Sunday School – It’s for Life!

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

by James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

The United Methodist Church wants to re-energize Sunday school and spark new ministries. Can you imagine a Charge Conference where the Sunday School teachers are the first people elected to hold office for the upcoming year? Can you imagine a church where 60 to 75 percent of those who attend worship also attend Sunday School? Can you imagine a Sunday School so vital that it has sparked so many other ministries that the church building is in use seven days a week?

Here at Trinity Church, we don’t just imagine these scenarios at Sunday School, they are our immediate goals for 2014-2015, and we’re making things happen. We offer classes for people of all ages. Fall opens with Children’s Worship and classes taught by most of Trinity’s staff. Other classes are sharing the teaching and leadership role rather than having only one teacher. New and exciting opportunities for Christian Education are offered this fall and spring. Check them out!

Our denomination, at the national level, is encouraging us to fill in the generational gaps. We’re learning that by doing that it tends to move the local church forward. It also tends to draw people with children who boost attendance in the children’s and youth classes.

Sunday School: It’s for Life! is a video produced by United Methodist Communications, and is useful for clergy and laity. Free copies can be ordered at, which is a major resource site for all Sunday School teachers.

As the nation’s third-largest religious body [behind Roman Catholics, and Southern Baptists (who include preparatory members as part of the official tally, and Methodists who don’t)] The United Methodist Church is more influential in seats of power than people realize. This means that what is taught in our Sunday School classes is helping determine the religious morals and values on the large scale. Sunday School is where the action is! Trinity Church kicks off the new Sunday School year with a celebration on September 6. Please plan to join us. Sunday School – It’s For Life!


Are You Searching for Good News?

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

by Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

I probably keep up with what’s going on in Virginia, the United States and the world as much as, if not more, than most people. I listen to two different news stations on the radio in the morning, and I probably watch at least an hour of television news on different networks most days. Then there’s The Washington Post and various online news sources I’ll read. It’s important to me that I know what’s going on in this world we’ve been given.

However, I understand why some don’t want to turn on the news. It’s filled with details of scandals, wars, and people generally doing awful things to one another. Whether it’s in Ukraine, Gaza, Syria or many areas in America, people seem to have lost all focus of what it means to be civil, much less kind.

Maybe you’ve reached your limit of bad news. I get that. You’re not alone. I also wonder what God must think of us, God’s creation made in God’s own image, here on earth intentionally inflicting harm on our brothers and sisters. This was not God’s intention for our lives.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses this issue. He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” What a radical idea two thousand years ago, and what a radical idea today. That’s the good news we all seek. We worship a God who leads by example. Jesus walked the walk and talked the talk of compassion, forgiveness and love. It’s not always easy, but it’s also not an impossible task for us to do today (even during rush hour on I-495).

As you settle back into a post-summer schedule this fall, I encourage you to join a class here at Trinity. There’s no better way to find out the truly good news of peace.




 WHEN: Saturday, September 6, 2014

TIME: 4-6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Trinity UMC

WHO: All ages

WHAT: Education opportunities, Dinner*, Moon Bounces

Children: Meet your Sunday School teacher and your classmates this year!

Adults: Do you feel like you don’t know enough about God, church, etc.? Come explore the educational opportunities awaiting you!

Tour our Christian Education offerings for all ages. And join us for a small worship service to preview Children’s Worship before we gather for dinner and fun on the moon bounces!

*Dinner will be provided by the Youth Group as a fundraiser. Please bring a donation to support their ministry.

What’s New in Education?

Amy Crisp, Minister of Education
Amy Crisp, Minister of Education

by Amy Crisp, Minister of Education

We are excited to announce new, expanded education offerings for all ages beginning September 7! All are invited to attend and participate as we continue to form disciples for the transformation of the world.


Sundays, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.

  • Children’s Sunday School – Same great Spark curriculum, new time! Children (ages 3 through 6th grade) will come together to learn the basic stories of our faith and how these stories impact our lives today. Classrooms in the Fellowship Building.
  • Youth Sunday School – For 7th through 12th graders. Ever wonder what the Bible has to do with your life? Join us as we explore the ways that Scripture is still relevant for our lives. Youth Room (Room 124, Sanctuary Building). Led by Rev. Gilmer and Catherine Wethington.
  • reTHINK: The Disciples – We often think of the disciples as larger-than-life icons of the faith. But in truth they were ordinary men who struggled with their brokenness, much as we do. The Disciples examines the lives of six men whom God used in powerful ways—and how he brings that same transformative power to us today. Room 103 (Sanctuary Building). Led by Rev. Amy Crisp.
  • New Testament Figures – Join us as we explore some of early Christianity’s figures, learning about their lives and the legends that have endured about them in the Church. Library (Sanctuary Building). Led by Rev. James Sprouse.
  • Connections – This class will begin with a parenting series on the book Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility by Foster Cline, MD, and Jim Fay. All are welcome to attend; advance preparation is not required. Room 205 (Sanctuary Building). Led by Andy and Karen Briscoe.


