Window on Westminster
Window on Westminster
By Ruth S. Tompkins and Anne H. Gensheimer
Design and editing, Martha S. Burbeck
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Celebrating 50 years of ministry in Ann Arbor
We will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. (Psalm 78:4)
© 2006 by Westminster Presbyterian Church
Printed in the United States of America by Thomson-Shore, Inc.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2006929922
Window on Westminster, The First Twenty-five Years, 1956–1981,
by Ruth S. Tompkins, was published in 1981
Westminster Presbyterian Church
1500 Scio Church Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
Many thanks to Becky Donally for retyping the first edition
of Windows on Westminster, to Bryce Babcock for the cover
photo of a Westminster stained glass window, and to Thomson-Shore
for printing this book. Thanks also to Barb Koenig,
Jean Swenson, April Wright, and especially Alice Chambers
for their final critical readings of the manuscript.
The First Twenty-Five Years 9
DEDICATION to The First Twenty-Five Years 11
PREFACE to The First Twenty-Five Years 12
1 In the Beginning 15
2 The Sixties and Beyond 25
3 oiling the Bearings 37
4 Christian Education 43
5 Peaks and Valleys 51
6 The Distaff Side 57
7 People and Programs 65
8 Into the Twenty-First Century 81
The Story Continues 85
PROLOGUE to The Story Continues 87
9 Ministerial Leadership 89
10 Christian Education 101
11 Music and Worship 111
12 Building Program, Phase 3 119
13 Missions 129
14 People and Programs 135
15 Into the Next Decades 145
Charter Members 155
First Session and Board of Deacons 156
Research Sources 157
The First Twenty-Five Years
Ruth S. Tompkins
DEDICATION to The First Twenty-Five Years
To the eighty-seven charter members of Westminster Presbyterian
Church this review is dedicated with gratitude.
Their foresight and vision, coupled with devotion to God,
dedication to purpose, and willingness to sacrifice and achieve
each succeeding goal have provided whatever the present
membership enjoys, accepts and often takes for granted. They
and all members who have made their unique individual contributions
over this twenty-five year period have fashioned
Westminster Presbyterian Church as it is today. They have
been model and inspiration for us, and for those who follow
in the future, in the constant quest for keeping our church vital,
relevant, and always adhering to its true purpose of teaching,
preaching and spreading the Gospel.
PREFACE to The First Twenty-Five Years
For some time this writer has been troubled because there
has been no official historian to maintain a file of pictures,
clippings, brochures and other pertinent materials
which would comprise an historical record and basis for logging
the heritage of Westminster Presbyterian Church. When
thoughts of a possible “birthday present” to celebrate twentyfive
years of our history began to formulate in my mind a couple
of years ago, it became my hope to compile some type of
quarter century record. From scattered church accounts and
disorganized sources of information this review has evolved.
It has been my privilege to be associated with Westminster
for eleven years. If recent events seem to be viewed in
greater detail than those of earlier years, it is because records
of those early events were obtained from paper memories,
whereas participation in or witnessing of more recent toils
and triumphs have provided clearer images.
Theology we have left to the theologians, pure history to
the scholars. Restrictions of time, space, and finances have
prevented inclusion of every individual who may have contributed
to the beginning and early years, as well as the continuing
life of Westminster. Their names are legion!
This book is merely a review – an overview – of some of
the high spots in a twenty-five year chronology. It is an attempt
to capture the flavor of our background, to remind all
of us of our debt to those who provided the groundwork. Perhaps
it will even serve as a helpful foundation for the author
of the golden or centennial milepoints in our history!
Ruth S. Tompkins
Ann Arbor, Michigan
For no other foundation can any one lay
than that which is laid, which is Jesus
Christ. (1 Cor. 3:11)
1 In the Beginning
he year was 1955. President Eisenhower returned from
a Geneva summit conference with Big Four hopes for a
secure peace; civilians were being repatriated after the close
of the Korean conflict; Senate leader Lyndon B. Johnson had
suffered a serious heart attack; an earth satellite was being
designed to be ready for research purposes by 1958; and hurricane
Diane was raking North Carolina. Some of our present
members were not yet born!
But in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1955, the members of the
First Presbyterian Church were feeling the pinch of crowded
conditions engendered by a burgeoning congregation. Thus
the idea for a second Presbyterian church in this city of 50,000
inhabitants began taking form.
After consultation with the Detroit Presbytery’s Board of
Church Extension, a committee headed by George Frisinger
was formed from the Session of the First Presbyterian Church
of Ann Arbor to investigate potential sites for a new church.
As a result of this investigation, a five-acre site at the corner
of Greenview Drive and Scio Church Road, on the city’s expanding
south side, was purchased for $37,500 in July 1955.
At that time the Reverend Mr. Richard H. Miller was sent by
in the beginning—15
16—the first twenty-five years
Rev. Richard Miller,
Phase 1 building
plans with charter
Frisinger at the Scio
Church Road site.
the Presbytery to start development of the new church.
Several preliminary meetings were held to consider problems
related to the founding of the new church prior to site
development. In December 1955 a newsletter was mailed to
interested Ann Arbor Presbyterians. Upon receipt of the letter,
Mr. and Mrs. William F. Elder made provision for the
original group to hold services and meetings in ground level
storage rooms of the Stadium-Nob Hill apartments, 1860
Stadium Place. At this time also, even before official establishment,
more than $1000 was donated to a building fund,
with Clarence Roth named treasurer of the fund.
The first worship service, attended by forty-nine persons,
was held in the temporary quarters on February 5, 1956. The
altar consisted of a crude pulpit and a table supporting a
wooden cross. The Sunday school was organized March 18,
1956, and soon more storage space was made available to accommodate
the rapidly growing Sunday school classes.
At the August 1956 meeting of the Presbytery Rev. Miller
presented a petition, signed by eighty-seven persons, asking
that the church be organized as Westminster Presbyterian
Church of Ann Arbor. On November 18, 1956, at a ceremony
in the First Presbyterian Church sanctuary, the Presbytery
appointed an organizing committee headed by Harry Rine
DeYoung, minister of the Redford Avenue Presbyterian
Church of Detroit, and including seven representatives of
the Detroit Presbytery. Appreciation was expressed to First
Presbyterian Church for its support and assistance, as it was
many times in the future.
Of the original eighty-seven petitioners, who then became
the charter members of Westminster Presbyterian Church,
thirty-four transferred from First Presbyterian Church of
Ann Arbor, thirty-seven were received by letters from other
churches, five by reaffirmation of faith and eleven by confession
of faith. By the end of the initial year (even with a loss of
in the beginning—17
ten) membership had increased to 107.
Sixteen charter members still remain resident and active
members of Westminster in Ann Arbor. Three of the
original group who retain membership, Macon and Delores
Lewis and Myrtle Porter, now reside elsewhere in the United
Hempstead S. Bull
Philip G. Hasell
Dr. Leo A. Knoll
Joseph R. Akerman
Philip H. Gillies
Clarence F. Roth
Charles S. Simons
18—the first twenty-five years
On December 16, 1956, a congregational
meeting was called to elect two
committees: one to pursue the search for a
minister to be nominated as pastor, and the
second to function as a building committee.
Clarence F. Roth was asked to serve in
the dual capacity of church treasurer and
building fund treasurer.
The congregation, upon being organized,
immediately elected, ordained and
installed ruling elders and deacons. The
first meeting of the newly constituted
board of elders (Session) was held November
28, 1956, in the temporary quarters.
Terms of one, two or three years for the nine-member
governing body were determined by lot. Members of Session
were also to serve as trustees (as today). Deacons were to be
elected annually to a nine-member board to minister to the
physical and social needs of the congregation.
Joseph R. Akerman was selected as first president of the
Board of Trustees and Session, Hempstead S. Bull was chosen
to serve as stated clerk, and Dr. Leo A. Knoll was designated
to obtain advice as to the procedure for preparing
legal documents for submission to the State of Michigan for
formal incorporation of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Joseph Akerman and Charles S. Simons were named to formulate
suitable bylaws for submission to the congregation.
Bylaws were adopted in January 1957 after several revisions,
and the incorporation papers were received and placed in a
safe deposit box the following month.
The organizing pastor, Rev. Richard H. Miller, was to
serve as moderator. Mr. Miller, a 1952 graduate of Alma College
and a 1955 graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary,
was the unanimous choice of the pastoral nominating committee
and on February 17, 1957, his name was presented
at a special congregational meeting. It was agreed to extend
a formal call and the Presbytery of Detroit installed him as
the first minister of Westminster Presbyterian Church at a
ceremony on April 28, 1957.
Four permanent Session committees were named: Christian
Education, Stewardship and Finance, Worship and Sacraments,
and Membership. And to really get things rolling in
an orderly fashion, the selection of a part-time secretary to
serve ten hours a week at a sum of $1.25 to $1.50 per hour
was authorized! Mrs. Peggy Cooper, another charter member,
was awarded this position.
No moss was accumulating under the oxfords and pumps of
these energetic twentieth century pioneers. A building committee
had been constituted as early as December 1956 to
include nine members (later increased to eleven). These included
the minister, a representative of Session, a representative
of the deacons, the church school superintendent, and
seven from the congregation. Joseph Akerman was named
Building Committee chair, Reuben J. Beuerle, treasurer, and
Mrs. Betty Morrill, secretary. Others were Mrs. Mary Martha
Beierwaltes, Kenneth Christiansen, Philip Gillies, Samuel
Porter, Clarence Roth, Darrel Shippey, LeRoy Shreve, plus
The first meeting of the newly organized Building Committee
was held in the “chapel” on Stadium Boulevard on
in the beginning—19
January 7, 1957, with Samuel Porter serving as temporary
chairman. Subcommittees were formed for finance and publicity,
and for building plans.
The committee held eighteen regular and special meetings;
smaller groups visited church sites and buildings, conferred
with architects, met with boards of other churches, and
made one trip to meet with Detroit Presbytery officials. Before
proceeding with a building program, however, they cautiously
waited until official church organization was complete
and the first every-member canvas had been conducted.
During May 1957 a six-page brochure, with Frank Carson’s
cover sketch of the general type of church building desired,
was mailed as part of the first building fund campaign.
Pledges amounted to $21,284 (this in addition to the operating
commitments). On September 29, 1957, the Ann Arbor
firm of James Livingston and Associates was commissioned as
architect for the first building.
Discussion began immediately within the Building Committee
concerning the use or disposition of the barn on the
property. The original site was farmland and the congregation
had been receiving a yearly income from sales of hay and
alfalfa, as well as from rental of the barn to Fox Tent and Awning
for storage. When it was ultimately deemed advisable to
raze the barn to permit construction to commence, another
$15 was added to the building fund from the sale of hay.
Three types of buildings were considered originally:
(1) a permanent structure of traditional form which would
cost $80,000 to $90,000; (2) a temporary 40' × 60' strand
steel structure costing $15,000; (3) a permanent structure of
contemporary functional design using prefabricated panels
and structural components as much as possible. The Building
Committee favored the third alternative as best for a small
group with limited resources.
These plans for the first building, together with sugges-
20—the first twenty-five years
tions for development of the entire acreage on a campus plan,
were presented to the congregation and corporation at the
first annual meeting of Westminster Presbyterian Church on
November 24, 1957. The congregation accepted the third
suggestion, tentative building plans for a first unit, by a vote
of twenty-one to six, with dissenters and others so desiring
invited to present their views and suggestions in writing.
As submitted, Phase 1 was to be constructed of cement,
with a diamond-shaped glass pattern, including some colored
panes, extending to the roof line. The west wall, facing a vesper
garden, would also consist of a similar glass pattern set
into triangular wood frames which would support the roof
beams. On the Greenview side there would be a variable pattern
of colored stone.
The interesting roof shape resulted when it was determined
that ten foot beam spans would cost less than standard
building spans of eight feet with a flat roof. Originally
the structure was planned to be two bays shorter than the
final version, but a timely gift from First Presbyterian Church
made it possible to extend the building.
The west side windows were rebuilt three times and are
not interchangeable. The glass was deliberately laid (on the
west side primarily) so there would be no street view during
worship services and to avoid direct sunlight during services.
The first unit was to be financed by the $21,000 in pledges
received in the May campaign, a $5,000 gift from First Presbyterian
Church, and a $27,000 loan from the National Board
of Church Extension of the denomination. The committee
was directed to get Presbytery officials to request the proper
church agency to earmark the recommended amount of loan
funds: $27,000 for church construction, as well as $5,000 for
possible use as down payment on a manse.
At a special meeting of the congregation in January 1958
(oh, how numerous were those “specially called” meetings in
in the beginning—21
the early years!) authorization of the expenditure of $57,780
was courageously approved, the necessary loan to be secured
by building fund pledges.
Mr. Kenneth Davidson was the lowest bidder of five locally
“carefully screened” contractors, and signed the contract to
construct the building, phase 1 of the total plan. Excavation
– the moment of truth for the fledgling congregation – commenced
January 24, 1958.
Meanwhile, the Presbytery had indicated a desire to finance
immediate purchase of a manse. The trustees were
authorized to seek a suitable manse at a price not to exceed
$24,000 and to negotiate with the Presbytery Committee on
Housing a loan of about $5,000 at 2% interest to finance the
Negotiations for property at 1730 Dunmore reached an
impasse when the bid price of $20,500 differed vastly from
the asking price. But the deal was closed for $21,300 and on
May 4, 1958, Westminster Presbyterian Church had a manse
to house the Miller family.
Events surrounding the actual construction of Phase 1 are
sketchy but apparently proceeded without an excess of serious
problems. About this time Mr. William Elder suggested
construction of a two-story building for sake of economy.
The committee felt plans should remain as approved by the
congregation and Presbytery because revisions at that stage
would be costly in terms of building funds, time, and a less
desirable plan. A group met with Mr. Elder, who had offered
to contribute to the expense of a basement, and he subsequently
was sent a letter explaining that necessary funds were
in shortfall and time to change drawings and renegotiate contracts
would substantially complicate and delay the project.
Appreciation for his continued interest was conveyed.
The site had been intended for a southside Ann Arbor
subdivision and, as such, there was a pit containing irriga-
22—the first twenty-five years
tion pumps which would have been the location for the subdivision
waterworks. At one time, after start of construction,
the city threatened to “red-tag” the new church building and
stop construction. This near disaster was averted by selling
the pumps and filling the pit. (It was decided to retain the
blockhouse on the northeast side of the property where it still
remains with a capped water pipe.)
The first worship service within the framework of the
building was conducted at the Easter sunrise service on a
bright and brisk dawn April 6, 1958. The Presby-Twos, an organization
of young married couples, assisted by the Martha
Circle, sponsored the service in the shell of the new church.
In August 1958 the architect and the contractor were notified
that the congregation must use the new structure on
September 7, at the start of the fall season, even if uncompleted.
Ready or not, the Sunday school met for the first time in
the nearly completed building at 9:30 am on September 7,
1958. The regular 11 am worship service first convened in
the new unit on that day also in a chilly atmosphere. “No
glass windows on the west side, plus flapping building paper
and cold autumnal winds were a bit disturbing.” But certainly
the spirits of the worshippers were at a burning peak and
their gratitude to God for his blessings was boundless as they
marked this first milestone in their projected goal.
In the Session minutes that month it was noted the west
wall enclosure was urgently needed to permit heating the
building. Construction was completed in subsequent months.
An up-to-date summary of finances at that time explained that
the cost of the building and chancel furniture was $55,732,
only $732 over the original estimate of $55,000.
Dedication week was scheduled for January 11–18, 1959,
with actual dedication services for the church school at
9:30 am and the formal dedication service at 11 am on Sun-
in the beginning—23
day, January 11. A community open house followed in the
afternoon and a family potluck supper with a service of recognition
and historical review on January 14.
In the Sunday bulletin of May 31, 1959, Joseph Akerman
made this report: “Final payment to the contractor has been
made without borrowing additional funds from the bank.
This speaks well for the generosity of the
In September of
1973 the mortgage
on the original
by the Board of
was paid in full.
congregation, which should be highly commended
for its splendid display of stewardship
at this time.”
On January 10, 1960, the Building
Committee, which had been constituted
three years previously, was dissolved with
24—the first twenty-five years
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
2 The Sixties and Beyond
As Westminster Presbyterian Church entered the sixties, the
new building (which encompassed sanctuary, fellowship
hall, office and kitchen) was completed and functioning. The
membership was increasing; we had joined the Ann Arbor-
Washtenaw Council of Churches in 1958; and essential needs
were being met.
In January of 1964 Pastor Miller advised the Session he
would be candidating for the position of associate pastor at
the First Presbyterian Church of East Cleveland. He was offered
this position; he accepted, and his letter of resignation
as pastor of Westminster was submitted January 13, 1964.
The reasons cited for this change included his growing interest
in Biblical theology, concern for adult Christian education,
and a need for ministry of the laity. His farewell sermon
was preached on February 2, 1964. A congregational meeting
was called to dissolve the pastoral relationship and the pulpit
was declared vacant on that date. The Millers moved February
4 after eight fruitful years of service in organizing and
establishing a new church. Mr. Miller has since held pastorates
in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, and is now director of a
retirement community in Columbus, Ohio.
the sixties and beyond—25
A pastoral nominating committee consisting of Reuben
Beuerle, chairman, James Avery, Hempstead Bull, Patty Jenkins,
Lloyd MacDonald, Lois March, George Odiorne, and
Helen West was appointed to initiate a search for a new minister.
Dr. Frank Fitt, a retired pastor from Grosse Pointe, Michigan,
announced he would like to donate his services during
the time the committee made its search, allowing his anticipated
salary to be used for expenses of the pastoral committee.
His gracious offer was appreciatively accepted and he
was invited to attend Session meetings, if he desired, as pulpit
supply. A reception and gift were presented in Dr. Fitt’s
honor June 28, 1964. In subsequent years he was welcomed
as vacation supply preacher on numerous occasions and has
continued to be an avid supporter of and contributor to the
church library. Rev. Paul Dotson of the Ecumenical Campus
Center at the University of Michigan filled in during the
summer of 1964.
On July 5, 1964, at a special congregational meeting called
after worship, Reuben Beuerle, chairman of the Pastoral
Nominating Committee, presented the name of the Reverend
Mr. Charles J. Gensheimer as the committee’s choice of
candidate and “Reverend G,” as he was to become known,
was called by unanimous vote to become the second pastor
of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
A native of New York City, Mr. Gensheimer had received
a bachelor of arts degree from Westminster College in Pennsylvania,
and his master of divinity degree from Pittsburgh
Theological Seminary. After four years as assistant pastor
for youth work at Cherry Hill United Presbyterian Church
in Dearborn, Michigan, he was called to the Grace Community
United Presbyterian Church in New Kensington, Pennsylvania,
to serve as pastor. He returned to Dearborn briefly
to claim Miss Anneliese Hoffmann as his bride on June 21,
26—the first twenty-five years
1957. Anne, who had concluded three years at the University
of Michigan, competed her degree work at the University of
After a pastorate of eight years in Pennsylvania, the family,
which then included sons John Mark and Paul David, came
to minister to Westminster Presbyterian Church. Reverend G
assumed the pastorate September 3, 1964, moderated his
first Westminster Session meeting on September 8 in a joint
meeting with the deacons, and was installed November 8,
1964. Dr. Frank Irvine, formerly of Cherry Hill United Presbyterian
Church in Dearborn, gave the charge to the pastor.
