October 2019

Dear Friends of Westview,

I was talking to a group of people, at the rec center, the other night and mentioned that I was a pastor at the church across the street. One of the parents said, “Oh you are the pastor at the Boy Scout Church!” That is a great way to be known. The Boy Scout Church, the Meals on Wheels Church, the FCE Church, the A.A. church, and many more names are great ways to let God be known. We reach out into our community in so many ways and that reaching out is an awesome way to witness to the love and generosity of God. We have opened the building that God has provided to the community as a way of reaching the people God wants us to reach. Is it enough?

The short answer is no, it is not enough. It is a start but ministry is as passive as letting others do things. So we must do more than opening our spaces to people. We need to talk with people and develop relationships that are deep and meaningful. As these relationships develop we share what and how God has blessed us. We share what we know about God and listen to how God is blessing the other person. The important and great thing about this is that we can do this with all of the people we encounter. People that do not look like us, act like us, believe like us, love like us, vote like us, and are different from us can teach us a whole lot about the power
of God’s love, grace, and mercy.

To that end I ask that you go forth from your comfort zones and talk to your neighbor or the clerk at the store and invite them to church so that they can join our family and be a part of something that is great and wonderful.

Blessings in Jesus’ Name,
Pastor Tom

Online Giving

At Westview, we want to encourage you to give intentionally, with prayerful consideration of what God is asking of you, in line with your planned family budget. (We have many resources from Dave Ramsey in our library, that you are more than welcome to check out!)

To make intentional giving a little easier, we’ve added online tithing, via secure website portal or app. You can even set up your giving as a recurring debit so it will always be the priority it should be.

If you are getting receipts emailed to you, we are transitioning to this new system as the old application is no longer supported. You can always opt out of these emails by clicking the button in the email. Send questions directly to me! Thanks!

https://wumcfairview.churchcenter.com/giving/to/general

Keep it Positive!

Our Staff Parish Relations Committee recently

At Westview UMC we believe that gossip is detrimental to our church family and the world around us. We ask everyone involved at Westview to refrain from bringing negative issues to anyone who isn’t directly involved or who can’t solve the problem. We expect our staff and leaders to refrain from gossip.

How do you deal with the negativity in your life?

August 2019

Dear Westview UMC Family and Friends,


Pastors often hear, “I’ve done my time.” This is most commonly said in response to a request for volunteers. “I’ve done my time.” It seems that this saying equates volunteering and Kingdom Work with jail. I’ve done my time now I’m free to do whatever I want. I wonder what would have happened if Abraham had said to God, “I’ve done my time.” What if Mary, Moses, Noah, or any number of others had used this loophole?

Kingdom Work is work that we do to build up the Kingdom of God, to add to God’s family, and Good Works. These are behaviors that we as Christians should engage. At Westview we claim to be the hands of Christ right here for our community. God’s hands are anything but idle. God’s actions are purposeful and loving. Therefore as God’s hands we too must act with purpose and love.

“I’ve done my time.” Abraham and Sarah were around ninety years old when God moved them to and fro. They responded, “Here I am!” even though the how of what was to happen remained a mystery. Mary also responded with, “Here I am!” even though she was a young girl facing an uncertain path. Noah, Moses, David, and many more all responded, “Here I am.”

A woman from a previous church taught me a great deal about ministry. She was a cradle Methodist. That is she was born, raised, and grew old in Methodist churches. She was very active. She taught Sunday school, led the youth group, held leadership positions, and was a great Christian. This lady suffered many health issues later in life that caused her to be homebound unable to do the ministries that she loved so much. That didn’t stop her. God put a ministry on her heart and she responded, “Here I am.” She began writing notes of encouragement to the people in the church. She expanded that to the people in her neighborhood. She sent notes to elected officials simply giving encouragement. She wrote thousands of notes.

When she lost her eyesight people thought, “She’s done her time.” This wonderful lady turned that into, “Here I am!” She recruited her granddaughter to write the notes as she dictated them! This was a wonderful bonding experience for them and when this sweet lady passed over to glory her granddaughter continued writing those wonderful notes of encouragement.


Let us all turn, “I’ve done my time” into “Here I am Lord!


Blessings,
Pastor Tom

July 2019


As I was walking through Walmart this past week I noticed the back to school displays and realized how excited the children must be. After all how much freedom, fun, and fresh air can a child take before they go back to school?  It did make me realize that time has kept marching on and maybe even increased pace this summer. It seems that yesterday I was writing about summer vacations and family time and here it is the beginning of the school year.

Most of the children I have talked with are not excited about school. They have been enjoying their time away from a routine that keeps them busy at a school desk. I share with them that they can look at the start of school as a new beginning; a kind of do over. There will be new people to meet, challenges to face, and learning to accomplish. Looking back at the changes in the church I realize that we are very much a new church.

