Doing Christ’s Ministry Together

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

Dear Trinity Friends,

God has place a marvelous church among the people of McLean. This household of God, also called Trinity, is strong and healthy as we head into the new year—thanks to all of you! And, thank you!

The year 2015 witnessed the transfer of the youth pastor mantle from Nick McMichael to Associate Pastor Keith Lee. Generous and effective ministry continues through the talents and gifts of our other Associate Pastor, Eileen Gilmer, and our Music Director, Jerry Rich. The Director of Children’s Choir, Ellen Fillette, along with our seminary interns—Nila Curry, Nick McMichael and Lauren Michelle Stevens—enhance and strengthen Trinity’s ministries to our children and youth; they are the future of Trinity. Catherine Wethington leads the singing at our 8:30 a.m. worship service, Harriet Latta and Jose Nuñez manage Trinity as our office manager and sexton; they all serve our church with enthusiasm and joy.

The staff of Trinity Church is proud of each and every one of you and we’re proud to be leaders among leaders. Your generosity in supporting Trinity’s ministries through your very personal gifts of precious time, the use of the Spirit’s gifts of your specific talents, and your hard-earned money is greatly appreciated.

Eileen, Keith, and I pray that the year 2016 will be filled with peace and good health for each of you. Peace has come to mean a time when there are no wars or, at least, any major wars. But in Hebrew peace, shalom, means fullness—having everything you need to be wholly and happily yourself.

Peace!

Jim

Advertisements

New Kind of Resolutions

Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

By Eileen Gilmer

Welcome to 2016! Some of us are wondering where 2015 went, while others among us are happy to see the light of the brand new year. Either way, we get a fresh start. Have you thought about what you would like to do in 2016? Maybe you’re hoping to get in shape, keep in touch with your loved ones, or maybe your plan is to strengthen your relationship with our God.

Your Trinity staff is always available to help you with that last one. We are happy to help you find the right Bible study. And, if you want to get more involved at Trinity, we can help guide you to the area that’s the best fit for your God-given gifts.

Here are a few ways you can jump in and make a difference:

Christ House: Christ House is the only medical facility for the homeless of the District. We make lunch one Saturday a month for the residents and staff. You do not need to be a chef and you’ll be paired with someone who has done this before. Contact Connie Jeremiah at dcjeremiah@verizon.net. Next date: Jan. 16.

Shepherd‘s Center: This vital ministry provides rides to doctors’ appointments and the drug/grocery store for elderly local residents. No long term commitment is needed and they’ll work around your schedule. Contact them at info@scmafc.org.

Martha’s Table: Buy bread or deliver the sandwiches we make on the second Sunday of each month. Contact Barb Long to volunteer: bkalong@yahoo.com.

Here are other ways you can help through donations:

* Imagine No Malaria – A child dies from malaria every minute. Ten dollars can buy a life-saving net.

* Stop Hunger Now – Half of the world’s malnourished people are children. For 29 cents you can buy a nutrient-rich meal.

* Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) – Nearly 900 million people lack access to clean water. Help them get access to water for drinking, bathing and agriculture.

Make your donation out to Trinity UMC. In the memo line write the name of the group you want to help.

We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Join us in this mission. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matt 25:40

 

Three Reasons Why I Pray

By Keith Lee

It was during one of the Confirmation sessions that I felt I was losing the class. No, it wasn’t the students, because they were and are fantastic, one of the best groups I ever taught. I sensed something about the process was not quite right. So, that week I wrote to parents earnestly and humbly asking for their help and prayers. I asked them to pray for the class during the week, on the night of and most importantly with their child to lift up Confirmation. The class on the following Sunday was markedly different. I was focused. The confirmands were attentive. The words I spoke seemed to enter into them, rather than fall flat on the floor. The parent who was the 2nd adult in class agreed that it was an exceptional session.

So why don’t I pray more? More importantly, why am I not asking (or begging for) your help to lift up the youth, children, teachers, parents and all our wonderful members with your prayers? Well, it’s time to change all of that, because I need your prayers. I need your help in praying with me to lift up these precious souls to God. One of my resolutions for 2016 is to pray, and more importantly, to ask for your prayers.

In order to encourage you to pray with me I want to share top three reasons why I pray.