On November 22 an open house was held at the manse to
enable the congregation and their new pastor and family to
get acquainted with each other. The arrival of Peter Nathan
completed the family the following year.
Changes . . .
With the coming of a new pastor there was some ship-tightening
to be done, some new directions to be heading, and
naturally some changes to be anticipated. The committee
structure of the Session was introduced, with six original
committees, later increasing to nine. These were comprised
of members of Session and the congregation-at-large, each
meeting monthly with a specific set of duties to carry out.
In the fall of 1965 the church resumed two morning worship
services, which had been discontinued in March 1964.
The dual system was approved for a three-month probationary
period, with one service planned for summer Sundays.
This system continued until 1972.
The church had been on a bicameral system, with a board
of elders and a board of deacons, since it was organized. In
1965 a study of the unicameral system was begun and this
system was implemented in early 1966, so a “single board
might establish the program and set the policy for the total
the sixties and beyond—27
work of the church in our part of the vineyard.” The board
of deacons was abolished and its work transferred to Session
Other changes in these middle years of our first quarter
century included modifications in the bylaws, changing
a quorum at official meetings from 40 to 60 (membership
was growing), and increasing the number of ruling elders by
three for each 150 additional communicant members beyond
Committee names and functions changed periodically in
response to the needs of a growing and changing congregation.
As the paid staff increased, the necessity arose for job
descriptions of a more specific nature for hiring guidelines.
The Administration Committee of 1967–68 compiled descriptions
of various positions and began a review system
whereby all paid employees are interviewed by the committee
annually for exchange of recommendations to and from
each staff member. Job descriptions and hiring policies were
again streamlined in the mid-seventies.
The Gensheimers soon indicated their desire to own their
home, rather than live in a church-owned manse. The move
was made immediately to obtain a formal appraisal and sell
the Dunmore Road house. After approval by the Presbytery,
a special congregational meeting in April 1967 approved
the sale of the manse. An offer was received, processed and
closed on June 21, 1967, for $23,900. The equity received
($6,051.65) was to be placed on deposit with the understanding
it could be transferred to a building fund at a later date.
The Gensheimer family purchased a home and moved to
3220 Farmbrook Court in the Georgetown area of Ann Arbor
in June of 1967.
28—the first twenty-five years
Charter members celebrate Westminster’s tenth anniversary. Front row,
left to right: Clarence and Mancelyn Roth, Henricka Beach, Annetta Kivi,
Hempstead Bull, Florence Guenther. Back two rows alternating: Florence
Westrum, Perry Cooper, Peggy Cooper, Mary Rogers, Tom Rogers,
Martha Akerman, Joe Akerman, Eileen Beuerle, Helen Shippey, Reuben
Beuerle, Darrel Shippey, Helen West.
By mid-1960 the church school registration and attendance
figures, worship attendance, community growth, and projected
size of the congregation all emphasized the increasing
need for a new and larger sanctuary. The Nominating Committee
was asked to name for election in March 1965 a New
Building Study Committee to be composed of two Session
members, two deacons, and four from the congregation, to
report to the Session each month. Those elected were: Lloyd
MacDonald, chairman; Rankin Swan, vice-chairman; Mrs.
Betty Morrill, clerk; Reuben Beuerle, facilities; Perry Cooper,
congregational statistics; Ray Spokes, vital statistics, growth;
Ralph Vogler and Herman Deal, debt retirement program.
This study committee was off and running before that
the sixties and beyond—29
month was out. Chairman MacDonald reported to the congregation
on the findings of the New Building Study Committee
in January 1966 and the committee was commended
for the thoroughness of the building study.
In February 1966 a New Building
H. J. Berg
30—the first twenty-five years
Committee with sixteen members plus the
pastor was named to plan, negotiate, and
supervise the financing and construction
of a sanctuary. Ralph Vogler, chairman,
appointed a Campaign Cabinet of nine
members with Marian Elliott as director of
the cabinet and G. Edward Elshout as codirector.
In addition to these, the cabinet
included the pastor as campaign coordinator;
Vogler as advisor; Mrs. Maxine Jones,
secretary; Forrest Becker, Eason Chun,
Herman Deal, Richard Jones and George
Odiorne, with Frederic Phelps as dinner
The cabinet devised a 52-week-a-year,
three-year program of “sacrificial, not pittance”
pledging and adopted as the battle cry “DWT” – a dollar
per week per thousand of annual income as the guideline
for giving. Fifty members of the congregation joined the campaign
staff. It was decided to conduct a new building fund
campaign to raise $115,000 prior to obtaining a mortgage.
Architects were interviewed and in June 1966 the firm of
James Wong of Ann Arbor was agreed upon to create the
design. In September a preliminary sketch met with approval
and details of the November–December fund raising program
The one-month fund raising campaign was to be conducted
November 6 to December 4, paid for from a checking
account at the National Bank and Trust in the amount of an
anonymous donation of $1,000 for expenses of conducting
such a campaign.
It was anticipated that the cost of constructing and fitting
the building would be approximately $175,000. It would be
financed in part by accumulation of surpluses (faith) in the
next three years, in part by a three-year pledge program, and
in part by long-term borrowing with the initial indebtedness
in the area of $115,000.
At the annual meeting in January 1967 chairman Ralph
Vogler recommended plans as submitted by the New Building
Committee be approved and that the committee proceed
with plans for construction of Phase 2 consisting of a sanctuary
and additional Christian education space. This was passed
with a commendation to Marian Elliott, Edward Elshout and
Reverend G for all the work and effort they had invested in
the building fund campaign.
In June 1967 the architect was authorized to prepare detailed
drawings which were approved in November. Ralph
Vogler advised the congregation-corporation in a special
meeting in December 1967 that the estimated cost of the
new addition would be $300,000, broken down as follows:
building, $230,000; construction contingencies, $22,000;
architect’s fees, $25,200; chancel furniture pews, Christian
education equipment, kitchen remodeling, parking lot, sidewalks
and landscaping, $22,800. The congregation accepted
this report and in January 1968 received approval from the
Presbytery for a program of $300,000, the mortgage not to
exceed $200,000 at not more than 7% interest. Final plans
and construction specifications were reviewed with the architect
and advertising for construction bids went out.
Bids were to be opened at the church at 4 pm on Valentine’s
Day 1968. Six bids were received, the lowest being
submitted by the Butcher-Willits Company. Meanwhile, the
architects were negotiating to find further adjustments to
the sixties and beyond—31
32—the first twenty-five years
The first shovel-full of earth is about to
be turned at the sanctuary groundbreaking
ceremony on Palm Sunday 1968.
Left to right: Sam Craig, Bart Berg, Edward
Elshout, Marvin VanEyck, Ralph
Vogler and Rev. Gensheimer.
educe the cost, and delicious dinners produced by Reuben
and Eileen Beuerle were being held to augment the building
funds. The youth groups held a spaghetti dinner, the Women’s
Association was working – all were making contributions
to the cause.
In March 1968 the congregation approved execution of
the necessary contracts for a building costing up to $300,000
with a mortgage loan not to exceed $200,000. A vote of thanks
was given to Ralph Vogler and the sub-committee for leadership
through the period of preparation.
By April 1968 letting of contracts had been approved, a
mortgage of $189,000 at 6 ³⁄4% interest had been obtained
through the Ann Arbor Savings and Loan, and the building
brick had been selected. On Palm Sunday, April 7, after worship
(held in the Phase 1 building) the congregation with
great fanfare and ebullient spirits, joyfully trooped outdoors
for the groundbreaking ceremony. The choir anthem was
“We Would Be Building Temples Still Undone.” Phase 2 was
Originally, the Livingston firm had envisioned the building
area, which dropped below a ridge paralleling Greenview
Drive, to encompass a stream running along the north side of
the three-phase campus plan, meandering around the buildings,
and ending in a reflecting pool in the south area of the
property. The first plans for the sanctuary showed a building
set on a slab with no basement. Architect Wong advised
borings on the site to determine subsoil characteristics for
the design of the foundations. These indicated footings must
be fourteen feet below grade. In addition, in the area where
Phase 2 was planned, dumping of excavation materials from
neighborhood construction had been permitted, creating an
immense land fill which required excavation to permit building.
With this deep an excavation required for the footings,
plus elimination of the landfill, a basement seemed logical.
the sixties and beyond—33
God moves in mysterious ways – and thus what might have
been a foolish error (omission of a basement) was prevented.
But the meandering stream was necessarily eliminated.
One major building delay occurred due to a strike by craft
unions, and the “sidewalk engineers,” in their eagerness, felt
the building was taking shape at a snail’s pace. Many lengthy
meetings, painful decisions, and arduous work and planning
sessions contributed toward this fulfillment of a dream.
The new sanctuary unit was the second stage in a three-unit
master plan. The bold roof line was to project some fifty
lineal feet above ground level, to stand above all other area
structures, symbolizing a place of Christian worship.
The sanctuary was designed to convey the idea of the gathered
community. There are no barriers between chancel and
pews and the symbols are few and simple: the communion
table, baptismal font, pulpit and Celtic cross. The building is
a two-story structure with activity rooms under the sanctuary
and a connecting link housing Christian education classrooms
and an office. The total area is 11,500 square feet.
In January 1969 Mr. Vogler reported that the committee
had voted to purchase uncushioned pews and chancel furniture
at a cost of $4,759. Members were given the opportunity
to purchase a pew, and do-it-yourself projects flourished (one
being tiling of the basement).
In July the congregation was asked to increase the authorized
limit of $300,000 for capital expenditures for the new
building to $325,000 while remaining within the mortgage
limit. At the same time, a sum of $450 was optimistically set
aside by Session in eager anticipation of not-too-distant dedication
Completion of construction and a building ready for use
and commencement of worship was nearly accomplished by
34—the first twenty-five years
Easter 1969. One summer worship service had been held in
the incompleted new sanctuary (two Sunday services were
still being conducted during the year).
The first marriage performed in the new sanctuary was
that of associate member Bruce (Meilenggaard) Neilson and
Kathleen Whelan on August 2, 1969. The first child of communing
members baptized in the new building was Robin
Maria Armstrong, infant daughter of Robert and Roberta
Armstrong on September 14. Neither family resides in Ann
Arbor currently but the Nielsons returned to have their first
child baptized at Westminster in 1980.
Fifty new hymnals were purchased in honor of the planned
October 12 dedication program with nameplates to be placed
within for those who wished to donate a book ($2.50 each).
The remaining cost was to be taken from the general fund.
A new dedication anthem, “Christ our Cornerstone,” composed
by member Hayden Morgan in collaboration with
Reverend G, was first used on the occasion and inserted in
the hymnals. Twenty-two new members joined the church on
Dedication Sunday, October 12, 1969.
Dedication week was scheduled for October 5–12. A
dedication dinner was held October 10 with an anniversary
dinner continuing as a fall tradition for many years. Having
reached the age of majority it has been billed as a homecoming
dinner in recent years. But in this year of 1981 it will be
celebrated as the twenty-fifth anniversary dinner.
The Reverend Mr. G. Merrill Lenox, Executive Director
of the Washtenaw Council of Churches, preached on Worldwide
Communion Sunday, October 5, and Dr. Robert D.
Swanson, President of Alma College, delivered the sermon
at the October 12 morning services as part of the dedicatory
the sixties and beyond—35
The formal dedication service was at 3:30 in the afternoon
on October 12. Participating were the Reverend Mr. L. Wilson
Kilgore, senior pastor at Cherry Hill United Presbyterian
Church of Dearborn, who gave the sermon; the architect and
contractor; members of the Building Committee; the choir;
and many other area notables. A second dedication anthem,
“How Lovely is This Place,” adapted from Psalm 84, was composed
by Haydn Morgan.
In 1972 the term
Fund” because of
generated by the
latter name after
building had been
was in use.
Late in 1969 another three-year building
fund campaign was mounted, to be
known as the New Building and Development
Fund. Pledges were solicited for
completion of the new sanctuary, modification
of the original structure, and the
landscaping, with a goal of $100,000.
The final report by Ralph Vogler on the
New Building Committee was presented
at the annual meeting in January 1970.
He indicated that all work was essentially
complete on the new structure and recommended
the committee be dismissed, with
any unfinished business to be handled by Session. Any funds
remaining in the building fund would be transferred to the
New Building and Development Fund. Special recognition
of the committee was made with presentation to each of a
copy of The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips
“in gratitude for untiring service.”
36—the first twenty-five years
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth
. . . but lay up for yourselves treasures
in heaven . . . (Matt. 6:19–20)
3 Oiling the Bearings
As in any household, in a church an area of major concern
is – forever – The Budget. This segment on financial
and financing problems is included to underscore the diligence
and determination of those who guided the early days
and kept the ship afloat, always advancing its progress.
Noted earlier was the immediate need of the initial members
to contribute not only to an operating budget but also
to pledge to a building fund. In addition to sacrificial giving,
through the years the members contributed as much labor as
possible in window washing, painting, blacktopping, even to
mowing the church lawn after the site was occupied (although
neighbors complained “proper mowing” should be arranged
for the next year!). Generous regular gifts from First Presbyterian
Church, and loans from appropriate church boards,
combined with their own giving, enabled our members to
keep forging ahead, albeit on a deficit budget for some time.
All of the usual but frequently unanticipated pitfalls and
potholes popped up including such hindrances and roadblocks
as assessments for storm sewer and curbs on Barnard
Road on the north side of the property, which were shared
with the city for six years. Also, improvements to the park-
oiling the bearings—37
ing lot were necessary as was a new roof on the original unit
in 1973. For this latter the congregation voted to authorized
a second mortgage from Ann Arbor Savings and Loan for a
maximum loan of $10,000 at 7% interest, with repayment
over a ten year period. This was signed in 1973, the roof repaired,
and the mortgage paid fully in the late seventies.
An early Westminster Press indicated that the church goal
for 1960 was to be self-supporting; this admirable intent was
repeated annually for several more years thereafter. Although
Westminster had grown from a mission church to a mature
Christian congregation in four years, several years of deficit
financing loomed ahead.
Because no money could be budgeted for property improvement
and beautification, the year 1962 was declared a
“year of emphasis on landscaping.” Individuals were invited to
contribute trees at $10 each, particularly for the back border
area. This met with great success and resulted in the donation
and planting of forty-five Colorado spruce trees.
In 1963, after Phase 1 had been occupied for several years,
a three-year debt retirement program, via special pledges,
was voted and a request made for $3,500 from the Board of
National Missions and $1,500 from First Presbyterian Church
of Ann Arbor for 1964. In 1964 the Stewardship Committee
announced 82 units had pledged $15,200 for the operating
and benevolence program and 52 units had pledged $5,600
for the debt retirement and building fund. Some premature
“chicken counting” may have taken place when the Session
voted in October 1965 that (in view of their $1,500 gift the
previous year) $1,500 from the First Presbyterian Church, if
offered, be accepted with thanks! Also in that year the final
assessment for paving on Greenview Drive was paid with
special funding to avoid a 5% interest rate penalty.
At last the annual report for 1965 was able to state that
the commitment to self-support made the previous autumn
38—the first twenty-five years
was one year ahead of schedule. The National Missions Committee
of the Presbytery and the Westminster congregation
were informed. The pledging campaign progressed to an
over-subscription of the proposed budget, with 103 pledges
for $20,600 to the regular fund, and 78 pledges of $7,700 to
the debt and building fund.
It was a red-letter year. Congratulations were received in
December from Rev. Kenneth Carey, chairman of the National
Missions Committee, on the move to become self-supporting.
At the next annual meeting Joseph Akerman announced that
Westminster had now gone off National Mission support. A
letter from the synod’s Committee on National Missions also
expressed sincere appreciation of our assuming self-support.
First Presbyterian Church sent a greeting with a benevolence
gift of $960, while Dr. Ernest Campbell, senior pastor, wrote,
“We rejoice with you that Westminster is coming on so strong.
More power to you!” Everyone rejoiced, no doubt thankfully,
that the infant church had progressed through childhood and
adolescence to true adulthood and self-sufficiency. Our cup
was “full to overflowing.”
At no time in our twenty-five years has there been a dearth of
“special funds” or “needed gifts.” Always needed were robes
for junior and handbell choirs, landscaping, furniture, kitchen
equipment, and other welcome, but not priority, items.
When the Session voted in January 1972 to purchase the New
English Bible for the sanctuary pews, 60 to 65 had been sold
to members as gifts or memorials by the next month. The
goal was astutely and forthwith raised to 100.
Many individual gifts have been received with appreciation
through the years. Some still in use include the communion
service (the Knoll family), chancel candlesticks (Doris
Bach), offering plates (many donors in memory of Samuel
oiling the bearings—39
Porter), baptismal urn, appliances for the kitchen and for
building and lawn maintenance, the American and Christian
flags with standards (Mr. and Mrs. Ray Spokes), narthex table
(built by Claude Rebeck), silver tea set (Arnett family), and
several gift pianos which subsequently have joined the great
celestial orchestra. The first piano given in 1958 by Miss Ellen
Bach was transported without charge by the Mayflower
Transit Company. A later instrument was donated by the Ted
Kennedy, Jr., family in 1961, and several gifts made possible
the 1978–79 purchase of a piano currently in St. Andrews
Hall. As recently as 1981 a pewter vase was contributed by
the Martha Circle and friends in memory of Mildred Mac-
No complaints are registered in black type, but it is well to
note that the finance committees, often in concert with property
committees, in addition to struggling with annual budgets,
monthly bill-paying and cash flow, have also wrestled
regularly with matters ranging from bonding, insurance, fees
for building use by outsiders, and workmen’s compensation,
to the purchase of fire extinguishers and a first aid kit.
Hempstead Bull, a charter member, was the first stated
clerk of the Session, and when he rotated off Session in 1960,
he became financial secretary succeeding Henricka Beach.
He relinquished this position in 1977 and was honored for
his twenty-two years of service in both capacities.
