Our Calling

James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor
James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

I hope that 2014 will be a wonderful year for every member of Trinity Church. Three of our church families are busy preparing for weddings this year. Molly and I are learning the joys of being grandparents. A good friend and church member asked us one Sunday by what name we are called. Molly is called Mimi, and I am PeePaw. The sacred mysteries of life, birth, marriage, career, and relationships… life moves in only one direction – forward. The wonderful and sacred mystery of life continues.

Each of us is called by God to participate in God’s salvation and recreation of this beautiful world. Each of us is called to be involved in our church and to employ our spiritual gifts for the building up of our church, our community, and God’s world – as a way of living as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. There are many ways you can do that at Trinity Church. First and foremost, we need to attend worship on Sundays. Weekly, corporate worship is the center of and driving force of our life together. All our missions and ministries move out from there. You and I are created in God’s image, and worship helps us keep in touch with God and clarify God’s image. The prophet Jeremiah once told his people, Israel, “We become what we worship.” Worship helps the image of God within us shine forth in our families, our community, and the world. Worship reminds us of how our lives can become tarnished by sin and the worship of things that aren’t God: power, money, status, sex, self, etc.

Every Sunday provides you, me and our families with opportunities for learning, through our Sunday School and fellowship, through youth, women’s and men’s small groups. You will get to know more people and deepen your spiritual relationship with God and Trinity Church when you become part of one of Trinity’s missions and ministries. Trinity has a number of ministries which thrive on your participation and passion… from weekly small groups, to Martha’s Table, Stanton Elementary tutoring, pastoral care ministries, singing in the choir, to Bible study and outreach.

At the end of the day, by the grace of God, you and I don’t simply go to church; we learn how to be the church. Blessings await us in 2014 when we learn to give ourselves to God in this way. Come on! Join with me and your Trinity family as we live out our call to become and make disciples of Jesus, Christ.


Priorities of the Heart

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

February is the month for love, St. Valentine’s Day, chocolate candy and greeting cards, right? Just ask our friends at Hallmark and Godiva. They’ll tell you. Don’t get me wrong. I love chocolate candy and Valentine’s cards as much as the next person. But, I also know that, like Christmas, February 14 can be a tough day for a lot of people. If you are single; separated or divorced; or you’ve recently lost a loved one, it might be rough to see the jewelry store ads depicting overjoyed couples. (Trust me – those are actors and they don’t get to keep the diamonds!)

Exactly who was this Saint Valentine? It depends upon which legend you prefer. One of the most common is that he was a priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. The emperor decided single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage. Valentine defied the ruler and kept marrying young couples in secret. This really ticked off Claudius and it was curtains for Valentine. Another version has Valentine killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons. There are several other legends about the saint. Most have to do with a kind-hearted priest who somehow ended up being the patron saint of the day most hated by Weight Watchers.

As you browse the greeting card aisle or stop to pick up a box of candy, why not get one more for someone who could use a pick-me-up? I guarantee they’ll love it. If you can’t think of anyone, you can always drop off candy at SHARE in McLean, or leave it for us to take to Martha’s Table. You’ll make someone very happy, and it’ll do your heart good.


Race for Cure

CRISP-ANDREW-113 by Amy Crisp

Did you know that the breast cancer mortality rate is higher in Washington D.C. than the national average? It is something that affects us all – men and women – but it is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 20 to 59.

In an effort to help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research, Trinity UMC will participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Saturday, May 10. The Race for the Cure is a 5K held in Washington D.C., and the funds raised are used to support local programs that support Komen’s promise to save lives and end breast cancer. It is an amazing event that has done wonderful work in helping to fight breast cancer.

RFTC_TeamLogo-2ColorYou are invited to join our team (http://bit.ly/tumcraceforthecure) and walk in the 5K with us. Or, if you cannot join us in the actual race, you may donate to the cause. You can donate to any of the individuals on our team or to the team in general. If you have any questions on how to join us or donate to the cause, please get in touch with me.

We also ask for your prayers, not only for our team and fundraising efforts, but for all those who are impacted by breast cancer every day.

On the day of the walk, we will gather as a team for a brief devotional and prayer time before we start the race. If you would like to join us and cheer us on as we complete the 5K, you are welcome. We would love to have your support!

Music Ministry

RICH-JERRY-9Celebrating Black History Month in Music

February is also known as “Black History Month”, and Trinity’s musicians will present music to recognize the contributions of American composers of color to the world of sacred music. The organ preludes and postludes for February will include music by Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989; Professor of Music at Virginia State University); Mark Fax (1911-1974; Professor of Music at Howard University); George Theophilus Walker (b. 1922; Pulitzer Prize-winning composer); and Nkeiru Okoye (b. 1975, composer of the opera Harriet Tubman).

The Trinity Ringers will share Carl Wiltse’s setting of the spiritual My Lord! What a Morning, which proclaims that Jesus will return “to wake the nations underground” (i.e., the dead) as the ultimate victory over the grave (Acts 1:1-11). “My Lord! what a morning when the stars begin to fall. You’ll hear the trumpet sound to wake the nations underground. Look into my God’s right hand when the stars begin to fall.” The Memorial Ringers will play Diane McAninch’s arrangement of the spiritual There Is a Balm in Gilead. Although its lyrics describe the New Testament’s concept of salvation through Jesus Christ, its title comes from the Hebrew Bible, where the prophet Jeremiah seeks a spiritual medicine that would heal Israel: “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wounds of my [God’s] people?” (Jeremiah 8:22). The refrain can be found in one of John Newton’s 1779 Olney hymns: “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; there’s power enough in heaven to cure a sin-sick soul.”

