As Presbyterian polity requires, Westminster is governed by elected leaders, known as Ruling Elders. They work as a leadership team called a Session. The Session is moderated by the Pastor. To ensure that all of our work is done "decently and in good order," Westminster has five standing committees, each chaired by one or more Ruling Elders. This page introduces you to those committees, and provides some background about the purpose of each.
Worship & Music Committee
Worship is, of course, a priority for any church, and Westminster's Worship & Music Committee is charged with providing for meaningful worship to occur and to encourage all God's people to participate fully and regularly in it. Worship is conducted every Sunday morning (during the present public health crisis, via internet video}, as well as on a variety of special occasions throughout the church year. Elder Deb Jones ably leads the Worship & Music committee.
Our pastor, Rev. Caroline Vinson Dennis, typically leads worship and brings to it her unique wisdom and interactive style. When necessary, the Worship & Music Committee arranges for qualified substitutes to lead worship.
Deb Jones, M&W Chair
Although our worship services are generally traditional, they are not formal. A true sense of community exists in worship where every member is known by name and need, visitors are welcomed with open arms, dress does not matter, and all (and yes, we mean all!) are welcome. Our mantra: No one leaves Westminster without being spoken to and invited back!
As noted in our dreams and visions, we are committed to building a choral program. At present, Westminster has two accomplished volunteer organists who alternately give their time supporting our worship services. And guest vocalists and instrumentalists from the community are frequently invited to participate in leading worship.
Sing-along time at our 2020 retreat
Nurture and Education Committee
The mission of the Christian Education Committee is to equip every member of Westminster's church family for ministry:
Through educational programs, including Sunday Studies
Through sharing in fellowship and mutual support (not just cognitive learning)
Through embracing opportunities for witness and service in the world (applying what is learned)
The members of Westminster take seriously the Reformed Doctrine of “The Life of the Mind in the Service of God." We believe that learning is a Christian responsibility that shapes a person's character, informs their faith, influences behavior and informs mission. Our Book of Order states, “Truth in order to goodness.” We adhere to this belief, prioritizing teaching, learning, and living in accordance with an ever deepening understanding of God's call to be faithful disciples.
Kathy Gillespie, Chair N&E Committee
A big part of their work is to develop and supervise the church school and the overall education program of the church for every age group. They also manage the nursery program. The current chair for this committee is Kathy Gillespie.
Recent Sunday morning studies have focused on the Reformed Faith, the history of the Bible in its present form, the devotions of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the church's position on homosexuality, the concept of Toxic Charity, Faith and Science, and various mission topics. We are blessed with a number of skilled volunteer teachers who keep the sessions lively and interactive. No boring PowerPoints allowed!
Quest: Youth show off their Christmas craft project
The congregation at Westminster believes it is very important to enjoy and strengthen the “tie that binds.” That is why opportunities for fellowship are part of our ministry DNA, and the Congregational Care Committee is responsible for ensuring that we gather regularly for a variety of events and activities. Here are just some of the ways we celebrate:
Every Sunday, coffee and breakfast pastries are served in the narthex prior to the 9:00 AM morning study and the 10:00 AM worship service, encouraging members and visitors to connect and interact with one another.
Our members also look forward to regular family night gatherings in the Fellowship Hall, offering informative programs and delicious meals prepared by some exceptional cooks within our congregation.
Seasonal gatherings in members' homes are also regular times for fellowship, good food, recreation, and/or entertainment.
Nancy Dozier and Emily Kienker, co-chairs of Congregational Care
At least twice a year, the congregation enjoys outings at Fellowship Camp and Conference Center on Lake Greenwood, the headquarters of our mission partners, Camping Ministries of the Carolinas.
And we must not forget the Annual Ice Cream Social! Neighboring Presbyterian congregations, friends, and community neighbors join us for homemade ice cream, music, and lots of conversation!
In addition to festive gatherings, our Congregational Care team also reaches out to extend Christian love and care to individuals and families, especially in times of illness, grief, or other needs. Finally, this committee has primary responsibility for internal communications to keep every one of our church members and friends informed and involved.
Missions & Outreach Committee
The Missions & Outreach Committee is called to minister to the community and the world with imagination and courage, and serve as witness to the world of God’s love, which we know through Jesus Christ. We do to this by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and following His instruction to care for "the least of these," wherever and whoever they may be.
As we strive to fulfill this call, our congregation seeks to maintain a "balanced portfolio" of mission opportunities. As Pastor Dennis loves to remind us, it's all about the and--engaging in fundraising for benevolence and in hands-on projects; meeting local needs and addressing global concerns; sharing the Good News of eternity in heaven and dealing with the hard realities of life on this earthly plane.
One excellent example of Westminster's effectiveness in outreach is the new Worship on the Water series, better known as WOW--and for good reason! In partnership with Camp Fellowship, Westminster provides casual Sunday morning worship experience on the lake, for 10 weeks, beginning Memorial Day weekend. Our slogan: "Come in a boat! Come in a car! Come as you are!! [Postponed until 2021 because of COVID-19
The Outreach part of this committee's charge also includes communications to the larger community beyond our walls. We are eager to share our witness to the world and to welcome individuals searching for a church home here in Greenwood, SC.
Claire Kuhl, Chair of M&O Committee
Business Affairs Committee
This committee functions as the heart of our operations, and comprises administrative, financial, human resources, and facilities functions. A huge job and, fortunately, one that retired businessman David Hammond is well equipped to lead. This committee is blessed to have members with the very specific skill sets and experience needed to ensure the financial health and smooth daily operations of our organization.
Westminster is blessed with beautiful facilities. We have a sanctuary completed in 1993 which has a capacity of 450, three offices for staff, a nursery, a toddler room, a well equipped kitchen, fellowship hall, library, parlor, choir room, four adult classrooms, two youth rooms and ten children’s classrooms.
As part of its outreach to the community, Westminster allows it facilities to be used by community service groups at no charge. These include homeowner’s associations, the National Alliance on Mental Illness support group (NAMI), and the Greenwood Amateur Radio Society (GARS).
David Hammond, Business Affairs Chair