Sam and Helen Craig hold a record for the longest volunteer
service as bookkeepers from 1969 to 1977. They
succeeded Hempstead Bull and continue to do the work of
A system of “counters” was devised in 1967 for both Sunday
services (at that time) as well as special services, with
guidelines for recording and procedures for banking. In the
late seventies the financial and bookkeeping load had become
so heavy it was deemed advisable to hire a professional
40—the first twenty-five years
ookkeeper. Mrs. Ada Childers has, since mid-1978, held
this position, working efficiently with the treasurer and the
Worthy of note in recent years has been a change in the
method of benevolence giving. Benevolence funding, traditionally
included in the general budget, had always been a
cause of concern. The hope remained constant that giving
would increase to a “one for two” point when a dollar for
benevolences could be matched to every two dollars committed
to church operations. In the early seventies contributors
seemed to be increasingly desirous of giving to causes in
which they held a particular interest or identification. Giving
In 1974 the Stewardship Committee under chairman Al
Banning proposed a “Faith Promise” system of giving which
would be a commitment between an individual and God,
with no written pledge for intended annual benevolence
giving being made to the church. This innovative plan was
adopted with the first Sunday of each month designated as
the date on which to contribute to any one of the Sessionapproved
causes worthy of church support. Members could
and still do make suggestions for additions or deletions to the
list which the Stewardship Committee and Session evaluate
annually. An assistant financial secretary maintains records
for this fund simply for the purpose of tax information for
A bold move at its inception, Faith Promise giving has
proven very successful by its flexibility. In addition to contributions
to special funds during the year, total benevolence
contributions to Faith Promise by individuals has increased
yearly, with 1979 exceeding 1978 by 24% and 1980 increasing
another 20% over the previous year.
oiling the bearings—41
After maturity to self-support and a succession of balanced
budgets, Westminster was able to extend its outreach
to make contributions to the New Development Funds of
other new mission churches. Grateful for early assistance
from others, in particular First Presbyterian Church which
was also supporting Calvary Presbyterian Church, Westminster
has been able to direct special offerings to the development
of St. Thomas Presbyterian Church in Shelby Township
and Geneva Church in Canton Township in recent years.
While struggling with a 1961 budget which allocated
$1,100 for utilities (“and a cold winter could send it higher”),
the Finance Committee of 1981 faces a utility bill for gas,
water, electricity and telephone of $12,725 annually (with
prayers for a “mild winter”). The first nebulous budget in
1957–58 uncertainly allotted $4,200 plus rent, pension and
car allowance for pastoral ministry. In 1981 the congregation,
facing the cold facts of inflation, but enthused with the vision
and scope of programming within the church, adopted a budget
of $123,811, exclusive of benevolence giving which was
just under $15,000 in 1980, for the silver anniversary year.
42—the first twenty-five years
Teach me to do thy will, for you are
my God! (Ps. 143:10)
4 Christian Education
oremost in the minds of most committed Christians is the
religious education and training of their children. Member
families of Westminster Presbyterian Church embraced
this concern immediately. A Sunday school program was instituted
March 18, 1956, in the fifth week of the group’s existence
in the apartment location.
Any Christian education program seems almost destined
to an ongoing struggle – for funds, for teachers, for professional
guidance and direction. After the first year of the
Sunday school’s operation, pressure from some of the Stadium-Nob
Hill apartment residents was largely responsible
for cancelling plans for church school classes during the summer
of 1957. But on the whole, the Sunday school classes and
attendance flourished and a six-week teacher training program
began that year, in conjunction with First Presbyterian
Church, as the religious instruction program was begun in
By 1959 there was an enrollment of eighty-five in six classes
and by September 1960 the overload in Sunday school classes
was alleviated by creating a second session concurrent with
church services. By late 1962 over 11% of the membership
44—the first twenty-five years
Adult education class
members ply Professor
Akerman with questions.
Left to right: Helen West,
Joe Akerman, Lois Hoffman,
Jean Willing, Edgar
Westrum, Marian Elliott.
was involved in teaching the congregation’s young people.
A constantly recurring theme through the years, in committee
reports as well as Session and Christian Education
Committee minutes, was the fact that lack of professional
leadership in the field of Christian education was a distinct
handicap to the program. Constantly stressed and reiterated
in annual meetings and budget consideration was the “need
to enlarge our vision.” In January 1967 the Christian Education
Committee urgently recommended to Session that “a
director of Christian education be hired at the earliest possible
time.” This was but the first of many similar pleas. A job
description was drawn up by the Administration Committee
in February in order to pursue this goal. Alas, it was not yet
to be accomplished.
Rev. James Green was hired in 1969–70, with funds donated
by the Women’s Assocation, to assist the pastor on
Sunday. He became known by the congregation as Christian
education counselor for junior and senior high youths, but he
remained only one year.
Finally, at the annual meeting in 1971, five percent of the
reserve for operating contingency was put into the budget for
a program of leadership training and/or staffing, beyond the
amount already budgeted for operation and supplies in the
Christian education department.
For a few years thereafter, youth counselors were employed
– usually University of Michigan students affiliated
with Christian campus organizations – to work with the young
people in fellowships, Junior Club, Junior Day Camp and
Sunday school. Most successful of these was Michael Malone,
a university student whose longer stay, popularity with young
people as well as adults, and earnest intent to enter the ministry,
gave his leadership some authority. After nearly two years
of service to Westminster, during which time he preached
several sermons, Mike entered Gordon-Conwell Seminary in
Massachusetts under the care of the Presbytery of Detroit
with the endorsement of our Session. He successfuly completed
his theological studies and is now pastor of a Presbyterian
Church in America congregation in Virginia.
However, it was not until 1977 that the congregation
agreed to budget $8,000 for a director of Christian education,
with the stipulation that a commitment to hire would not be
made until funds were projected to be available later in the
At last in August 1977 it came to pass: William S. Craven
was hired as the first director of Christian education of Westminster
Presbyterian Church. After a few months, however,
the Christian Education Committee realized the program
was not proceeding in the direction which had been its specifically
established intention. In September 1978 the Session,
Administration and Christian Education Committees
and Mr. Craven agreed to disagree and the church was again
searching for a director of Christian education.
In the spring of 1979 the position was offered to Miss Julie
Chamberlain whose educational background and experience
in teaching, youth and mission work, communicant education
and officer training appeared to qualify her well. Julie
was welcomed at an informal coffee hour in July and officially
at a post-worship reception September 9 and was ensconced
in an office carved out of a corner of St. Andrews Hall. In the
1979 annual report, Julie was characterized as “an enabler in
a ministry that had been heretofore limping along.” In the
two years she has been on the staff, interest in the youth
fellowships and Sunday school programs has soared as she
keeps two and a half jumps ahead of everyone.
A highly successful adult education program has been established.
Through the years, various methods of Christian edu-
46—the first twenty-five years
cation for adults had been attempted, altered, abandoned,
reinstituted in new forms, in an effort to keep abreast of the
changing needs and desires of the congregation. In the midseventies
Sunday morning adult classes gave way to Sunday
evening classes which were well attended. Various Bible and
book study groups had been formed through the years, among
them the Alpha Study Group, the women’s book review (all
wanted to listen, none wanted to review!), and the Strugglers
Bible Study. One of the most successful study groups has
been the Men’s Breakfast Club which has met under various
formats and at varying times but seems unextinguishable for
any prolonged time. After their Wheaties, rolls and coffee
the men listen to speakers on subjects such as books of the
Bible or Biblical themes. (Not to slight their culinary prowess,
this group has provided delectable breakfasts for the Easter
sunrise services, the laymen’s group of west-side churches, as
well as for themselves upon more ambitious occasions.)
For a number of years two sections of Sunday school were
conducted. In March of 1964 the Christian Education Committee
voted to discontinue the 11 am junior class, instruction
to be confined to the 9:30 am period on Sunday, plus
a late afternoon meeting on Wednesdays with a box lunch
before class. This became the forerunner of the Junior Club
as it has existed for a number of years. The current successful
format of fourth through sixth grades meeting after school
from October through April, seems well entrenched. An
awards program for attendance, scholarship and choir attendance
caps the Junior Club program at the year’s final meeting
in April. Junior Day Camp, a summer program, keeps this
age level interested during the school vacation period when
Junior Club is in abeyance.
The first Vacation Bible School was conducted June 22–
July 4, 1959, with an enrollment of thirty-three children. This
has been an annual early summer event, with neighborhood
children invited to participate. Excellent leadership has provided
these little ones with some of their earliest religious
A Westminster Fellowship meeting for junior high youth was
first held on January 26, 1958. An early campout for junior
highs occurred in June 1959 when “spirits were not dampened
in the rain although the popcorn was.” Ruth Stewart
and Virginia Newell were credited with gourmet cooking for
an army on two gas stoves. This was the first of many such
memorable occasions through the years from which our
youth participants record their own unique experiences for
nostalgic recollections of “Remember when . . .?” in a Christian
The youth met Sunday evenings at the manse or in homes
and as numbers increased to justify two groups, a senior high
Westminster fellowship was organized in 1960. The Westminster
Press recorded that “the group could use more members,
especially girls (so say the boys).”
Obtaining adult advisers for the youth groups presented
continuous difficulties but somehow it was always managed.
With Julie Chamberlain at the helm the past two years, the junior
and senior high fellowships have been guided in a highly
successful and varied program of study, fun, service projects,
retreats – always something different to pep up potentially
flagging youthful interest. As some youth members become
older they in turn have assisted in the leadership.
Staffing the church school with teachers is also a never-ending
task as indicated in the September 9, 1971 minutes of the
Christian Education Committee: “The meeting came to a
48—the first twenty-five years
close with Dave Calhoun and John McCrea dashing to the
phone to summon more loyal souls to the task of teaching at
The two-session Sunday school which required double
staffing contributed to the difficulty of obtaining sufficient
teachers for many years. In 1966 the double schedule was
evaluated with the conclusion that “the church school has
and will have problems” but it was felt the double schedule
was successful (there were two morning worship services at
the time) and “we cannot go back to a single schedule.”
Again in 1972, however, the desirability of having dual
morning worship and Sunday school classes was studied
by the Worship and Christian Education Committees with
the resulting establishment, by Session action, of a single
10:15 am Sunday program beginning in October. This presented
no problems and received many favorable comments
In 1978 the Christian Education Committee led by Jan
Thomas and the Session agreed to attempt a courageous step
with a completely new set-up and time schedule for Sunday
morning. In September, at the beginning of the fall season,
worship was scheduled to start at 10 am with children
through fourth grade attending with their families the first
twenty minutes of the service. The children then were to depart
during the singing of a hymn to their own junior worship
service. Following morning worship, and a fifteen minute fellowship
period, Sunday school classes for adults and children
were to be conducted.
This program, considered highly controversial and experimental
when adopted with considerable apprehension,
has been eminently successful due to careful planning, with
topics and courses of exceptional interest to adults, as well
as dedicated and skilled teachers and leaders. Adults have a
choice of three study courses each of three terms throughout
the year, while children beyond nursery level are taught the
In the fall of 1979 a church-wide Scripture memorization
program was implemented. Booklets with Bible verses
suitable for eight age levels were prepared and offered for
memorization and recitation before “hearers” to any who voluntarily
chose to be in the program. This has met a need for
familiarizing all ages with knowledge of Bible passages essential
to a well-informed Christian. Those who succeed in the
memorization program are commended and recognized.
Naming of church rooms by the Christian education department
received much consideration several years ago.
The Heritage Room, Geneva, Psalter, Celtic and Founders
Rooms and John Knox, John Hus, Martin Luther, John Calvin
and John Monteith Rooms, are primarily classrooms and
all are signed with plastic name brackets.
Other activities have complemented the Christian education
programs at various times including the annual churchwide
picnic, women’s weekly Bible study, summer family
night suppers and movies, and numerous other events geared
to ongoing and emerging interests.
It appears that with the vitalizing of courses, the outstanding
leadership of lay and professional people, and the enthusiastic
participation by increasing numbers of our membership,
the peak of effectiveness of the Christian education program
has yet to reveal itself.
50—the first twenty-five years
Be strong and of good courage;
be not frightened, neither be dismayed:
for the Lord your God is with you
wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
5 Peaks and Valleys
o celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Gensheimer
pastorate in 1974, an ad hoc committee was formed with
intent to provide a gift which would accomplish the realization
of every Presbyterian minister’s dream – a visit to Scotland,
cradle of our religious heritage.
The membership was invited, as discreetly as possible, to
participate in a travel fund to permit the pastor to engage in
a short course of study at St. Andrews College in Scotland,
possibly Will Barclay, and to travel with his family in other
areas of interest. At the anniversary dinner in October 1974,
a check and bank passbook with appropriate funds were presented
to an astonished recipient. Because it was a surprise
gift it was necessary to obtain retroactive Session action to approve
a “Minister’s Special Education Fund” and thus avoid
complications with the irs!
A family trip of such magnitude required considerable advance
preparation. Although planning was begun soon after
presentation of the gift, difficulties arose with the scheduling
of the popular summer class at St. Andrews, so it was not until
the summer of 1976 the family embarked on the long-anticipated
trip to Scotland. At the twentieth anniversary dinner in
peaks and valleys—51
Good Scotsman Lloyd MacDonald, surrounded by an ad hoc committee,
presents a check for a trip to Scotland to an astonished pastor in honor of
his ten years of service to Westminster. Left to right: Rev. Gensheimer,
David Calhoun, Herman Deal, Lloyd MacDonald, Allen Schwadron,
Henricka Beach, Lowell Tompkins.
October 1976 the congregation was treated to a slide presentation
of the summer’s travels in Scotland and on the continent,
with the “Five gs” gaily outfitted in their Dress Stewart
tartans, vests, tam-o-shanters and skirt. Several appropriate
pictures were presented to the church as gifts of appreciation,
and have been hung in various parts of the buildings, as their
“thank you” for this remarkable opportunity.
A sign labelling the fellowship room as “St. Andrews Hall”
was created by William Kuhn for the event. It hangs there
today, a reminder of the occasion and the manner in which
the area received its name.
A Few Crises
A crisis is real. A mini-crisis is in the eye of the beholder or
the mind of the assumed participant. Few major crises have
interrupted Westminster’s first twenty-five years.
52—the first twenty-five years
One of the earliest “mini-crises” took place in the mid-sixties
when Reverend G and Reuben Beuerle incurred a mild
scrape with the law. They were enthusiastically erecting signs
at the corner of Stadium Boulevard and Greenview Drive, as
well as Main Street and Scio Church Road, directing wouldbe
worshippers to the church. This proved to be an act of
dubious legality and while the first sign was victim of an accident,
the city requested removal of the second. A handsome
lighted outdoor sign was erected on the east exterior of the
building in 1978. In May 1981 an identifying sign was placed
on the southeast corner of the property at the intersection of
Greenview and Scio Church Road.
In 1967 the Session had voted to destroy the “old loose-leaf
church records” inasmuch as they had been recorded (“and
proudly erects a sign
directing visitors to
peaks and valleys—53
proofread”) in a new Church Record Book. (Session minutes
are now being recorded in Book 4, having filled three and a
half large volumes.) A safe was purchased for temporary storage
of money as well as the record books.
On one fateful Sunday night in 1971 Gil Thrane, from
his home behind the church on Hanover Court, saw questionable
lights burning late in the office. Police, upon investigating,
found a broken basement window and a missing safe.
The missing object was found within a day in a field at Scio
Church and Zeeb Roads, door blown open. Crime did not
pay for these disgusted burglers, however, as they found no
Sunday collection, it having been banked, but only the record
books. These, fortunately, had been protected from overnight
rain damage by the slightly open door. An insurance
claim was filed in connection with the theft and the large safe
was replaced by a smaller donated one. This has been kept
unlocked, with combination tumbler removed along with
temptation, since a locksmith was summoned to open it in
yet another mini-crisis when the records were inadvertently
locked up and no one was able to open the combination. Only
records of no interest to outsiders repose therein nowadays.
On another occasion the gift set of silver tea service disappeared
for some time. Months after replacement by a new
service, the original set was discovered in the small storage
area at the northeast corner of St. Andrews Hall, apparently
having been dumped hastily inside the door by a “borrower.”
The nearest to a major crisis in the church occurred in summer
1978. Reverend G and Anne were spending a week of
their vacation at a national Suzuki Violin Institute in Ithaca,
New York, with their two youngest sons, Paul and Peter, who
had been students of the instrument for some time.
Late in the evening of Thursday, July 20, telephones of
54—the first twenty-five years
Session members began ringing as Stated Clerk Betty Arnett
was endeavoring to notify each one that the pastor had suffered
a possible heart attack and was hospitalized. The wires
heated up for some time as calls were exchanged to obtain
information and make arrangements for Sunday services.
Inasmuch as Reverend G was a patient in Tompkins
County Hospital in Ithaca, Ruth and Lowell Tompkins immediately
packed a suitcase and moved into 3220 Farmbrook
Court to serve as surrogate parents during the interim until
the situation stabilized and events were under control.
Son John Mark was already home working in preparation
for fall entrance into the University of Michigan. Paul
and Peter were returned to Ann Arbor over the weekend by
other families attending the Institute. Several days of con-
in the mid-sixties in
the Phase 1 building.
Westrum is hidden
behind the Allen
peaks and valleys—55
cern, anxiety and uncertainty ensued until it was determined
a heart attack had indeed occurred. Various arrangements
were necessary to conduct church business since the time of
hospitalization would be indefinite.
The congregation rose to the occasion in admirable fashion,
the committee chairmen and church secretary, Sally Carpenter,
maintained all essential business, Rev. William Baker
of Northside Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor moderated
the next Session meeting, and a letter was carefully prepared
and sent to all Westminster members to dispel rumors and
explain the exact circumstances.
After a few days, the three sons declared their ability to
be independent and manage on their own. Within less than
three weeks Charles and Anne were able to drive back to
Ann Arbor and, after a few additional weeks of rest and recuperation,
Reverend G returned to part-time, then full-time
service. Many newer members of the congregation probably
are not even aware of this crisis and time of anxiety which
had a happy outcome with Reverend G’s full recovery.
56—the first twenty-five years
I delight to do thy will, O my God;
thy law is within my heart. (Ps. 40:8)
6 The Distaff Side
ny saga of church organization and building is replete
with contributions of energy, time, creativity, time, funds
and time by the distaff membership.
Almost from the beginning of Westminster Presbyterian
Church, “Presbyterian Chapel Women’s Association” meetings
were held. So named because they met in the “chapel”
in the Stadium apartments, the women first met to re-bind
hymnals donated by other area churches even before electing
A gathering of sixteen ladies occurred at Mrs. Eloise Frisinger’s
on April 19, 1956. The monthly get-togethers, family
picnics and potlucks continued until, in September, a nominating
committee began to function composed of Mrs. Elna
Simons, Mrs. Mancelyn Roth, and Mrs. Eileen Beuerle. The
first president was Elna Simons, elected in 1957, succeeded
by Hope Morrill in 1958. Nineteen women have accepted
the responsibility for leading the Women’s Association in succeeding
Formal acceptance of the Women’s Association as an organization
was postponed by the Session until they were assured
the organizational plan was in full accordance with General
the distaff side—57
Assembly rules. In April 1957 a draft of the Women’s Association
constitution was presented to the Session. This was approved
and the Women’s Association was formally accepted
as an official organization representing all women of Westminster
Church. In her 1957 fellowship report, Mancelyn
Roth indicated that the Association claimed twenty-nine of
the fifty-two women members of the church.
