Called to Worship & Spiritual Growth

by James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

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

I hope that 2015 will be a wonderful year for every member of Trinity Church. Two of our church staff families are preparing for weddings: one this year and one next year. Molly and I are preparing to be grandparents again: our daughter Emily and her husband are expecting twins in April. A good friend and church member asked me Sunday what our present grandchildren, Ashlynn & Julia, call us: Molly is 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. We are blessed!

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. There are many ways you can do that at Trinity Church. First and foremost, we can attend worship on Sundays. Weekly, corporate worship is the center of and energy force of our life together, and 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. 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 lots of 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, mission work in Honduras, pastoral care ministries at Trinity House, singing in the choir, to evangelism 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 2015 when we learn to give ourselves to God in this way. Come, join with me and your Trinity family as we live out our call to be and make disciples of Jesus, Christ.


Come Join Us!

by Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Discovery Class
February 22
9:30 a.m.
Room 205

We are officially off and running in 2015. If you made Trinity United Methodist Church a part of your New Year’s resolutions, have I got a deal for you! If you aren’t already a member of our church, we hope you’ll make that move this year.

The Bible is filled with stories of local churches. Paul writes of the struggles, successes and faith journeys encountered by those in the early churches. Paul knew the church was stronger with everyone united and committed to Christ.

Why should you consider joining the church? For some, joining a church seems too formal or demanding. That’s not surprising in a world that looks at commitment much differently than in previous generations.

By joining a church, you’re giving a very visible sign of your willingness to commit to Christ. You’re saying that you want to be a part of this church family. Christianity is not a solitary endeavor. It is designed for us to come together and worship as a community, no matter your age, no matter your race, no matter your socioeconomic status. We are all one in the eyes of our creator.

We’re hosting a Discovery Class this month. It will give you a chance to ask questions about United Methodism, Trinity, joining the church, or ways you can get involved. (And yes, there will be snacks.)

If you have questions, please contact me at, or give me a call at 703-356-3312.

I hope to see you there!


A God-Sized Love

Hi, kids of Trinity,

Biscuit Gilmer - always ready for a walk and to answer your questions.
Biscuit Gilmer – always ready for a walk and to answer your questions.

I hope you are enjoying your February and that you’re staying warm. My big, heavy coat helps keep me cozy. It helps me enjoy my walks, even when it’s snowy outside.

I like February because we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Maybe you’ll have a party at school. It’s a time for hearts and cupids and tasty cupcakes. But, it’s also a good reminder about love.

We love our families and other important people in our lives. We also love our pets. But, don’t let Valentine’s Day go by without thinking about the most important love of all: the love of God. God’s love is bigger than we can ever imagine. We can see that love through God’s son, Jesus. Jesus taught us how to love each other, forgive one another, and take care of those in need. Think of God’s love as the biggest Valentine you’ll ever receive!

Valentine’s Day is a great time to share that love by doing something nice for somebody. Think of a way you can help your parents, your neighbors or a teacher. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll know you’re sharing God’s love.

Be sure to send me your questions:

And remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!



What’s Happening & Other Notes

craftsJoin the Crafts for a Cause crew on Mon., Feb. 2, and Mon., Feb. 16, for fun and fellowship while making pillows, bears and blankets to comfort hospital patients and shelter residents. The group meets at 7 p.m. on alternating Monday nights in Room 124, located on the lower floor of the Sanctuary building, just past the chair lift.

Newcomers are always welcome, and instruction and materials are provided. If you can’t make the meetings but would like to participate, there are some take-home projects as well as patterns for knitters and crocheters. Contact Molly Sprouse.

bookchatTrinity’s book club will meet on Tuesday, February 10, at 6:30 p.m. in the Trinity Library to discuss the moving and thought-provoking novel Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. The selection for March is China Dolls, by Lisa See. Contact Kathy Maher for more information.


thanks_9908cJim and Molly Sprouse send a heartfelt thanks to all our friends in the Trinity family who were so generous in expressing their sympathy for the recent death of Molly’s mother, Anne Carpenter. It is always a blessing to feel loved, comforted and prayed for in the losses we all share.



Trinity United Methodist Church is committed to being the most vital and fruitful congregation possible. We believe God has placed great potential within us and that we are being called to live into that potential. To accomplish that, we, the leadership of Trinity, will be assessing and designing systems within our ministry to lead our congregation to greater effectiveness.

To that end, we have recently joined a network of 12 churches engaged in a process called Shift. This process will likely mean that we will be trying some new things since as we all know – ‘continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results’ doesn’t make much sense. We, your leadership team, ask that you will be open to the ways in which we believe God is leading us. Our commitment to you is that for each new approach to ministry and redesign of current approaches we will communicate with you the why? and what? of the new thing and invite you to join us in discovering how God is going to do something powerful in our midst.

Church & Society

by Kelly Slone

February Collection Drive

During 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. 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. Below is a link providing 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. To learn more about the village please visit the website above.