The Chancel Choir will sing Jack Schrader’s arrangement of Thomas A. Dorsey’s gospel hymn Precious Lord, which he composed in 1932 under the saddest of circumstances; he was on a business trip when he heard that his wife and infant son had died, and he later said that composing this song helped him to come to terms with his grief. Now included in most hymnals, it is also known to have been the favorite hymn of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

ellen Children’s Choir

       Love is an interesting thing, isn’t it? If I asked who you loved I bet you could rattle off a list of individuals. I love my parents, spouse, children, siblings, friends, co-workers, family members; the list goes on and on. But if I asked you how to love, the response may not be as easy. This year the Children’s Choir is searching for an answer to that question by exploring Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these two.” By examining this verse we will learn how to love God with our whole self, how to interact with the people around us, and what it means to love ourselves.

As a choir, the way we express our love to God is through the worshipful act of singing.  We begin each Wednesday night with the same song: “I love you LORD and I lift my voice to worship you. Oh, my soul rejoice! Take joy, my King, in what you hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.” These words help to center our hearts on God as we begin each rehearsal. They also reminds us that our purpose is not performance. Our purpose is to use our voice to worship the LORD. By doing this, music becomes one way that we express our love for God.



Church & Society, Crafts for a Cause

Church & Society

by Kelly Slone

February Collection Drive

       In the month of February we are collecting socks, undershirts and underwear for the children that live at the ChildHelp Alice C. Taylor Village in Culpepper, VA.  ChildHelp is a new organization Trinity is supporting. Since 1993, the Alice C. Tyler Village has been providing a continuum of healing services for boys and girls ages 5-14 in a safe, structured and therapeutic environment. Producing a true community atmosphere, the Village houses as many as 67 children. Visit http://www.childhelp.org/programs/entry/childhelp-alice-c-tyler-village/ for more information about the Village.

Please donate new child and adult size white/colored socks, undershirts and underwear for boys and girls between the ages of 5-14. Please bring your items to the collection closet in the Fellowship Building, or leave them in the church foyer baskets.

DC Scholars at Stanton

Trinity volunteers continue to mentor 15 students at Stanton Elementary in Washington, DC. If you would like to be part of this wonderful enrichment program. please contact Suzanne Hamilton for information on the program as well as carpooling from Trinity.

We want to thank all the Trinity members for their support. We offer a big thank you to the congregation for the sanitary wipes, gels and tissues. It’s a great help to staff and students during flu season.

 craftsCrafts for a Cause

     Crafts for a Cause was all about warmth and comfort during January, when we delivered fleece blankets to the Carpenter homeless shelter in Alexandria, and a bounty of baby blankets and hats for newborns, plus comfort pillows for chemotherapy patients, at Fair Oaks Hospital. The blankets and hats were crocheted by Shirley Dougherty’s mom, Pauline, who also provided the Santa hats for newborns last month. Many thanks for her generosity and talent!

       During February, Crafts for a Cause will have two work sessions to make bears, pillows, dolls and blankets: Mon., Feb. 3 and Mon., Feb. 17, both at 7 p.m. in Room 122. Everyone’s welcome; no experience required. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse.


Trinity Round-Up: Book Chat, Couples’ Retreat, Missions

Book Chat

Trinity’s book club will meet on Wednesday, February 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the Trinity Library to discuss The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, by Louise Penny. Haven’t read the book? Come anyway! The selection for March is The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius, by Kristine Barnett. Contact Kathy Maher for more information.

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.


Missions: Honduras Trailer

The Trinity Honduras Trailer will be loaded onto a sea container on February 14 and we have plenty of room. Donated items are distributed directly to needy people in Honduras by Art for Humanity. Your donations will either be used or sold by families that are severely economically challenged. Almost any gently used item is acceptable. Please tie shoes together. Bags or boxes of clothing for women, children and youth are always needed. Used furniture, carpets, appliances and tools are appreciated. You can get the Trailer padlock code by calling the Church Office. Questions or heavy items that require assistance – call or email Dan Moore.

For more missions news, please see our recent Missions blog post about Honduras coffee.


Ask Biscuit: Where Does God Live?

Biscuit staff photo
Biscuit Gilmer, Trinity Church Mascot

Here’s a question that I’ve heard from one of our youngest members: Where does God live?

That’s a good question! You might have heard someone call the church God’s House. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean God lives only in church. God isn’t like the rest of us. We can only be in once place at one time.

God is everywhere, all the time. That’s how God hears your prayers and at the same time hears the prayers of a boy or girl in Japan, or Mexico, or Iraq, or anywhere else in the world. That’s pretty awesome!

Next time you’re in the sanctuary, pick up a United Methodist Hymnal and turn to page 310. It’s a song called He Lives. The song talks about how we can talk to Jesus at any time. Look at the very last line of the chorus: “You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart.”

There’s no place you will ever go that’s out of God’s reach. God will always be there to love, comfort and encourage you.

Keep the questions coming and remember by motto: Paws for Jesus!

Biscuit paws

What is Planned Giving?

Planned Giving is a way for you to make a future contribution to Trinity, or any charity, that may benefit you or your estate financially – both today and with possible future tax deduction implications.

Why consider a Planned Gift?

  • Helps you plan your estate and charitable giving in a way that benefits you, your family and the church
  • Permits you to leave a lasting legacy and often provides valuable tax savings
  • May avoid capital gains tax
  • May avoid estate taxes in some situations
  • Provides a means of ensuring Trinity’s future ministry to the community

Given that there are a number of planned giving types of gifts, it is recommended that you talk with your lawyer or financial consultant. For more information about TUMC and its endowment ministries, feel free to contact Mary Weaver, Chairperson of the Church Endowment and Planned Giving Ministry Committee at 703-758-9281 or mweaver23@cox.net.