Dink Puryear likes to say that he grew up at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. And he isn’t exaggerating. In its sanctuary, he took his first communion when was a child, said his wedding vows to his wife in 1958, watched his only son be baptized and celebrated the life of his wife of 54 years at her funeral last fall.
“The church has such wonderful memories for me of all of the people that I have loved and have loved me,” said Puryear, 78, of Raleigh.
Westminster Presbyterian was founded 1932 and is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month. The church was founded by the Amazing Vanguard Sunday School class at First Presbyterian in Raleigh and was originally named North Vanguard Church. In 1948, the current church building was built, and the name was changed to Westminster Presbyterian.
Community outreach has always been a focus of the church. In 1977, members helped a Korean congregation establish what is now Duraleigh Presbyterian Church. These days, members of Westminster Presbyterian can be found driving senior citizens to the grocery store, providing meals to homeless women through the Helen Wright Center and collecting canned good for local food banks.
For many years, the church had more than 700 members, but recently, the number has fallen to about 100 people. Puryear and other members want to make sure the church’s doors stay open so that others can have the same experience Puryear’s family did.
“Our church really is at a crossroads with many longtime members who have recently passed away,” Puryear said. “We really want our church to be here for the community and young families for centuries to come.”
The church has been reaching out to families and young adults in recent years, including starting a mother’s morning out program. Young families can now be found in the pews, and members want to encourage others to come visit.
“We love seeing the young children come to our church with smiles on their faces,” Puryear said. “Visitors often tell us that they have never seen or felt as much love in a church as they feel here.
“We really want to invite everyone who is looking for a church home to visit our church. We promise you will be greeted at the door with a smile.”
Westminster Presbyterian is inviting visitors and former members to the 90th Anniversary and Homecoming Service at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 5, at the church, 301 E. Whitaker Mill Road, Raleigh. Former choir members are invited to sing with the choir, and lunch will be provided after the service. For more information, call 919-828-0507 or visit www.westminster-raleigh.org.
Deidre Crumbley, professor of Africana Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies at N.C. State University, will present At the Intersection between African-American and Jewish Lives in Great Migration Philadelphia at 7:45 p.m. Friday, April 19, and Gender, Race, and Religion: Listening to One Another’s Stories at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20. Crumbley is Yavneh’s spring scholar-in-residence. Both presentations will be given at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1725 N. New Hope Road, Raleigh. Crumbley will also read from her recent book, “Saved and Sanctified: The Rise of a Storefront Church in Great Migration Philadelphia,” at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at Quail Ridge Books and Music, 3522 Wade Ave., Raleigh. All events are free. For more information, visit www.yavneh-raleigh.org.
Free special needs carnival
Children with special needs and their families are invited to a free spring carnival from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Brooks Avenue Church of Christ, 700 Brooks Ave., Raleigh. The event will include games, a petting zoo, popcorn, crafts and prizes. For more information, visit www.brooks.org or call 919- 821-2400.
Worship in the Round
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church will hold its Worship in the Round service at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the chapel at the church, 1801 Hillsborough St., Raleigh. The service includes sacred texts, stories, music and movement as ways to deepen spiritual journeys. For more information, contact Ginny Going at email@example.com or 919-821-3723.
Special needs adult coffeehouse
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will have its monthly coffeehouse for adults with special needs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, at the church, 7000 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh. Entertainment will be provided by the church’s house band, CoffeeGrinds. Transportation is available to the free event. The church is also looking for volunteers to help with tasks such as preparing food, serving refreshments, welcoming guests, providing extra assistance to guests, transportation and cleanup. For more information, call 919-848-1573 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5K Run/Walk for Habitat
The Race of Grace/House Your Neighbor 5K Run/Walk will start at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at Edenton Street UMC, 228 W. Edenton St., Raleigh. Two longtime Raleigh races have joined this year to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County.
The Race of Grace was started in 2004 by 64 United Methodist churches, and House Your Neighbor has been organized for the past 14 years by the collegiate chapter of Habitat for Humanity at N.C. State University. By combining efforts, the organizations and churches will be able to provide more resources for affordable housing.
As in years past, 12 bands will perform along the race route. The winner in each age group receives a homemade cake and a gift certificate to Raleigh Running Outfitters. Registration fee for the 5K race is $25 or $20 for clergy. The fee for the 5K walk/fun run is $20. For more information, visit www.raceofgrace.org.
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