Intentional Disciple-Making Through Spiritual Formation

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Spiritual formation is the key to making disciples in the way of Jesus Christ. I cannot stress strongly enough how vitally important it is on all levels of church life – from preschool through high school and all through adult life. Spiritual formation, Sunday School, aka Christian Education, needs to be a multi-dimensional approach that focuses on commitment to Christ, small-group ministries, outreach and mission. And, spiritual formation needs a solid grounding in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament.

Spiritual formation is not easy. Too often, we teach our children almost by accident – we repeat the same patterns of instruction established by past generations. For parents and teachers committed to the spiritual formation process, itself a faith practice, we have to teach the heart as well as the mind. The faith nurtured through spiritual formation is a faith of generational intentionality. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God; the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul.”

Although faith is a gift from God, it is learned and practiced and passed on through the community of faith. My mother and father assumed, I think, that I would always have faith. They raised me in Hinton Avenue Methodist Church [United was added in 1968]. It never occurred to them that by the 21st century Christian faith could no longer be assumed. My parents attended worship every Sunday. Families now attend church 1.2 Sundays/month. The world changed! As it always has. And now, faith needs to be taught with joy, intentionally pursued, and given to the next generation. People are not Christians so much as disciples of Jesus Christ and his way of living in relation to the others and the world.

Trinity expects the best from its leaders. Our spiritual formation is overseen and nurtured by all our teachers and substitute teachers, Harriet Latta, Pastor Eileen, Pastor Keith, Jerry, Catherine, our lay leaders Leslie Vorndran and Jose Rivera, and me. We are committed to making spiritual formation intentional, sound in biblical teaching, relevant to life and challenging. The spiritual formation team at Trinity is committed to deepening our awareness of God, and equipping our children, youth and adults with a strong foundation of stories of the Bible. Our ministry teams and education teams have everything prepared for the fall season. Join us on Sept. 13 for our Sunday School Jamboree, and the beginning of a wonderful year of learning about God through the love of Jesus Christ.



Why Worship Matters

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Think about all the different places where you are a member. Maybe it’s a gym, pool, book club or Moose Lodge. Whether it’s an antique car club, the Scouts or even Costco, odds are good you hold some sort of membership. Why is that? Likely, it’s because you believe you get some benefit from that association. Gym memberships provide better health; Costco provides the ability to purchase a pack of twenty rolls of paper towels at once. Whatever the locale, that membership has benefits.

What about church? Does having membership in a church really matter? You can still come on Sundays, sing the songs, say the prayers and shake hands with the pastors. Is there a reason to join?

Yes! Belonging to a church means you are willing to make both a public as well as personal commitment. It means you take your faith seriously and want to belong to a group of people who share that same commitment.


“Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” Acts 20:28

Paul’s message to the Ephesian church leaders was clear. You are to watch over each other and lead this church of God. Today, Paul would have the same message for us, as well. The Holy Spirit has brought each of us to this place, and it’s up to us to watch over Trinity and all who enter its doors.

That starts by making a commitment to join this flock, then to seek out the ways God is calling you to act on that commitment. The benefits include fellowship, compassion, support and hope. I hope you’ll talk to Jim, Keith or me about how you can get involved, and how you can officially become a member of the Trinity family.


The Good Teens

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

I want to thank all the youth, Anthony, Bella, Christine, Conner, Daniel, Jack, James, Landon, Leah, Lizzy, Logan, William and Zav and the chaperons, Joy and Michelle, for the wonderful time at King’s Dominion July 16. Not only it was one of the most enjoyable youth trips I’ve experienced, but I wasn’t made fun of for not riding the ‘hairy’ rides!! Thank you!     I was telling the staff and leadership that when I went back to the van to pick up any trash leftover from the trip, I didn’t find any. Puzzled, I asked them, “What’s wrong with these kids? They’re so good!”

And that’s what I’m learning about teenagers that they have a bad rep in our society. Too often the society characterizes them in a negative light. But I’m discovering that that’s not fair and many specialists on teens agree. Author Richard M. Lerner in The Good Teen: Rescuing Adolescence from the Myths of the Storm and Stress Years argues that too often we focus on the deficits rather than the whole of the person. Sure, they are not as responsible as adults or as compliant as children, but they are growing into adulthood developing various creative and productive personal traits!