Concurrent with the start of a Women’s Association came the
study circles. The initial meeting of circle #1 was held the
afternoon of November 7, 1956, with Mrs. Artie Troxell as
the leader. Volunteers filled the principal offices, and pledges
to the Women’s Association were accepted for the following
year. Then, as now, the Association is supported primarily by
annual pledges of women in the circles. In March 1959 this
circle was renamed the Sarah Circle in honor of its chairman
Mrs. Sarah Collins.
Records of circle #2 meetings begin in January 1958. Mrs.
Martha Akerman was the chairman and later that year this
evening group’s name was changed to the Martha Circle in
her honor. (Martha also served the church as flower chairman
for well over ten years.) The two circles met monthly,
ten times a year, with the programs following three study
units set out by the Detroit Presbytery.
In February 1966 a morning group to be known as the
Marian Circle, for its first chairman, was formed with a nucleus
of five: Marian McKenzie, Dorothy McDougall, Diane
Bowlin, Pat Trezise and Helen West. By the second meeting
attendance had grown to eight members.
In the fall of 1970 a morning circle was newly formed for
mothers of small children. Known as the Dorcas Circle, the
younger women met monthly at the church with babysitting
available for their youngsters. This lasted for only a few years
58—the first twenty-five years
as the members either left the city or drifted into the evening
circle when Dad could do the baby-sitting.
In the early years planned activities of the Women’s Association
and circles were listed in the Sunday bulletins under
the heading “Women’s Work.” And, indeed it was. From the
start the women collected Betty Crocker coupons and books
of Holden, Top Value, Gold Bell and Green Trading Stamps
for the purpose of furnishing the kitchen and nursery.
Records of the association and circles contain a running
plea and reminder for coupons, stamps, pledging, and “three
dozen cookies.” Receptions, monthly coffee hours for new
members, parties for the children, Vacation Bible School,
and many other social events were conducted by the women
of the church, always requiring many volunteers for service,
as well as “three dozen cookies.”
Fundraising, too, was an important contribution as women
assisted in the building campaigns and acquisition of essential
needs. Their money raisers ran the gamut from the
Christmas gift sale started in 1959 with proceeds to be applied
to the church debt, a “coffee tasting” which netted $102
for the library, to a “Duds for Dishwasher” fashion show in
1975 when the installation of a kitchen dishwasher was the
Even with their efforts on behalf of temporal needs of the
struggling church, women’s benevolence contributions were
never overlooked or omitted. In the earlier years assistance to
mission areas through the world were alternated, necessarily,
with contributions toward essential needs of the church. In
1960 a sum of $610 was applied to the church building debt;
in 1962, $825 was donated to a mission project; in 1963-64
the building fund for the new sanctuary was enriched by their
contribution of $1,100; in 1971 snack sets were purchased for
the distaff side—59
wedding and other receptions. These are just a few of many
typical contributions. And so it has continued.
In the decade of the seventies the bi-annual Women’s Association
fall bazaar receipts ranged from over $1,000 to more
than $2,700. This amount usually has been divided 60% for
mission causes and 40% for local church needs. In 1973 the
first Westminster cookbook was produced as a fundraiser (a
new cookbook is in production). In 1975 the dishwasher was
finally installed in the kitchen at thrice its originally projected
cost, a boon to overjoyed Junior Club mothers, the Fellowship
Committee, Men’s Breakfast Club participants and
others involved in the gustatorial side of church life. Other
local recipients of funds from the women have included the
Deacons’ fund, the House by the Side of the Road (women
volunteers at the House have given Mondays the appellation
“Presbyterian Day”), basement lighting and improvement,
lighted outdoor sign on the Greenview side, handbells, cases
and robes, as well as many more. “Kitchen showers” by the
ladies periodically replenished some of the supplies in the
Women’s Association meetings were held in individual
homes until April 1958 upon near completion of the first
building. Frequently the Sarah Circle and the Martha Circle
held joint meetings. Women’s Association Board minutes,
which begin in November 1962, indicated preference
for open board meetings every two months (circle members
welcome) with concentration on the circles meeting regularly
each month. Two or three joint meetings yearly were recommended.
A June potluck picnic was an “institution” with the Sarah
Circle. In their records for June 2, 1964, the picnic at Dorothy
MacDougall’s had “a record attendance, loads of food,
and the usual rainy evening.” The next year, on June 1, 1965,
their picnic included the Martha Circle – and sure ’nuf it
60—the first twenty-five years
ained that night! Ultimately all circles combined for a Women’s
Association picnic, held for many years at Nora Cooper’s
Liberty Street residence. Later, this June event was held at
the church, thus foiling the weatherman.
Sewing assignments from the Presbytery were one of the
major projects of the women in the early years. Some circles
preferred to keep fingers busy at meetings. In some years
regular “sewing days” were established. Many, many layettes
for overseas, surgical caps for Korean and other foreign hospitals,
and similar quotas were completed. In addition, there
were aprons to be made for Homemakers in memory of late
member Alice Pettibone, a Homemaker employee, and robes
for junior choir and handbell choir to be fashioned. In recent
years, with many women employed, the sewing quota assignments
have given way to other Presbytery requests for funds
or materials. Individually, women have provided Christmas
gifts annually for wards of the Washtenaw County court; for
residents of foster homes, Whitmore Lake and other convalescent
homes; Ypsilanti State Hospital; for private “project”
families; and for the Washtenaw County Department of Social
Services among others. They have helped at blood banks
and international student dinners and luncheons. Many tons
of clothing and blankets for Church World Service, SAFE
House and Appalachian communities have been packed and
contributed through the years.
From the very beginning our women have occupied places
on the governing boards of Westminster, two women having
been elected as elders on the first Session.
Recent innovations in the life of the Women’s Association
include the annual Lenten retreat begun in March 1975
with Serena Vassady’s all-day program “Milestones on Our
Pilgrimage.” A similar event has been continued each succeeding
Lenten season, with a luncheon followed by worship
and communion. A spring salad luncheon honoring women
the distaff side—61
who have joined Westminster during the preceding year has
long been considered an annual highlight.
The purpose of the Women’s Association as stated in the
Yearbook is as follows:
Seeking to be obedient to God’s call in Jesus Christ we unite . . . to
support the mission of the United Presbyterian Church in the USA, to
help one another to grow in Christian faith and understanding, and to
act in Christian concern in the company of God’s people everywhere.
Women’s Association membership consists of all women of
the local congregation who wish to be involved in the program
of the United Presbyterian Women. All women of the
church are invited to participate in the study, service and
fellowship provided by one of the three circles currently in
Our women participate in the three annual celebrations
of the Ann Arbor Council of Church Women: World Day
of Prayer, World Community Day and May Fellowship Day
(sometimes serving as hostess church), and they provide a
Women’s Association representative as liaison to the Ann Arbor
Council of Church Women United.
In October 1977 the first honorary membership given by our
Association to the Program Agency of United Presbyterian
Women was presented to Henricka Beach, and in 1979 a
second award was given in the name of Mildred Byers, thus
establishing a bi-annual custom of honoring local women for
long years of service to their church, the Association and to
62—the first twenty-five years
So – hundreds of layettes, many hours of volunteer service,
and thousands and thousands of cookies later, our women are
still offering their time, talents and creativity to similar causes
and accepting new challenges as Westminster Presbyterian
Church grows and changes along with the world.
the distaff side—63
64—the first twenty-five years
Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit,
serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
7 People and Programs
umbers are valuable but often misleading, so membership
statistics will be considered only briefly. From the
original eighty-seven charter members in November 1956,
membership at Westminster had grown to 107, 121 and 146
by the close of the three succeeding years.
The membership grew steadily, rather than by “leaps and
bounds.” The fact that a total of 1,155 communicant members
appears on the rolls during the twenty-five year period,
compared to a mid-1981 membership of 465 does not speak
unfavorably of Westminster. Ann Arbor is a transient town;
often university families are here for study or teaching before
moving on, and such is the case as well with employees of
some engineering and light industrial firms which are prone
to employee transfers. We simply rejoice in the presence and
talents of short term members within our church life and
wish them well as they move on.
On the other hand, sixteen charter members are still resident
and active. Our oldest living member, Miss Florence
Guenther, also a charter member, resides at Hillside Terrace
in Ann Arbor, and celebrated her one hundredth birthday
May 18 of this church anniversary year.
people and programs—65
There are of course many loyal members who have been
active for fifteen or twenty years, although they are not charter.
Baptisms performed during this first quarter century number
seventy-two; thirty-seven infants and children and thirty-five
adults have received this sacrament. The first baptism was
that of Nancy Lynn Miller, daughter of Rev. Richard and Lois
Miller, on June 29, 1956. Marriages which have been solemnized
number 126 while there have been thirty-seven deaths
of communing members. We count our blessings in quality
of service and dedication to God and the well-being of Westminster
rather than in numbers.
Growth was steady and with it ensued a proliferation of organizations
and programs to meet the needs and challenges of a
growing and changing membership and community.
Almost from its inception Westminster has been fortunate
to have a maturing music program. Charter member Florence
Westrum directed the first choir of seven members on
November 25, 1956, which sang from music loaned by First
Mr. and Mrs. William Elder donated the first electronic
organ in December 1957. After two loaned instruments,
pledges from nineteen families made possible the purchase
of an Allen demonstrator electronic organ for $3,900. This
instrument served the congregation in both buildings for approximately
twenty years until installation of the new Schantz
pipe organ in October 1980. Florence Westrum has served
faithfully as organist, as well as the original choir director, for
the entire twenty-five years.
The choir increased to a membership of ten in its second
season and to fifteen in 1959. Early rehearsals were
66—the first twenty-five years
The Chancel Choir rehearses,
with accompaniment by Florence
Westrum. Left to right: Florence
Westrum, Ralph Vogler, Leone
Thrane, Jacqueline Kutkuhn, Dick
and Kathy Trim, Margo Gill, Bob
Piatt, Gordon Kennedy.
people and programs—67
held frequently at the home of Martha Akerman or Florence
Westrum. In June 1967 Jeanne Merlanti was appointed choir
director and Mrs. Westrum was commended by the Session
for her past services in a dual capacity and appreciation was
extended that she would continue as organist.
The Worship Committee continued to explore the cost of
recruiting a director of music. During and after Mrs. Merlanti’s
1975–76 leave of absence, a succession of University of
Michigan music students served including Mark Webb and
Tom Britanyak. Current Director of Music Robert T. Allen,
a University of Michigan doctoral candidate, was engaged in
August 1977, and under his excellent tutelage the choir has
expanded its repertoire to include a Fauré requiem, a Bach
cantata, selections from Mendelssohn’s Elijah and other demanding
productions. Membership in the chancel choir has
remained in the 25-30 range in recent times.
Accoustical problems continued to plague the choir for a
number of years after they were installed in the south transept
of the new sanctuary. Finally the choir was relocated to
the north front of the new sanctuary on February 8, 1976,
celebrating the occasion with special music. Spring 1981 saw
the addition of carpeted risers for the choir just in time for
Palm Sunday, improving vision as well as sound.
In March 1975 the Worship Committee voted to establish
a special fund to accumulate gifts for the purchase of a
new pipe organ at such time replacement of the sometimesailing
electronic instrument would be necessary. A special
committee was organized to “encourage, coordinate and administer”
memorial gifts, this group to be a sub-committee
of the Finance Committee. Several years of intense research
by Fayola Ash and committee members, along with a threeyear
pledging campaign, a matching gift donation and other
contributions, resulted in congregational approval in January
1979 of a contract with the Schantz Organ Company of
68—the first twenty-five years
Orrville, Ohio, for construction of a pipe organ of sixteen or
seventeen ranks and console. A year later an additional one
and a half ranks were approved.
Parish Assistant John Mecouch (also teacher, preacher
and choir soloist) and Music Director Robert Allen were
deeply involved in this project, as were Clifford Morris of
the Property Committee and the pastor. Actual installation
involved only about a week of the organ company’s presence
beginning October 27, 1980. Numerous Westminster
members were on hand to watch the progress and to have
an actual part in carrying the eleven hundred pipes into the
sanctuary. On Sunday, November 2, the new instrument was
played publicly for the first time, and an all-church orchestra
premiered on this occasion. It was an auspicious and exciting
day marking yet another milepost in our growth.
The dedication recital on November 30, 1980 was presented
by Dr. Marilyn Mason, Ann Arbor’s internationally
known organ expert, who had been helpful in planning and
consultations from the beginning. Three succeeding dedicatory
recitals were performed early in 1981 by Donald Renz,
another consultant, Florence Westrum and Fayola Ash. The
final concert in the dedicatory series took place on a May
Sunday evening when combined choirs of Westminster and
of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church plus soloists and instrumentalists
presented a festival service performing the J. S.
Bach Cantata #29. The beautiful eighteen and a half rank
instrument, costing approximately $74,000, is a tremendous
asset to our music ministry and will be a source of great enjoyment
in future years.
There has been a Junior Choir almost every year and at
times there have been a Handbell Choir, Girls’ Ensemble, a
folk guitar group and a church orchestra. We have been fortunate
to have many able vocalists and instrumentalists who
have added musical enjoyment to our services.
people and programs—69
Audio aids, installed in several front pews for the benefit
of hearing-impaired worshippers, have been helpful. Early
in 1981 a public address system was installed in the sanctuary
through the generosity of several private donors. Not
only does this system aid in amplification when necessary, especially
children’s voices, but makes possible the taping of
services for use by shut-ins. Cassettes of all services are now
available to those who are unable to attend worship.
The 1975 Girls’ Ensemble added to our musical praise. Front row, left
to right: Larry Sonntag (director), Melia Arnett, Debbie Buck, Florence
Westrum. Middle row: Nancy Teppo, Ann Bolhouse, Kathy Buck. Top
row: Carol Thrane, Barb Sonntag.
70—the first twenty-five years
Any library, obviously, must begin with “a book.” By 1960
enough books had been donated to start formation of a Westminster
library. It was noted that Elder Jack McAllister had
spent much time and effort cataloging about 150 good books.
Session minutes recorded: “Over fifty books have been borrowed
by thirty-seven people. These figures do not include
those who don’t record their actions. But Westminster is an
honest church – all books are accounted for at year’s end.”
The annual report for 1962 announced current possession
of 180 volumes and a search was underway for a qualified
person to assume duties and responsibilites of caring for the
library. The Women’s Association engaged in a marketing research
project (coffee-tasting, no less!) for a Ph.D. candidate,
earning $102 for the library in 1970. Slowly it was growing to
300 books, shelves would be needed, and a library room was
Apparently there was a lapse in library activity, as Women’s
Association minutes in early 1970 announced “re-establishment”
of the church library under the leadership of
Mildred Byers. With Kathy Powell serving as first chairman
of a new Library Committee, the “give-a-book” project met
with sterling success. The Christian Education minutes of
January 1971 stated: “The library has an excellent selection
of books. What is needed now is readers.” There were then
1,000 books on the shelves.
In January 1974 Mrs. Byers produced and circulated
a booklet, Your Church Library, filled with facts on our library’s
background, its use guidelines, liberal policies and
helpful information. She prepares for the congregation seasonally
several timely reading lists, frequently accompanied
by appropriate handmade bookmarks.
Study chairmen of circles and Women’s Association are
in constant contact with the librarian as an unfailing source
people and programs—71
of assistance. Volunteers staff the desk on Sunday mornings,
although Mrs. Byers is at work in the library several days a
week; other volunteers assist with typing, cataloging and acquiring
new books. The church library, considered one of the
finest in Ann Arbor, now contains slightly fewer than 4,000
volumes reaching to the ceiling on three sides and beginning
to cover windows on the fourth! Available are instructional,
fun, educational and inspirational tomes, as well as thirteen
or fourteen translations of the Bible. There are also two book
display racks in the narthex readied for appropriate occasions
and a continuous series of delightful “not to be missed” decorating
themes in the restful Big Little Library at the southeast
corner of the original building.
Stained glass windows
Someone once voiced the opinion that a sanctuary did not
seem complete without a pipe organ and stained glass windows.
Inclusion of stained glass windows in the original plans
for the new sanctuary was considered cost prohibitive, but
the yearning to have them persisted in the minds of several
people, particularly Wilbur Elliott, in the ensuing years.
Finally in the late seventies a quiet investigation was made
of potential artists, costs and designs. A few prospective donors
were surveyed, with opportunity to participate in such a
project offered via the church newsletter to any who wished
to do so. No full scale public campaign was mounted as the
drive for pledges to the pipe organ fund was underway.
When the installation of stained glass windows in the
sanctuary seemed within reach, the selected artist, Richard A.
Marks of Tecumseh, and his studio began implementation of
the chosen design. Verses from John 15:5 – “I am the vine,
you are the branches . . . for apart from me you can do nothing”
– were chosen as the theme – a particularly suitable one
72—the first twenty-five years
for the long, narrow shape of the windows.
Beginning with a symbol of the Trinity at the apex of the
window above the chancel, the branch and vine theme continues
down and around the side windows of the sanctuary,
incorporating in each several Christian symbols. With Mr.
and Mrs. Marks in attendance, the stained glass windows
were “dedicated to the glory of God, and in memory of loved
ones of the donors” on December 16, 1979. The windows not
only reduce outside glare and give warmth and beauty to the
sanctuary, but their symbols are a constant reminder of various
facets of our faith. A plaque on the south transcept wall
records names of the donors for all time.
The Couples’ Club was formed in September 1957 as “Presby-Twos”
and has been known variously as Merry Mates and
Mariners. The purpose is to have a varied program of monthly
gatherings for fun, fellowship, information and service. And
also evident, eating is not a minor part!
The first January event was an ice-skating party at the
University of Michigan rink; twenty-five years later, having
progressed from participants to spectators, the schedule includes
attendance at a University of Michigan hockey game.
Although organized primarily for young couples, singles
are welcomed, and some events such as a popular June weekend
campout include entire families.
Men’s Breakfast Club
The Men’s Breakfast Club has existed for many years, study
having precedence over eating as the main purpose. Meeting
in various formats, usually in a weekly series at 6:45 am, men
of the congregation hear speakers on topics such as books of
the Bible or biblical themes. They have raised funds to assist
other groups in purchasing a refrigerator, carpeting the stage
people and programs—73
in St. Andrews Hall, and other projects. They meet with laymen
of westside churches for special breakfasts several times
a year and are noted for producing exceptional Easter sunrise
breakfasts for Westminster.
In mid-1957 the need for communication within the congregation
engendered a monthly newsletter. Elders Ted Gibson
and Helen West were commended for their work on the first
issue of Westminster Press which, in subsequent years, became
The Church Mouse. After the arrival of Reverend G in
1964, he shouldered the task of producing a monthly newsletter
of several pages. In January 1973 Ruth Tompkins assumed
editorship, increasing publication to a semi-monthly,
legal-sized news sheet featuring a calender. This is mailed
to the membership and to many other interested individuals.
