Our Growing World

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

SPROUSE-JIM-88Let me tell you a story about what life looked like in the US 100 years ago. The year is 1914. US population was around 99,000,000. Jonas Salk was born on October 28, and Babe Ruth signed with Boston for $3,500. The average monthly wage was $577 and the average house cost $6,100. The average life expectancy was 52 years; about 16% of Americans had a bathtub; 10% had a phone; there were only 10,000 cars in the US; maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph; Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California; a painter earned 50 cents/hour and a plumber 69 cents/hour for 44 hour work weeks; a dentist earned $2,500 per year, a veterinarian $1,500 and a mechanical engineer about $5,000; 90% of births took place at home; top five leading health causes of death: pneumonia, TB, diarrhea, heart disease, stroke; yet 50% of the worker deaths in the US were in only 2 industries: coal and railroads; heroin was made illegal without a prescription. How things have changed.


At the birth of Jesus of Nazareth the population of the world was 200 million. At the close of 2013 it is 7.04 billion. So, let me tell you a story about what life looks like in the rest of the world in this year. If we could shrink the Earth’s population to a village of exactly 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the world would look like this: 60 Asians, 11 Europeans, 15 Africans, and 14 from the Americas; 50 would be female and 50 male; 67 would be non-Christian and 33 Christian; 89 would be heterosexual and 11 homosexual; 6 people would possess 60% of all the earth’s wealth; 72 would live in substandard housing; 83 are able to read; 50 suffer from malnutrition; 1 is near death and 1 is near birth.


Now, let me tell you one more story. You, I and all who worship with God at Trinity Church are on a grand adventure together with Jesus Christ. Jesus knows how badly things in His world are out of balance. And He expects His church to address human needs and conditions on a global scale. Only God knows what wonderful challenges and adventures lay ahead for us in year 2014; what new faces will join our happy throng; what familiar faces will disappear from our earthly fellowship. We are all just passing through time. We, each of us, have only a limited time in which to address the world’s needs we have inherited from our previous generations. We can see the incredible changes that occurred in the US over the last 100 years. What if the entire world could experience such dramatic, life-altering change. With full confidence that God knows where our journeys meet, let’s embrace one another and the global community with an esprit de corps. and enthusiasm for ministry together with Christ that continues proclaiming the greatest story being told.


Resolve to Make a Difference

GILMER-EILEEN-26by Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Happy New Year! I hope the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas-to-New Year’s rush has slowed to a more manageable pace.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I used to. They usually had to do with exercise. I would frequently fall victim to the gym membership ploy of a “New Year and New You” marketing campaign. It would have helped if I looked back at my broken resolutions of previous years.

Check out the picture of Janus. He has two faces, one looking ahead to the future while the other keeps a keen eye on the past. That’s why he’s the Greek god of beginnings and transitions. The month of January was named in his honor. It makes sense when you think about it.

January is a time of transitions. We often look ahead and hope the New Year will bring prosperity, whatever form that might be. Sometimes that means a new job, or just a job at all. Sometimes it means a happier home life. Sometimes it means better health. In looking ahead, we keep an eye to the past as we hope for better times.

If you’ve had enough of the resolutions that often set you up for failure, consider resolving to make a difference in your life, by making a difference in someone else’s life. Any gesture can mean so much: volunteering for a charity, visiting a shut-in, or just calling to let them know they’re in your thoughts.

I pray for everyone in our church family and beyond. May 2013 be a blessed year for us all.


A New Year(ning)

CRISP-ANDREW-113by Amy Crisp, Minister of Education

The beginning of a new year calls us to reexamine our lives. What is working? What isn’t cutting it anymore? Am I the person that I want to be?

These questions lead to new resolutions. I am going to lose weight. I will cross some things off my bucket list. (Skydiving, anyone?) I will finally read the books that have been sitting in a pile on my nightstand. I will spend more time with my family.

As John Wesley would say, we are always “going on toward perfection.” But he wasn’t talking about our physical selves. He was referring to our relationships – with God and with each other.

So what would New Year’s resolutions look like from the church, or from anyone who claims the name “Christian”?


1. Pray more. Your relationship with God is exactly that: a relationship. Relationships require communication. One of the ways of speaking to God is through prayer. Not only does communicating with God strengthen your personal relationship with God, but praying for others also strengthens your relationships with other people.

2. Invest in your spiritual gifts. Are you a teacher? A preacher? Full of wisdom? A powerful prayer warrior? We all are blessed with spiritual gifts which God calls us to use to build up the body of Christ. Working together, with all of the gifts and their various expressions, is how we do the work of the church. So what are you passionate about? What are your gifts? And how can you use them to reach out to others in the love of God?

