2017 Annual Report
How very good & pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordains his blessing, life evermore. –Psalm 133
Dear members and friends of West Raleigh Presbyterian Church,
Psalm 133 framed the 2018 Commitment (Pledging Season), Building the Beloved Community. It is a Song of Ascent that was probably sung as God’s people ascended to the temple in Jerusalem for worship. It is a psalm about both people and place. Notice the psalmist uses two images to describe God’s blessing – the image of Aaron’s anointing and of dew landing on the tallest mountain in sight – a person and a place, people living in place and time, inextricably bound, receiving God’s blessing of life.
When I think back over 2017, I too think of people and place. I think first of the people we loved and lost. West Raleigh buried six saints of the church, five of whom were members of this congregation, most of whom died between August and December. West Raleigh had more than our fair share of loss this fall – lost people, lost jobs, lost way. Yet, through the loss, West Raleigh also marked, celebrated and gave thanks for life – for the lives of Ethyleen Hobbs, Frank Mansfield, Gwen Barnes, Sam Johnson, Larry Horton, and Susan Lamb. We celebrated the baptism of Christian Ring this year, and we sent 27 youth and adults on an intergenerational mission trip. We played a central role in building a Habitat for Humanity house with our Presbyterian partners. We welcomed Campus Minister Ashley-Anne Masters and six new members to West Raleigh. The pages of this report are full of pictures and stories of the people – members and friends of West Raleigh. It is these people who make up the Body of Christ, and there God promises blessing.
I also think of West Raleigh’s place, our ageing building that required a significant amount of roof work to keep the water out, and our courtyard that we committed restricted funds toward restoring. I think of the repaired and recovered stained glass windows, each one dedicated to God’s glory in memory of people who have been and continue to be part of this place. I think of organ repairs that brought West Raleigh’s magnificent instrument back into full working service after water damage (note that we have fixed the roof over the organ now!). I think about the lot that West Raleigh owns across Vanderbilt Street, and the amount of sweat equity that members and friends are pouring into this place in order to make it into the BeeLoved Community Garden. I think about the crane that still swings over our heads and the Administration Committee’s work to have it safely removed so that as our place is restored and our community and momentum build, the crane no longer looms!
People and place - we are inextricably bound. We are bound to this place, bound to one another and bound to the living God. “For it is there,” declares the Psalmist, “that God ordains blessing, life evermore.”
In gratitude, Katherine