number on a card to give to them. Chances are they won’t need anything, but you will have made a connection. Feel free to share the information about our Facebook Live worship times in case they might want to join us.
Write a Note or Card
With all the technology we are using, it’s still nice to get a note from someone! Take a moment two or three times during the week to write a note or card to a church member –especially ones who live alone or might just need a word of encouragement. If you have kids, have them draw pictures to send with the note!
Unfortunately, the expenses of our church continue. If you have not done so yet, please consider on-line giving. It’s quick and easy. Just go to our website and click the Online Giving link. Or, you can give via REALM. Just go to your profile and click give. Additionally, you can mail your check to the church office, or drop it by during office hours (M-Th 8:30-3:30; Friday 8:30-12:30).
Be The Church
As I mentioned on Sunday morning, we can continue to be the church even though we are not meeting together. Now is the time to reach out in love to each other and to those who are going to be affected by this pandemic. If you need help, please let us know! We already have offers from people who will go grocery shopping and run other errands as needed. Continue to pray for each other and for our world during these days.
I am praying for all of you. I’m so happy to be your pastor!
UPDATE - March 13, 2020 - 9:03 p.m.
Dear Westwood Family,
Tonight your Church Visioning Council met via conference call and decided to close our building until March 31, 2020. What this means is:
Here are some things to remember:
You will be hearing from me again soon. I hope to see you on Facebook Live this Sunday at 11:00. Until then, take care of each other!
I am so happy to be your pastor!
UPDATE - March 13, 2020 - 12:23 p.m.
Dear Westwood Family,
What a week it has been. The Covid-19 virus has begun to change our lives in ways that we could not have imagined just a few days ago. I need to share with you several updates regarding life at Westwood. Please take a moment to read this note and share it with others who need to see it.
These are indeed scary times. But we do not need to be scared people. I'm reminded of this verse from Isaiah 41:10:
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. (The Message Translation)
God does have a grip on us. Thanks be to God.
UPDATE - March 11, 2020 - 3:49 p.m.
"Faith, Hope, Love, and Coronavirus"
Earlier this week I wrote a letter to our active deacons about how we can serve in a world that’s gone crazy with fear. I wanted to share a little of those thoughts with you as we move deeper into the unknown with COVID-19.
First of all, know that we are taking wise precautions to do our part to limit the spread of this virus. We are not going to panic – but we will try and be smart. Remember, check our Facebook page for regular updates.
The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that in the end, after all the fear, all the worry, all the striving, all the “trying to do my best” – three things remain. Faith. Hope. Love.
We start with FAITH. Faith is that acknowledgement that someone other than us is in control. Faith means putting our trust in the God who created us and this world. Faith is a decision to follow the example of Christ – no matter how strange it may seem in the moment. Faith is a recognition that our past, our present, and our future are all wrapped up in the purpose and plan of God.
Faith is what leads to HOPE. Without faith, there is no hope. Hope is not wishful thinking. It is instead an undeniable assurance that all is well, all is well, and all manner of things will be well. Hope allows us to not become swamped in fear. It reminds us that God’s “got this” and we don’t have to worry. In fact, all we have to do is rest in the confidence of hope.
And it is this hope that allows us to LOVE – which Paul reminds us is the greatest of the three. We can love because we have faith and because we have hope. Our faith leads to hope, our hope leads to love, and love is what allows us to open ourselves and serve those around us.
The world, and your neighbors, could use some love right now. Fear, especially fear of the unknown, can drive people to do some pretty crazy things. (Have you TRIED to buy toilet paper?) Our call as Christians is to be the presence of Christ in the world. This means living in hope and serving in Love.
Are there things you can do to show love when the world is falling apart? Think of ways to get out of the fear and reach out to those who need to know that they are cared for and loved. I have a feeling your own fear will decrease as a result.
UPDATE - March 7, 2020 - 6:32 a.m.
IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM PASTOR BRYAN
Hey everyone! I wanted to give you a brief update about the Covid-19 virus and its impacts on Westwood. As you may have heard, this virus seems to impact vulnerable populations more than others. In fact, the CDC tells us that 80% of people who contract the virus will see very mild symptoms. However, we do have members of our congregation who fall into the "vulnerable population" category. We care about these individuals and want to do everything we can to protect them.
So, here are some steps you can take and we as a church are taking to help limit the spread of Covid-19:
1. Be people of prayer, not people of panic. When you find yourself listening to too much news coverage or to someone who is sensationalizing, stop and pray. Pray for the spread to slow. Pray for front-line health care workers. Pray for people you know. Prayer is the first step to cutting down fear.
2. If you are sick, stay home. We love you and want to see you - but we don't want you to spread what you've got! This goes for the regular old flu as well. We know you will be back with us as soon as you are well.
3. Practice good health habits. We have several hand-sanitizers around the church but the best way to stop the spread of anything is to wash your hands! Robin has a sign up in our bathroom that reads "Wash your hands and say your prayers because Jesus and germs are everywhere." Good advice for all of us!
4. Make sure the church has your e-mail address and that you have "liked" our Facebook page. These are the primary ways we will communicate with you.
5. Last Sunday we started replacing handshakes during our Greeting Time with fist bumps or waves. We will continue to do so. When you see someone on Sunday and want to greet them, just give them a first bump or a wave. If there are other things we do at Westwood that need to be modified we will let you know.
6. If you have not done so already, please consider electronic giving. You can set up a regular gift so when you are away for vacation, sports games, or illness you don't have to worry about it. To check out electronic giving just go to our web-page, westwood-baptist.org, and click the "give" button. Then follow the directions for a one-time or on-going gift. You can also set up electronic giving from your REALM account.
Again, we want to be a people of prayer, not a people of panic. But we also want to show love and care for those in our church who might be more vulnerable to this virus. Thank you for your help. I'll see you on Sunday - one hour earlier!
I love being your pastor!