Sundays, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

  • Children’s Worship – Children (ages 4 through 4th grade) will have life-changing encounters with God each week through amazing music, unforgettable Bible adventures and powerful prayer experiences. During our 10:30 a.m. worship service, the children will be dismissed to attend this awesome worship service just for them!


Mondays, 10 – 11 a.m. and Wednesdays, 7 – 8 p.m.

  • New Testament Figures – Rev. Sprouse’s Sunday morning class will also be held on Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings..


We would love to see you on Sunday (and during the week)! If you are interested in helping with any of these programs, let me know!



Adult Choir News

Jerry Rich, Director of Music
Jerry Rich, Director of Music

by Jerry Rich, Director of Music


♪ Trinity Ringers will resume Tuesday, September 2 (7:30 p.m.)

♪ Memorial Ringers will resume Thursday, September 4 (6:30 p.m.)

♪ Chancel Choir resumes Thursday, September 4 (7:30 p.m.)

All rehearsals are in Room 115. Please join us!


BEST WISHES FOR EVAN! Evan Ayars left Trinity last month to become tenor section leader at the church he grew up in: Lewinsville Presbyterian Church; he will continue to be director of choirs at Chantilly High School. Evan was a dynamic director of our Children’s Choir and a first-rate song leader at our 8:30 a.m. services for eight years; he played expertly in both of our handbell ensembles and was a popular soloist in our annual Choir concerts. We will miss him!


WELCOME TO JOEY! Joey Wilson is Trinity’s new tenor section leader; he will also play bells with the Memorial Ringers. Joey has vocal degrees from Montclair State and Catholic University of America; he has done additional opera studies at Pepperdine University and in Vienna, Austria. He has performed leading roles in professional productions of Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, Mozart’s Magic Flute, Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Please give him a warm Trinity welcome!

Children’s Choir

Ellen LaCroix, Director of Children's Worship & Music
Ellen LaCroix, Director of Children’s Worship & Music

by Ellen LaCroix, Children’s Choir Director

You have a name. I have a name. Does God have a name?

Children’s Choir will kick off the new year on September 10, and you should be a part of the exciting things that are happening! All children 4 years old through 6th grade are invited to join us on Wednesday nights from 6-7 p.m. We will share in a time of food and fellowship and then discover God through music. A small group like Children’s Choir is an excellent way for children and parents to get plugged into the heart of the church and form lasting friendships.

Have you ever noticed that God has a bunch of different names? God is called Light of the World, Alpha and Omega, I AM, the Lamb, Creator, Immanuel, Prince of Peace , and so many more! (If you find me in church on Sunday and tell me another name for God, I may have a surprise for you!) How do we know what God’s name actually is? Are we allowed to call God all of these names? This semester we will explore the Bible to discover these different names of God and find out what they tell us about who God is. Our time together will certainly be filled with joy and blessings. I hope to see you there!




Worship Corner & Children’s Worship

Worship Corner

Celtic Evensong and Communion

Maherby Kathy Maher

“Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead; find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed; clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes, that we can see; all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.”

I don’t know about you, but I need a centering experience in my busy life, a time (as Shirley Erena Murray wrote in 1992) to “be at peace, and simply be.”

At 6 p.m. on the last Sunday of each month, Trinity offers a candlelight service that speaks to this need and offers a new way to experience Christian worship. Steeped in the liturgical traditions of the Celtic realm, the music is contemplative, lively, and haunting; the prayers are earthy, holy, and inclusive; the message focuses on the Christian’s role in God’s creation and the joy and peace found there. During the service, you’ll have time to enjoy the stillness and calm of God’s presence. You’ll also have an opportunity to light a candle as a tangible reminder of those for whom we pray.

All are welcome at the Celtic service, including (maybe even especially) those with little or no religious background. Give it a try – and bring a friend!


Children’s Worship

September marks the beginning of an exciting new worship service at Trinity: a worship service designed specifically for kids! This upbeat service for children will be led by Trinity’s two seminarians, Ellen LaCroix (Director of Children’s Choir) and Nick McMichael (Director of Youth Ministries) during the 10:30 a.m.-hour on Sundays. This multi-age program for children ages 4 through 4th grade will be held in the Chapel. The program seeks to shape young disciples as they learn how to engage in the worshipping life of our congregation. This service brings the kids together to share in the wonders and importance of worship in an interactive, engaging format. This service will instill in our children a love for worship and an understanding of its importance. Kids will sing, hear a Bible story and learn some of our most beloved and traditional portions of worship – the Doxology, hymns, the Lord’s Prayer, what stewardship means, and more. They will also learn about finding God in their everyday lives through small group discussion of “God Sightings.” Come experience a sample service during Trinity Day on Saturday, Sept. 6!

