To Be Called Out

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

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

The Greek word used in the New Testament for church means called out. The church is a community of people who are called out of the world to be God’s people.

The church is a community of people, not a building. It is hard for us to grasp this, because we think of the church as centered in a building that stands in the neighborhood where its members live. But it has not always been so. For the first few centuries Christians met together in homes or in places where their secular occupations brought them together. Later, when buildings were built they were not built in local neighborhoods but at the crossroads of life – in the market towns or places near the central government. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages (400s to 1,400s) that the kind of parish church we know came into being.

It is important in our time to understand that the church doesn’t depend on a church building. In removing churches from homes and from centers of business and government where secular life brings Christians of all races and classes together, have we come to think that Christian faith and life have to do only with what goes on in a building on Sunday and a few times during the week when people of the same socio-economic groups come together?

As our society and world change, our lives are less and less centered in the neighborhood where we live. Many people find their friends, do their business, take their leisure – spend most of their lives outside the neighborhood where their homes are. If the church of God is wherever and whenever Christians come together for worship, study and service in the name of Christ, do we not just as surely go to church when we meet during lunch, when we join together during service projects away form our church building, when we meet for prayer or study in someone’s house?

My point is not to deny that the local church building is still very, very essential. It is to emphasize that as our society and world continue to change and the neighborhood becomes less and less evident in many person’s lives, the church doesn’t have to be less important. We can be free and open to experiment with new forms of church, because the church is not a building. It is God’s people, whenever – wherever – and however we come together. When I think of Trinity Church, I don’t think only of 1205 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean, VA… that is an address. The church I think of is called, Molly, Eileen, Ray, Keith, Jayne, Harriet, Ellen, Jerry, Nick, Lauren Michelle, Reba, Jim, Leslie, Jose, Karen, Chris, Carol, Jeon, Sandy, Margie, Dan, Frank, Wayne, and so on. God has strategically positioned the building address of Trinity Church in beautiful McLean, VA. One thing this means is that God needs you and me to be about the ministry of Jesus Christ, right here, right now; in this time and in this place. This is our mission post, from which all our missions and ministries flow. The people of God called Trinity Church assemble together to praise and worship God at a specific address every week. Here, we are equipped for mission and ministry, and then we leave our church home address and return to our own homes, our places of work and the market place. There we live out our faith in relationships discovering we are all members of the universal church.


A Time for Peace, Prayer, Reflection and You

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

I struggled a little with what to call this month’s column. How to Pray and Prayer: A User’s Manual were also in the running. Prayer is such a vital part of our faith walk with God. Yet, we so frequently view prayer as an expendable item on our daily to-do list. Maybe it’s because we view prayer as a nice-but-not-necessary task. Often we don’t pray because we feel we don’t know how. Like changing transmission fluid or washing windows on a skyscraper—prayer is better left to the experts.

Maybe these are a few questions you’ve thought: How do I get started? Is it selfish to ask God to bless my own life? With all the baggage I’m bringing with me, aren’t I a hypocrite if I go before God in prayer?

Trinity is expanding its offerings to our church members and the community on Wednesday evenings, beginning October 7. We’ll gather together for a meal at 6 p.m. Then, at 6:30, we’ll offer classes and activities for youth and adults while the Children’s Choir practices.

Everyone is so busy in Northern Virginia, we could all use a few minutes to slow down and breathe. I hope you’ll join me for a time of peace, prayer and reflection on Wednesday evenings. Whether you consider yourself a prayer warrior, or are new to prayer and are looking for some guidance and encouragement—all are welcome.

Night CAPS

(Confession, Assurance, Pardon and Silence)

6:30 p.m.


Trinity Sanctuary

following dinner in Langley Hall

Open hearts, open minds, open doors.



Confirmation: A Journey of Faith Development for 7th Graders

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

What is Confirmation?

Confirmation is the time in a youth’s life when they are CONFIRMED in their faith. It is when they stand in front of the church and declare that Jesus is the Lord of their lives. The process of getting to that point in their lives is a series of events and classes called Confirmation.

Why do Confirmation now?