3. Care for yourself spiritually. Your faith is important. Are you taking the time to worship and study God’s word? Are you seeking after God in ways that nourish and rejuvenate you? At Trinity UMC, we have classes and worship services available to feed your spiritual life.

4. Build community. The church is all about community. Each of us has been created in the image of God. It is only in the presence of one another that we begin to see more clearly who God is and discover who we are as God’s children. In community, we lift each other up, hold each other accountable, and love one another as God has called us to do.


As we usher in a new year, I pray that we also usher in new yearnings to be in relationship with God and one another. May we continue to grow in discipleship and in love for one another.


Ring and Sing with Us!

RICH-JERRY-9by Jerry Rich, Director of Music

“The New Year is here, and I am looking for a resolution.” If you are having this thought, why not join one of Trinity’s choirs? Choir is more than rehearsing, ringing and singing. It is a vital part of Trinity whose members feel called to minister to others through music.

Join one of our choirs and you will:

1. Be a part of the church’s worship life

2. Fellowship with others who feel God’s call to serve through music

3. Experience how music can be an extension of God’s word

Qualifications for joining a choir include:

1. Loving Jesus with all your heart

2. Wanting to express through music what God has done for you

3. Being willing to serve at Trinity

You don’t have to be a great singer or ringer (although we are blessed with those!). If God has called you to serve in a choir, others will help you begin your journey in this new way to serve. Remember that “God does not call the qualified; rather, he qualifies the called”. If God is calling you to serve at Trinity through its music program, please make a resolution now to try one of its choirs!


Church & Society, Crafts for a Cause

Church & Society

by Kelly Slone

January Collection

During the month of January, Church and Society is collecting disinfectant wipes, hand-sanitizing gel and boxes of tissues for DC Scholars at Stanton (Stanton Elementary School). Any sizes or quantities are appreciated. Please leave your donations outside the collection closet in the Fellowship building or in the collection baskets located in the church foyers.


DC Scholars at Stanton

Speaking of Stanton, Trinity volunteers provided and distributed chocolate milk and candy canes to all 600 students after their holiday music performance in December. All of the children in the school were participants, and are learning the art of performing. Volunteers also hosted a holiday party for the students they are now mentoring and assisted in distributing hundreds of books for children to take home for reading over the winter break.

We are now mentoring 16 gifted Stanton students. If you would like to mentor children in the enrichment program, please contact Suzanne Hamilton, 703-759-6264, suzanhamil@aol.com, for information on the program as well as carpooling from Trinity.



Thanks to all who donated food and toiletry items during the months of November and December and to all who graciously took part in the angel tree program for SHARE. A big thank you goes to Chris Wilbur, who delivered the donations from Trinity members!


Trinity members also graciously took part in the SHARE angel tree program. The gifts were given to angels of all ages, and delivered at SHARE’s Christmas party. Thank you to the Trinity family for your generosity.


From all of us in Church and Society: Happy New Year!


craftsCrafts for a Cause had a wonderful time with the Holiday Bazaar before Christmas, not only because of the money we raised – more than $2,500! – but also because of the fellowship we enjoyed. Folks seemed to appreciate buying things made by Trinity members, and we loved talking about the projects made possible by proceeds from the Bazaar. We will be donating half of the proceeds to two of Trinity’s mission projects: Heart 2 Heart Orphanage in Honduras and Moriah House in Ethiopia. The rest of the money buys materials for our projects throughout the year. Thanks again to everyone who supported the Bazaar. It was much appreciated.


Meanwhile, it’s back to work in January. Crafts sessions will be held Mon., Jan. 6, and Mon. Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. in Room 122. We’ll be working on blankets for homeless shelters, and pillows, bears and dolls for local hospitals. Everyone’s welcome to participate. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse at 703-356-4896 or mollysprouse@gmail.com.


Missions, January 2014

by Dan Moore

Heart to Heart Christmas Gifts – Thank You!

photo       Thanks to thirty Trinity members and friends, we provided $3100 to Heart to Heart Children’s Village which was used to purchase many Christmas gifts and festival food for the kids’ holiday. On behalf of the ninety children, thanks Trinity! http://h2hcv.org/


Missions Sunday

We will be celebrating Trinity’s international missions’ ministry at both worship services on January 5. Please make plans to join us for a special video treat as well as personal witness and testimony of God’s work among us.