I have to admit that when I see a child who comes into adolescence I notice big changes. He seems withdrawn at times and elated at other moments. It’s harder to understand and interact with him. So in my mind I am thinking, “I just got to be patient until he grows out of this,” and maintain a comfortable distance.

According to Dr. Lerner that’s not an effective approach. He advocates that we recognize all aspects of their personhood and fully interact and engage with them with appreciation for who they are and who they are becoming.

That sounds similar to what Jesus taught us to do; “Do unto others as you would want them do unto you!” Because most people, whether teen or adult, want to be appreciated for who they are without being judged or expected to fit into a stereotype.

I’m looking forward to getting to know you and appreciating who you are now and the person God is growing you to become. I ask that you also approach me that way because I want to share all of my life with you too!




Music at Trinity

By Jerry Rich, Director of Music

Summer Choir continues to meet on Sunday mornings 10 a.m. to prepare an anthem for that morning’s 10:30 worship service. On Aug. 30, we will lead the congregation in a hymn sing based on the Worship & Song hymnal. If your favorite is in one of our other hymnals, don’t worry—you’ll find that a lot of well-known melodies have been included in W&S. In case you’d like to request a hymn on August 30, here are 49 singable suggestions:

25 FAMILIAR HYMN TUNES, NEW WORDS: All Creatures of Our God and King (#3012) Away in a Manger (#3128) Be Thou My Vision (#3174) Blessed Be the God of Israel (#3169) Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown (#3139) Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (#3047, #3150) For All the Saints (#3158) God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (#3052) God That Madest Earth and Heaven (#3048) I Come with Joy (#3110) Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (#3082, #3175) Lead On O King Eternal (#3087) Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (#3043) Morning Has Broken (#3086) O Sacred Head Now Wounded (#3080) O Sing a Song of Bethlehem (#3017) O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing (#3089) Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven (#3029) Praise to the Lord, The Almighty (#3045) The Gift of Love (#3051, #3124, #3157) and What Child Is This (#3170).

13 GREAT FOLK MELODIES, SACRED TEXTS: Bring a Torch (#3059) Danny Boy (#3018, #3182) Down to the River to Pray (#3164) Frère Jacques (#3025) Give Me Jesus (#3140) House of the Rising Sun (#3072) Jesus Is a Rock in a Weary Land (#3074) Mary Had a Baby (#3058) On Christmas Night (#3064) Shenandoah (#3089) Still, Still, Still (#3066) and The King of Love My Shepherd Is (#3030).

11 CURRENT TOP CHRISTIAN SONGS: Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone (#3104) Blessed Be Your Name (#3002) Everlasting God (#3021) Forever (#3023) Here I Am to Worship (#3177) Holy Is the Lord (#3028) How Great Is Our God (#3003) In Christ Alone My Hope Is Found (#3105) Mighty to Save (#3038) Open the Eyes of My Heart (#3008) and Your Grace Is Enough (#3106)

Choir Rehearsals REsume

Chancel Choir will resume Thursday evening rehearsals on Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Our handbell choirs will also resume their rehearsals on Tuesday, Sept. 1 and Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Please contact Jerry Rich for more information. Newcomers are always welcome.



July Mission Trip

Did you see the photos sent from our mission team’s trip to Honduras during July?


Trinity Sponsored Student
at The Leadership Center

Dayana is a a student at The Leadership Center (TLC) in Honduras where Trinity has formed a relationship. Many mission teams have visited TLC. Trinity sponsors Dayana. Read her own words here: Letter from Dayana


Church & Society: July 2015

By Chris Wilbur


In August and September, we will be collecting school supplies and new or gently used khaki pants (sizes 3T- 14) for Stanton Elementary School. 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.

Vacation Bible School children will also be collecting school supplies for Stanton in August.