A long time ago, the Methodist church decided that youth entering or in the 7th grade would be eligible to take a Confirmation Class in their local church. It is when youth start to develop their own faith that is different from their parents, and it was a good fit with the maturity and stage that most youth are in. Confirmation experience is 100% voluntary.

Do youth have to do Confirmation?

It is NOT required that anyone participate in a Confirmation class to be confirmed. It is suggested since most youth have not had much of an opportunity to explore their faith on their own before now.

What is expected of Confirmation Participants?

Since Confirmation is a voluntary program, it is expected that each participant give 100% to the experience. It is expected that youth will be at each session for the entire session. However, they will be given 3 excused absences for those unexpected occasions. Youth will be asked to do some writing, drawing, sharing, learning, reading, and thinking. It is expected that each participant will be willing to try new things and will enter each session with an open mind. This generation of youth have many extracurricular activities, and we want to be sensitive to that. At the same time, faith development for teenagers is a vital part of their own journey through life.

What is expected of Confirmation Parents?

Parents are crucial to making Confirmation a success. In many studies, teens list their parents as the number one figure in their faith development. We are here to support you as you guide your youth through this exciting time in their lives. We consider Confirmation a partnership between the church and the parents.

What is a confirmation session like?

Not all confirmation sessions are the same. Most sessions follow a similar format with different speakers and activities. Some sessions have guest speakers that talk on a variety of topics, and some have “field trips.” Regardless of what is scheduled, each session is guaranteed to be an EXPERIENCE.

What is a mentor and why do I need one?

A mentor is a faith friend who will help you along your path of Confirmation. This person can be someone you are close to already, but does not have to be. A mentor will be asked to be at specific sessions during the semester and will be asked to sit with you in worship occasionally. If you need help finding a mentor, please ask, we have some people who have volunteered.

Confirmation Schedule


Oct. 18 Introductory Meeting

Oct. 25 Creation

Nov. 1 NO CLASS*

Nov. 8 Sin/Redemption

Nov. 15 NO CLASS-Jr High Retreat

Nov. 22 Holy Spirit

Nov. 29 NO CLASS*

Dec. 6 Church

Dec. 13 New Creation

Dec. 20 NO CLASS*

Dec. 27 NO CLASS*


Jan. 10 Way of Discipleship

Jan. 17 NO CLASS*

Jan. 24 Wesleyan Quadrilateral

Feb. 7 No CLASS*

Feb. 8 Worship

Feb. 14 Review

Feb. 21 Sacraments

Mar. 6 Living a Holy Life

Mar. 13 Renounce, Reject, Repent

Mar. 20 NO CLASS*

Mar. 27 NO CLASS*

Apr. 3 Accept

Apr. 10 Confess

Apr. 17 I Believe (The Creeds)

Apr. 24 NO CLASS Confirmation Retreat

May 1 Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service, and Witness

May 8 Going Forth



* NO CLASS due to Fairfax Country Public School Scheduling

Commitment to Participate ($100 Fee per confirmand):

  • Attend each class and worship on Sunday.
  • 3 excused absences only
  • Attend the Confirmation Lock-in (Apr 24).
  • Complete a statement of your faith.
  • Participate in the Confirmation Service and Luncheon


All Saints’ Sunday & Gabriel Fauré

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

By Jerry Rich, Director of Music

Gabriel Fauré composed his Requiem in 1887, conducting its premiere at Paris’ fashionable church of The Madeleine on January 16, 1888. This first version had five movements: Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, and In Paradisum. He added an Offertory in 1889, and inserted a previously-existing Libera Me in 1893.

In contrast with other famous Requiems by Mozart, Berlioz and Verdi, Fauré’s is notably serene and gentle. He avoids the operatic style preferred by Parisian ears as well as the massive Germanic treatment favored in other European music centers. Fauré’s most dramatic moment is the Dies Irae (“On that day of wrath”). Unlike Berlioz’s four brass bands or Verdi’s off-stage trumpets, Fauré’s two horns briefly proclaim “that day” in the Libera Me. Its flexible melodies and subtle rhythms (modeled on Gregorian chant) are framed by restrained dynamics, muted colors and suavely modal harmonies.