DC Scholars at Stanton Elementary School

Last month, Trinity volunteers helped Stanton Elementary with their Science Day for 2nd and 3rd grade students. Trinity delivered 10 rock collections to the 4th grade classes and 50 owl pellets plus dissecting supplies to the 5th grade classes. Six digital scales, purchased by Trinity, were delivered to Ms. Conroy’s fifth grade science class last month. Students and teacher were delighted.

If you would like to mentor children in the enrichment program, please contact Suzanne Hamilton.



Lent Begins This Month

pancake_12274cnpShrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

February 17

5-7 p.m.

Langley Hall


On the menu: Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes (plain and blueberry), Sausage, Homemade Applesauce, Juice, Coffee and Tea. Cost: $5 per person, $15 per family. Proceeds benefit Trinity missions. Sign up in the Fellowship Lobby to help with this event. Contact Molly Sprouse, 703-356-4896, Everyone is welcome!

Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, is the Tuesday before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The word shrove is the past tense of the word shrive, which means to confess and receive absolution. We eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday as a way to use up all the fat (butter, eggs, sugar) before Lent. Many observe Lent as a season of fasting, or restricting foods so they don’t overindulge while focusing on the sacrifice Christ made for us. If you would like to learn more about the history of this day, beginning in the Middle Ages, a simple Google search of “Shrove Tuesday” will get you many results from Wikipedia and from various church-related organizations.




Ash Wednesday

February 18

12 p.m. & 7 p.m.




These worship services will include the imposition of ashes.

Ash Wednesday & Lent

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent. Lent is the 40 days (not counting Sundays) that lead up to Easter. In worship on Ash Wednesday, worshippers receive ashes on their forehead with the words, “you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

An article on the What We Believe page of the United Methodist Church website offers an explanation of Ash Wednesday:

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.

Ash Wednesday emphasizes two themes: our sinfulness before God and our human mortality. The service focuses on both themes, helping us to realize that both have been triumphed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers. The use of ashes as a sign of mortality and repentance has a long history in Jewish and Christian worship. Historically, ashes signified purification and sorrow for sins.1

Another article on the page gives reasons for the use of ashes in Methodist worship:

While many think of actions such as the imposition of ashes, signing with the cross, footwashing, and the use of incense as something that only Roman Catholics or high church Episcopalians do, there has been a move among Protestant churches, including United Methodists to recover these more multisensory ways of worship. This is in keeping with a growing recognition that people have multiple ways of learning and praying.

Worship that is oriented to the intellect or to the emotions, both interior, leaves out those who engage in prayer through vision, smell, touch, movement, and so forth. We are increasingly aware that people are formed in faith when practices become embedded in memory, nerves, muscles and bone through sensory engagement.2


Dates to Remember


Lent-Easter 2015

    February 17:    Shrove   Tuesday

February 18:    Ash Wednesday

March 29:    Palm Sunday

April 2:    Maundy Thursday

April 3:    Good Friday

April 5:    Easter Sunday





Choral and Handbell Music for February

by Jerry Rich, Director of Music

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

If you’d like to know how our Adult choirs plan to mark the transition from hope-filled Epiphany to reflective Lent, here are some of the musical offerings we will share with the Trinity community during the Sunday services this February.

EPIPHANY IV and V: The gospel-tinged Truly Free (February 1) was written in 2011 by David Lantz and is based on John 8:32; Lantz is a schoolteacher and music director at a Methodist Church in Stroudsburg, PA, and has 400 choral works in print. The Old Rugged Cross (February 8) is Vicki Wright’s 2005 arrangement of the classic hymn by Methodist minister George Bennard.

TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY (February 15): I Am Bound for the Kingdom pairs a folksy tune from the 1844 hymnal The Sacred Harp with a revival text by Eliza Hewitt (“I am bound for the Kingdom; will you go in glory with me?”). In honor of Black History Month, our handbell choirs will present two spirituals arranged for bells by Kevin McChesney: the pensive Jacob’s Ladder and the upbeat I Know the Lord’s Laid His Hands on Me.

ASH WEDNESDAY (February 18): Thou Knowest, Lord, the Secrets of Our Hearts is a Baroque setting of the Funeral Sentences in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer; Henry Purcell’s chromaticism and subtle word-painting match the text’s “bitter pains of eternal death.”

LENT I (February 22): Holy was misattributed to Baroque composer Giulio Caccini, but it’s actually by 20th-century Russian guitarist Vladimir Vavilov; while singers like Andrea Bocelli prefer the solo version, our Chancel Choir sings Tom Fettke’s 2011 choral arrangement.

New ringers and singers are always welcome to join us. Contact me at for more information.


Listening to God’s Call

Where Are You Going?

by Ellen LaCroix

Ellen LaCroix, Director of Children's Choir
Ellen LaCroix, Director of Children’s Choir

When was the last time you closed your eyes and let yourself imagine? I don’t mean just letting your mind wander, I mean actively imagining your future. Take a moment to think about the next two years. Where are you? Are you still here in Virginia or have you moved? What do you do with your time? Who is around you? But here is the real question: What is the life God is calling you to live? Let that question sit on your heart for a moment. Can you see it?