  1. Prayer Focuses

One of the spiritual problems these days for believers is that there are more distractions out there. Smartphones, Facebook, TV shows, sports on TV, Instagram, emails, texting and these are just related to TV or internet. Praying helps me to focus and be centered. It really helps me to focus on the top priorities in my life, rather than just looking at screens all day or chat or fiddle or whatever. Prayer helps me to focus on the most important priorities that will be eternal.

  1. Prayer Surrenders

Prayer is, in a way, death. It’s dying to yourself because while you’re praying, you’re helpless. You cannot do anything while you’re on your knees with eyes closed, head bent and hands held together. This is a posture of surrender; an admission that you’re helpless and dependent, and more importantly, dying to yourself. When I first began to pray, I resented it because it seemed futile. But, soon, I discovered the more I surrendered the greater was God’s providence.

  1. Prayer Connects

The joy of prayer is getting to know Jesus. Even though it’s a mysterious process, prayers connect me to God. I can’t explain it, but I experience God’s presence in a real way. Even if I might feel like no prayer requests were met (this never happens but just to be hypothetical), just the fact that I spent that time in the presence of the eternal one gives me deep joy and satisfaction. God’s presence is all that I need.

So, I ask you to pray for Trinity and all of its ministries, leaders and members for 2016!

Thank you.

 

Stewardship Commitments & Celebrations: January 2016!

Our Stewardship Commitment Sunday (originally scheduled for December 13) was postponed until the 2nd Sunday of January, so we could focus on the successful closeout of the 2015 budget activities. So as indicated in the December Spire we’ll be focusing our 2016 Stewardship Campaign on the theme: Stewardship – Is it Generosity or Service?

As a refresher on some thoughts of the theme, let us share that during the past several months a group of Trinity members have been investigating ways to “shift” our approach to effective ministry. This “shifting” is a transformational process designed to assist local congregations, like Trinity, in exploring the best practices related to developing healthy systems (hospitality, worship, discipleship, service, and generosity) and the application of these practices to the local context. As we approach the time of stewardship commitment it is being suggested that we “shift” our thoughts so as to ensure a tie between generosity and service. Because stewardship really is both!

The generosity that we all participate in through our contributions of time, talents, and treasures to Trinity and our communities has a very deep service aspect to it. Generosity and service are centered in our heads and in our hearts. With our heads we can discern what proportion of our income we will offer to our Lord with joy in our hearts. Through your generous spirit of service which comes from our hearts, we reach out to feed the hungry, cloth the needy, shelter those at risk, and most importantly, nourish our souls by spreading the love of Jesus. Our forefathers would be very proud of where we have taken Trinity.

So on Stewardship Commitment Sunday (January 10), we will all be asked to center our heads and hearts and make Trinity our #1 priority in our generosity and service. Your generosity will allow Trinity to meet all the needs of our programs, missions, and ministries, while your service will be a critical factor in helping us achieve our purpose of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Look for a Stewardship campaign letter to come in the mail during the first week of January with an enclosed pledge card. Please listen to your head and heart as you reflect on stewardship as being both about generosity and service. And please add Sunday, January 31, to your calendar as the date that we’ll have a Stewardship Celebration Sunday after both services, and celebrate our gracious gifts of generosity and service.

 

What’s Happening in January?

Book Chat | Crafts for a Cause | Contractor Needed | Wednesday Night Dinners

Book Chat

The Trinity Book Chat will meet on Tuesday, January 12, to discuss The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, by Jan-Philipp Sendker. This novel set in Burma focuses on a daughter’s search for her father ­– and the power of love to move mountains. We meet in the Library at 6:30 p.m. for fellowship and lively conversation. Bring a light dinner, if you like; dessert is provided, and reading the book isn’t even required! Contact Kathy Maher (Kathyngs@gmail.com) to be added to the email list.


Crafts for a Cause

It’s a Happy New Year for Crafts for a Cause, thanks to all of you who shopped at our Holiday Bazaar last month. Before the last Sunday of sales, we had raised more than $2,000! That enables us to buy supplies to make comfort items for hospitals and shelters, plus make a generous donation to Trinity’s missions in Honduras. Many thanks to everyone who supported the Bazaar.

The crafts group was also happy to donate to Fair Oaks Hospital our annual gift of 50 red flannel stockings and knitted Santa hats for newborns. Making the stockings was a group effort, while the hats were knitted by Nell Gilmore, Judy Osha, Ann Case and Betty-Jo Booth.

