Let’s Not Abandon Our Young

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

The jury is still out on whether or not mainline Protestantism will adjust to the influence of social media and the speed at which change occurs these days. The institutional church normally likes to take change slowly and in small doses. There is today a cultural war for the hearts and souls of Protestant denominationalism. People are drifting away from the two most centrist denominations, the Presbyterian Church [U.S.A.] and the United Methodist Church. The mainline Protestant denominations are no longer evangelizing the young (some call them millennials) in this country or protecting them from the erosion of contemporary culture. The more evangelical expressions of Christianity have succeeded in creating a paraculture complete with specialized ministries aimed at high school and college students. They stress fun, sports, and mentoring relationships tied to Bible study and a personal relationship with Jesus. They provide a remedy from the isolation experienced by our young from the adult world. They also, and I genuinely applaud this, provide alternative models to the entertainment industry’s portrayal of adolescence and adulthood. The mainline Protestant denominations need to recognize the deep spiritual needs of our young and step into the breach.

Our graying mainline church has in the past, interpreted Christianity through the demands of peace and social justice agendas. And there is nothing wrong with these agendas so long as we don’t neglect the weighty needs of personal and corporate salvation and a relationship with Christ. Social justice and loving Jesus need not be in tension. Perhaps mainline Protestant churches need to initiate fresh discussions about the relation of traditional Christian beliefs to social justice issues.

Trinity Church addresses these concerns by focusing on each individual child, youth and young adult, partly out of the traditional evangelical impulse to save souls, but also out of concern for our young in today’s cultures. Our leaders here at Trinity are waking up to the real moral and spiritual forces of evil abroad that our young need our support to withstand. Every ministry at Trinity is trying to discover new ways for praise, music, and meditation to join hands with prayer – that is to say, joining the love and merciful lifestyle expressed in the Gospel with the character formation every person needs to live in the real world.

Trinity Church’s leaders believe that societal needs are changing so rapidly in ways that call for our rethinking (and re-imaging) our understanding of the Christian mission. We seek a renewed pursuit of personal salvation without undermining our corporate responsibilities of the church to society. We seek to reach more young in the McLean area and open their hearts to both the inclusivity of the Gospel and historic Christianity.

We are definitely living through a seismic shift in Christian history. That’s okay, provided we learn to keep a period of silence too, in order to discern where God is leading us.





By the Book

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

We Methodists take our cues for organization from our founder John Wesley. He was very methodical (thus the name Methodists) in every aspect of his life, including his faith life. It stands to reason that we would continue that tradition today. This is why we have The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church (BoD). It is updated every four years when Methodists gather from all over the world to decide if there are any changes needed to our positions on what matters to the Church and, in turn, needed changes to the BoD.

In this book, you will find all things Methodist, from how many people should be on a committee, to how clergy become ordained, to our doctrinal heritage, to our denomination’s official stance on civil disobedience. There is an entire section on social principles. In fact, there are 61 pages on social principles found in this latest BoD. John Wesley was very aware of the role the church could and should play in seeking justice in the world. (This includes clergy and laity alike.) These principles mattered to Wesley and they still matter to us today. The reason I became a United Methodist in 1991 was because of the Church’s position as a social justice champion.

While our denomination struggles to define our position on homosexuality (namely same-sex marriage and gay clergy), there are dozens of other topics we have managed to compile. Here’s a look at a few (very abbreviated) examples of our positions. While shortened, these examples are direct quotes from the BoD.

Science and Technology: We recognize science as a legitimate interpretation of God’s natural world. We find that science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology.

Right to Health Care: Providing the care needed to maintain health, prevent disease, and restore health after injury or illness is a responsibility each person owes others and government owes to all, a responsibility government ignores at its peril.

Consumption: Consumers should exercise their economic power to encourage the manufacture of goods that are necessary and beneficial to humanity while avoiding the desecration of the environment in either production or consumption.

Political Responsibility: The strength of a political system depends upon the full and willing participation of its citizens. The church should continually exert a strong ethical influence upon the state, supporting policies and programs deemed to be just and opposing policies and programs that are unjust.

If you would like a copy of the Social Principles, just let us know. We’re happy to share. I’ll see you in church!