Three adult volunteers are needed each week to help with this important ministry. No preparation is required by the adult volunteers. Simply come as you are and share your love of worship with our children. Please hold this wonderful new program in your prayers as our children discover how to live a life of worship.


Youth: September News

Calling All 6th Graders

Nick McMichael, Youth Director
Nick McMichael, Youth Director

by Nick McMichael, Youth Director

As of this month there are a lot of changes to how we approach the education of our children in Trinity United Methodist Church. Sunday School was moved to 9:30 a.m., a Children’s Worship was created for 10:30 a.m., and now I am going to change something for our youth. As the staff has been working through this restructuring of our education programs, some important transitional issues for the children have come up, and for my part the age range of Youth Group is something that can help to smooth out those transitions. Previously our church’s definition of “Youth” dictated that kids could join Youth Group once they were in seventh grade. I am going to push that age back one year so that, from here on out, Youth Group will begin in sixth grade. I am very excited to welcome our sixth grade brothers and sisters to the ranks of our incredible Youth! I think we are going to learn a lot from one another – and have a lot of fun doing it!

Girls’ Group

by Catherine Wethington

Girls’ group is a small group Bible study that meets on Thursdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for teen girls, grades 7 through 12. It’s a place where you can meet other girls much like you and form long-lasting friendships. We eat dinner together, talk about life – school friends, sports, etc.; if you need to talk about something, then we talk about it. We also explore our relationship with God and how we can bring that into our daily lives, especially in a social culture like middle school and high school. This year we will continue our study of Women in the Bible and explore how God uses women like you and me. The curriculum we will be using this year is called “Named: The Women.” Our first meeting will be Thursday, September 11, and we will meet in the Youth Room (Room 124). If you have any questions or are interested in joining please contact Catherine Wethington at

Also, if you are a young female adult and are interested in being an assistant leader please contact Catherine as well. This is a great opportunity to relax in the middle of the week with other awesome girls!



Round-Up: Crafts, Couples, Church & Society, Work Day

bookchatAfter a summer respite, the Trinity Book Chat resumes on Tuesday, September 9, with Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese, an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and miracles. We meet in the Trinity Library at 6:30 p.m. Bring a light dinner, if you like (dessert is provided), and enjoy fellowship and lively conversation. Reading the book isn’t even required! Our next selection (October 14) is The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, by Fannie Flagg. Contact Kathy Maher ( if you have questions or if you’d like to be on the e-mail list.


Couples’ Social Saturday, Sept. 27, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the home of John & Jill Dunn (1303 MacBeth St.). Childcare will be provided in the Fellowship Building, 6 – 9 p.m.. Please RSVP to them at 703-442-6638.


Church & Society continues collecting school supplies and new or gently used khaki pants (size 3T—14) for DC Scholars at Stanton Elementary School in Washington, D.C. Needed school supplies include 24 count crayons, #2 pencils, glue sticks, blunt-nosed scissors, rulers, and black marble composition books. Donation baskets are located in the church Narthex as well as the Fellowship Building.


Oct. 4, 2014

for Good works,

Good food,

Good fellowship


Noon to 5 p.m.

followed by Dinner at 6 p.m.


     All ages are invited to join in a variety of work projects at Trinity and around McLean. We’ll top it off with a BBQ dinner to celebrate the good works!

     Sign-ups begin in September. Details to follow. Sponsored by the Church & Society and Missions committees.


During the week of August 18-22, we had 75 children participate in Trinity’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) Program. The church rooms were transformed into the “Workshop of Wonders,” where the kids could imagine and build with God. Each day, the children enjoyed art projects, music, bible stories, science experiments, snacks and time to just play. They discovered how the ordinary becomes extraordinary with God, and how they can use their hearts, minds and imaginations to follow the example of God. The kids also participated in two important mission projects: collecting school supplies for Stanton Elementary and organizing a food drive for SHARE (led by the 3rd & 4th grade group, who also volunteered time at SHARE). All of these activities reinforced our daily “wonder words:” imagine with God, build with God, grow with God, work with God, and walk with God.