Trinity is Returning to Honduras in March

photo 2We will be traveling to The Leadership Center (TLC) to work with 24 wonderful young women who are seeking to better their future. Are you ready to join us?

TLC’s ministry seeks to empower the next generation of Honduran leaders to deliver their country out of cyclical poverty by educating motivated high school graduates. Program focus is ethical leadership and entrepreneurial business skills. http://leadershipmissioninternational.org/

This mission trip to Honduras could really change your life. It will be a wonderful, rewarding experience that will seriously impact your faith journey. We will work with the young women on the coffee farm and in the classroom. We will be in continuous fellowship with the students and their teachers. We will show God’s love to those we seek to serve and in that process we will be blessed in more ways than we can describe.

We plan to be in Honduras about 10-12 days in mid-March. The TLC campus setting is very rural, and rustic, but comfortable. If you would like to learn more or consider joining this team contact Dan or Chris Moore soon. (703-893-0054 or christinecmoore@gmail.com)


Trinity Round-Up

Couples’ Retreat, Book Chat, Shepherd’s Center News

Couples’ Retreat

Reservations are now being taken for the annual Couples Retreat for the weekend of February 28 – March 2, 2014, at the Inn at Osprey Point in Rock Hall, Maryland. The Inn is on the water and very peaceful; view the property: http://www.ospreypoint.com/. Each night is $150 including light breakfast and supper on Saturday evening. It is possible to attend one or both nights, please make checks to Trinity UMC and give to Karen and Andy Briscoe (checks will be held until the week prior to the event). There will be a program on Saturday morning, entertainment Saturday evening and lots of opportunity for both relaxation and fellowship. There are only 15 rooms. For more information contact Karen and Andy Briscoe at briscoe1987@gmail.com or 703-582-6818.


bookchatTrinity’s book club will kick off the new year with Sonia Sotomayor’s excellent memoir, My Beloved World. We’ll meet to discuss the book on Wednesday, January 8, at 6:30 p.m., in the Trinity Library. Bring a light dinner (dessert is provided) and enjoy fellowship and lively conversation. Our book for February 12 is The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, by Louise Penny. Interested in joining us? Contact Kathy Maher (Kathyngs@gmail.com) to be added to the e-mail list.


Drivers and other Volunteers URGENTLY Needed for

Shepherd’s Center of McLean-Arlington-Falls Church


The Shepherd’s Center of McLean, Arlington and Falls Church urgently needs more drivers for our rapidly increasing number of seniors needing to get to and from medical and therapy appointments. On December 31, the organization SHARE will end its transportation program and our center will absorb the seniors who until now have been receiving rides from SHARE. That means our Shepherd’s Center will add approximately 45 new clients to our increasing number of seniors needing help with transportation. Over the past several months, we have lost several drivers and we need to fill that void. That is true especially in the southern part of our service area (south Arlington and the lower half of Falls Church).

Our Center has grown rapidly during 2013 and we need more volunteers willing to help with not only transportation but handy helpers, event organization, program organization, friendly callers to shut-ins and those who have fundraising backgrounds willing to help with efforts to raise money to fund the many projects being undertaken by our Center.

If our center does not get more new volunteers, we will very soon have to stop accepting new clients requesting help. We simply cannot provide the services seniors are requesting with the current number of volunteers we have.

PLEASE be willing to volunteer by calling the Shepherd’s Center at 703-506-2199. Any way you can contribute to the success of our Center by serving area seniors will be greatly appreciated. Our seniors will appreciate it as well.


Ask Biscuit

by Biscuit Gilmer, Trinity Church Mascot

Hi, kids of Trinity!

Biscuit staff photo I hope your Christmas was wonderful. I got some special dog biscuits and a new toy, so I’m happy. (I know that’s not the real meaning of Christmas. It’s Jesus!)

I wanted to share one of the questions I’ve received. This one is from Zachary. He writes, “I’ve been hearing a lot about prayer at home and the importance of talking to God. When do you talk to God?” Thanks for asking, Zach!

Talking to God is important. That’s what prayer is – it’s just talking to God! God wants us to share our happiness, our fears and our needs. Even though God already knows what’s on our hearts, we should always go to God in prayer. The cool part is that God is always ready to listen and help us.

As for Zachary’s question about when I talk to God, I like to talk to God when I’m on long walks with my family. God made the earth and the sky, the trees and the birds. (I like chasing the squirrels God made, too.) Going for walks makes for good God-talking time.

If you have a question for me, just go to bit.ly/askbiscuit.

Remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!

Biscuit paws