West End United Methodist Church


A Message from Pastor Carol


Hanging on the wall in my office is a painting by John August Swanson of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Although weeks will go by when I hardly notice the picture, there are times when I sit and ponder its imagery and allow it to guide me into prayer. The picture continually reveals new things to me and helps me experience the love of Christ in ways beyond words. Art has a way of doing that.

Since the early days of the Christian movement, believers have turned to images, artwork, and icons as sources of spiritual growth and windows into prayer. You may have heard of the practice of lectio divina, “holy reading,” that listens for God to speak afresh through the words of scripture. But did you know that there is also the practice of visio divina, the pondering of art and imagery in ways that allow God to speak to us?

This time of year, we are surrounded by lots of different images: Christmas cards with Santa and his bag of toys; winter scenes with sleighs and bemittened children; wreaths and mistletoe and stockings. In the midst of all the images around us, I want to invite you to explore with me sacred depictions of Jesus’ birth narrative painted by John August Swanson. We will be turning to his art to help us see the Advent scriptures in new ways. Our theme will be “A Thrill of Hope,” and Swanson’s paintings will accompany us as we hear stories from Luke’s gospel.

As we enter into this Advent season of holy waiting, may we see with new eyes the hope that Christ brings into our world. May we find beauty and meaning in unexpected places. May we experience afresh the story of Christ’s birth. And may that story thrill us with new hope! 


Keep Watch With Me: An Advent Reader for Peacemakers
A Resource for Personal Devotion and Group Study

As we focus on our Advent theme “A Thrill of Hope,” we do well to remember that this phrase comes from the lyric of the hymn O Holy Night, among the most popular of Christmas hymns. In that beloved hymn we sing, “Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace.” This Advent season, you are invited to meditate on the words and reflections of modern-day peacemakers. 

Many of you may remember Michael McRay who is a consultant and coach in storytelling and conflict transformation, a trained mediator, and an author. In 2017, he led West End’s summer Sunday morning series as he taught us about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2019, Michael and co-author Rev. Claire Brown embarked on a project to create a new Advent devotional that contains daily reflections from a variety of persons working to bring peace and justice into the world today.  

The result of their work is titled Keep Watch with Me: An Advent Reader for Peacemakers. Press for the book describes it as “a collaborative daily devotional featuring diverse contributors: black, white, LGBTQ, Latinx, Palestinian, incarcerated, Native American, Australian, Americans, Irish, South African, clergy, laity, activists, authors, organizers, and more.” In it, you will read, reflect, and learn from an amazingly diverse collection of contributors, many of whom have spoken or taught at West End at some time in the past. Furthermore, you will find prayers and daily spiritual practices to guide you in your Advent journey.  

We would encourage you to use this resource in any or all the following ways: 

  • As a guide for personal devotion: The book is designed to be read daily beginning on December 1st. Simply purchase the book and begin reading when December arrives.  
  • As a small group study or group reflection: While this book is designed primarily as a daily reader, the meditations and spiritual practices can be used by your Sunday morning class or other small group as a foundation for discussion, reflection, and prayer together.  If your Sunday morning class or other small group would like to use the book during Advent and you have questions about how to adapt it for group study, contact Pastor Brandon for more assistance, bbaxter@westendumc.org

You may purchase the book at Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Keep-Watch-Me-Advent-Peacemakers/dp/1501876333/)
or from Cokesbury (https://www.cokesbury.com/Keep-Watch-with-Me).

Missions and Outreach Advent Opportunities

Advent Special Offering - Lunches for Hope Program
This year’s Advent Offering will go to the Lunches for Hope Program in the Dassa-Zoume region of Benin, Africa. The funds will be used by former West End member Hilarion Vegba who worshipped and studied with us when he was enrolled in a program at Vanderbilt. He had a great idea to provide a daily lunch to the 30 girls enrolled in the program. These thirty girls will receive lunch five days a week for nine months of school.  Before this program, girls without this lunch money asked for the money from men who took advantage of their situation.  West End funded this program last year and there was a dramatic decrease in girls dropping out of school, early pregnancy and trafficking. Our goal is $5400 which will fully fund lunches for one year.   You can give online by marking the “Other” and writing in “Advent Special Offering” or by check with “Advent Special Offering” in the memo line.

Advent Mission Markets
We are restarting our tradition of hosting an Advent Missions Market in Reed Hall.  We will be in person this time as well as pointing you to other vendors in our community who also have a social mission but cannot join us at this time. Vendors will be with us from 8:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. on the following dates: 

November 28 // Earl Henry Bird Prints
December 5 // Harvest Hands  (Soap and Coffee) 
December 5 // Offsite Mission Market w Sage Refill Market
1214 Wedgewood Ave, Nashville, TN 37212 from 4 - 6 PM (4-5 PM with other shoppers, 5-6  PM West End exclusive shopping hour)
December 12 // Chimes for Justice (Stained Glass)
December 19 // Ten Thousand Villages (Fair Trade goods)

We also want to point you to the website of our historic partners at Thistle Farms (thistlefarms.org) who are not doing markets of our size this year. 

Share The Gift // Alternative Gift Guide

Be sure to take a look at our 2021ShareTheGiftBrochure.pdf for this year. Your purchase make direct differences in the lives of so many people. 



Scripture Readings for the Advent Season


See the 2021 Advent Brochure


December 1 2021

Advent Prayer Stations // Weekly Prayer and Lighting of Candles at WEUMC

Last Advent, we were forced to be creative because we could not use our...
Read More
December 5 2021

Messiah Part I // Chancel Choir Concert

Chancel Choir, Sanctuary Choir, and orchestra ...
Read More
December 5 2021

OEF Christmas Party

4th, 5th, and 6th Graders are invited to join us for a Christmas Party on...
Read More
December 8 2021

Advent Prayer Stations // Weekly Prayer and Lighting of Candles at WEUMC

Last Advent, we were forced to be creative because we could not use our...
Read More
December 10 2021

Youth Progressive Dinner: Christmas Pajama Theme!

This is an evening for ALL of our 7th -12th graders to come together for...
Read More
December 12 2021

Candlelighting Service

Chancel Choir, Sanctuary Choir, Youth and Children’s Choirs, Joy Ringers...
Read More
December 15 2021

Advent Prayer Stations // Weekly Prayer and Lighting of Candles at WEUMC

Last Advent, we were forced to be creative because we could not use our...
Read More
December 19 2021

Family Movie Day: The Grinch - 4th Story Theater

Join Drama and Visual Arts for an interactive reading and viewing of How...
Read More
December 21 2021

Service of the Longest Night

The Christmas season is often advertised as a time of celebration and...
Read More
December 22 2021

Advent Prayer Stations // Weekly Prayer and Lighting of Candles at WEUMC

Last Advent, we were forced to be creative because we could not use our...
Read More
December 24 2021

Family Christmas Eve Service

All ages of children and families are invited to participate in our Family...
Read More
December 24 2021

Traditional Christmas Eve Service

With the sacrament of Holy Communion and music of the choirs, this...
Read More