Finding our Way together

We are a community of students learning to walk humbly, to love kindness, and to do justice (Micah 6:8). Together we strive to create a safe space where we are empowered to learn from one another, support one another, and dismantle oppression with one another. Together we seek to listen, love, and liberate in the Spirit of Christ. Together we pray, we doubt, we grow, we share. Together we stand in solidarity with the marginalized, with people of color, with the disabled, with our LGBTQ+ friends, with those who have been wounded by the church, and with all those who thirst for justice. We are a community of students finding our way … together.

Downloadable Lessons & PRayer Guides

Out of love and care for our neighbors during this time of crisis, we have decided to meet virtually until further notice. To view current or past Westwood Youth Collective lessons, please download them here. If you would like to join the email list to be notified about our Zoom gatherings and events, please email our Director of Student Ministries, Jake Putich, at jputich@westwoodpres.org.

  • Creating Safe Space: Session 2

    One part of creating a safe space is learning how to nurture emotional care and wellbeing for ourselves and for those we love. One way to think about this is in terms of nutrition. Just like our bodies require good, nutritious foods to remain healthy, our minds require a consistent "diet" of good emotions, experiences, and feelings to remain healthy. This is called emotional safety, and it's a key component of relational and mental health.

  • Prayers for Safe Spaces: Session 2

    In this prayer guide, we will focus our hearts and minds on the values of empathy, inclusion, justice, and love. Before each prayer, try to find a place to sit comfortably for 7 - 10 minutes. You may wish to prepare a candle or some soothing music to play in the background.

  • Creating Safe Space: Session 1

    Safe space is about cultivating compassion and empathy for all people, no matter how different they might be. Empathy is attempting to see from another person's perspective and to understand their emotional states. Creating safe spaces is about infusing the practice of empathy into our group gatherings, our learning environments, and our places of worship.

  • Prayers for Safe Spaces: Session 1

    In this prayer guide, we will focus our hearts and minds on the values of empathy, inclusion, justice, and love. Before each prayer, try to find a place to sit comfortably for 7 - 10 minutes. You may wish to prepare a candle or some soothing music to play in the background.

  • Solidarity: Black, Indigenous, Latinx & POC

    Solidarity means finding ways to cultivate radical dependence rather than trying to go it alone. We are all born into this world physically connected to another human being. We cannot survive as individuals, which is another way of saying that "individuality" is a myth. To make our world better, we must realize that we need one another, that we are dependent on our neighbors, and that we must work together to flourish in justice and peace.

  • Prayers for Racial Justice

    These prayers were assembled to guide our hearts and minds as we collectively work to dismantle the systems of white supremacy that bear upon the bodies of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color. May we all engage this work with minds that are open, hearts that are humble, and hands that are ready.

  • Solidarity: The Incarcerated

    Solidarity means cooperating with our neighbors rather than competing with them. Solidarity means seeing the peace, freedom, and justice of my neighbor as my peace, freedom, and justice. Solidarity means we're all in this together, so we must care for our neighbors that are most deeply harmed by the world we live in, especially the poor, sick, incarcerated, and marginalized.

  • Prayers for Prisoners

    Please use these prayers either as a family or individually, whichever you prefer. Perhaps you might light a candle and pray one of these prayers per day for a few days this week. Each one will only take a minute or so to read. Spend some time in silence after. Take some deep breaths. Slow down and focus your empathy on those behind bars, separated from their families and communities.

  • Solidarity: The Unhoused

    Standing in solidarity with your neighbor means taking on their needs as your priority. Sometimes this may require that you stand against — or protest — whatever is harming them, whether that's a person, an institution, or a system.

  • Solidarity: Essential Workers

    Solidarity is showing compassion, unity, and care for those around us. It is standing with those who need our help. It is giving a voice to those who need to be heard. It is seeing the needs of our neighbors as our own needs.

JAKE PUTICH

DIRECTOR OF STUDENT MINISTRIES

Jake joined the WPC staff in May 2020. While it may be a while before we are able to worship together in person, Student Ministry is still going strong! In July 2020, we launched the Westwood Youth Collective, a ministry for 6th - 12th graders that seeks to empower students to live into the vibrancy of their faith by reaching out into the world with the peace, love, and justice of Christ. The Westwood Youth Collective meets regularly via Zoom for a time of connection, games, prayer, and learning.


Jake feels a strong connection to youth ministry. As a teenager, he was involved in a large youth program that became a kind of surrogate family for him. He knows how important formation is in youth ministry, actively working to ensure that his programs are substantive and engaging. He's passionate about activating the faith of students into the pathways of justice and care for all people, digging deep into the resources of scripture, the traditions of the church, and the myriad parables of grace throughout the world. His ministry focuses on the whole family, equipping parents as well as youth to discover together the ways in which faith informs their worship of God, love of neighbor, and care for the world. He holds a M.A. in Theology from Talbot and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Divinity from the University of Aberdeen. In 2018 his paper “Apocalyptic Convivence” was presented to the Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Social Analysis program group at the American Academy of Religion. He and his spouse Nikki have a 4.5 year old daughter Liora, who keeps them busy and entertained.