On All Saints’ Day (Sunday, November 1), Trinity’s choir will offer four movements from Fauré’s Requiem (In Paradisum, Libera Me, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) at the 10:30 am service, while soprano Catherine Wethington will sing his prayerful Pie Jesu at the 8:30 a.m. service; the bulletin will contain translations of the Latin texts.

“It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death, and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience… perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different.” Gabriel Fauré, 1902


Missions – Honduras

Trinity-Sponsored Students at The Leadership Center

Hello Dear Friends from Trinity Church,

Blessings and wonderful wishes to all of you from Honduras!

We are so grateful for your continued support of our education at The Leadership Center (TLC). Your sponsorship is so precious to us.

Dayana, Yudy and Daniela are the three students at The Leadership Center (TLC) in Honduras who are sponsored by Trinity Church.
Dayana, Yudy and Daniela are the three students at The Leadership Center (TLC) in Honduras who are sponsored by Trinity Church.

TLC is not only a school where we learn about leadership and business. The Leadership Center is also a place where students grow spiritually as Christians. We have weekly Bible study and church services, which are all student led. Before our new multi-purpose building was completed earlier this year, our church services were celebrated in the dining hall in front of the kitchen, not enough space to fit many people. Last February, TLC started to have its church meetings in the multipurpose room for first time. As Christians, we were happy because we had a more spacious place to praise and worship God every Sunday. Now TLC students can enjoy a church service in a very spacious and peaceful place every week.

Our second year class has been working on plans and speeches about many important topics, goals and projects that we want to establish in our home communities. We have been using and developing the skills and gifts that leadership classes have helped us to discover. We are not afraid of going into their communities to talk, help and work in organizations with different people. That is one of our important objectives – to help improve and better our communities.

We hope to see some of you soon here at The Leadership Center. We would love to spend time with you. Again, thanks for everything!


Daniela, Yudy and Dayana

Donations Requested – Help for Honduras

This fall we are collecting a couple of specific items to send to Honduras by mid-October in connection with Art for Humanity.

Your donations will be in the hands of needy people in Honduras by Christmas. People will use these items for their families or sell them to help raise money to support their families.

We need new or used shoes – men’s size 11 or smaller and any size women’s or kids shoes. Shoes allow people to work and kids to go to school. Used clothing is always welcome as well.

We need kitchen utensils / supplies and tools for The Leadership Center.

You may drop the donations at the trailer or in the Fellowship Building if weather is an issue, someone will check the trailer regularly to load the donations.

Because this is a mission of love, we only want items in very good condition. Share your love and compassion by sharing quality items.

Thank you very much,

The Missions Committee of Trinity United Methodist Church


Newsie Notes

Book Chat |Church & Society|Crafts…|Adult Ed.|Furniture Donations

Book Chat

In October the Trinity Book Chat turns to The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion. Featuring an oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor who is seeking true love, the book is “bursting with warmth, emotional depth, and… humor,” says Entertainment Weekly. We’ll discuss the book on Tuesday, October 13, at 6:30 p.m., in the Trinity Library. Bring a light dinner (dessert is provided) and enjoy fellowship and lively conversation. Our book for November 10 is Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt. Then we’ll take a break for the holidays! Contact Kathy Maher to be added to the e-mail list.

Church & Society

By Chris Wilbur

October Collection Drive

This month we’re collecting men’s winter clothing and toiletry items for Christ House, a medical facility in Washington, D.C. Please donate new or gently worn fall and winter men’s clothing (no women’s clothing) sizes small to extra large, new men’s underwear any size, new socks, t-shirts, tennis shoes and belts. Men’s sweatpants (any size, preferably new) are always needed. Also, toiletries such as disposable razors, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, are needed. Please place your donations in either the collection baskets in the foyers of the church or in the collection closet in the Fellowship Building.

Crafts for a Cause

The pillows, bears, dolls and blankets are piled high in Room 124, thanks to the extra volunteers who have been coming to Crafts for a Cause since a daytime work session was added last month.

During October, the weekly work schedule will continue, with Monday night sessions on Oct. 5 and Oct. 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and Wednesday daytime sessions on Oct. 14 and Oct. 28 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. You don’t have to be “crafty” to participate – just willing to help out with this fulfilling ministry.