Indicative of years of inflation, the the cost of mailing The
Church Mouse on a bulk permit has increased from 1.4 cents
per piece in 1969 to 3.9 cents per piece in 1981.
Boy Scout Troop #33 of the Portage Trails Council was started
with church sponsorship and chartered to Westminster in
February 1968. The first Court of Honor was held in April
and several of our young men achieved the rank of Eagle
Scout. This sponsorship continued until the mid-seventies.
Although not church-sponsored, a Girl Scout troop was also
permitted to meet in the building for several years under
leadership of a member of the congregation.
Although not a direct function of the church, the Chaing
Mai Mission Board was established in 1974 to provide capital
support for Payap College, the only Christian liberal arts
institution in Thailand. Westminster members Douglas and
74—the first twenty-five years
Jean Sherman, who lived two years in Thailand, were guiding
lights behind the program. The board includes the Shermans,
Pastor Gensheimer, Dwight Bornemeier and Lowell Tompkins
from Westminster. This group’s efforts have resulted in
substantial federal grants from aid in addition to ongoing
private support, and the board oversees the construction of
buildings for this Christian college in Thailand. Chiang Mai
Mission Board is one of the recipients in our program of
Faith Promise giving.
The first church membership directory was published in
June 1957. An attempt is made to update this list annually so
current information is available to all members. A pictorial
directory made its initial appearance in mid-1976. This was
valuable in enabling placement of familiar faces with not-sofamiliar
names and vice versa. A second pictorial directory
was produced in early 1981.
A programmatic calender was devised in 1978 listing regularly
scheduled and special major events in the life of the church
from September through June. This is an endeavor to aid
members in their own planning and anticipation of church
events. The calender subsequently has been made available
each fall, an aid to “priority” planning.
At various times a districting or zoning system has been attempted
with the local membership divided into zones in
Ann Arbor. One elder or deacon would be responsible for
each zone and available for assistance to residents therein. It
was also an attempt to promote closer fellowship and service
within the smaller group. After investment of a great amount
of effort and time, these programs have usually become ineffective
due to the constant movement of members in and
out of zones and the city. With a bylaw revision reinstating a
people and programs—75
oard of deacons in 1978 however, Session committees were
reduced to eight as the deacons assumed some of the transferred
committee responsibilities for physical needs of the
membership. This “second round” has found the deacons filling
a long-needed function in servicing our membership in
Each year, with new members coming on to the Session and
Board of Deacons, officers reexamine the “Goals Study” for
the church, renewing and reemphasizing what the goals
One year there may be emphasis on evangelism, another
year on teaching, another on calling. Such was the era of the
late sixties when Harmon O. Johnson and his “Ever-Ready
Callers” made visits with the pastor and during the summer
while the pastor was vacationing.
Annual updating of the church rolls, a procedure directed
by the Presbyterian Book of Order, is occasionally neglected.
But an attempt is made to keep rolls accurate and reflective
of an active membership.
This review incorporates only a partial account of groups and
programs not mentioned elsewhere. It is an attempt, however
minimal, to cover a broad spectrum of the total ministry of
Westminster. It is an effort to point up the fact that Westminster
Presbyterian Church committees are trying constantly to
be cognizant of changing needs and challenges and endeavoring
to address them within the Christian framework. And
perhaps it will invoke a little nostalgia in the process!
Pillars Among Many
With the original intent being not to emphasize particular
names and people, the story of the first twenty-five years
of Westminster Presbyterian Church is indeed incomplete
76—the first twenty-five years
in many capacities,
including in the
without mention of two charter members whose presence in
many areas is deeply entwined with our history. Both came
from First Presbyterian Church to help found the new mission
After a long and illustrious career as a teacher and business
woman, charter member Henricka B. Beach was appointed
the first financial secretary of the church in early
1957 and there was never a time she was not serving her
church. (She was 68 when she joined.) She was financial secretary
for three years, served on the Session from 1961 to
1964, and was treasurer of the Sarah Circle from its inception
until 1977. President of the Ann Arbor Church Women
United in 1959–60, she was simultaneously third president
of our Women’s Association. In 1969, nearing her eightieth
people and programs—77
irthday, she chaired the Association spring luncheon featuring
a fashion show program!
A great lover of music and possessor of keen intellect, her
attendance at concerts in Hill Auditorium and at numerous
lectures and conferences about town was frequently noted.
An avid world traveler, Henricka not only traveled enthusiastically
on every continent but shared her trips with others,
speaking before many groups and displaying her souvenirs to
children of the Sunday school and others.
She was awarded the first honorary membership by our
Women’s Association in 1977 as she was also inducted as a
committee chairman. In 1979, at the age of ninety-one, she
persuaded authorities to permit her to travel to China, one
of the few areas yet unexplored by her. (Even this trip was
shared as she made follow-up speaking appearances.) On August
14, 1980, after a few days of “not feeling well” Henricka,
still holding a position of church service at age ninety-two
(to say nothing of her community volunteer work), quietly
slipped away to her maker. Unfortunately, she missed by a
few months the twenty-fifth anniversary of the church she
loved, but her presence in all of our history and her strong
example will be forever remembered.
Hempstead S. Bull, retired professor of engineering, another
charter member, was elected to the first Session, of which
he became stated clerk. Noted in his Session minutes of
October 6, 1957: “After a brief special meeting to admit new
members, the meeting then adjourned. The usual prayers
were unfortunately omitted.” This omission obviously was
forgiven by the Lord, as our entire church life has been greatly
In 1960, when Mr. Bull rotated off the Session, he succeeded
Miss Beach as financial secretary, a post in which
he served for seventeen years. Upon relinquishing this ser-
78—the first twenty-five years
was stated clerk of
the original Session
and served for
seventeen years as
He is pictured here
with his wife Marie.
vice and long membership on committees such as Pastoral
Nominating and Finance, he was honored after worship with
a special coffee hour reception and gift of appreciation for
twenty-two years of dedicated service. We rejoice that he is
still to be seen in the second or third pew in the sanctuary
every Sunday, a loyal and faithful servant during our entire
One other charter member, as noted earlier, is still serving on
the staff. Florence Westrum, first choir director and organist,
has continued as organist for the entire twenty-five years. A
former president of the Women’s Association, she has graciously
provided accompaniment for many special services,
hymn sings and programs during this period.
Again, we reiterate what was indicated in the preface: Space
restrictions simply do not allow mention of every individual
who has served enduringly for many years. They, as well as
many loyal leaders of today, will find their names left to future
people and programs—79
80—the first twenty-five years
Choose this day whom you will serve,
. . . but as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord. (Joshua 25:15)
8 Into the Twenty-First Century
ow, in 1981, as we enter our second quarter century, we
have endured organizational pangs, completed two
buildings, achieved beautification of our sanctuary with a
splendid pipe organ and stained glass windows, and are endeavoring
constantly to teach the word of God and spread
What challenges will we face and conquer as we complete
this century and enter the twenty-first? What accomplishments
will we be able to celebrate on our fiftieth birthday in
the year 2006?
Traditions have been established through these years
which have become an integral part of our church life. The
children’s family night Christmas program; the Thanksgiving
Eve bread exchange, established in 1973, whereby each
family exchanges with another a loaf of homemade bread
so “breaking bread together” can be observed on Thanksgiving
Day; Easter sunrise services – joyous whether greeted
by sunny dawn or ice-laden treachery; and numerous similar
occasions which create a feeling of community and love and
continuity, abide with us.
We look back only briefly with pride, rejoicing and humble
into the twenty-first century—81
gratitude. Our appreciation never wavers for those laypersons
from First Presbyterian Church who sacrificed so much
of their time to get Westminster started: George Frisinger,
Harmon Johnson, Clarence Roth, George Bowler, Cornelius
Mulder, Dick Enberg, Glen Alt, Lloyd Kempe, Franklin Everett
and others, as well as our own early members.
Our attention and energies must now be directed forward.
“Every church must have more of a future than a past.” There
will be new adventures in stewardship. With one building
over twenty years old, and the worship building over ten
years old, maintenance problems unquestionably will need
to be addressed. Membership nearing 500 indicates physical
expansion. Within a decade there will undoubtedly be another
Buildings and numbers do not make a church, of course.
Emergence of the music program to maturity, revitalization
of the Christian education department, and other enhancements
in the program have contributed to the spirit of enthusiastic
participation of more and more who are eager to
hear God’s word and wish to become part of his work. This
undoubtedly will lead to additional growth which in turn will
necessitate more than a glance toward Phase 3.
Any study of records confirms this first quarter century
has not been easy. Countless hours of meetings, actual years
of planning, financial adversity and sacrifice and volumes of
rhetoric have been ingredients. It is difficult when we view
our lovely surroundings, to appreciate the diligence which
has brought us to this stage of our development. We are
touched and blessed by God’s abiding love and guidance
through these years.
Whatever frustrations may have been in their paths, the
charter members and those who followed never lost sight of
their goal: to build a house of God. And so it will be for count-
82—the first twenty-five years
less further friends and fellow Christians who follow. Whatever
we erect, whatever deeds we perform, whatever we may
accomplish, will transcend brick and mortar, glass and steel,
and will stand as a lasting symbol of the love of God. And
of our love for God. In all will shine the living witness of a
congregation of caring people, electrified with desire to serve
and glorify him, ever faithful in loving service, work and deed
to their supreme example Jesus Christ.
Rev. Gensheimer leads the congregation in worship in 1980.
into the twenty-first century—83
The Story Continues
Anne H. Gensheimer
Everything that was written in the past was
written to teach us, so that . . . we might
have hope. (Romans 15:4)
PROLOGUE to The Story Continues
The year is 2006 and Westminster is celebrating its fiftieth
anniversary. It is fitting to look back and offer a word of
gratitude to all who have worked so hard to make Westminster
a house of God, proclaiming the word of Jesus Christ. To
remember the past is to see that we are here today by the
grace of God. The strength we draw from the past will propel
us into the future as the next generation takes up the gauntlet
of our ministry.
In 1981 when Ruth Tompkins wrote Window on Westminster,
The First Twenty-Five Years, she raised the questions,
“What challenges will we face and conquer as we complete
this century and enter the twenty-first? What accomplishments
will we be able to celebrate on our fiftieth birthday
in the year 2006?” This continuation of the story of our history
from 1981 to 2006 seeks to answer those questions as we
bring to a close fifty years of ministry.
Ruth correctly predicted the need for an additional building,
Phase 3, which was constructed in 1990. The growing
congregation needed more room. Our worship, Christian
education and mission programs expanded. Our ministerial
leadership increased to meet the needs of the congregation
and the community.
In 1999 we paused to state clearly the mission of Westminster.
The result was a mission statement:
Our mission is to be a caring community of Christians
devoted in joyful worship and service to Jesus Christ
witnessing to all people the good news of God’s saving grace
sharing faithfully the abundant blessings God has given us.
The vision from this statement challenged us to sustain mission
support, increase youth ministry, foster small groups and
expand worship styles.
What follows is an overview of the last twenty-five years,
picking up the story where Ruth Tompkins left off. It is impossible
to include all that has happened or to include all
those saints of the church who have contributed so richly to
the life of the church. We are forever in their debt for their
hard work and dedication.
The question is again raised, what will the next fifty years
bring? We cannot foretell the future, but we can trust that
Westminster will continue to serve our Lord and Savior and
to be a witness to his love in our little corner of the world.
Anne H. Gensheimer
Ann Arbor, Michigan
How beautiful are the feet of those
who bring good news! (Romans 10:15 )
9 Ministerial Leadership
n 1981 when Ruth Tompkins wrote Window on Westminster,
the history of Westminster’s first twenty-five years,
little did the congregation know the dramatic changes soon
to occur. In January 1983 Rev. Charles J. Gensheimer was
diagnosed with cancer (lymphoma) and curtailed his ministry
while undergoing treatment. The congregation rallied during
his illness. Committees functioned and pulpit speakers were
recruited including Cliff Anderson, Jerry Brown, Julie Chamberlain,
Rev. William Ferry, Rev. Carl Geider, Dave Klimek,
Rev. David Krehbiel, Dale Leslie, Rev. Donald Lester, Rev.
John Mecouch, Doug Sherman, Vern Terpstra, Tom Trevethan
and Rev. Larry Woodruff. When Pastor Gensheimer
died on Sunday morning August 14, 1983 at the age of 55,
he had been the pastor of Westminster church for nineteen
years – from 1964 to 1983. The congregation mourned his
loss with messages of tribute and condolence. The numerous
lives he touched bore witness to his caring and compassionate
ministry. The death of Rev. Gensheimer in 1983 set in
motion a new chapter in the Westminster story.
The congregation quickly mobilized to begin the process
of calling a new pastor. In October 1983 the Administration
The Rev. Richard Miller was
Westminster’s first pastor.
90—the story continues
Committee recommended hiring
Rev. Richard A. Dempsey as the
interim pastor and Rev. William
Lutz as pastoral assistant. Rev.
Dempsey had served churches
in Illinois, New York and Michigan
as well as several other interim
pastorates before coming
to Westminster. Rev. Lutz, a retired
Methodist minister living in
Ann Arbor, covered the visitation
needs of the congregation.
At a congregational meeting
on October 23, 1983, the Pastoral
Nominating Committee (PNC) was elected. The committee
included Al Banning and Elsie Claypool (co-chairs), Jerry
Brown, Doris Thrane, Jeff Ash, Helen Deal, Barbara Dick,
William Kuhn and Douglas Sherman. The PNC’s first order of
business was to prepare the Church Information Form. The
Church Information Form was approved by the Session on
December 11 and by the Ministerial Relations Committee of
Detroit Presbytery on January 12, 1984. The first set of dossiers
was received for review in early February. The PNC met
for ten months. They read 150 candidate dossiers, met 37
times, made 42 reference calls, listened to 20 sermon tapes,
traveled 4,980 miles and visited with candidates at their home
churches and in Ann Arbor on ten weekends.
The Pastoral Nominating Committee made its report to
the congregation on Sunday, September 9, 1984, recommending
that Rev. Stephen A. Murray be extended the call
to become Westminster’s senior pastor. Rev. Murray was
a 1973 graduate of the University of Nebraska and a 1978
graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield,
Illinois. He came to Westminster from the Kishwaukee Com-
munity Presbyterian Church of Stillman Valley, Illinois. With
him came his wife Diane and sons Daniel (4) and Peter (18
months). A daughter Ellen was born in 1986. The service of
installation for Rev. Murray was held on November 4, 1984.
On October 30, 1994, an anniversary commemoration
was held to honor the Murrays for ten years of service to
Westminster. At the Sunday morning service, Stephen and
Diane each took a turn at the pulpit with words of thoughtful
reflection about their ten years with Westminster. Members
and friends gathered for a celebration dinner in the evening.
The Murrays were presented with a scrapbook, maps and
travel information, along with a check for $6,640 with the
suggestion that the money be used for a “dream” trip. The
spirit of caring and appreciation was very much in evidence
during the whole day.
Douglas Sherman was hired as pastoral assistant in 1988.
He shared pastoral duties at Westminster as part of his theological
and ministerial training at Ashland Theological Seminary.
After completing seminary, he became an ordained
minister in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. In 1994 he
stepped down as pastoral assistant
in anticipation of the hiring
of a full-time associate pastor.
In November 1993 the search
had begun in earnest for a full-time
associate pastor. The congregation
elected a Pastoral Nominating
Committee including Nancy
Lindsay (chair), Gordon Beeman,
Jan Werner, David Wright, Diane
Murray, John Franklin and Jon
Huegli. The congregation waited
with anticipation through 1994
and into 1995 for the committee
Charles Gensheimer was
installed as second pastor
of Westminster Church in
to complete its work. On May 21,
1995, the congregation voted to
approve the call of Melissa Anne
May as associate pastor. She graduated
from the University of Alabama
and Princeton Theological
Seminary and served an internship
at First Presbyterian Church
in Athens, Alabama, before coming
to Westminster. A special service
of ordination and installation
The Rev. Stephen Murray for Rev. May was held on October
was pastor 1984–1995.
In November 1995, Rev. Murray announced that he had
accepted a call to Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames,
Iowa, effective December 15, 1995. The congregation officially
accepted his resignation on November 12, 1995. At a
farewell dinner, the Murrays were presented with a watercolor
painting of Westminster Church. The Murrays expressed
their gratitude for eleven years of ministry and for the monetary
gift given them in 1994 for ten years of service at Westminster.
The congregation wished them godspeed as they left
for Ames, Iowa.
On March 1, 1996, the Administration Committee recommended
to the Session that Rev. Kenneth D. Lister be hired
as interim senior pastor. Rev. Lister had served churches in
Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania before coming to Westminster.
He lived in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, with his wife,
A Mission Self Study Committee was formed in preparation
for calling a senior pastor. Members of the committee
included Dwight Bornemeier, Gary Claypool, Jon Huegli,
Margaret Klammer and Joan Piatt. Surveys were distributed
to the congregation for their input. The results of the survey
92—the story continues
were presented to the Session in May 1996 and approved by
the Presbytery of Detroit on June 11, 1996.
On June 17, 1996, the Pastoral Nominating Committee
(PNC) was elected by the congregation. Members included
Nancy Mason and Bill Sharp (co-chairs) Josie Babcock, Larry
Beach, Greta Buck, Margaret Fairchild, Bill Furtwangler,
Vern Terpstra and Fred Tower. The PNC held its first meeting
on July 25, 1996. The process of finding a pastor included
reviewing 90 Pastor Information Forms, conducting 17
phone interviews, listening to 8 sermon tapes, hearing two
candidates preach at a neutral pulpit, visiting two candidates
in their home churches and interviewing two candidates at
Westminster. These steps resulted in the firm conviction that
Rev. David Paul Lenz was the right person for Westminster.
Pastor Lenz preached his candidating sermon on April 27,
1997. The congregation voted to issue him a call with a starting
date of June 30, 1997.
The congregation warmly welcomed Pastor David Lenz,
his wife, Cynthia, and sons Michael (9), James (7) and Jonathan
(19 months). Pastor Lenz was born in Marshall, Minnesota,
graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota,
and completed his master of divinity
degree at Princeton Theological
Seminary. He served as
senior pastor at Bethel Presbyterian
Church in Waterloo, Iowa,
before coming to Westminster.
On June 29, 1997, a recognition
brunch was held for Interim
Senior Pastor Ken Lister and his
wife Marilyn as we bid them a
fond farewell. Rev. Lister served
from March 1996 to June 1997.
On May 15, 1998, the congre-
The Rev. David Lenz was
called in 1997. He moved
to Minneapolis in 2002.
gation received a letter from Associate Pastor Melissa Anne
May, announcing her resignation effective July 2, 1998. Rev.