Praying for Honduras

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

From June 28 to July 2, I will be part of a group representing Trinity UMC to the children at Heart to Heart Children’s Village in Honduras. There will be eleven of us: Peggy Fox, Leah Horan, Kat Kehoe, Lucy Kehoe, Olivia Kehoe, Tessa Mannell, Christine Lee, Keith Lee, Leslie Vorndran, and Meredith Vorndran. I’m really excited to go with this mix of youth and adults. I would like to let you know the purpose and planned programs for the trip. As well as to ask for your caring and encouraging prayers.

In planning for this trip we asked the leaders at Heart to Heart the types of programs and events that we should organize They said planned events like soccer camps and vacation Bible schools are already scheduled by other church and faith groups slated to come. They simply asked us to spend time with the children because they love attention and developing personal relationships. When our group heard that, we were pleased that the trip will be about relationships and caring for the children there. In order to facilitate this process, we thought we could plan games like soccer, volleyball, kickball, basketball, frisbee, crafts, and drama. In addition, we will be raising funds to take all the children to a waterpark for a day of refreshing activities.

I have been to many overseas outreach trips, and because there are so many factors involved, it’s not possible to consider all the details. We will do our due diligence and at the same time ask for prayers for divine guidance and protection. These are some of the areas that we ask for your prayer support (if you have other areas that come to mind, then please pray for those too):

  1. Love for the children and staff at Heart to Heart
  2. Humility to serve and develop relationships with them
  3. Love and unity for one another within the Trinity team
  4. Safety and health for the team and children
  5. Wisdom and prudence for the team
  6. Meeting financial needs for the trip
  7. Creativity and joy through the process

Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts in the days leading up to and during the trip. We will be hosting events like Movie Night on May 6 and a Bake Sale on May 7 at Trinity to raise awareness of Heart to Heart.

May Music Ministry News

God is Rock Solid

By Catherine Wethington, Dir. of Children’s & Youth Choirs

I am excited to share that the Children’s Choir musical this spring will be the show Rock Solid! Through six scenes and songs we learn that God is always by our side through life. The music has rock rhythms and tempi that all the children love. Their favorite song is Walkin by Faith and I think it’s largely thanks to the text:

So I’m walkin’ by faith that God is by my side. He’s with me day and night. Cause in my heart I know, no matter what I’m going through I’ll never be alone.

Through easy trails, hard trails, storms and accidents, our children (or rather, hikers) participate in the summit challenge; ultimately reach the top; and learn that God promises to walk with us – helping, leading and guiding us all – even when we think we’re lost. I love that the children have this opportunity to share the love of Christ through their singing and acting and in return also internalize that gift that is God’s grace. We look forward to sharing it on Mother’s Day, May 14 during the 10:30 worship service!

By the Sea: A Concert

By Jerry Rich, Director of Music

Trinity’s Music Ministry will present its annual concert on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Soloists Philip Keirstead, Catherine Wethington, Nadine Wethington, and Joey Wilson will be joined by the Chancel Choir and Trinity Ringers, all under the direction of Music Director Jerry Rich. The theme is “By the Sea”; in addition to an audience sing-along of that song, selections will include Charles Trenet’s Beyond the Sea, John Ireland’s Sea Fever, Sailor of My Dreams from Dames at Sea, trios from Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore and Pirates of Penzance, the British beach classic I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside, Hal Hopson’s The Water Is Wide, Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid, and selections from Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. Admission is free.


May 2017 at Trinity

Book Chat | Crafts for a Cause | Church & Society |Good Works Day | Movie Night | VBS

May 5            Confirmation Lock-in

May 6            Good Works Day; Movie Night

May 8            Crafts for a Cause

May 9            Book Chat

May 14         Martha’s Table Sandwich Making; Children’s Choir musical

May 15         Spire Deadline

May 16         Trustees Meeting (phone)

May 20         Christ House

May 21         Town Hall Meeting

May 22         Crafts for a Cause

May 26        Spire assembly

May 28         Celtic Service

If you’d like to try out Trinity’s book club before it breaks for the summer, please join us in the Library on Tuesday, May 9, at 6:30 p.m. to talk about the science fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle. On Tuesday, June 13, we’ll gather at McLean Family Restaurant to discuss Pnin, by Vladimir Nabokov, and consider book suggestions for next year. To be included, please contact Kathy Maher.