In addition to comfort items, the group will be working on projects for the annual HOLIDAY BAZAAR, which starts Sun., Nov. 22 and continues Sundays until Christmas. Be prepared to do some holiday shopping and support not only Crafts for a Cause, but also the Heart 2 Heart orphanage in Honduras. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse.

Education: Adults

Bible Study with Pastor Jim continues on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m., Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. The current topic is Paul’s Letters and is led by Jim Sprouse in the Library. The study of Paul’s Letters will last until Thanksgiving, studying one letter a week.

Connections continues a parenting series on the book The 5 Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. All are welcome to attend, advance preparation is not required. This study will end in time to begin an Advent study after Thanksgiving. The class meets in the Chapel from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings and be led by Karen and Andy Briscoe.

Furniture Needed

Are you looking to find a good home for some used porch furniture? Maybe you plan to buy new next year and don’t know what to do with your old? Storage a problem? We can help! Trustees would like to furnish the screened porch of Trinity House with your “gently-used” cast-offs!

Suggestions could be: a small cafe table and chairs, a porch sofa, comfortable chairs, a coffee table, end tables, maybe an indoor/outdoor rug. If you want to be relieved of any such items, please drop an email to Mary Weaver and we’ll make arrangements for a pick up.




Disciple Leadership

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

By Ellen Fillette

A disciple in leadership… is that even possible? If you think about it for a moment you realize that this phrase is really an oxymoron. To be a disciple and to be a leader are seemingly opposite tasks. To be a disciple means that we are passionately modeling our life after our leader. A disciple of Jesus commits their whole being to living a life that follows the example of the one we call Christ. To be a disciple is to be a committed follower. One the other hand leadership implies that others are following you. As a matter of fact, being a leader by standard definition, necessitates that you have followers. It is not possible to call yourself a leader if no one follows. So if we take these two definitions and try to smash them together we end up with a distorted idea of linear relationships starting with God and then trickling down: leader, follower, leader, follower, and so on. The image that comes to mind is the scene from Peter Pan where the lost boys are “following the leader.” As they journey together each lost boy –one after another in line- is both a leader and a follower doing exactly as the boy ahead of him in line did. But this can’t be a right image of disciple leadership. It runs the risk of ending up like a particularly difficult game of telephone and it looks nothing like the Kingdom of God that belongs to the least of these or the Kingdom of God where the last will be first. But like any oxymoron (Jumbo shrimp, known rumor, act naturally, freezer burn) I think these two words take on a different meaning all together when they are combined.

Being a disciple in leadership means that I am passionately modeling my life after Christ and inviting others to join me in following. A disciple does not lead from the front, but rather alongside of others. It is faithfully living into the vision of the Kingdom of God and inviting others to participate in working towards the manifestation of this vision. Disciple leadership requires that we recognize that we are only one part of the body of Christ, no more or less important than the others. Most importantly, disciple leadership offers the assurance of knowing that we never walk alone. God goes before us and our brothers and sisters walk beside me hand in hand.


Blessing of the Pets

walkingBy Biscuit Gilmer, Trinity Mascot

Happy fall to all the children of Trinity United Methodist Church!

October is a great time of the Fall. The leaves are changing, the air is cooler and we celebrate the blessing of the pets! Mark your calendar and grab your furry friends, because the Pet Blessing at Trinity Church is on October 4.

IMG_3015Pet blessings are held around the world. They were started to honor St. Francis of Assisi. He was an Italian Catholic friar (that’s a pastor) who lived nearly 800 years ago. Francis did a lot to draw attention to the poor and needy. He also loved all animals, recognizing animals as part of God’s great creation. (St. Francis was even known to carry on conversations with the birds in the trees!) In the year 1228, Pope Gregory named Francis the patron saint of both animals and the environment. That’s pretty cool.

Here are the details of how we’ll celebrate the pets of our parish:

Trinity’s Pet Blessing

October 4

2 p.m.

We’ll meet in the courtyard outside the Fellowship Building.

(If it rains, you can find us in Langley Hall.)

IMG_3017 copyImportant information: All dogs need to be on leashes. Cats and all other critters need to be in cages or other appropriate carriers. Come out and say hi to me. I can’t wait to meet you and your pets!

Until then, remember my motto: Paws for Jesus.