May accepted a position with Samaritan Counseling Center
in Toledo with the intent of pursuing a Ph.D. program. Before
beginning her position in Toledo, Melissa Anne married
Jim Rogers, a member of Westminster. It brought to fulfillment
a misprint at the time of Melissa Anne’s ordination and
installation service which read “we promise to pair her fairly”
instead of “we promise to pay her fairly.” Melissa Anne’s resignation
was accepted with a feeling of loss and regret. Her
ministry to Westminster and its members and friends had
been greatly appreciated. Melissa Anne and Jim live down
the street from the church on Greenview Drive and are the
proud parents of two boys, Charlie and Luke.
At the July 19, 1998, worship service, Rev. Lawrence
Woodruff began serving as Westminster’s parish associate.
Larry was pastor emeritus of the First Presbyterian Church
of Ypsilanti where he had served for thirty-four years. No
stranger to Westminster, he had been personally acquainted
with each of the four pastors in Westminster’s history. Larry
and his wife, Louise, lived in Ypsilanti and had three grown
At a special meeting of the congregation on September 12,
1999, an Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC) was
elected by the congregation. Members included Gary Claypool
and Joanne Pearsall (co-chairs), Betsy Cambridge, Doug
Franklin, Bob Piatt, Peter Quiroz and Jan Werner. On July 9,
2000, the committee, having completed its search, presented
the name of Rev. Terri I. Gast as candidate for the position
of associate pastor. Terri had been ordained as a Presbyterian
Church (USA) minister on June 29, 1997, and was a graduate
of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
Our time with Terri was short. A letter of resignation was received
from Terri and the congregation dissolved her pastoral
94—the story continues
services effective January 10, 2002. Subsequently Terri was
commissioned as a chaplain and first lieutenant in the US Air
Force stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base near Del Rio,
Texas. We wished Terri godspeed and thanked her for her
eighteen months of ministry to Westminster. In 2005 news
was received that Terri was serving as a chaplain in South
Korea, close to the North Korean border.
On October 2, 2002, a letter was sent to the congregation
from Pastor Lenz announcing that he had accepted a call
to become pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Richfield,
Minnesota. The congregation was saddened at the news of
his departure. During his five years here, David and Cynthia
had become an integral part of Westminster, David as pastor
and Cynthia as choir director of the Celebration Singers. A
farewell party was held for Pastor Lenz and his family on November
1 where they were bid a fond farewell. Their last day
at Westminster was Sunday, November 3, 2002. Throughout
his time at Westminster, David’s ministry greatly nurtured
our commitment to Jesus Christ.
With the departure of David Lenz in November of 2002,
the session hired Rev. Kenneth Kaibel to serve as interim pastor
effective January 21, 2003. Ken had previously served as
installed pastor of several churches, held three other interim
positions and served as a chaplain in the US Army Reserves.
This last activity was to have an immediate effect on the congregation.
Ken was called into active duty in March 2003 to
be stationed at an airfield in Uzbekistan. He was surprised, as
were the congregation and his wife Sharon, that he was called
up at the age of 54, but he had to report for duty as ordered.
Because Ken remained as the official interim pastor for the
duration of his one year contract, his replacement would be
a “temporary supply pastor,” and referred to by the congregation
as our “interim interim.” Sharon Flynn was hired to fill
the role of staff administrator until a temporary supply pastor
was in place. Larry Woodruff served as pulpit supply after the
departure of Rev. Kaibel.
On May 20, 2003, the Interim Pastor Task Force recommended
to Session the hiring of Rev. Loren Scribner to fill
the role of temporary supply pastor effective June 8, 2003.
Pastor Scribner and his wife Sharon had moved back to
Michigan after his retirement from his position as chaplain
and associate professor of religion at Schreiner University in
Kerrville, Texas. Before that he had served churches in Sturgis
and Westland in Michigan, and in Kouts, Indiana. Loren
served as temporary supply until the arrival of the new pastor.
A farewell reception was held on Sunday, January 4, 2004, for
Loren and Sharon where they were honored with gifts made
in their name to the Heifer Project, complete with the arrival
of a “cow.”
On August 20, 2003, Rev. Larry Woodruff announced
his retirement from the position of parish associate, effective
October 31, 2003. He and his wife, Louise, planned to
move to Cincinnati where Larry had spent his early years. On
November 2 the congregation gathered to honor Larry and
Louise for their five years of service to Westminster Church.
We bid them a fond farewell with many thanks for their caring
On December 29, 2002, a Pastor Nominating Committee
(PNC) was elected by the congregation to fill the position of senior
pastor and head of staff. Elected to the committee were
David Hammond (chair), Josie Babcock, Cindy Harvey, Mike
Klein, Bill Kuhn, Emily Nease, Katherine Simpson, Marcy
Teppo and Jim Whitman. After reading 132 Pastor Information
Forms (PIFs), conducting seven telephone interviews
and two on-site visits, the committee enthusiastically recommended
that Rev. Stephen Carl be called to serve as senior
pastor and head of staff. On October 19, 2003, the congrega-
96—the story continues
tion voted to extend a call to Rev.
Carl effective January 5, 2004.
Rev. Carl was enrolled at Argosy
University in Sarasota, Florida,
where he was working on a
doctor of education degree in
pastoral community counseling.
He had received his bachelor of
arts degree from the University
of Tulsa, and in 1985, a master of
divinity degree from Princeton
Theological Seminary. Between
1985 and 2003, he served churches
in Texas, Arkansas, Colorado,
Following a succession
of interims, Westminster
welcomed Stephen Carl as
senior pastor in 2004.
and Florida. His wife, Karen, was also ordained as a Presbyterian
minister, as were a number of members of both of
their extended families. They arrived with three young boys,
Aiden (5), Trevor (3), and Bryce (2 months). Hannah (13),
Stephen’s daughter from his first marriage, joined them the
following year. Stephen quickly settled into the life of Westminster,
bringing an enthusiasm for ministry to the congregation.
In September 2004 Rev. Ila Mayes was hired as parish
associate. Rev. Mayes was a retired pastor with a degree in
social work from the University of Michigan and a master
of divinity degree from Austin Theological Seminary. Pastor
Mayes served churches in Texas before retirement and was a
parish associate at First Presbyterian Church in Wichita Falls.
She and her husband, Forrest, had returned to Michigan a
few years before from Texas. The illness of her husband and
the cold northern winters persuaded them to return to Texas,
ending her ministry at Westminster in April 2005. We missed
her joyful, outgoing spirit.
With the arrival of Stephen Carl as senior pastor and head
of staff, the time was right to find an associate pastor. On
June 13, 2004, the congregation elected an Associate Pastor
Nominating Committee (APNC). Members of the committee
were Teri Leonard and David Wright (co-chairs), Jeff Buck,
Alison Collicott, Ron Fairchild, Anne Gensheimer, David
Gross, Zach Hamilton and Marilyn Sleder. One year later,
June 5, 2005, the committee presented Catherine King as a
candidate for the position of associate pastor of discipleship
ministries with a starting date of June 8. Cathi earned an undergraduate
degree from the University of Michigan and a
master of divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary
/ Ecumenical Theological Seminary. She was ordained
and installed at Westminster on August 29, 2005. Pastor King,
her husband, Andy, son, Alex (13) and daughter, Courtney
(9), live in Plymouth, Michigan. The congregation warmly
welcomed Rev. King into the life of Westminster Church.
Across the years two young people from Westminster
Church have entered the ministry of the Presbyterian Church
(USA): Erin Colleen Sharp in 2002 and Skye Murray in 2005.
98—the story continues
Pastoral Leadership at westminster 1956–
1956–1964 Rev. Richard H. Miller, Pastor
1964–1983 Rev. Charles J. Gensheimer, Pastor
1983–1984 Rev. Richard Dempsey, Interim Pastor
1984–1995 Rev. Stephen A. Murray, Pastor
1995–1998 Rev. Melissa Ann May, Associate Pastor
1996–1997 Rev. Kenneth Lister, Interim Pastor
1997–2002 Rev. David P. Lenz, Pastor
1998–2003 Rev. Lawrence Woodruff, Parish Associate
2000–2001 Rev. Terri I. Gast, Associate Pastor
2003–2004 Rev. Kenneth Kaibel, Interim Pastor
2003–2004 Rev. Loren Scribner, Temporary Supply Pastor
2004– Rev. Stephen R. Carl, Pastor
2004–2005 Rev. Ila L. Mayes, Parish Associate
2005– Rev. Catherine King, Associate Pastor
100—the story continues
Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
10 Christian Education
n 1987, after serving for 8 years as director of Christian
education, Julie Chamberlain left to begin preparation for
her long-held desire to work in the mission field. A farewell
was held for Julie on Sunday, August 30, 1987, at which the
congregation expressed its gratitude for her years of service.
Julie eventually joined Latin American Missions in San Jose,
Costa Rica, serving with the Spanish Language Institute. In
recent years she has become the director of the institute.
Westminster continues to support her as a part of our mission
Following Julie’s departure, a staff search committee was
formed including Dennis Michalak (chair), Barbara Krause,
Gary Claypool, Annette Pearson, Betty Bornemeier, Randy
Greschaw and Pastor Murray. The committee recommended
hiring two new staff members: (1) a minister of Christian
growth, a full-time staff member, preferably ordained, serving
the church’s ministries of education, discipleship, family life
and youth; and (2) a youth minister, a part-time staff member
serving the church’s youth. A Church Information Form was
prepared and announcements of the position opening were
made in various publications.
While the staff search committee was at work, Barb Dick,
Judith Wencel and Phyllis Cant were hired to serve until a
new minister of Christian growth arrived.
In September 1988 Carolyn Kutsko was hired as one-year
interim director of Christian growth. Carolyn had recently
graduated from Gordon College in Massachusetts majoring
in Christian education, youth ministry and biblical studies.
The Session planned to form a new committee to find a
permanent director of Christian growth for the fall of 1989.
However, in December 1988 the search committee affirmed
the present staff and dropped plans to establish a new committee.
Carolyn Kutsco remained as director of Christian
growth until August of 1991 when her husband was accepted
at Harvard as a Ph.D. candidate, necessitating a move to Boston.
A staff search committee was formed to find a new director
of Christian growth. However, due to an income shortfall,
the session voted to delay the filling of the position until the
end of 1991.
By February 1992 the need to replace the director of
Christian growth was becoming acute so the staff search
committee resumed its efforts to find a part-time temporary
Christian education director. In April 1992 Lydia Brown was
hired. Lydia was a graduate of Hope College with a master’s
degree from the University of Michigan. She had been director
of Christian education at Grace Episcopal Church in Holland,
Michigan, and a “teacher educator” at St. Clare of Assisi
church in Ann Arbor. In January 1993 her half-time position
at Westminster was changed from temporary to permanent.
Lydia introduced a new concept for teaching Sunday school
known as Worship Centers. In Worship Centers, learning
takes place through a worship model, rather than through
a classroom model. The children sing, pray and hear God’s
word using story material and liturgical presentations. The
102—the story continues
teachers were trained and instruction materials were prepared
by staff and volunteers for the new program.
In June 1994 Lydia Brown resigned as director of Christian
growth to pursue ordination in the Episcopal Church.
In the interim, Jill Fairchild was hired to serve as Worship
In August 1994 the director of Christian growth and
youth minister were combined into one position and Linda
Tyler Brown was hired to fill the position. Jill Fairchild continued
to serve as Worship Center coordinator. With the arrival
of Rev. Melissa Anne May in 1995, the configuration of
the Christian education program was further revised. Linda
Tyler Brown served as director of children’s ministries, and
Pastor May assumed leadership of the youth ministry.
In March 1996, due to health reasons, Linda Tyler Brown
resigned as director of children’s ministries. Eileen Helm was
hired as interim director of children’s ministries and she and
Jill Fairchild became co-directors of children’s ministries.
Ready, set, go! Children at Westminster’s 2003 children’s Easter party
prepare to hunt for candy on the lawn.
In June 2000 a Vacation Bible School program known as
Marketplace 29 AD was inaugurated. A Jewish village at the
time of Christ provided the backdrop for the program’s activities.
A host of volunteers gave much time and many talents
to make the program a success.
On June 30, 2000, Jill Fairchild retired as director of Worship
Centers having served for six years in this capacity. Eileen
Helm continued as director of children’s ministries and
interim director of Worship Centers. In March 2001 Eileen
Helm was named full-time director of children’s ministries
which included all programs for children, infants through
In December 2001, Westminster’s children’s ministries
began sponsoring Prison Fellowship’s Project Angel Tree.
Gifts and Bibles were presented to children of incarcerated
parents at a cookie-decorating party. The gifts were given in
the name of the incarcerated parent.
Adult volunteers play key roles in Marketplace 29 AD. Left to right: Martha
Honeycutt, Megan Polich, Ted Sleder, Loren Scribner, Jerry Brown,
Steve Cant, Joel Michalak.
104—the story continues
In October 1988 Ed Aluk was hired to fill the position of
youth director and served until his resignation was accepted
in April 1989. By August of 1989 Joann Erbes was hired as
part-time youth director. During Joann’s time, the youth programs
were divided into two groups: Chapter 1 for grades 6–8,
and Chapter 2 for grades 9–12. In June 1993 Joann Erbes left
her position in order to return to teaching. Doug Fletcher, a
student at Spring Arbor College, was hired as interim youth
director and served until July 1994.
With her arrival in 1995, Associate Pastor Melissa Anne
May assumed responsibility for the church’s youth programs.
In 1996 the two youth groups were renamed the Alphas
(grades 6–8) and the Omegas (grades 9–12). That year the
Omegas participated in a two-week mission trip to repair and
restore houses for members of the Navajo nation on their
reservation near Gallup, New Mexico. Fourteen youths and
five adults made their way to New Mexico. In 1997 the youth
groups participated in retreats at SpringHill Camp in Evart,
Michigan, the Howell Nature Center and the Montreat Conference
Center in North Carolina.
With the departure in 1998 of Pastor May, Megan Zechman
was named interim youth minister. Megan and her
husband Craig came to Westminster from Lancaster, Pennsylvania,
where both were active in youth work. Megan’s
initial appointment was for one year; in June 1999 she was
named the full-time director of youth and young adult ministries.
In July 2000 twenty-six young people and adults traveled
to Washington, DC, to work in three soup kitchens and
to attend DC/LA, a conference designed by Youth for Christ.
Following a maternity leave in 2001, Megan submitted her
resignation effective April 24, 2002.
Soon after Megan Zechman announced her resignation,
Westminster teens sort food they collected for Food Gatherers, a local
food rescue and distribution program to alleviate hunger. Left to right:
Kristina Little, Tracie Whelan, Catherine Nease, Elizabeth Tidd, Chris
Reymann, Nate Polich.
Mark DeVries was enlisted as youth ministry consultant.
Mark came to Westminster for five visits in 2002. At his recommendation
the youth staff was reconfigured into three
part-time positions: youth ministry coordinator, minister to
junior high youth and their families, and minister to senior
high youth and their families. Lori Kilian was named youth
ministry coordinator; Steve Cant became youth minister to
junior high youth; and in 2003, Seth Hildebrand was hired as
youth minister to senior high youth. This team served until
2004 when all three left their positions for various reasons.
In 2004 Paula Michalak was hired as interim administrative
coordinator for youth ministry and interim minister to junior
high youth, and Rachel Smallish was hired as interim minister
to senior high youth. It was anticipated that with the
hiring of an associate pastor, the configuration of the youth
program would be reconsidered.
106—the story continues
In July 2000, a
team traveled to
to work in soup
kitchens and to
attend the Youth
for Christ DC/LA
The spiritual growth of adults has always been emphasized in
Sunday morning and Wednesday evening classes, Bible studies
and small group ministries.
In 1985 the first Sunday evening adult Bible study groups
were formed. These groups met in members’ homes or at the
church twice a month. Bible discussion prayer and fellowship
nurtured caring relationships among group members. Groups
were formed in 1997, in 2000 for Lenten Bible studies, and
again in 2006. Some groups have met for a short, specified
time, while others have continued for years.
The church library, under the able leadership of Bill Reid,
provided resources for Christian education and for the congregation
as a whole. Following Bill Reid’s resignation due to
illness, Don Faber became our library administrator.
In the fall of 1987 an ambitious program called “Wednesday
Night Live!” was instituted. The goal was to consolidate
various church activities into a Wednesday evening program.
During the three-hour time period the offerings included
adult classes, Junior Club for grades three through six, a program
for four-year-old to second grade children, rehearsals
of various choirs including adult, children’s and bell choirs,
and dinner offered at a nominal charge. Wednesday Night
Live! soon became a popular mid-week event for both children
and adults. An outgrowth of Wednesday Night Live! was
the annual Advent Dinner and Ash Wednesday dinners. The
spirited singing of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” became
an anticipated event at the Advent Dinner.
In order or to more effectively coordinate the adult ministries
program, the Session created the position of interim
coordinator of adult ministries in 2002. Sharon Flynn was
named to the position, which she held until 2005.
108—the story continues
An Advent devotional booklet was first produced in 1996.
For each day of Advent, a member of the Westminster family
has written an Advent reflection and a prayer. These daily
Advent devotions helped prepare the congregation for the
coming celebration of the birth of Christ.
110—the story continues
I will praise you, O Lord . . . I will sing of
you among the peoples. (Ps. 57:9)
11 Music and Worship
irginia Smith became the choir director with the
departure of Robert T. Allen in September 1981. At the
time there were two pressing concerns: the purchase of new
choir robes and of new hymnals. A choir robe committee was
formed headed by Dick Trim. The committee chose rust colored
robes priced at $66.20 each for a total cost of $2,254. To
raise funds, an appeal was made to the congregation and an
ice cream social was held in June 1982. The new robes were
first worn during the choir presentation of a cantata in December
1982. In August 1984 Virginia Smith left as choir director
to take a position as soloist with another church choir.
The hymnal selection committee met sporadically until
May of 1984 when it was decided to table the hymnal selection
until the arrival of a new minister. In 1986 the committee
chose the hymnal currently in use, The Hymnal for Worship
and Celebration. An additional hymnbook, Renew! Songs &
Hymns for Blended Worship was purchased in 2001 for use
in the blended worship service.
Michael Pavelich began as music director on November 4,
1984, coincident with the arrival of Stephen Murray as the
new minister. In addition to regular Sunday services, Michael
music and worship—111
led the choir in the performance of a number of special concerts.
An acutely-felt need was a piano for the sanctuary. In
April of 1987 the session gave the Memorial and Special Gifts
Committee the go-ahead to raise funds for a grand piano. Using
gifts given in memory of Rev. Charles J. Gensheimer as
a base, the committee raised additional funds bringing the
total to $11,906. In October 1988 a Yamaha grand piano was
purchased from King’s Keyboard House in Ann Arbor.
In June 1989 Michael Pavelich, wife Kari, and one-yearold
Alexander moved to Norway, Kari’s homeland. A grateful
congregation bid them a fond farewell.
