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!

My Worship Rules

Over the last few years the worship team has strived to make sure as many people are ministered to by the service as possible, from those who connect best with the old hymns to those who have gospel music deep in their soul, to those who are in step with the latest praise songs they sing on their morning commutes. It’s really hard to accommodate everyone, but it is my sincere desire that we support each other in our mutual effort to worship our God.

But recently I have received some complaints. In considering this feedback I realized that while I have tried to communicate any changes we have made, and I have believed we are getting enough feedback as we go along, I have not made the effort to communicate WHY we make changes. Why our worship service is the way it is. This song or that song, this style or that style, doesn’t make much of a difference to me personally.  When I think about worship, and lead the way in worship for our church, I follow my own set of rules that have nothing to do with style or tempo. Worship can be very cultural, but all of these “rules” supersede any cultural decisions a church may make. These are the things I believe deep in my core. These are my non-negotiables.

 

My rules for worship?

 

  1. Sing to the LORD a new song. Worship must be fresh, because we must be fully present when we worship God. This doesn’t mean you have to sing new songs all the time. But if your routines are lulling you into a comfortable pattern, it might be time for a new approach. A new song. Bring something new to the sanctuary – God is worth the effort.

Psalm 96

Sing to the LORD a new song;

sing to the LORD all the earth.

 

  1. God hears the heart. There’s a whole sermon series in this one verse, but let’s just say for now that God knows the truth of what is in your heart, and does not care how well you can hit that high note. You may feel like you’re hiding, tucked back in that pew, but He sees you just as if you’re singing all alone, twirling ‘round on a mountaintop with your arms stretched out.

John 4:24

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

 

  1. Take it seriously. This doesn’t mean you can’t laugh. It doesn’t mean you have to be super-religious about everything. It means you are standing before the creator of the universe. How you approach Him does matter. The feeling we’re going for is “awe.”

Hebrews 12:28, 29

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

 

  1. Give of your very best. Everything you are is a sacrifice in worship to God. He’s not asking for what the church expects of you. He’s asking for much more. He’s asking for absolutely everything you are capable of giving.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.

 

  1. It’s okay to go big. We’re worshiping the creator of all the noises. He likes our noises when they are used to praise him with deep joy. Any instrument that is available and any style of music. Not everything for every church. We have to find our own “right” way, which may be itself a noisy process involving lots of opinions, but we should do that together – in love.

Psalm 150:3-6

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

Praise him with tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and flute,

Praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

 

To be very clear here, I am NOT asking for support of any instrument or any music style. The worship team doesn’t need encouragement, or discouragement, or anything in-between. We will do what is best for our congregation as a whole, under the leadership of the current minister, mindful of our history, our liturgy and discipline, but looking toward a hopeful future that includes new faces and new perspectives.

 

But I want to hear from you. When do you worship best? What brings you the closest to God during a service? What can we do more of, or less of, to help more people find a moment alone with their Creator amidst the crowd?

 

-Jill Turpin

December 2017

Dear Westview Family and Friends,

Tis the season to be jolly fa la la la laaa laaaa… You know we must practice care at this time of year. The season of Advent is an amazing time. We look forward to the day our Lord and Savior was born that first Christmas over 2000 years ago. Today though we sometimes lose the specialness of that miraculous birth. Today it seems to simply be a busy time. We have increased traffic, stores are more crowded, cantatas, parties, shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking, cooking, special services, socializing and etcetera.

Stop the Christmas parade! I want to get off. We must practice care not to get lost in the busyness of the season. We need to slow down, take a breath, and look for the ways in which God is working in the world. People are coming together and helping their neighbors. People seem to be smiling more. The Spirit of God in Three Persons is alive and well in our midst. We simply need to slow down enough to notice. This time of year also brings about promises of change in the form of New Year’s resolutions. I hope all of you resolve to grow in Christ and to live in peace. May God bless us each and every one.

Merry Christmas,
Pastor Tom

September 2017

Dear Westview Family and Friends,

Have you heard about…? Wait a minute somebody preached about gossip re-
cently. He said something about Socrates and the three questions of gossip. So let me

go through them. First, is what I want to tell you true? Yes. Second, is what I want to

share good or bad? It is very good. Third, is the information useful? It is useful, espe-
cially if you are concerned about the children of our church. We have hired a new pre-
school director. Her name is Joy Andrist and she is taking the foundation set in place

by Selene and moving forward!
You may have noticed the changes in the church. Offices have been moved and paint has gone
on the halls of the old office wing. The changes occurring ensure that the children in the preschool have
a great experience, prepare for kindergarten, and learn about God. New curriculum was purchased and
the year is off to an amazing start. With all this you may be wondering how to get involved with all this
great work.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Joy through the church office. Also we need
more mulch for the playground. Please consider giving to this worthy cause.
Westview UMC continues to reach out to our neighbors with the loving Spirit of God through
Jesus Christ! In addition to the preschool the garden has produced over 1600 pounds of vegetables this
year! Think of the smiles on people’s faces as they eat fresh veggies they cannot normally afford!

Blessings to You in Christ,
Pastor Tom

The Good News – July 2017

Dear Westview Family and Friends,

The summer seems to have just started and the stores are already having back
to school sales. I hope everyone is getting some good rest, fun, and relaxation this
summer! Westview Church has been busy preparing for the Music Machine as our
VBS next week. This extravaganza is being headed up by wonderful volunteers. More
volunteers are always appreciated see Jill Turpin or Sarah Timmons if interested.
Financial Peace University is also coming up. It will begin August 6th. This
class is for everyone that has ever had to deal with their finances. Learn to control of
your finances so that your finances don’t control you. Our Bible study is also starting
that week on August 9th
.

The study, “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” is based on Martin
Thielen’s book. It will meet twice a week. Once on Wednesday morning at First District Coffee at 9 am
and again at the church that evening at 6:30 following the Wonderful Westview Wednesday meal and
time of fellowship.
I ask each of you to commit to participating in as many church and fellowship events as possible.
We are working on becoming Christ’s disciples so that we can share the love of God with our neighbors
more fully and completely than ever before. One person may not make a difference in the life of the
world but one person can make a world of difference in the life of a neighbor.
Along that same line I ask that you prayerfully consider serving on committees. It takes us all
working together to make Westview UMC function properly. We are an active church and need all of
our voices to unite in call, witness, and love to our community and our church. I ask that you consider

leadership as a way to help develop discipleship not only in your own faith walk but in the walks of oth-
ers.

Blessings to you all, Pastor Tom