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Westminster Gems

Remembering Peggy Hungerford

by Barb Read

      On All Saints Sunday, November 5, we are honored to present a piece that was commissioned in memory of Peggy Hungerford, a long-time member of the church and our choir mother for many years. The piece is "Pie Jesu", composed by Joseph Martin.


When Peggy passed away, our choir director, David Sherman, was attending a choir conference where Joseph Martin was a clinician. David had known Mr. Martin personally and shared the sad news with him. It was decided that a piece composed by Joseph Martin would be perfect for Peggy as the choir had performed several of Martin's Christmas Cantatas over the years and they were some of Peggy's favorites. Mr. Martin was pleased to compose something in Peggy's honor but he asked the choir members to send him descriptions of Peggy so that he could "get to know her".


It wasn't difficult for us to describe this wonderful woman, and Joseph Martin obviously was inspired by the descriptions that he received. Many of you gave money in Peggy's honor which resulted in this beautiful piece. Pie Jesu - Holy Jesus. The message is one that gives us all peace even in our loss:


Holy Jesus, Holy Jesus

Who takes away our sins

Holy Jesus, Holy Jesus

Grant them thy eternal rest

Lamb of God, Lamb of God

Who takes away our sins

Grant them thy eternal rest.

Holy Jesus, Holy Jesus

Grant them everlasting, perfect rest.

Holy Jesus, grant them rest.

We hope that you will come and experience this beautiful tribute to Peggy's faith and all that she contributed to Westminster. 

Being An Inviting Church

by Val Neubauer

Lately I have learned a lot about who we are here at Westminster. Tom Read, Gale and I went to the Coe College orientation where many churches and businesses in Cedar Rapids gathered to woo Coe Students. At most tables it was evident that the way to college students' hearts is through their stomachs. Granola bars, brownies and candy were abundant.

Anxious to be inviting, we were a little more creative at our table. In addition to brochures and Westminster coffee cups filled with granola bars and fruit roll-ups, we had fleece caps (in Coe colors) and laundry bags. We made coloring books with covers that said, "Take a Break on Westminster." These were given out along with colored pencils. We topped it all off with a chance to win fleece blanket made by our Shawl Ministry. All that we asked of the students was to fill out a survey asking what Westminster could do for them. The resounding item checked was one that said we would provide an evening meal for them one Sunday a month. Once again, proving the way to their hearts is through their stomachs. We had great conversations with the students while encouraging them  to visit our church which is within walking distance from their dorms. Naturally all the items they carried away had "Blessings from Westminster Presbyterian Church" either sewn or printed on them. So much for subliminal advertising. 

We also had a chance to chat with the new Coe College chaplain who we invited to visit our facilities to see how we might be able to serve Coe College.

The second eye opening event was the wedding of Shuna and Tamene’s daughter Tigst.  At 12:00 on Saturday, August 26th, the sanctuary was filled with guests invited to the marriage ceremony.

I could say that Pastor Randi’s wedding sermon was exceptional, but it was just what we have come to expect from her every Sunday morning.  


It was a joy filled ceremony. Although the guests, Christian and Muslim, walked into our sanctuary strangers, they all left with smiles on their faces. They returned to the Family Life Center at 6 p.m., happy, relaxed, and ready to continue the celebration.

And what a celebration it was! The room was transformed into a wedding event center, tables covered in white tablecloths and flowery centerpieces.  There was delicious Ethiopian cuisine, laughter, music, and dancing.


It was a rich blending of Ethiopian and American customs. We are so grateful to Tamene and Shuna for inviting their family and friends to Westminster.

This traditional Ethiopian welcome for the bride and groom was joyous for all.

For several years I have considered Westminster to be a welcoming church. But in the last two years a change has occurred. We have been transformed into an inviting church. Consequently, I think that this is the key to our future-reaching out and inviting in.

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