By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor
Let me tell you a story about what the state of Virginia looked like 100 years ago. The year is 1916. Both my parents would have been toddlers. The approximate population of Virginia was 2,316,000. Total protestant church membership was 793,546; 415,987 were Baptists, 200,771 Methodists, 28,487 Episcopals, and the rest divided among the other denominations. The total indebtedness among all the churches in Virginia was $966,367. The population of the world was 1.7 billion.
At the birth of Jesus of Nazareth the population of the world was 200 million and at the close of 2016: 7.4 billion. So, let me tell you a story about what life looks like in the rest of the world in this year. If we could shrink the earth population to a village of exactly 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the world would look like this: 60 Asians, 10 Europeans, 16 Africans, and 14 from the Americas; 50 would be female and 50 male; 70 would be non-white and 30 would be white; 31 would be Christian, 23 Moslems, 15 Hindus, 7 Buddhists, 8 other religions, and 16 without religion or atheist. 11 will be undernourished, 22 overweight – 6 people will own 59% of the world’s wealth (all from the US), 7 would have a college degree.
Now, let me tell you one more story. You, I and all who worship God are on a grand adventure together with Jesus Christ. Jesus knows how badly things in His world are out of balance. And He expects His church to address human needs and conditions on a global scale. Only God knows what wonderful challenges and adventures lay ahead for us in year 2017; what new faces will join our happy throng; what familiar faces will disappear from our earthly fellowship. Let us remember those who in 2016 passed from time-bound life to life eternal: Peter Boname, N.A Dawson, Edgar Nichols, Barbara O’Brien, Lee Okster, Bill Peine, Chuck Riedel, and Janis Sengstak. We are all passing through time. Each of us has only a limited time in which to address the world’s needs we have inherited from our previous generations. We can see the incredible changes that occurred in our state over the last 100 years. What if the entire world could experience such dramatic, life altering change?
On January 22, Trinity will hold it’s first of three Town Hall meetings. During these one hour sessions following the 10:30 service, we’ll prayerfully plan for the future of our church. We’ll envision the ministries of Trinity Church that will quicken our discipleship with Christ and address the needs and missions of our congregation.
With full confidence that God knows where our journey will lead, let’s embrace one another and the global community with an esprit de corp. and enthusiasm for mission and ministry together with Christ that continues proclaiming the greatest story being told.