Remington United Methodist Church
Friday, November 24, 2017
A great place to begin.
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Our Pastor

The Reverend Walter Westbrook's Education
BA in Music History and Theory – Emory & Henry College 1977
Master of Divinity – Drew Theological Seminary 1980

Cub Scout, Eagle Scout, World Jamboree in Japan 1971. climbed Mt. Fuji (age 15).

All New-England Band – tuba – 1972
Concert Choir – Emory & Henry College, took top honors at international music festival in Bermuda, soloist
Studied classical guitar during seminary years
Directed choirs in 3 previous churches
Composer in Residence for Lake Country Chorale in Clarksville, VA
Played guitar in pit orchestra for a number of musicals with the Clarksville Community Players

Contributed a week's devotions for Upper Room Devotions 1999
Contributed 29 entries to The Upper Room Dictionary of Spiritual Formation 2003

Dahlgren UMC   1980-1987
Highland Springs UMC   1987-1995
Bethany UMC, Reedville   1995-1999
Jamieson Memorial UMC, Clarksville   1999-2010
St. Matthias UMC, Fredericksburg   2010-2012
Remington UMC 2012-Present

Service on Districts
Served on District Committee on Ordained Ministry on several districts
Spiritual Formation Representative on two districts
Currently the Mentor Group Co-ordinator, Fredericksburg District

Service for Conference
Served ten years on the Division of Spiritual Formation, seven as Chair
Conducted seminars, retreats and workshops on spiritual formation on eight Virginia Conference districts.
Represented Conference at World Methodist Conference in Brighton, England, 2001
Taught Lay Speakers Lead Prayer on the Farmville District
Taught Lay Servants Lead Prayer on Fredericksburg District, twice

Mission Trips
Haiti for 10 days in 1977: Charlotte, SC after Hurricane Hugo, Thanksgiving week, 1989

Married to Betty since 1978
Presided at the marriage of his daughter, Cassie, to Jack Muratore in 2012.
Betty and Walt have seen eleven shows on Broadway!
Hobbies include:  playing guitar, reading, juggling, playing chess, watching movies, collecting autographs of favorite authors.

A Message from Walt... 

When I was called into the ministry at the age of 11, I thought I was going to be the first pastor in space. This hasn't happened yet, but there is still hope.

Although still earthbound, I was ordained a pastor in the Virginia Conference in 1980. Remington UMC is my sixth church. It's unusual for UM pastors, but I have moved less since I was ordained than I did growing up.

In 1978, I married Betty, who was trained in social work and spent a career as a case worker and, then as a therapist after earning her MSW in 1989. In the meantime, she had our only child, Cassie, who is now a music teacher in two elementary schools near Lynchburg, where she lives with her husband, Jack, their son, Walter, and five cats.

My major at Emory and Henry College was Music History and Theory. This has proven helpful as I've done quite a bit of singing over the years, as well as having directed choirs in three of my churches. I also play guitar, including time in the pit orchestra of several musicals in Clarksville, VA. I've also composed several choral pieces over the years.

The two most unusual experiences of my life have been climbing Mt. Fuji when I was a 15-year-old Boy Scout at the World Jamboree in 1971, and being in a hot air balloon that crashed into a Richmond, VA cemetery in 1987. (No fatalities.)

I spend a lot of time reading. I read to learn, to be inspired, and to relax. Betty and I also watch Netflix streaming. We binge-watch TV shows, both old series and some more current shows, plus the occasional movie.

My primary interest as a pastor is to deepen the congregation's relationship with God. There are many ways to do this, but I try to focus on scripture and prayer, in addition to some other spiritual disciplines. Everything a church is supposed to be comes out of the practice of the spiritual disciplines, but it is easy for churches to overlook the interior life when they are trying simply to survive. It's easy to be distracted by things like paying bills or filling pews and to forget the purpose of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, as our UM Discipline says.

I think my job is to keep this mission ever before the congregation's leadership, so that we don't run adrift as we start worrying about the numbers:  attendance, membership, and money. If we devote ourselves to being disciples, everything else will fall into place eventually. It's all about seeking the kingdom of God first, then everything else comes to us in good time.