General Conference

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

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Have you ever wondered how the United Methodist Church develops it rules and guidelines for organization? That governing and legislative body is the General Conference which meets every four years. The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church meets May 10 – 20 in Portland, OR in the Oregon Convention Center, the largest convention center in the Pacific Northwest. The theme will be “Therefore Go,” which is based on Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew.

As the top policy-making body of the international United Methodist Church, General Conference is the only body that officially speaks for our 7.3-million members, and an additional 5.5 million residing outside the U.S. We have 32,000 active churches and 57 Annual Conferences. The General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The conference can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs.

During the nine-day session, 850 delegates revise the current Book of Discipline, which regulates the manner in which local churches, annual conferences and general agencies are organized. The book also sets policies regarding church membership, ordination, administration, property and judicial procedures. At the end of General Conference the 2016 Book of Discipline will be generated and published later in the year. Delegates may not revoke or change the Articles of Religion or the Confession of Faith unless two-thirds of the delegates agree to change this provision and three-fourths of the annual conference members also agree.

A number of United Methodists have denounced the 2012 gathering as the “do-nothing” General Conference. The Judicial Council — the denomination’s top court – overturned an effort to restructure the church’s general agencies and overturned other legislation to eliminate guaranteed appointments for ordained elders in good standing. The wider General Conference ran out of time before it could consider a number of petitions approved by legislative committees. With a 15% decrease the number of delegates attending General Conference, the hope is that the delegates will work with increased efficiency.

The People of The United Methodist Church and Trinity Church are being asked to: Help people in their community; Accept others for who they are; Offer a place to belong; Care for and support each other; Show respect for other religions; Support people facing difficult times; Welcome diverse opinions and beliefs; Guide others to find deeper meaning and relationship with Jesus Christ. All the missions and ministry areas of Trinity Church are doing this. AMEN.

 

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What May the Month of May Reveal?

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Ah, the month of May. I’ve always liked this month because, to me, it represents anticipation of something great. May is the month before summer officially begins. May can be unpredictable; sometimes chilly, sometimes warm and sometimes rainy. When I was a child, May meant that our summer break from school was just weeks away. (This was clearly also a reflection of my level of studiousness!)

You might not know all the things we have to anticipate this month. Of course, Memorial Day is May 25 and Mother’s Day is May 10. And, there’s always Cinco de Mayo. (I guess you know when that is celebrated.)

But, did you know that May is both National Barbeque Month and National Hamburger Month? Not wanting to leave out vegetarians, it’s also National Salad Month. However, it’s the individual day-long celebrations that are really great. There’s Lost Sock Memorial Day, Dance Like a Chicken Day and the always popular Lumpy Rug Day.

My childhood anticipation of May is a feeling I wish I could have captured. Anticipation is what we as Christians long to feel. It’s that anticipation that equates to hope. Hope for what is to come and hope for living the life God wants for us. It is excitement about the peace that Christ wished for his disciples and the peace that Christ holds out for us.

I mentioned that May always represented my anticipation of something great. What’s your something great? Health? Happiness? Security? A relationship with God? My prayer for us is that we embrace the love and grace offered freely from God. That’s an anticipation not measured by months, but for all eternity.

 

Summertime and Sondheim: A Free Concert

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

By Jerry Rich, Director of Music

Trinity’s Music Ministry will present its annual concert on Saturday, May 30, at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Soloists Philip Keirstead, Doris Page, Catherine Wethington, Joey Wilson, Kalila Zenk and Michelle Zenk will be joined by the Chancel Choir and Trinity Ringers, all under the direction of Music Director Jerry Rich. Our first theme is summer, represented by Gershwin’s Summertime from Porgy and Bess, In Summer from Frozen, and a sing-along version of In the Good Old Summertime. We will also be featuring songs by Stephen Sondheim, a lyricist and composer whose successful career has spanned fifty years and whose many awards include an Oscar, eight Tonys, eight Grammys and a Pulitzer; these songs will be drawn from the Sondheim musicals Anyone Can Whistle, Follies, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Merrily We Roll Along, Sweeney Todd and West Side Story. Admission is free.

 

A Preserver of Life Where Death Is Expected

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

By Ellen LaCroix

The Children’s Choir presents 100% Chance of Rain, a story about Noah and the flood on Sunday, May 10 during the 10:30 worship service.

Noah’s Ark is a staple in Christianity. One of the reasons it is so popular is that it is easy to imagine. There are many things in the Bible that are difficult to imagine. I mean, what did a first century lamp or alabaster jar actually look like? We know what a storm looks like, we can imagine the animals boarding the ark two by two, and we love to imagine what the boat would have looked like.

There is something really amazing about the ark. The Hebrew word used here is Tevah and it is also used in one other story in the Bible. It is the thing that baby Moses is placed inside of to float down the Nile to safety. Now we like to translate that word to be “basket” because that makes more sense. Baskets are small, arks are big. But they are actually the same word. As Rabbi Charles Isbell would say it’s not about being a vessel, it’s about being a preserver of life where death is expected.

As you see, the heart of this story is not about the boat or the animals or even the storm. It is a story of preserving life where death is expected. It is a story of God’s judgment and grace. It is easy here to fall into the trap of calling God “wrathful” or “violent.” That might be the image we would get if we were to stop the story just before the rainbow and God’s promise to humanity.