DC Scholars at Stanton Elementary School:

Twenty-three years ago, Trinity UMC began a partnership with a struggling inner city elementary school then called Stanton. Over the years there have been remarkable volunteers who went weekly to the school tutoring and supporting individual students. We lost two of those remarkable mentors this past school year, Ed King and Steve Washenko. Ed, whose passion was instilling phonics in the struggling reader, and Steve, who patiently listened to the home life stories of his students were well known by the student body. In the hallway they would be greeted by calls of “Take me,” meaning, take me out of class and give me individual attention, too. Ed mentored at Stanton for over 15 years, while Steve was an 11 year veteran. I know these men made a special impact on children whose own fathers were often missing. Then again, for Ed and Steve, these children were special. They kept them coming back. We are grateful for the years Ed and Steve served as Stanton volunteers, and we miss them.


Children’s Christian Education: Volunteers Needed

Children’s Sunday School

Children, Pre-K through 6th grade,  meet at 9:30 a.m. in Rooms 402-403 for a Bible story and activity including The Call series that adults and youth are also studying. They will begin as a large group and then split into two groups by age. To volunteer, please visit:

Children’s Program at 10:30

Children, Pre-K through 6th grade, are dismissed after the Children’s Message for faith-related activities in Rooms 402-403. To sign-up to lead or assist, please visit:


Teachers Needed for Fall

Please contact Harriet Latta or Keith Lee if you are interested in teaching children or youth during Sunday School or during the 10:30 worship service.


Small Group Gatherings

Crafts for a Cause // Trinity Men // Young Professionals


craftsEvery month, Trinity’s Crafts for a Cause churns out comfort pillows, baby hats, lap blankets, surgery dolls and bears for the patients at Fair Oaks Hospital. Here’s what’s amazing about that: the volunteers aren’t really “crafters.” Or at least that’s what they usually say. But the work they do in stuffing, sewing and cutting out fabric produces a beautiful gift and blesses the lives of many people.

The point is, you don’t have to be crafty to support the Crafts for a Cause ministry. Just come to one of our work sessions, held every other Monday night in Room 124. This month, we’ll meet on Mon., Aug. 10 and Mon., Aug. 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

If, on the other hand, you ARE a crafty person who can’t make the work sessions, we have knitting and crocheting projects you can do at home. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse.


Trinity Men

Trinity Men’s Breakfast

Saturday, August 22

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Trinity Library

All men are invited for fellowship and discussion, and bacon! To learn more, contact Dan Moore.

Young Professionals

The Trinity Young Professionals 4th annual “crab feast” outing will be on Saturday, August 29. We will meet in the Trinity parking lot at 3 p.m. and caravan over to Kent Island, returning around 8 p.m. This fun social event hosted by Karen and Andy Briscoe is a great occasion to invite friends (anyone age 21 and older). For more information contact Karen Briscoe or Keith Lee. Please do let Karen or Keith know if you are attending so we know whether to expect you.





Does God Ever Sleep?

By Biscuit Gilmer, Trinity Mascot

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

Hi, kids of Trinity! I hope your summer is going well. I’ve enjoyed taking a lot of naps this summer. In fact, I just woke up from one! Naps are great because they let me take a little break and get ready for the rest of the day. One question I’ve been asked is if God ever naps or sleeps.

I’m glad you asked! Unlike us, God does not have a physical body. God doesn’t have arms or legs, teeth or hair. Because God isn’t a human or animal, God doesn’t need to get any sleep. It’s important for us to get a lot of sleep at night, and some of us need naps, too! But, not God. That’s a good thing, because God is always busy watching over us—every minute of every day of our lives, God is with us.

Grab your Bible and turn to Genesis, that’s at the beginning of the Bible. This is the story of how God created our world. Look at Genesis 2:3. It says God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy (we’ll talk about that soon), because it was the day when he rested from his work of creation. That doesn’t mean God rested because of being tired. It means God chose to rest. It can also mean God chose to stop doing what He was doing—God was finished creating our world. Now look in your Bible at Psalm 121:1-4. Verse four says God never sleeps. There you go! That’s the answer to the question about God sleeping. No sleep needed for our awesome God. But, not us. We need sleep to stay healthy. Now, if you’ll excuse me. I… yawn… feel another nap coming on.

Until next time, remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!