- Increase the impact of community outreach, leveraging existing programs.
- Connect people in multi-cultural and multi-generational opportunities/experiences.
- Engage with stakeholders in addressing current community crises, such as mental
- health, addictions, gun violence, and loneliness.
- Connect people to ministries based on their life experiences and spiritual gifts.
As our vision team discussed how to best serve the community, we decided addiction and mental health education would be our priority. We partnered with the Chester County Drug Prevention Task Force to bring educational programs to our church to enlighten our congregation about the opioid/heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic affecting the country.
To better inform our pastors, we put together mental health/addiction resource binders for each of them to have. Moving forward, we would love to share these binders with other churches and perhaps have combined workshops to educate them about Addiction.
We had an Awareness Sunday which featured 3 members of the congregation sharing their journeys with Addiction. We had resource materials and established a section in the library featuring books on various mental health/addiction topics. We also incorporated a prescription drug drop-off and will continue this on a yearly basis.
In 2020, as the pandemic overtook the Unites States, we focused our attention on helping our community. Listed below are some of the things we did:
- Blessing bags for West Chester Senior Center and continued food collection
- Making masks for the congregation
- Featured congregation members small businesses
- Donated money to local partner organizations for food, transportation (CVIM)
- Putting mental health/addiction resources and webinars on Westminster social media pages
- Wrote Thank You letters to health care workers and distributed snacks
- Applied for Endowment Grant for Melton Center, West Chester Day Nursery and West Chester Area School District/Padres Latinos
- Now as we move out of the pandemic, we are turning our attention back to Addiction. We are planning our Second Awareness Sunday in October 2021.
Our future goals include:
- We see our vision team as one of the visionaries so we want to find “holes” in the community that are not being filled and find out who we can task to make it happen.
- We would like to see a Recovery Home or Counseling Center for those suffering from addiction/mental health issues as part of the development plan for the land Westminster owns. As part of this, transportation will need to be addressed so individuals will be able to get to church to attend the various services Westminster will offer.
- Continue educating our congregation on mental health and addiction.
- Educate the congregation on ways they can serve the community with a new Outreach bimonthly email, The Nerve to Serve, to congregation)
Team Members: Ken Ballinger (Co-chair), Terri Pennington (Co-chair), Alison Wood, Jason Cabot, Cathryn Schenk, Laureen Smith, Gail Tanzola-Seymour, Carol Wawrzyniak, Madeleine Day, Brenda Schivito and Ann Hatfield (Pastor)