Connect & Grow

Woven together in growing our faith


Westminster offers many opportunities for adults to connect and socialize and to grow and deepen our faith.

Learn and Explore

Second Hours

Several Sundays a month, we offer a program for adults for the time after our 10:00 am worship service when our children are in Church school. Often we use this time to hear about one of our outreach projects in the city or in West Africa. Our Earth Care team also organizes Second Hour speakers who help us connect our faith with environmental advocacy and stewardship.

Topic or Book Studies
In addition to our on-going groups, several times each year Westminster offers a short-term learning opportunity. Recent topics include “What Hope Means to Us,” “Spiritual Practices for Emotional Resilience,” “In Search of Civility,” and “The Ninefold Path” (a study of the Beatitudes).
Bible Study

Rev. Dave McMillan periodically holds Bible Studies in the church library on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am. Stay tuned for the next opportunity to learn and reflect together. Contact the church office to learn more: [email protected].

Small Groups

Sacred Conversations

Sacred Conversations are structured, small group listening and sharing opportunities. Each “conversation” has five to nine participants, lasts for three or four meetings, and focuses on a series of questions designed to promote spiritual reflection, sharing, and listening to one another. We began meeting on Zoom late in 2020 and enjoyed this process so much we’ve kept going. At times we’ve had three Sacred Conversation Groups going simultaneously. For more information, contact Linore Southworth or Pastor Heather.

Prayer Line

Every Wednesday night starting at 7:00 pm members and friends of our congregation gather on Zoom to reflect on a passage of scripture, share prayer concerns, and pray together. Let us pray for you and with you! Anyone is welcome to drop in. See our Events page for the Zoom link.

Build Community

Fun Committee
Westminster takes fun so seriously we have a committee to make sure it happens! We’ve previously gathered for a Spring Party on the outdoor patio of a restaurant, an after-worship picnic in a nearby park, a night at the Park Playhouse in Albany, and an evening at the Warbler Brewery in Delmar (one of our members is the brewer!) and a couple bonfires at the home of a WPC member. Friends are always welcome to join us!

Children, Youth, & Families

Our program for children and youth has two goals:

        1. We want every young person to learn about God in a fun and safe environment.
        2. We want every young person to know that they are part of our community.

Relationships are most important!

We commit to walking beside the children in our church, celebrating milestones with them and supporting them through challenges and difficulties. This year-in, year-out friendship is more important to us than any lesson or project!

Our Sunday Morning Program for Children and Youth
We offer a hybrid program for kids on Sunday mornings beginning at 11:15 am. There is in-person Sunday School on every first Sunday of the month. Children come to the worship service with their parents and then leave at 11:00 am to go to the classroom on the third floor for snacks and group activities until 12 noon. We have online classes on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sundays of the month.
Pray-ground Bags - Activities for children during worship
We have a “Pray-ground” activity area at the back of our sanctuary where children can draw, color, or do other quiet activities while their parents worship. Parents are welcome to be in this space with their child/children if they prefer.
Christmas Pageant

Every year Westminster has enjoyed a Christmas Pageant staged by our Church School on the third Sunday of December. During our most recent pageant, our children acted in a play entitled “The Shoemakers’ Dream.” This was a story about a shoemaker who was visited in a dream by Jesus. Jesus promised he would be visiting him that day, and although the shoemaker watched and waited all day, Jesus did not show up. However, events of the day allowed the shoemaker to show kindness to a mother who was cold and needed a coat and a blanket for her baby, an elderly man who needed a jacket, and so on. At the end of the day, he was disappointed because Jesus had not kept his promise. In a dream that night, Jesus revisited him and the shoemaker quickly expressed his disappointment. Then it dawned on him in the words of Jesus; “I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me.”

We don’t just talk about our faith with our children–we act on it together! One of the ways we do this is through service. This year, children joined their families and the community to collect warm clothing for families at the Schuyler Inn homeless shelter in Menands. We look forward to returning soon to more hands-on work and mission trips.
Intergenerational Events

Our children and youth attend and participate in the in-person worship service every first Sunday of the month. During this service, they are welcome to play significant roles such as ushering, reading the scriptures, and bearing the elements for communion. In Lent 2024, we enjoyed an intergenerational event that was based on the spiritual practice of loving God and all people without exception and to love extravagantly. Watch our Events page for upcoming events. Learn more about the “Follow Me” curriculum.

