Serving Our World

The Mission Services Ministry Team, is also involved in challenges and mission opportunities in impoverished areas outside of Knox County and throughout the world. Both at Westminster and in cooperation with other organizations, we are involved in numerous activities designed to improve the quality of life of individuals and communities. We provide the congregation with opportunity to participate in regional and international mission trips. More specifically, this ministry offers a mechanism for members of Westminster to combat world hunger, provide drinkable water, improve the eyesight of individuals living in remote areas and present health hygiene and spiritual education to communities in need.

Serving Our World img 1Serving Our World img 2Periodically, a group from Westminster participates in regional mission trips, such as work camps in rural Appalachia. Participants range in age from high school youth to retirees. As described by a past participant, this is a wonderful opportunity for both service and fellowship: “Every mission trip in which I participate is unique in its own way. The location, the work group, the work itself, the people we serve, and the intangibles all shape a truly unforgettable experience. Every time I leave familiar surroundings and routines and submerge my self in another environment, even if only for a week, I find myself much more open to God’s voice and guidance.”
Westminster sponsors one international mission trip each year to a remote or impoverished area. We have staffed numerous vision clinics in conjunction with optometrists from VOSH (www.vosh.org). We have also installed several water purification systems and provided hygiene education under the auspices of Living Waters for the World (www.livingwatersfortheworld.org). Trips to a Peruvian medical clinic included a day trip to Machu Picchu. Trips to the Dominican Republic were coordinated through local communities and service organizations, whose members graciously opened their homes to the Westminster congregation. The hospitality fosters cross-cultural appreciation and lifelong friendships.
As Christians, we are called to care for our Earth as Christ cared for us. As a congregation, Westminster recently made a bold step in this commitment. On April 3, 2012, Westminster became a producer of green power with the installation of new solar electric array. Now we’re saving both watts and pledged funds in the process. Our solar electric array will help us put a little less greenhouse gas into the atmosphere and a bit more money into our missions. Click here for more on our Environmental Ministry Team, and here for more on our solar generation project.
For several years, the World Service Ministry Team has organized an alternative Christmas Bazaar to provide Westminster members with options for non-commercial Christmas gifts. Represented organizations and their offerings have included Heifer Project International (see description below), Rachael’s Lament (Christmas cards), Olive Branch Olive Oil (high quality organic olive oil produced by a Palestinian cooperative), Equal Shares (fair trade coffee, cocoa and chocolate bars), 10,000 Villages and People for Just Trade (fair trade craft items from developing nations).
Heifer International (www.heifer.org) provides long-term solutions to hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. Since 1944, Heifer has helped 8.5 million families toward greater self-reliance through the gift of livestock, honey bees, and plants, as well as training in environmentally sound agriculture. The impact of each initial gift is multiplied as recipients agree to “pass on the gift” by giving one or more of their animal’s offspring to another family in need. Each year in November, the members of Westminster have the opportunity to support this international program.
The Mission Service Ministry Team provides the congregation with the opportunity to support special programs sponsored by the Presbyterian Church. The Peacemaking Offering supports General Assembly and Synod’s peacemaking efforts and the World Service Ministry Team uses 25% of this offering to support a special cause. The Christmas Joy Offering supports missionaries, as well as low income and retired church personnel. The One Great Hour of Sharing offering supports people such as refugees and displaced individuals, people in need because of political unrest, natural disasters and hunger.
The World Service Ministry supports the ongoing education of future ministers, Christian educators, and church personnel by providing financial support to Presbyterian seminaries.