“Cheshire-Cat,” said Alice. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—,” said Alice.

Then It doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

 What is the future God is calling you to live? What future are you walking towards now? Moving in the direction God calls does not happen by accident. It requires an intentional choice and active navigation. It happens slowly, one day at a time and one step at a time. This journey starts with the willingness to open your heart to imagine and receive God’s vision of the future.



Wesleyan Structure for Small Groups

by Nick McMichael, Youth Director

Nick McMichael, Youth Director
Nick McMichael, Youth Director

Sunday morning worship at 8:30 or 10:30 is a wonderful time to come together to worship God in a community of believers. And yet, church is so much more than the one hour you sit in a pew. Coming to church is about coming closer to God. Coming to church is about digging deeper into scripture and into yourself. John Wesley, an Anglican priest who became the founder of Methodism, had a lot to do with our modern day interest in small group meetings outside of Sunday morning worship. Wesley thought that true believers would hunger and thirst for a closer relationship with God and themselves, and he thought small groups were a great way to satisfy that desire when attended hand in hand with worship. When Methodism was getting started Wesley set up a system where there were three different types of small group meetings. Those groups were: Societies, Classes, and Bands.

  • Societies were held lecture style, where the leader would get up and preach or speak to the group without any time for questions or feedback. Societies focused on central theological and doctrinal questions, and were very academic in nature.
  • Classes became the most popular and were more intimate groups of about ten people who came together to talk about what they experienced in their lives rather than just focusing on scripture or academic pursuits. Classes were more conversational, and the leaders discussed their struggles just as much as everyone else. These became popular because of their common shared humanity within the group.
  • Bands were even smaller groups of people who came together in blunt, and sometimes harsh honesty, to discuss how they might live better lives. These were, more or less, the first accountability groups.

Here at Trinity we have two options for worship on Sunday morning with an hour in between that is set aside for these types of small group meetings, along with several options throughout the week including Youth Group on Sunday nights. If you are interested in being more than just a one-hour-a-week Christian and want to dig a little deeper into this God who is King, then I would highly recommend looking into these groups and joining in for some real learning and conversation. You can find more information about these offerings on page 2 of the Sunday bulletin, or ask one of our pastors which group would fit you best.


Thank You to the Congregation

The Finance team, including the Stewardship team, would like to offer our sincere thanks to the congregation for helping make 2014 another very solid and successful year financially. Through your generous contributions to both the general operating and the capital campaign funds, Trinity was able to:

  • meet ALL of its expense obligations involved in a $1.27M budget, including all of our Conference, District, and local apportionments and benevolences for the fourth straight year;
  • meet all of our building loan debt service obligations with the Wells Fargo Bank, including satisfying the second year of our loan covenant agreement;
  • pay off $200,000+ of debt principal obligations; and
  • be in a reasonable cash-flow position to start 2015.

In addition, through your desire to ensure the strength of Trinity into the future, you were great participants in the Stewardship Commitment Sunday held in December 2014. While the cards are still coming in, over 85 congregators/families committed and pledged donation amounts which will help us meet our financial obligations.

Although we still have significant financial obligations and challenges over the next several years, let’s congratulate ourselves and declare success of a strong 2014. Again, THANKS for helping make 2014 such a solid year financially.


Getting Involved

serve_11168cDo you want to be involved in the worship and education life of our church?

Sign-up online:


Acolyte, Crucifer & Langley Bell Ringer:     

Pre-K – 2nd grade – The bell ringer calls the community to worship by ringing the historic Langley Bell.

2nd – 8th Grade – The crucifer brings the processional cross into worship at the beginning and takes it out at the end.

4th – 8th grade – Acolytes light the candles at the beginning of the service and extinguish them at the end.


Children’s Worship Assistants:

Greeters at 10:30 service:

Sunday School Assistants:


To volunteer to greet at the 8:30 service on Sunday mornings, please contact Karen Taylor.

To volunteer in other areas of worship, please contact one of the pastors.


Shepherd’s Center Looking for Volunteers

Shepherd’s Center Of McLean-Arlington-Falls Church

Need For More Volunteers

The Shepherd’s Center of McLean-Arlington-Falls Church continues to have a critical need for more volunteers to provide transportation to get senior citizens to and from their medical and therapy appointments, the pharmacy and the grocery store.

In calendar year 2013, the center provided slightly over 800 rides for seniors to their medical appointments. In calendar year 2014, that number rose dramatically to well over 1,500 and 2015 is looking like another banner year as well. We need more people to help fill this critical need.

PLEASE be willing to become a volunteer to help seniors get to and from those vital appointments. No long-term commitment is required and you accept to take someone only when your schedule permits. The need is very great and we need all the assistance we can get.

To find out more about the Shepherd’s Center and how you can volunteer to provide transportation and other services, please call the Shepherd’s Center number at (703) 506-2199.