Westlake Church Celebrates 25 Years this weekend –
Westlake Church will celebrate its 25th anniversary this weekend, the 13th and 14th of October. It is an event that reflects on its past, celebrates its present and looks toward its future. The public is warmly invited to the Westlake Nyon church service on Sunday the 14th at 5pm. A reception will follow the service. For more information on the church, see their website here
*Nancy Heiman-Lind, one of the members of the church, tells us more.
“Westlake is an evangelical, interdenominational, English-speaking Christian church in the midst of French-speaking Switzerland. Our members come from a multitude of nations, with different backgrounds, cultures, languages and experience. Some members are Swiss, but most are not. About a third of Westlakers have lived in Switzerland for less than three years and about a third have lived in Switzerland for more than 20 years – the rest fall in between. Up to 20% of the congregation is new each year, so if you are new to the area – you are not alone! Our faith and our shared experience of transition, adaptation and integration are ties that bind us together.
Photo above, the church building in the centre of Nyon in Rue Juste Olivier 6 -see Google map here
The history of the church
The church came about when just over 25 years ago, Philippe Berthoud a retired Swiss missionary returning from India, recognised the increasingly international character of La Côte. He had a vision to establish a church that would reach out to the English-speaking population on the western shores of Lac Léman. Westlake Church began in 1987 in the Salle Communale in Bogis-Bossey with just 11 Swiss and expatriate families. Today the Westlake Church Association encompasses two sister churches: Westlake Nyon and Westlake Lausanne. Westlake Nyon, located in Nyon centre, is a dynamic church that has 150 people attending Sunday services. Westlake Lausanne, an equally dynamic church of the same size, was launched in 2007 and is based in St-Sulpice.
Photo above: Philippe and Wendi Berthoud
The vision that established Westlake remains relevant and meaningful in our growth-oriented and international region. It continues to inspire Westlake ministries and service to local communities along the Lac Léman and farther afield. Westlake is evangelical. Teaching, whether from the pulpit or through any of Westlake’s programs, is gospel-based. Worship is in a contemporary style, with both contemporary and traditional music. A commitment to evangelism makes Westlake a genuinely warm and friendly church, within the congregation and as we reach out into the local community.
To quote one of our members:
“Relationship is what draws people to Westlake, and relationship is what keeps people involved.”
Westlake is interdenominational and not linked to any specific denomination and it is self- governing. People from Protestant and Catholic churches – Anglicans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Pentecostals, Orthodox, Catholics, Messianic Jews and others – all worship together. Westlake is diverse too. We are multi-lingual, multi-national and multi-cultural. Many people have grown up or have lived in different countries through their lives. Members come from a variety of professions and backgrounds, and bring an amazing range of skills, talents and experience which are often offered in service to the church.
Photo above: Church members running at a May group retreat
We are also mission-oriented. Support to missions, both international and local, is an important commitment. At least 10% of the church’s income goes to mission activities. Westlake currently supports international mission projects in Rwanda, Romania, India, Kenya and Nepal, and supports local missions such as “LiNK – The Au Pair Connection” and support to asylum seekers. Westlake also sponsors several missionaries. The church has a strong engagement with the organisation “Servons Nyon” (“Serve the City”) which provides volunteer service in the region, reinforcing ties with the local population and bridging cultural and social barriers.
Photo above: A church mission trip to Cyeza, Rwanda, a community with which the church has a close relationship and where the group built sanitary facilities for a local school.
“From the first day we came to Westlake, we felt welcomed and included. We had found a warm, supportive community that we could be part of.” – Church member
Westlake is dynamic. “We are allergic to boring.” A range of ministries, programmes and activities connect with a wide variety of people by meeting varied interests and needs. In addition to weekly church services which include crèche and Sunday school, Westlake offers opportunities for learning, growth, prayer and fellowship through men’s bible study, women’s bible study, home groups, family ministries, young adults and student groups, and youth and children’s groups.
“Westlake is a diverse group of people, living real life together… There is something for everyone.”
Westlake is for you. Whether you are long-term resident, new to Switzerland, here for a short stay and want to learn more about Christian beliefs, values and faith, we welcome you. 25 years ago, Westlake Church started with a vision to reach out to the English-speaking population on the western shores of Lac Léman with Christian teaching and fellowship. This vision still shines. Please join us. You will find a warm welcome”.
*Nancy has been living in the region for 20 years. As a certified Cross-Cultural trainer, she gives seminars on cross-cultural issues.
All photos above, courtesy of Westlake Church.