Linda Venable-Boehk was hired as music director in
August 1989. Linda formed a youth choir and orchestra to
provide music for worship services along with the chancel
choir. She resigned in December 1992 due to changing family
A music director search committee was formed which
included Harry Ahrens, Janice Ahrens, Mary Jo Clapsadle,
Carol Franklin, Margaret Klammer, Ken Merte, Tim Rogne,
B. J. Shade and Bill Sharp. In July 1993 Carroll Hart was
hired as minister of music along with Sue Lawson as choir accompanist.
Carroll Hart had been the choir director at Westside
Methodist Church in Ann Arbor for twenty years and
was a music teacher in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. In June
1995 Sue Lawson left as accompanist and Shawn McDonald
was hired as her replacement.
With Carroll’s arrival, the choir grew dramatically in size
and the need for additional choir robes became critical. Since
the current robes were becoming frayed, it was decided to
raise funds for new choir robes. A choir robe committee
headed by Donna Sharp selected a robe style and with $8,000
in hand, fifty-five blue choir robes were purchased.
Florence Westrum continued as church organist, a po-
112—the story continues
The chancel choir in 1996 poses proudly in new robes. Shawn McDonald is in the back row, far left; next to him is Carroll Hart.
music and worship—113
sition she had held since the church’s beginnings in 1956.
Following her retirement, Shawn McDonald accepted the
position of church organist. Florence was named organist
emerita, and on March 9, 1997, a reception was held to honor
her for her many years of service.
As the music program continued to grow and thrive, a new
position of director of music for blended worship was created
in 1999. Cynthia Lenz was hired to fill the part-time position.
She organized and directed a praise choir, the Celebration
Singers, which led the singing and offered music ministry for
the blended worship services. With the Lenzes’ departure
in 2002, Shawn McDonald was named director of music for
celebration worship in addition to his role as church organist.
His ability as organist/accompanist as well as tenor soloist
has made him a valuable asset to the music program. Melanie
Hamilton and Barb Huegli Greschaw were enlisted to lead
the congregational singing at the blended worship service.
Deborah Rebeck Ash served as handbell choir director from
1975 to 1994. Over the years she expanded the number of
handbell choirs to include children through adults. Additional
bells and equipment have been purchased as the choirs
have grown. In December 1994 Debbie requested a leave of
absence to pursue a doctorate degree in flute performance at
the University of Michigan and suggested Michelle Borton as
her replacement. The Session agreed.
Deborah Ash writes about handbells at Westminster:
Bell ringing at Westminster began in 1967 with a two-octave set of
Schulmerich handbells. Directors include Jeanne Merlanti, 1967–
1973; Debra Thrane, 1973–1975; Deborah Rebeck Ash, 1975–1994;
Michelle Borton, 1995 to the present. Our set of bells expanded to
three octaves in 1985 and four octaves in 1994. In addition, we added
a two octave set of choir chimes. Currently, four bell choirs serve our
114—the story continues
The Westminster Chimes handbell choir gathers outside with director
Debbie Ash. Front row, left to right: Debbie Ash, Skye Murray. Second
row, left to right: Andy Bennett, Meghan Sharp, Sarah Palmer, Katie
Fairchild, Amy Weir, Jim Bennett, Jennifer Carson, Alisha Dick.
church: Westminster Chimes, grades 6–12, since 1967; Joyful Noise,
grades 1–5, since 1984; Alleluia Ringers (formerly Praise Ringers),
adults, since 1984; Kingdom Ringers, toddlers on melody bells led by
Kim Hughes and Greta Buck, since 2003. These choirs ring praises
regularly during services throughout the year. Our church also has a
memorial carillon made by Schulmerich, which is a realistic sounding
digital audio tape that penetrates the neighborhood with grace and
Bell choir outreach has included ringing for the Kiwanis Club, for
many area retirement and convalescent homes, the VA Hospital, the
Washtenaw Historical Society at Clements Library, the Ann Arbor
Women’s City Club, and other churches. We have appeared in
two Ann Arbor News articles. Bell traditions include Joyful Noise’s
exuberant processional, smaller bell ensembles for special events,
and yearly t-shirts designed by bell choir members. One industrious
young man, Jim Bennett, even donned a suit and played a solo
with two octaves of bells. Westminster composers Allen Borton, Bill
Reid and Deborah Rebeck Ash have written original music as well
music and worship—115
as arrangements for our choirs. In fifty years, over three hundred
members have proclaimed God’s glory through handbell ringing at
Westminster and in the community. Now that’s a lot of bell praise!
In 1997 Sandy Jones began a sacred dance choir of young
women in grades six through twelve called Word in Motion.
In 2004 a second group was formed called Leap of Faith
which included adult women of the church. During the first
half of 2004 Beca and Angela Torres-Kutkuhn directed the
Word in Motion until Sandy’s return later in the year. In
2005 as the dance choirs grew, Stepping Stones was formed
for girls in grades six through eight. The dance choirs add a
unique dimension to the worship experience with the beauty
of the sacred dance.
Good News at 6:00
In September 2002 the Session approved a new contemporary
worship service, “Good News at 6:00 pm,” to be held on
the second Sunday of each month. It includes praise songs,
prayers, Bible readings, sermons and lively contemporary
music. Casual dress is encouraged.
116—the story continues
Carroll Hart directs
the chancel choir,
December 2003 Music
music and worship—117
118—the story continues
I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us
go to the house of the Lord.” (Ps. 122:1)
12 Building Program, Phase 3
With contributions from James Thomson,
Building Committee Chair
Building the Future
In January 1986 the Session, meeting as the Committee of
the Future, began to look at the space needs of the church.
Every bit of space was being utilized for Sunday school, including
hallways and offices. The needs identified included
additional Sunday school rooms, additional seating in the
sanctuary, a larger entry, a larger fellowship hall, a memorial
garden, a larger library, and improved office space. In July
1986 James Wong was retained as architect to develop conceptual
designs. One called for a 16,500 square foot addition
to the north of the sanctuary that would provide 140 additional
seats in the sanctuary and a reorientation of the altar to
the south end. Total cost of the project was projected at $1.5
million. An alternative concept called for a 12,000 square foot
addition to the south with forty additional sanctuary seats and
a projected cost of $1.1 million. These concepts were presented
to the congregation on October 5, 1986.
After much discussion it was determined that more con-
building program, phase 3—119
gregational input was needed. Dr. Jon Swanson was retained
to conduct a feasibility study to explore the church’s readiness
for a building campaign, assess the availability of funds,
and identify leadership for a campaign. Dr. Swanson’s report
of December 1986 indicated insufficient consensus among
the congregation about the nature of the need for additional
space and the readiness of the members to support a campaign.
In February 1987 the congregation met in fifteen
Growth Groups to examine the ideas that had evolved from
the architect’s presentations and the feasibility study. The
consensus of the Growth Groups indicated that the top priorities
were space for Christian education and fellowship with
increased support for mission being identified as an equally
important priority. In April 1987 two worship services were
resumed to accommodate increasing attendance, relieving
the seating pressures experienced with the single service.
Facility and Finance Committees
Following the Growth Group process, two committees were
formed to further the building expansion, the Facilities Committee
and the Finance Committee. The Facilities Committee
consisted of Al Banning, Betty Bornemeier, Robert
Cant, Barbara Dick, Rik Haugen, Ron Renfer, Bill Sharp, Jan
Thomas and Bill Werner. The Finance Committee included
Gary Claypool, Carol Smallish, Fred Swope, Anne Gensheimer
and Dave Hammond. Jim Thomson, Chairman of
the Building Committee, coordinated the work of the two
In March 1988 the Building Facilities Committee prepared
a building requirement statement for the architect
outlining in detail the facility needs. The statement was distributed
and the congregation was invited to offer comments
120—the story continues
The committee then met with architect James Wong to
define the requirements for the building. Several revisions
were made by Wong in consultation with the committee.
On January 8, 1989, the congregation voted to proceed
with a fund-raising campaign for building expansion. The
architect presented a preliminary plan with variations, depending
upon the amount of money raised. The plan was to
construct an addition of 14,000 square feet with an approximate
cost of $1.2 million. The primary goal was to increase
Christian education, fellowship and office space and to construct
a memorial garden. No further mention was made of
enlarging the sanctuary. The congregation approved expenditures
from the Westminster Development Fund for architect’s
fees and for hiring a fund-raising consultant.
Building God’s Family
In January 1989 Peter McCleod of Resource Services, Inc.,
was hired to conduct a capital campaign. By February 1989
the campaign was launched with a goal of $700,000 in threeyear
The campaign was titled “Building God’s Family” with
the theme of “Not Equal Gifts but Equal Sacrifice.” A steering
committee was formed including Tom and Jan Thomas,
campaign directors; Dwight and Betty Bornemeier, spiritual
emphasis directors; Jeff Flynn and Janis Grieger, promotion
directors; George and Kathryn Foltz, coordinators; Bob and
Joan Piatt, banquet directors; Anne Gensheimer, hostess director;
Gary and Elsie Claypool, advance commitment directors;
Larry and Jackie Beach, commitment directors; and
Randy and Cindy Greschaw, follow-up directors.
The campaign included home visits, brochures and newsletters,
advance commitment desserts, a banquet at Weber’s
Inn on April 16, commitment visitations following the ban-
building program, phase 3—121
quet – all concluding with a celebration on Sunday, April 30,
1989, when it was announced joyfully that gifts and pledges
totaled $701,000. The goal had been reached. By June the
total had climbed to $780,934.
The congregation releases balloons, marking the groundbreaking for the
fellowship hall and classroom wing.
122—the story continues
On May 21, 1989, the congregation authorized the Building
Committee to proceed to develop architectural plans based
on a $1.2 million budget; submit a site plan to the city for approval;
take bids from contractors; obtain approval from the
Presbytery of Detroit for construction and borrowing; and
spend up to $54,000 from the Westminster Development
Fund for architectural and other fees.
On September 5, 1989, the Ann Arbor city council approved
the site plans after resolving a neighbor’s complaint
about the new parking lot and a proposed curb cut onto Barnard
At a congregational meeting on February 28, 1990, the
congregation voted unanimously to proceed with the building
addition. Approval was given to hire J. C. Beal Construction
as the building contractor; to borrow up to $600,000 via a
twenty-year mortgage and up to $750,000 via a line of credit
for as much as three years to finance construction; and spend
up to $1,310,000 from that point forward on the building
The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Sunday,
April 22, 1990 on the lawn north of the sanctuary following
the morning worship service. The congregation stood on lines
painted in the soggy grass forming the outline of the new
building. Jim Thomson and Gary Claypool from the Building
Committee turned over the first shovels of dirt. They
were followed by Jim Wong, architect of the old and new
structures, and Fred Beal, president of J. C. Beal Construction.
Jennifer Swope, representing the children of the church,
turned over a healthy chunk of sod. As a grand finale, each
person released a helium balloon while singing “Come Sing,
O Church, In Joy.”
On May 13 the excavation for the foundation began. The
basement walls were soon taking shape, and by late summer
building program, phase 3—123
the concrete beams for the main floor were in place. The
walls, roof trusses, windows and the roof itself were up and
the structure enclosed by late fall. Jim Thomson, Jim Wong
and George Beal communicated daily in order to deal with
such issues as the adequacy of the sewer slope to Scio Church
Road, removal of more earth to the east of the building, and
numerous specification changes required by city inspectors.
In September 1990 the congregation decided to replace the
roof on the original building (now the children’s center) and
on the sanctuary and office building. This work was completed
in November, the funds coming from reserves for capital
Over the winter Jim Thomson was assisted by several
members of the Building Committee on specific projects. Peter
Murray arranged for the kitchen equipment, Jan Thomas
and Ginny Klimek selected the carpeting and furniture, and
Anne Renfer and Carolyn Kutsko selected the furniture for
the children’s center. Bill Werner and Jim Thomson worked
with Jim Wong to specify the final configuration for the library.
Spring rains brought water into the basement of the
new building in spite of the extra water-handling precautions
provided in the design. The problem finally was corrected by
reinstalling the foundation drainage, adding several catch basins
on the west side, and installing gutters and several down
spout extensions. The fellowship hall was used for the first
time on June 16, 1991. Demolition of the interior of the old
fellowship hall began in June. Sunday school was held in the
new building on September 8 and in the children’s center by
November 1991. Work on the site and the memorial garden
continued until the fall of 1992. The final cost of the project,
including the memorial garden, was $1,543,493. In November
1991 a $600,000 mortgage was obtained from First of
The dedication service for the new unit was held on Sun-
124—the story continues
day, October 27, 1991.
Special guests included
Rev. Edward Gehres,
Jr., Executive Presbyter,
who brought greetings
from the Presbytery
of Detroit, and guest
speaker Rev. Eric Snyder
from First Presbyterian
Church of Grand
Haven, Michigan. Also
in attendance were Jim
the architectural firm
of James P. Wong Associates,
contractor George Beal
of J. C. Beal Construction.
events included a
potluck dinner, an open house and a reception following the
dedication service. Jim Thomson was thanked for his tireless
work as Building Committee chairman. He and his wife Mary
Lynn were given a pair of onyx bookends and a night at a bedand-breakfast
inn as tokens of appreciation.
Three key players in the phase 3 building
project are honored for their labors.
Left to right, Jim Dennis (representing
architect James Wong), Jim Thomson
(building committee chairman) and
George Beal (general contractor).
As part of the building program, Howard Deardorff of Deardorff
Design Resources, Inc. was hired in early 1990 to design
the memorial garden and to develop a unified walkway
and landscape plan for the entire site. The plan was approved
and Jim Dennis was hired to prepare the detailed specifications
for the memorial garden and to serve as the contractor
for the construction of the walls and walkways. The brick
building program, phase 3—125
Stephen Murray speaks at dedication ceremonies for the Rev. Charles J.
Gensheimer Memorial Garden, October 11, 1992. Left to right: Helen
Shippey, Betty Lou Bornemeier, Jeanne Sherman, Anne Gensheimer, Bill
Reid, George Foltz, Stephen Murray, John Schuon.
work and sidewalks were completed by the fall of 1991. Rik
Haugen designed the planting layout and John Eisenbeiser
completed the plant installation in the spring of 1992. Cliff
Morris arranged for the erection of the cross. On October 11,
1992, the memorial garden was dedicated and named “The
Reverend Charles J. Gensheimer Memorial Garden.” Completion
of this project represented the fulfillment of a decadeold
dream for a memorial garden. The original discussions
about possible building plans were prompted by the desire to
locate a site for a memorial garden. By 2006, forty-one interments
had taken place.
Purchase of 1520 Scio Church Road property
The property on 1520 Scio Church Road, located to the immediate
west of our church property, was listed for sale in
October 1999. It was immediately purchased by five member
families to give the congregation time to evaluate whether
126—the story continues
the church should acquire the property. In August 2000 the
Session recommended the purchase of the property, on the
grounds that it would enhance options for future growth. At a
special meeting of the congregation on October 22, 2000 the
congregation approved the purchase. The closing date was
February 12, 2001, with a purchase price of $277,900. Following
the closing, the church continued to offer the property
for rent. When Stephen Carl was called to Westminster
Church in 2004, he and his family occupied the house until
they purchased a home on Greenview Drive in 2005. Following
the Katrina and Rita hurricane disasters in 2005 that left
so many homeless, the Session voted to invite a hurricanedisplaced
family to occupy the then vacant house. A Housing
Task Force was formed and in December 2005 a family of six
moved into the house.
building program, phase 3—127
128—the story continues
Go into all the world and preach
the good news . . .” (Mark 16:15)
Beginning in 1995, missions took on an increasingly important
role in the life of the church. Not only did mission support
increase monetarily, but mission trips for both youth and
The first annual youth mission trip was held in August
1995. A group of teens, accompanied by adult leaders, spent
a week in Ravenswood, West Virginia, working on housing
projects for the Appalachian Landing Camp.
The next year, in 1996, under the leadership of Pastor
May, a youth mission trip was taken to Gallup, New Mexico.
The team worked for two weeks on housing projects on the
Manuelito Chapter Navajo Reservation.
In 1998, the first intergenerational mission team went
to Reynosa, Mexico, under the guidance of Ministerio De
Fe (Faith Ministries). About $29,400 was raised for the trip
through fundraisers and direct congregational support. That
same year a team of eight youths and adults participated in
a work camp in Sharon, Pennsylvania, providing home repair
and painting services to elderly and low-income residents.
130—the story continues
In 1998, thirty
adults and fifteen
youths built homes
during a mission trip
to Reynosa, Mexico.
In 1999, three members of the Westminster congregation
took part in a medical mission trip to Mulukuku, Nicaragua,
sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Galveston,
Texas. That same year members of the congregation joined
forces with three other Ann Arbor churches to build a Habitat
for Humanity house.
On May 23, 1999 a Visioning Task Force presented its
report to the congregation. It listed among its goals “to sustain
the momentum of mission support and participation as a
priority for the congregation.”
As a result of the Visioning statement, mission activity increased
substantially. In 2000, three mission trips involved
73 members and 16 friends who touched well over a thousand
lives in three countries. In June, mission trip workers
traveled to Mulukuku, Nicaragua to give medical care to the
poor. In July, the youth traveled to Washington, DC to serve
in soup kitchens. And in August, mission trip workers built
two homes in Reynosa, Mexico. That same year a goal was set
that Westminster would tithe 10% of its budget for mission
causes by the year 2002.
In 2001 fifteen people traveled to Guatemala to learn
about Presbyterian mission work there. The Alpha youths
worked on home repairs in McDowell County, West Virginia,
and the Omegas spent two days painting and two days leading
a Vacation Bible School in Pyramid Lake, Nevada.
In 2002 intergenerational mission teams traveled to Denver,
Colorado, and Charlotte, North Carolina. The groups
worked with organizations that serve inner city populations,
such as day care centers, food and clothing distribution centers,
soup kitchens and housing cleanup and improvement
Mission trips numbered four in 2003: (1) a Group Workcamp
in West Branch, Michigan; (2) a Presbyterian Disaster
Assistance program in Ladysmith, Wisconsin; (3) a trip to
132—the story continues
A friendship mission
trip to Japan in 2003 was
led by Christian Zebley,
a PC (USA) missionary
supported by Westminster
Church. Left to
right: Louise Woodruff,
Sarah Smallish, Suzie
McRoberts, Roger Vance,
Phoebe Vance, Keith
Geiselman (pastor of Ypsilanti
Church), Anne Gensheimer,
Reynosa and Miguel Aleman, Mexico, to work with Ministerio
de Fe; (4) a Japan Friendship Mission Trip coordinated in
Japan by pc (usa) missionaries Christian and Kay Zebley. A
total of fifty-three adults and youths participated in the four
In 2004, youths participated in a Group Workcamp in
Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Fifteen members joined a
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program in Canton, Missouri.