I do not mean that we are a new church start or that things will drastically change. As a new church we face certain challenges. We have people telling us we cannot do things this why or that because “we’ve never done it that way before.” We have people that are unsure how to plug in and get involved because new things can be messy and a bit confusing. We also have people waiting to hear about God and Jesus Christ; desperately needing to fill a void in their lives. Being a new church leaves us with questions. Who are we? What do we stand for? Why are we a church?

The mission statement of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our conference adds lines about empowering leaders to make disciples. Westview’s mission statement is to create, equip and send forth disciples to spread God’s love. How do we do this? Is this who we want to be? Is this enough? As a new church we have the opportunity to explore the answers to these questions and really look at what God is calling us to do in the mission field that is Fairview Tennessee.

God has called us to be the hands and feet of Jesus sent to a hurting world. The leadership of Westview will be meeting to discuss this theme on August 4th after the second service. If you are interested in being a part of leadership, ministry, or involved in a new beginning join us for lunch and conversation to see what Westview UMC will be doing for God in the coming months.

Blessings,

Pastor Tom

June 2019

Dear Westview Family and Friends,

Clergy and Lay Delegate members of the Tennessee Annual Conference met this past week in Brentwood Tennessee. Over the three days we participated in Holy Conferencing, a process of discerning God’s will for the United Methodist Churches of Middle Tennessee. At this Annual Conference we elected delegates to the next General Conference in 2020. We also approved direct billing of health insurance and pension of clergy serving local churches. We acknowledged and apologized for harm caused to LGBTQIA+ individuals by the church. The most exciting aspect of Annual Conference was the vote to form a new conference with the Memphis Annual Conference. Together we will be stronger in our Jurisdiction and the church as a whole. When more parts come together more can be accomplished because the many gifts combine to create a stronger whole. I look forward to working with our kinfolk from across the river.

In addition to Annual Conference news a date has been chosen to go to the Holy Lands. Join Brady Whitehead and me on January 13-22, 2020 as we set off on a life changing trip. We will visit sites like Petra, Qumran, Bethlehem, Jerusalem including the Garden Tomb and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. From Jerusalem we will travel to the Galilee region and visit Capernaum and many other sites! I am truly excited to share this opportunity with you. Brady has a vast knowledge of these sites and we will all learn a great deal from him and the guides as we travel. Brochures will be coming in the next week so keep an eye out and join us for a trip of a lifetime.

Blessings,
Pastor Tom

Our Way Forward


Recently a special session of the General Conference passed the Traditional Plan. this means our current statements about homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ persons have not fundamentally changed. The 2016 Book of Discipline statements are available here: Homosexuality: Full Book of Discipline statements.

We wish to be clear about the position of the United Methodist Church, while acknowledging that we are a church, and a congregation, divided on this issue. We believe this is going to continue to be debated within the UMC, and agree with the following statement of Bishop Bill McAlilly:

I want to say to our LGBTQ members and friends, you are beloved children of God. Many of you were baptized as infants in our churches, nurtured in Sunday school, and participated in our Youth Ministry. You were confirmed in our Churches. You are living out the tenets of your faith—in new and transformative ways that have never existed. You have given your life to Christ and His Church. Communities in the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences celebrate the gifts God has given you. I am looking for the churches who will be sanctuary for our LGBTQ sisters and brothers. We are the Church—and it is up us to demonstrate our love for God and our love for those God loves.

We believe God’s grace is available for all, and we welcome all believers into our fellowship. We are actively seeking ways that we can become a true sanctuary for those who have been hurt by the world or even the church itself, and ask for grace as we try to find our own way forward as a congregation.

To learn more about the recent vote, visit the following link:

http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/what-happened-and-what-didnt-at-general-conference-2019

or watch our district’s LiveStream discussion:

For more information, please reach out to Pastor Tom Pierce.

You Are Welcome

It can be hard to know if you’re truly welcomed in church. So, just to be clear – here are some examples of who is welcome in our church!

We welcome those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, confused, filthy rich,

comfortable, or dirt poor.

We extend a special welcome to crying babies and excited toddlers.

We welcome you whether you can sing like Carrie Underwood or just mutter under your breath. You’re welcome here if you’re ‘just visiting,’ just woken up, or just got out of prison. We don’t care if you’re more Christian than Billy Graham, or haven’t been to church since Christmas ten years ago.

We welcome those who are over 60 but still haven’t grown up, and teenagers who are growing up too fast.

We welcome cross-fit moms, football dads, starving artists, corporate lawyers, vegetarians, and junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems,

are down in the dumps,

or don’t like ‘organized religion.’

(We’ve got some problems with it too!)

We welcome those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or are here because grandma is visiting and wanted to come to church.

We welcome those who are inked, pierced, both or neither. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, have had religion shoved down their throat as kids or got lost on the highway looking for Denny’s and wound up here by mistake.

We welcome the pious, the outcast, the misfit, the skeptic…and YOU!