We want to celebrate your generosity in participating in our Canned Food Drive! You gave a TON of food- Literally! Westsider’s contributed over 2000 pounds (1 ton) of food to stock up for our upcoming monthly Free Food Markets. Thank You for your kindness and your commitment to caring for others.
Our March Free Food Market, in partnership with Neighbor Impact, will take place this coming Monday, March 22nd, 1:30-3:00pm.
We will be distributing food to any and all individuals and families who need them. If you are in need of some supplementary groceries, we invite you to come to our drive-through food ministry at the Westside Church parking lot.
You can find all the details at westsidechurch.org/outreach
Hi Westside Church family. As I thought about the most recent covid-restrictions, several ideas were rumbling around in my mind and spirit to share with you.
First, there are people genuinely worried about their and their loved ones well being. Second, there are people genuinely concerned about the limitations on our freedoms as American citizens and the impact of our economy’s restrictions. Third, we must continue to seek God’s voice and obey his leading.
From the very beginning, we have felt that God was asking us to stand in solidarity with our community. To even lay aside our rights as citizens of America if needed to love our region well. We have sought to follow Jesus and his way of love. The vast majority of our church has appreciated the careful and wise steps we have taken in returning to services, caring for our Faith community, and reaching out to the hurting all around us. We can do this. We can change how people see the church and respond to the gospel simply by responding with love and kindness to our community at this moment. How we serve them and lay our lives down for them matters.
In light of this, I wanted to let you know our plans at Westside. We will be moving back to an online-only Sunday service for the next few weeks. We encourage our home churches and small groups to continue meeting if they are able and comfortable but limiting their in-person numbers to 25. For groups that are not comfortable meeting, let us know. We can provide you with digital resources and support to help you continue meeting and connecting via Zoom.
I want to emphasize the importance of connecting during this season. Many are isolated and feeling the weight of that isolation emotionally. If that describes you, then please let us help you find a home church. We also have pastors who are willing to connect with you. Don’t walk alone. Please reach out if you need any type of assistance: physical, emotional, or spiritual.
During this unique season, God is faithful. He is building his church. We continue to hear amazing stories of how Westsiders are finding new and creative ways to connect, care for one another, and minister more effectively in our community.
How should each of us respond to this moment? I’m convinced the call to every Westsider is to extravagantly love those in your sphere and look for opportunities to love outside your sphere. Start with the people around you. Make sure they are ok. Encourage them. Share with them your faith and confidence in the Lord. Pray with them. And look for opportunities to help those outside of your sphere. We’ve all learned how to smile with our eyes. Do that. Everywhere. When I was a kid, I would pray to have the eyes of Jesus. I don’t know why I prayed that, but I wanted my eyes to exude the love of Jesus. This is a great time to ask for that and to practice it. Food drives. Not hoarding. Giving away anything extra you have—coats for the homeless, our giving tree launches online next week where you can digitally choose families in need and buy Christmas gifts for them. Asking everyone you meet, is there anything I can do for you, can go a long way.
1 Corinthians 13 says that perfect love drives out fear. The road forward for each of us is to not drive out fear with fear but with love. Anxiety is often crouching at the door of our hearts, but we don’t have to let it control us or rule over us. Let’s encourage one another, pray for one another (including our government officials, those working on therapies and vaccines, local businesses and those out of work or struggling financially, and for first responders who are bearing the brunt of the current rise of COVID cases).
The leadership team at Westside love you and pray for you often. Be strong in the Lord, steadfast, placing our hope in his enduring love.
Update: Results from the drive are in! A total of 201 bundles of clothes were created for kids of all ages in our community. Thank you for supporting these children through meeting this vital tangible need.
Families all around us are facing increasing levels of stress and trauma. Sometimes this results in children experiencing unexpected transitions. Our heart here at Westside is that every child would have a family to love them—and we are committed to being that family in every way we can.
Our For the City Donation drive this month is focused on meeting an immediate need of children undergoing sudden, traumatic transition. Most often kids are placed in foster care with just the clothing they are wearing when the family crisis occurs. DHS has asked us to create clothing bundles for these boys and girls of all ages to ease that stressful experience.
Watch this video as Melissa Williams, Director of Every Child Central Oregon explains:
If you would like to help with this critical need, please do the following:
pick an age (teen sizes are especially in high demand)
purchase socks, underwear, pajamas, and outfit that coordinates with that age
bundle the items in one bag of any kind
you can also purchase individual items to donate, or feel free to work together as a Home Church to create bundles.
All Kids Clothing can then be dropped off at the Westside Church Drop off station on July 14th, from 8:30am to 6:30 pm. Together- we can show love for our city and extend care to a vulnerable child.
Questions? Contact Chris Earwicker at email@example.com
Partnering with Aloha Produce to feed those in need in our city—we are providing fresh produce and dairy to any and all families in need on Thursday,July 9 at 5:30 pm.
We will have a Spanish language host present at this food distribution event, and it will take place in our parking lot. Please join us by picking up food for your family, or sharing this information with friends and neighbors in need.
Interested in volunteering?
Food boxes for our Produce & Dairy Distribution were provided by Aloha Produce through a federal grant that they received. In order to get boxes for future events at Westside, Madras and Warm Springs, we need to help pack boxes for community-wide distribution. Volunteer opportunities are as follows:
Wednesday July 1st and 8th, volunteers are needed from 12:30 pm until 3:30 pm to pack food boxes at Aloha Produce (20485 Murray Rd, Bend). This is an assembly line where volunteers add items to the boxes as they pass by on rollers. Easy, fun and team-oriented!
We need volunteers for the July 9 Produce & Dairy Distribution day, to prepare goods, help with parking and loading of cars, from 4:00pm to 6:30pm.
Please contact Gonzalo at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Hi Westside! As we’ve been watching the events unfold in the USA (and around the world) recently, we’ve been deeply challenged to examine issues of inequality that have emerged from COVID-19 as well as racial inequality and pain, including our own context with Aboriginal Australians. We’ve had some vulnerable and constructive times with our team, unpacking hard issues, asking questions that have no easy answers, and offering our lament and commitment through worship and prayer. We feel more convinced than ever that the way to address pain is through the eyes and action of Jesus and we’re trying to faithfully lean into him as we continue to serve in our own local context.
The biggest blessing from the pandemic season is our daily “house church” with our team of amazing young people. Through worship and prayer we feel more full of God’s heart for our own city and the nations we serve through our work here. While we’ve had to curb some of our community activity due to pretty tight restrictions in Australia, we’ve also had time to reimagine what reaching our community looks like with creativity as well as online avenues. We’ve been supporting those in our community who sleep “rough” with warm take-away meals. (We really miss getting to eat together though—take away meals don’t lend themselves as much to genuine relationship as sharing a table does!) We have also expanded the Our Scarlett Stories ministry to bereaved families and are currently supporting 80+ women with grief care online. Something that might sound “boring” that is a huge breakthrough for us is that we’ve also achieved government certification for our training which means we can welcome more young leaders to our team through student visa program (when our borders re-open). This has been a major pandemic breakthrough for us! When borders open we have five staff waiting to join our team as well as our next Discipleship Training School starting in September. Please pray our borders will safely open soon!
As we find ourselves in a sensitive time during this cultural moment, our prayer for ourselves and for you is that we would stay both tender and tenacious, engage from a place of hope (rooted in Christ), and always be open to new ways to love our neighbors well. Focused, faithful, fruitful—this is our prayer.