The bow, an ancient symbol of war, now set in the sky to serve as a reminder of God’s covenant with humanity. A promise God offers us freely with no obligation or stipulation. This is not just for Noah, not just for his family, not just for the animals, but this is a promise for ALL of creation. Never again will God destroy the earth by water. And the truly incredible thing about this story is that creation does not change. Before the flood we were a fallen people. After the flood we are still a fallen people, but never again will God destroy the earth by flood.

It’s not a story of judgment and punishment. It’s a story of God’s abundant grace. From before the flood to after the flood humanity has not done nothing to merit the love of God revealed in this promise. Yet it is still offered to us freely. Sound familiar? To me, this sounds like the story of Jesus. God will never again destroy the earth with a flood, instead God sends his son to save this broken creation. A gift of grace we have done nothing to deserve. Just like the ark, the cross is also a story of life where death is expected.

 

Trinity Round-Up: May 2015

Crafts for a Cause

The car trunk was filled up with neck pillows, baby hats, heart pillows, surgery dolls and bears as Crafts for a Cause made its monthly delivery of comfort items to Fair Oaks Hospital. You can be a part of this important mission work by joining us at one of our Monday night work sessions this month: on May 4 and May 18, both at 7 p.m. in Room 124. Your skills can vary from beginner to advanced, as we’ll be cutting fabric, using sewing machines, stuffing and hand-stitching. We have crochet and knitting projects as well. In June, we’ll be meeting on June 1, 15 and 29. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse at 703-356-4896 or mollysprouse@gmail.com.

 


 

Trinity Round-Up

BOOK CHAT: Trinity’s book club is winding down! If you’d like to check out the group before we break for the summer, please join us in the Trinity Library on Tuesday, May 12, at 6:30 pm. We’ll be discussing a classic: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. We’ll pick up again in September: If you’d like to be added to the email list, please contact Kathy Maher at Kathyngs@gmail.com.

CONNECTIONS SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS: The Connections class continues its focus on marriage. We will discuss the material in the book The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage by Rob and Kristen Bell. According to the author, “This book is about the deeper mysteries of marriage. Something powerful and profound happens in marriage… We believe that you can grow in your awareness of these realities, learning how to better see what’s going on in the space between you and how the love can flow all the more freely between you. It’s called the zimzum of love.” All are welcome to attend, advance preparation is not required. The class will continue to meet in Room 205 from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings and be led by Karen and Andy Briscoe.

EDUCATION COMMITTEE: Help us guide, develop an grow the educational programs in the church! Please join the education committee today and be a part of the mission of our church. Contact Lizzy Conroy at 202-441-3630 or lizzy@emeryann.com.

GRADUATION RECOGNITION: Are you or your child graduating from high school or college? Please let us know so we can recognize graduates next month. Contact Harriet at info@umtrinity.org by May 15.

MCLEAN DAY: Join us May 16 for McLean Day at Lewinsville Park. Stop by the Trinity booth and say hello.

MEN’S RETREAT: May 29 – 31, We’re heading to the Weaver’s Bay home in Oxford, Maryland for a great time of seafood, golf, biking, fellowship, and letting the Lord join us in our respite. Rumor has it that Dick Weaver, our host, will be playing in a band on Saturday afternoon at the local crab shack! To sign-up, or for more information, contact Frank Vorndran, frank.vorndran@morganstanley.com.

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL: G-Force: God’s Love in Action will be held Aug. 10 –14 for ages 3 to rising 4th grade. Registration information is available on our website and in classrooms.

 

Missions: Honduras

Dan & Chris Moore at The Leadership Center, March 2015.
Dan & Chris Moore at The Leadership Center, March 2015.

Dear Friends,

Chris and I want to thank you for your prayers and support while were teaching at The Leadership Center in Honduras. We are glad to be back home with our Trinity Church family. We do have a lot to share with you about the impact these 24 wonderful women had on our lives.

We brought back 40 pounds of Honduran coffee – it is in the Fellowship Building and nicely packaged. These beans were grown on the TLC mountain, picked by the students and locally roasted. It is organic, very special and we brought it for you. If you want to support TLC, buy a few bags. All proceeds will go to TLC and the students.

On Tuesday, May 12, we will have a Missions Meeting in the Fellowship Building at 7 p.m. If you want to learn more about Trinity’s international missions or want to consider a future mission trip – please come. We will have light refreshments, show some slides from TLC and Heart to Heart and just have some good discussion.

Dan Moore

 

What is Grace?

Nick McMichael, Youth Director
Nick McMichael, Youth Director

By Nick McMichael, Youth Director

Wikipedia defines divine grace as, “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” John Wesley suggested that there are three manifestations of the grace of God: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace. If you are in my confirmation class you will already be familiar with these terms, but for those of you who have never heard these words before, let me explain them with the imagery of a drowning man. As humans we are like a man who is drowning and does not know how to swim. Our sins are tied to us like great weights that pull us further under the water. Sometimes we mistake these weights for flotation devices and swear that they will save us, but the truth is that they only weigh us down faster. How can a man such as this be saved? Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s prevenient grace entered into the world. In the imagery of the drowning man prevenient grace is shown as God’s hand being reached out towards us, prepared to save us if only we would take God’s hand. It is a grace that is offered to every single person, and yet few will accept. The acceptance of prevenient grace, or taking the hand that is offered, is called justifying grace. This is our moment of acceptance and is often viewed as the very moment that we are saved, or rather the moment when we accepted our salvation. What comes next then is to be pulled out of the waters that drown us, this is sanctifying grace. We cut the ties to the sins that weigh us down, God pulls us up out of the chaos, and we come closer toward God. All we have to do is hold on tight to that hand of God that is reached out towards us.