Many hands and talents are needed to implement a week like this. We are so appreciative to all who gave their time and energy to make this such a successful program. The children had a wonderful week, and we offer very special thanks to the following people:

  • Maria Arnez
  • Erik Bird
  • Patty Burgess
  • Sarah Beth Burgess
  • Melinda Clark
  • Charlotte Cox
  • Lizzy Conroy
  • Steve Conroy
  • Amy Crisp
  • Kathie Diapoulis
  • Jill Dunn
  • Josue Ribera Eid
  • Maddie Faust
  • Jen Fuqua-Calsyn
  • Jerry Fuqua
  • Vicky Fuqua
  • Brenda Geib
  • Eileen Gilmer
  • Suzanne Hamilton
  • Melissa Harris
  • Lynda Hensley
  • Ann Hooton
  • Ethan Keough
  • Liam Keough
  • Annie Kingsbury
  • Mariya Kretova
  • Ellen La Croix
  • Harriet Latta
  • Catherine Lorenze
  • George Lorenze
  • Adelaide Loving
  • Jamie Loving
  • Allie Mansinne
  • Brendan Mansinne
  • Nick McMichael
  • Margie Meak
  • Margaret Smith
  • Jim Sprouse
  • Molly Sprouse
  • Allison Sullivan
  • Marci Love Thomas
  • Peggy Trapp
  • Frank Vorndran
  • Leslie Vorndran
  • Cindy Wilson
  • Jim Wilson

 We hope you will consider joining us again (or for the first time!) at next year’s VBS!





Missions Update – The Leadership Center

What is our response to the immigration issues challenging the United States from Central America? What can we do to help undocumented immigrant children at our borders or soon to be located in our communities? What can be done to help prevent these challenges now facing us?

These are difficult questions and we seek answers and guidance in prayer and in our service to others.

Trinity supports several international missions focused in Central America including Leadership Mission International (LMI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Oregon. LMI serves in Zambrano, Honduras, striving to empower the next generation of Honduran leaders to deliver their country out of the cyclical poverty in which it currently sits. By educating motivated high school graduates at The Leadership Center (TLC), LMI hopes to achieve this goal.

imageTLC offers a three-year Business Leadership Degree to young women who could otherwise not afford a college education. The program teaches three primary areas to each graduate: Leadership, Business and English. This will provide the graduates with the necessary skills to succeed in Honduras’ very difficult economic environment. It is hoped that TLC graduates will use their skills and businesses to enrich their lives, but also to enrich their local communities and country.

page1image1708The directors of TLC, Joseph and Hailey Rahm, have been serving this ministry since 2011. While living on-site in Honduras, they are running the school and the ministry, teaching classes, mentoring young women and raising two young children, Micah and Abigail. Additionally, Joseph is completing his Doctoral program in Leadership at Lancaster Bible College. They accomplish all this on a very modest annual budget supplied by friends, family and supporting churches like Trinity UMC.

Trinity UMC has sent five teams to serve at TLC over the past 3 years. We have supplied funds to build a classroom, recruit teachers, and support students in this program. We are in the early stages of planning a Mission Team to TLC in early 2015; if you are interested contact Chris or Dan Moore.

We hope to be hosting two of the most recent graduates of TLC in the near future here in Northern Virginia, when they come to participate in short-term internships and seek funding sources to launch their entrepreneurial businesses. Additionally, Joseph Rahm will present a ministry update to our congregation on October 12 at both worship services.

Soccer uniforms donated by McLean Youth Soccer.
Soccer uniforms donated by McLean Youth Soccer.

Please keep this ministry and this young family in your prayers as they seek to improve the lives of young women in the struggling nation of Honduras.

For more information, visit or the Rahm Family blog


Trinity UMC has been asked to send about a dozen Spanish/English Bibles to the Leadership Center. To help, please put a check for $20 in the offering plate and mark it “Honduras Bibles.”


It’s the Little Things

Biscuit staff photoby Biscuit Gilmer

Hi to all the kids of Trinity!

Last month I told you about the surgery on my elbow. I’m still a little sore, but I’m doing very well. My doctor doesn’t want me to run yet; he’s afraid I might hurt myself. That’s really hard to remember because I love to play fetch with a tennis ball.

I had to stay at the vet’s office for a couple of days after my surgery so they could watch over me. After I went home, my family took good care of me while I healed. During that time, I also got a Get Well card from my friend Doris. It’s so cool to get mail! It made me feel really special to know that Doris was thinking about me and took the time to send the card.

It also makes me think about all the little things that we can do to be nice to other people. Even small things can make someone really happy. Maybe you can pick up your toys or help set the table. If you have a friend who is sick, you could make him or her a Get Well card. Just saying please and thank you can be a way to be kind. Can you think of another way that you can make someone feel good by doing or saying something nice? Let me know if you think of some.

Always remember my motto: Paws for Jesus.