Five of our members revisited Miguel Aleman, Mexico
(Ministerio de Fe). And finally, Westminster members took
part in a trip to Eagle Butte, South Dakota, organized by
First Presbyterian Church of Saline.
In 2005 twenty-two youths and ten adults participated
in a Heart & Hand youth mission trip to Medford, Oregon,
to build and repair homes with Habitat for Humanity. Later
that summer twenty-two youths and adults traveled to the
Dominican Republic to help local missionaries minister to
children in private and public schools.
In 2006, twenty-five young people and adults returned
to Miguel Aleman, Mexico, to work with Ministerio de Fe.
Later in the summer a Habitat for Humanity work project in
Marquette, Michigan, was organized in conjunction with the
Presbytery of Detroit.
To further the mission emphasis of Westminster, the Session
agreed to provide support to a number of missionaries by
designating funds directly from the church budget. Previous
missionary support had come from the Faith Promise
offerings. By 2004, $63,000 of Westminster’s mission giving
was from the church budget. Across the years a number
of missionaries and projects have been directly supported
from the church budget, including Julie Chamberlain (Costa
Rica), John and Gwen Haspel (Ethiopia), David and Debra
Kornfield (Brazil), Mark and Gwen Potter (Philadelphia),
Christian and Kay Zebley (Japan), Mike Babcock (Romania),
Hope Medical Clinic (Ypsilanti) and Harold Kurtz (Presbyterian
In addition to the church budget, Faith Promise funds
continue to provide additional support to designated causes.
Periodically, mission fairs were held which highlighted mission
causes supported by Westminster. Mission auctions, with
Tom Thomas serving as everyone’s favorite auctioneer, were
held to raise funds for mission causes. In 2003 over $12,300
The enthusiasm for missions continues, and will over the
next years serve a vital role in the life of the congregation in
fulfilling its vision for the future.
134—the story continues
We are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care. (Ps. 95:7)
14 People and Programs
Board of Deacons
In 1986 the boards of elders and deacons were reorganized.
The number of elders was reduced from 21 to 18, and the
board of deacons increased from 12 to 15 members. With
the reorganization, the board of deacons assumed some of
the responsibilities formerly carried out by committees of the
Session. The board of deacons was increased again in 1990
from 15 to 21 members.
The deacons organized six care groups in order to better
serve the congregation. The six care groups provided the
mechanism by which a speedy response could be made to
those who required some assistance. Meals were provided,
flowers and cards sent, transportation arranged and household
tasks performed as the situation required. The initial
care groups included two deacons, three or more elders, and
congregation volunteers. Later the deacons assumed full
leadership of the care groups without the assistance of elders.
Each member of the congregation was assigned to one of six
groups as a means of receiving as well as giving care.
Beginning in 1996 the deacons began a special project
people and programs—135
of adopting six needy area families at Christmas, providing
gifts and food. This project has continued to grow until many
more area families are being helped. The whole congregation
is enlisted to make Christmas special for these families.
The Women’s Association of Westminster continued to provide
a ministry to the women of the church. The association
consisted of three circles, the Miriam Circle, the Sarah
Circle and the Martha Circle, and a Friday morning Moms’
Bible Study with available child care. Association meetings
were held several times a year, including an annual spring
In December 1989 the women organized Westminster’s
participation in the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree project,
with continuing sponsorship in recent years by the Christian
Auctions of goods and services were held over the years
with Tom Thomas serving as auctioneer. These auctions
The Sarah Circle in 2002 included, left to right: Dee Cheney, Greta Cant,
Edith Carbeck, Margaret Love, Pauline Flandorfer, Phoebe Vance, Florence
Westrum, Bonnie Terpstra and Aileen Crossman.
136—the story continues
Some participants at the 1996 women’s retreat gather between sessions
for refreshments. Left to right: Jan Werner, Debbie Slizewski, Joan Piatt,
Joanne Pearsall, Eileen Helm, Elsie Claypool.
raised funds for the Women’s Association’s roster of projects.
Currently, the Sarah Cricle continues to meet, and the
Women’s Association provides many opportunities for fellowship
and spiritual development. These include annual weekend
retreats with excellent speakers and many activities at
Michindoh Conference Center in Hillsdale, Michigan, miniretreats
during the year, an annual prayer and praise service
at Brookhaven Manor, an annual Christmas tea, game nights,
and Bible studies.
A Men’s Fellowship group was formed for all men, college
age and above, and their friends. They meet on the third Saturday
of the month for breakfast and a program relating to
jobs, families and faith. Annual weekend retreats were held
to further their fellowship growth. On October 22, 1994,
Robert Short, author of The Gospel According to Peanuts was
the featured speaker at the retreat.
people and programs—137
The men have sponsored a Halloween Party for Westminster
and neighborhood children. In 1989 an estimated one
hundred children and their parents attended the Halloween
In April 1994, thirty-six men from Westminster attended
the Promise Keepers Conference at the Pontiac Silverdome.
In 1996 the Men’s Fellowship sponsored Corky Erickson of
Young Life and Pastor May in attending the Promise Keepers
Pastor’s Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
A Westminster men’s softball team played in the Ann
Arbor church league for many years – with varying degrees
of success. Bringing home the winning trophy was a cause
for rejoicing by all Westminster members. In addition, an
erstwhile group of men met on Saturday mornings for a fastpaced
basketball game at a local school.
Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN)
In September of 1992 the Session voted to participate in an
Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) community program
to provide shelter, meals and assistance to homeless families.
Area churches and synagogues hosted three to five homeless
families for one week every two or three months on a rotating
schedule. Barbara Dick and Peter Quiroz spearheaded
and organized Westminster’s participation in the program.
Approximately sixty volunteers attended the initial training
sessions. The first week of hosting for Westminster was November
8–12, 1992. In March 2001, IHN moved to Alpha
House, a new permanent facility on Jackson Road. Westminster’s
association with IHN continued until 2002, completing
ten years of service to homeless families.
In June 1999 a task force was appointed by the Session to plan
for an establishment of a permanent endowment fund. At a
138—the story continues
special meeting of the congregation on June 25, 2000, the
task force recommended amending the bylaws to establish an
endowment fund. The congregation voted its approval. The
purpose of the endowment fund is to allow more support of
mission work, cope with unforeseen capital and maintenance
needs, and develop additional creative ministries. It is not intended
to support the annual operating budget of the church.
The funds are invested with the Presbyterian Foundation, an
arm of the Presbyterian Church (USA) which manages financial
resources for Christian individuals and institutions. The
principal of the fund is held in perpetuity and only income
accumulated from investment is available for use.
In 1996 Marti Burbeck began serving as editor of The Link,
the church’s monthly newsletter, replacing Jan Thomas who
was editor for many years. The Link provides information
about upcoming church events, children’s and youth activities,
adult education and other items of interest to the Westminster
congregation. In 2005, The Link received an APEX
Award of Excellence in the annual international APEX competition
recognizing outstanding publications and web sites.
Westminster Web site
Rev. Melissa Anne May created Westminster’s first web site,
using her own America Online account. Dave Nettleman
continued to maintain and improve the site for several years.
In 2003 Marti Burbeck was hired as church web editor and
redesigned the site. For that redesign, the site received a
2004 APEX Grand Award, the top honor in the competition.
The web site gives information relevant to visitors and
church-shoppers. It includes up-to-date news of programs
and events, thus constituting a valuable resource for Westminster
members as well.
people and programs—139
The Session of 1986 gathers for a photo. Front row, left to right: Stephen
Murray, Henry Ahrens, Joan Piatt, David Hammond. Middle row: Rankin
Swan, Sue Miller, Jim Thomson, Ligia Reynolds, Bert Smith. Top row:
Lloyd Kempe, Jim Dick, Gary Claypool, Richard Leslie.
Dinners of Eight
In 1990 a fellowship opportunity called Dinners of Seven,
Eight or Nine was organized. For four Saturday nights over a
four-month period, groups of adult members and friends of
Westminster share, on a rotating basis, food and conversation
in the homes of the participants. The dinners provide a relaxed
setting to become better acquainted with fellow church
Valentine’s Day Evangelism Banquet
The first Valentine’s Day banquet sponsored by the Evangelism
Committee was held on February 12, 1988, at Weber’s
Inn. The banquets served as an outreach project to the community,
providing a church function in a neutral setting, to
which church members could invite friends and neighbors.
The speaker for the first banquet was Rich Hancock from
WMUZ radio speaking on “A Love That Endures.” In February
1990 the banquet speaker was astronaut Jack Lousma.
140—the story continues
Frank Tanana of the Detroit Tigers was the banquet speaker
in February 1992. Of the 261 guests at the 1992 banquet
at Weber’s Inn, approximately one hundred were guests of
Sixty Plus Club
Members and friends of Westminster sixty years or older
gather once a month for food and fellowship. Speakers are
invited and excursions are planned. The meetings provide an
opportunity for growth and fellowship for this vital segment
of the congregation.
Under the leadership of Sharon and Al Banning, a summer
campout program has been held for the past thirty-three
years. This family camping experience provides members
with the opportunity for swimming, camping, campfires and
good Christian fellowship while enjoying the great outdoors.
For many years the weekend campouts were held at the Port
Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration
In 2006 the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Westminster
Church was celebrated. The celebration began on Sunday,
February 5, 2006, exactly fifty years to the day after the
first Westminster worship service. Of the eighty-seven charter
members, three have remained in the congregation for the
entire fifty years: Martha Akerman and Edgar and Florence
Westrum. They were recognized at the February 5 celebration.
Rev. Allen Timm, executive presbyter of the Presbytery
of Detroit, presented a plaque to the congregation in recognition
of its fifty-year ministry. Westminster Memories, a
booklet of stories and remembrances written by past and
people and programs—141
142—the story continues
Members of the
February 5, 2006
– exactly fifty years
service in 1956.
present members was distributed to the congregation.
In March, Don Wharton presented a concert of Christian
music. Rev. William Carl, president of Pittsburgh Seminary
and brother of our pastor Stephen Carl, led us in worship in
the fall. The year culminated with an anniversary banquet
at Weber’s Inn on October 4, to which former members and
pastors were invited to celebrate with us. The current version
of Window on Westminster, combining Ruth Tompkins’ work
with that of Anne Gensheimer, was published.
people and programs—143
144—the story continues
I know the plans I have for you
. . . plans to give you a hope and
a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
15 Into the Next Decades
hese are but a few of the events that have taken place at
Westminster since the first twenty-five-year history was
written by Ruth Tompkins. As always, it is the people of the
church who serve as witnesses to our faith in Jesus Christ. It
is the people who have devoted countless hours in committee
meetings, building programs, mission activities and Christian
education. Over 2,000 members have been entered on the
rolls since Westminster’s inception in 1956. Living in an everfluid
Ann Arbor community, in 2006 our membership stands
at 571. It is impossible to list all the saints of the church who
have gone before – their numbers are legion, their devotion
endless. We have loved those who have been with us and
wished them well as they moved on.
The life of the church is ongoing, ever changing to meet
the challenges of the times. In 2006 a Visioning Task Force
has been formed to develop a new mission statement for
Westminster. The task is to discern God’s will for the future
direction of the church – a daunting task. It is God who will
create the vision for the next years if we but follow his leading.
into the next decades—145
Wherever the path leads, one constant remains – that Westminster
exists to serve our Lord and Savior and to witness to
the love that God has for us. It is this that underlies all that
has been in the past and leads us forward into the future as
we begin the next chapter of the Westminster story.
146—the story continues
July Building site purchased
December Provision made to meet at Stadium-Nob Hill Apartments
February 5 First worship service, attended by 49 persons
March 18 Sunday school organized
August Petition by 87 people to the Presbytery of Detroit to
organize as Westminster Presbyterian Church
November 18 Organization of congregation
April 28 Installation of Rev. Richard Miller as first pastor
April Women’s Association organized
May Building Fund campaign cabinet appointed
November 24 Plan accepted for phase 1 of three-phase campus
January 24 Excavation for new building started
January 26 First Westminster Fellowship meeting
April 6 Easter sunrise service in shell of new building
September 7 First service in nearly completed building
January 11 Dedication of new building
February 2 Pulpit declared vacant; Millers leave for East Cleveland
July 5 Rev. Charles J. Gensheimer called as pastor
November 8 Installation of Rev. Charles Gensheimer
March New Building Study Committee
February New Building Committee appointed
April 7 Ground breaking ceremony for phase 2 building
September 7 First services in phase 2 building
October 12 Dedication service (Dedication Week, October 5–12)
January 23 First annual meeting in new sanctuary
Debbie Ash hired as handbell director
July Julie Chamberlain hired as director of Christian education
December 16 Stained glass windows in sanctuary dedicated
November 30 Schantz pipe organ dedicated
September Virginia Smith hired as choir director
October Celebration of twenty-fifth anniversary
August Rev. Charles J. Gensheimer dies
October Rev. Richard Dempsey hired as interim pastor
August Virginia Smith resigns as choir director
November Rev. Stephen A. Murray installed as pastor
November Michael Pavelich hired as choir director
Number of elders decreased from 21 to 18;
number of deacons increased from 12 to 15
April Two worship services started
August Julie Chamberlain, Christian education director, resigns
September First Wednesday Night Live!
December Yamaha grand piano purchased and dedicated
Long term sponsorship of missionaries established
May Deacon Care Groups instituted
June Michael Pavelich resigns as choir director
August Linda Venable-Boehk hired as choir director
Board of deacons increased from 15 to 21
Dinners of Seven, Eight or Nine begin
April Phase 3 building (fellowship hall and classrooms) begins
October Phase 3 building dedicated
April Lydia Brown hired as director of Christian growth,
starts Worship Centers
September Participation in Interfaith Hospitality Network begins
October The Reverend Charles J. Gensheimer Memorial Garden
December Linda Venable-Boehk resigns as choir director
July Carroll Hart hired as minister of music; Sue Lawson
hired as choir accompanist
June Lydia Brown resigns as director of Christian growth
June Jill Fairchild hired as Worship Center coordinator
August Linda Tyler Brown hired as director of Christian
growth and youth minister
December Deborah Ash resigns as handbell choir director;
Michelle Borton hired in her place.
June Sue Lawson resigns as accompanist, Shawn McDonald
hired in her place
october Rev. Melissa Anne May installed as associate pastor
December Rev. Stephen Murray’s call as pastor dissolved
March Rev. Kenneth Lister hired as interim pastor
March Linda Tyler Brown, director of Christian growth,
resigns; Eileen Helm, Jill Fairchild hired in her place
March Florence Westrum retires as organist; Shawn McDonald
hired in her place
September Rev. David Lenz installed as pastor
June First intergenerational mission trip to Reynosa, Mexico
July Rev. Melissa Anne May’s call dissolved
July Rev. Lawrence Woodruff hired as parish associate
June Visioning Task Force report adopted by Session
June Megan Zechman hired as minister to youth and young
Summer Cynthia Lenz hired as director of music for blended
June Jill Fairchild, co-director of children’s ministries, resigns
endowment Fund established
October Rev. Terri Gast installed as associate pastor
February Property at 1520 Scio Church purchased
February Eileen Helm hired as full-time director of children’s
January Sharon Flynn hired as coordinator of adult ministries
January Rev. Terri Gast resigns as associate pastor
April Megan Zechman resigns as minister to youth and young
August Lori Kilian hired as admininstrative coordinator for
october First Good News at 6:00 PM, monthly contemporary
November Rev. David Lenz’s call as pastor dissolved
Shawn McDonald hired as director of music for Celebration
Worship, replacing Cynthia Lenz
January Rev. Kenneth Kaibel hired as interim pastor
January Rev. Loren Scribner hired as temporary supply pastor
January Rev. Lawrence Woodruff resigns as parish associate
January Lori Kilian resigns as administrative coordinator for
January Paula Michalak hired as interim coordinator for youth
February Rev. Stephen Carl installed as pastor
September Rev. Ila Mayes hired as parish associate
April Rev. Ila Mayes resigns as parish associate
May Sharon Flynn resigns as coordinator of adult ministries
August Rev. Catherine King installed as associate pastor
Celebration of Westminster’s fiftieth anniversary
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Akerman
Henricka B. Beach
Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Beuerle
Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Bowen
Hempstead S. Bull
Mrs. Edwin G. Burrows, Sr.
Edwin G. Burrows, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Carson
Mr. and Mrs. James Chase
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Christiansen
Mr. and Mrs. F. Alton Collins
Mr. and Mrs. Perry Cooper
Mr. Norman Elder
Mrs. Fred Erickson
Mr. and Mrs. George Frisinger
Mr. and Mrs. Rollo N. Frisinger
Mr. and Mrs. Philip Gillies
David L. Gillies
John P. Gillies
Thomas R. Gillies
Florence M. Guenther
Mr. and Mrs. Philip G. Hasell, Jr.
Mr. Thomas Kelly
Annetta W. Kivi
Dr. and Mrs. Leo A. Knoll
Mr. and Mrs. Macon C. Lewis
Mr. and Mrs. William McClure
Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Mather
Mrs. Richard H. Miller
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph E. Morrill
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph L. Morrill
Mr. and Mrs. William G. Munro
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Porter
Mr. and Mrs. John C. Robertson
Mr. and Mrs. Manford E. Robinson
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Rogers
Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Roth
Mr. and Mrs. Darrel Shippey
Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Shreve
Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Simons
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Spaulding
Ruth R. Stewart
Ruth E. Stewart
Roberta P. Stewart
Mr. and Mrs. John B. Trezise
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Troxell
Mrs. George L. West
Mr. and Mrs. Edgar F. Westrum, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. James A. Wood
First Session of Elders, 1956
Dr. Leo A. Knoll
First Board of Deacons, 1956
Philip Hasell, Jr.
Ralph E. Morrill
Edgar Westrum, Jr.
156— first deacons and elders
Westminster Presbyterian Church Book of Records
Annual reports 1956–2005
Session minutes 1956–1997
Sunday bulletins 1957–2006
The Church Mouse and The Link 1981–2006
“Change, Charge, Challenge” by Henricka B. Beach for the
ninth anniversary dinner
File on first building campaign including copies of newspaper
releases by Marian Elliott
Minutes of first Building Committee, 1957–58
“Building Phase 3” by James Thomson
“Handbell Choir History” by Deborah Rebeck Ash
Interview with Joseph and Martha Akerman
The typeface for Windows on Westminster is Caledonia,
designed in 1939 by American typographer, book designer,
puppeteer, illustrator and calligrapher William Addison
Dwiggins. Dwiggins described Caledonia as having “something
of that simple, hard-working, feet-on-the-ground quality
that has kept Scotch Roman in service for so many years.”
Scotch Roman typefaces were originally cut in the early
1800s in Edinburgh and Glasgow. They were designed to be
legible in less-than-ideal conditions, including poor quality
paper and rude printing techniques. Caledonia, the Latin
name for Scotland, is one of the most widely used book types
of all time.
Dwiggins died on Christmas Day, 1956.