In 2016, Crafts will continue our schedule of Monday night meetings and Wednesday morning sessions on alternating weeks. In January, the dates will be Mon., Jan. 4 and Jan. 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.; and Wed., Jan. 13 and Jan. 27 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Everyone’s welcome to join us in making pillows, bears, dolls and blankets – even if you think you’re not crafty! For more information, contact Molly Sprouse at mollysprouse@gmail.com.


Looking for a Contractor

After the very sad and untimely death of our dear friend and maintenance man, Jack Jardine, we are now seeking a new part-time contractor to keep our church campus running smoothly.

Please be thinking of someone you know who might be interested in working two days a month at Trinity (i.e. every other Friday or other convenient day of the week) as a handyman/maintenance person. We need someone who has commercial experience and has his/her own business license to work as a contractor for us.

This person needs to have a range of skills including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning. It would be helpful if he/she had a handyman license or any other professional licenses.

If you have any suggestions for a maintenance person, please contact Karen Hunt (703-241-4538 or karenwhunt@earthlink.net) or Mary Weaver (703-405-8804 or mweaver23@cox.net). Trustees are anxious to find someone very soon, as winter is upon us.


Wednesday Night Dinners

Wed Night Dinners

Education: Adults

Study with Pastor Jim: Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad.

These four persons are among the most important in religious history…if not history, per se. They are remembered for the examples of their lives, their insights into the human condition and their thoughts on ultimate reality. In this course we’ll examine these four figures separately and comparatively in an effort to grasp the essential features of their lives. We shall learn to appreciate the similarities and differences of their messages.

We’ll examine what it means to live a noble life that cultivates the qualities of wisdom and compassion, and allowing our minds to settle in our own religious tradition and restore itself. Finally, we will consider the implications of this study for addressing the “problems” of religious pluralism.

Each class begins with a 30-minute presentation by Professor Mark W. Muesse, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Asian Studies at Rhodes College. He recently received the coveted Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Join us, beginning January 10, for a new, relevant and exciting study Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammad.

Connections Sunday School Class The Connections class will begin 2016 with a study on “the secret to a joy-filled life.” The material is from the book by Tom Newberry entitled The 4:8 Principle. which is based on the passage Philippians 4:8. According to Newberry, “By applying this verse to their daily lives, my clients started amplifying the joy they experienced in their marriage, with their parenting and in their life as a whole.”

All are welcome to attend and begin the new calendar year with this study. Advance preparation is not required. The class starts January 3 and will go until Lent. It meets in the Chapel from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings and is led by Karen and Andy Briscoe.

 

January Music Ministry

New Year’s Resolutions

By Jerry Rich, Director of Music

“The New Year is here, and I am looking for a resolution.”

If you are having this thought, why not join one of Trinity’s choirs? Choir is more than rehearsing, ringing and singing. It is a vital part of Trinity whose members feel called to minister to others through music.

Join one of our choirs and you will:

1) Be a part of the church’s worship life

2) Fellowship with others who feel God’s call to serve through music

3) Experience how music becomes an extension of God’s word

Qualifications for joining a choir include:

1) Loving Jesus with all your heart

2) Wanting to express through music what God has done for you

3) Being willing to serve at Trinity

You don’t have to be a great singer or ringer (although we are blessed with those!). If God has called you to serve in a choir, others will help you begin your journey in this new way to serve. Remember that “God does not call the qualified; rather, he qualifies the called”. If God is calling you to serve at Trinity through its music program, please make a resolution now to try one of its choirs!


Children’s & Youth Choirs
Ellen Fillette, Director of Children's & Youth Choirs
Ellen Fillette, Director of Children’s & Youth Choirs

By Ellen Fillette

Children’s Choir and Youth Choir will resume January 13. Join us on Wednesday nights 6-7 p.m. for a family dinner, music, and fellowship. Adults are invited to join the CAPS evening prayer group at 6:30 for a short and simple prayer service. Children and youth join Ellen and Jerry for choir rehearsal where we learn to worship God through a wide variety of Christian music. Even if your child or youth is not interested in singing in front of anyone in church they are still more than welcome to join rehearsals. The invitation to rehearse but not perform would be very odd for most choirs. But this is not a group that performs, we worship and we lead others in worship. So all are welcome—talented musicians, beginners, those with stage fright, and those who will sing any time, any place.

This semester we will continue our quest in discovering discipleship. What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? How do we become disciples and what is it that they do? We will discuss these questions and many more through the lens of the United Methodist Mission Statement: Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World. I sincerely hope you will consider joining the Wednesday night family.