Youth Group
Although the youth have been participating in the life of the community in various ways, there have yet to be formal youth group meetings. We are looking forward to a change this year. We have two volunteers who have offered to restart the youth group. They will start with meeting once a month and we will provide the dates for the meetings as soon as they are available. Please reach out to us for more information.
Safe Church Policy

Approach and Rationale
We are first and foremost a community of hospitality where all people are welcome, although not all behavior is welcome. Each one of us is a sinner of God’s own redeeming. Therefore, we are all loved and embraced equally in God’s eyes. In order for a community to be hospitable, it has to be safe for everyone.

Children are full participants in the life of the congregation. Every time we baptize a child, the congregation promises to participate in that child’s faith journey.

In celebration of this pledge, we honor Biblical, ethical, and legal requirements. We follow and enforce these practices for appropriate behavior with children and youth.

The goal of our Safe Child Norms and Practices is to prevent physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of children and youth participating in Westminster activities in order to provide a safe, nurturing, Christian environment.

These practices apply to children and youth, defined as ages 0-18, and may also apply in the case of others whose physical or developmental situation makes them especially vulnerable.

These practices were first drafted with input from families, volunteers and the Christian Life and Learning Committee and adopted by Session on April 8, 2014. A revised version was adopted by Session on June 14, 2022.

Background checks
Teachers and leaders for youth and children, including staff and volunteers, undergo national criminal background checks. Occasionally, other volunteers assist under supervision of the leaders.

Six-month rule
Volunteers working with children and youth must have been regular members of the Westminster community for six months before being asked to volunteer.

Two Adult Rule
Every effort will be made to have two adults present in classrooms and during activities. During church school, we also have a floater on the third floor with visual access to each room.

Common signs of affections and age-appropriate nurture (e.g. hugs, pats on the back) or physical care taking (e.g. diaper changing, helping small children in the restroom) are appropriate among caring Christians.

Every effort will be made to have at least three people in a car when transporting children (two adults and one child or one adult with two or more children). If this is not feasible one adult may provide transportation with specific approval from a parent or guardian for that particular situation.

All teachers and leaders who work with children and youth will go through an orientation and training on these practices once a year and sign a form indicating their commitment to adhere to these guidelines.

Education of children
A short, age specific education program will be offered to the children to teach them about appropriate boundaries with others. Parents will be informed ahead of time of the program and may attend.

Efforts will be made to raise awareness in the congregation as a whole about safe child procedures as well as appropriate conduct around children and youth. This brochure will be circulated and posted on the church website.


Any allegations will be investigated and properly resolved according to the following procedures:

Responding to Allegations of Child Abuse
For purposes of this policy, “child abuse” is any action (or lack of action) that endangers or harms a child’s physical, psychological, or emotional health and development. Child abuse occurs in different ways and includes the following:

  • Physical abuse – any physical injury to a child that is not accidental, such as beating, shaking, burns, and biting.
  • Emotional abuse – emotional injury when the child is not nurtured or provided with love and security, such as an environment of constant criticism, belittling and persistent teasing.
  • Sexual abuse – any sexual activity between a child and an adult or between a child and another child at least four years older than the victim, including activities such as fondling, exhibitionism, intercourse, incest, and pornography.
  • Neglect – depriving a child of his or her essential needs, such as adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care.

Childcare workers may have the opportunity to become aware of abuse or neglect of the children under our care. In the event that an individual involved in the care of children at Westminster Presbyterian Church becomes aware of suspected abuse or neglect of a child under his/her care, this should be reported immediately to the Head of Staff for further action, including reporting to authorities as may be mandated by state law.

In the event that an incident of abuse or neglect is alleged to have occurred at a Westminster Presbyterian Church event or during its sponsored programs or activities, the following procedure shall be followed:

  1. The parent or guardian of the child will be notified.
  2. The worker alleged to be the perpetrator of the abuse or misconduct will immediately be placed on leave from working with children, pending an investigation, and instructed to remain away from the premises during the investigation.
  3. Civil authorities will be notified, and Albany Presbytery will comply with the state’s requirements regarding mandatory reporting of abuse as the law then exists. Westminster Church will fully cooperate with the investigation of the incident by civil authorities.
  4. Our insurance company will be notified, and we will complete an incident report. Any documents received relating to the incident and/or allegations will immediately be forwarded to the insurance company.
  5. The Head of Staff will be our spokesperson to the media concerning incidents of abuse or neglect, unless he or she is alleged to be involved. We will seek the advice of legal counsel before responding to media inquiries or releasing information. All other representatives of the Church should refrain from speaking to the media.
  6. A pastoral visit will be arranged for those who desire it.
  7. Any person who is not found innocent of the alleged abuse or misconduct will be removed from their position working with children or youth.

“Allow the children to come to me,” Jesus said. “Don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.” -Matthew 19:14 (CEB)