June 13: Pnin, by Vladimir Nabokov

Crafts for a Cause has been spreading the love around. In addition to the monthly supply of pillows, dolls and fleece hats we make for the patients at Fair Oaks Hospital, the group has been able to make donations to worthy causes. From the proceeds of the Holiday Bazaar, we are supporting the youth group’s mission trip this summer to Honduras, buying wish list requests from the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and the Carpenter Shelter, and funding shipments of girl’s dresses to Uganda. We also started making fleece blankets for teenage boys through the Linus Project, and dropped off a batch of blankets to the Carpenter’s Shelter in Alexandria (thanks to Cindy Wilson).

To work on all these projects, Crafts will meet on Mon., May 8, and Mon., May 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 124. There will be a bonus session during Good Works Day on Sat., May 6 from 10 a.m. to noon. All adults are welcome to join any of the sessions. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse.

Church & Society

May Collection–FACETS

During the month of May, we’re collecting cans of baby formula (with and without iron), jars of baby food (vegetables, fruit and meat), boxes of baby cereal and disposable diapers (any size) to help the families served by Fairfax Area Christian Emergency & Transitional Services (FACETS). FACETS was created to respond to the many needs of homeless and low-income people living in Fairfax County. Please leave your donations in the donation baskets located outside the sanctuary or in the collection closet located in the Fellowship Building.

Interested in Volunteering in Our Community? The Church & Society Committee is seeking new volunteers and ideas on how Trinity can serve the community! Please contact Alexandra Kiefer and find out how you can help make a difference. The Committee is actively involved in a variety of projects/organizations, including making lunch and visiting clients at Christ House and working with SHARE and Martha’s Table.

Good Works Day

Saturday, May 6

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Followed by Lunch: barbeque chicken sandwiches

Trustees and Church & Society will host our spring Good Works Day on May 6, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. followed by a BBQ chicken lunch. Church & Society will host a community service project for ages 10 and up (assembling toiletry gift bags for the guests of Martha’s Table) and Crafts for a Cause will have a work session that is open to all adults (making pillows, blankets and dresses) beginning at 9 a.m. Trustees will have the tools and supplies for helpers of all ability levels to work on inside and outside projects around the campus including the Fellowship Building and Trinity House. Drop in when you are able and join your friends for a morning of service that will enhance our campus and serve our neighbors, then stay for BBQ and fellowship. Please contact Karen Hunt or Barb Long for more information.

Movie Night

Enjoy an evening out while supporting the Honduras mission team!

Who:                All kids, age 3 – grade 6

What:               Drop off your kids with a pillow and cozy blanket. They’ll enjoy a great movie and snacks while you head out on the town!

When:              Saturday, May 6, 6 – 9 p.m.

How much:     No cost! Feel free to leave a tax-deductible donation to support our trip to the H2H orphanage in Honduras.

Questions? Reach out to Pastor Keith Lee or Leslie Vorndran

Adult and teen members of the mission team will be on hand to care for the kids.

Vacation Bible School

For ages 3—rising 4th grade

Look for registration information on our website.

We are always looking for more volunteers. Please contact Jen Calsyn or Marci Thomas to learn how you can part of this wonderful week.



You’ve Got Questions, I’ve Got Answers!

Hello to all the kids of Trinity Church! I hope you are having a great spring. I’m enjoying hanging out with my family on our back deck. I like to watch the squirrels and birds.

I’ve gotten several good questions from friends, so I thought I would share two with you. I always go to the Bible to find the answers. I’ll tell you where you can find the answers, too. You can look them up in your Bible. Remember, if you don’t have a Bible of your own, just let us know and we can get one for you!

Why can’t I see God?

We might not be able to see God now, but some day we will. A man named Paul wrote this about God in a letter to a church in Corinth: “In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now” (1 Cor 12:13 NLB).

Paul is telling us it’s OK that we can’t see God yet. We can still feel God’s love in our hearts. Plus, this tells us that God can see into our hearts right now! That means God knows if we are happy, sad, scared or anything in between.

If God is everywhere, why do I need to go to church?

Another great question! You’re right when you say that God is everywhere. You can see God’s fingerprints all over our world. Have you noticed the beauty of a sunset or a rainbow? How about animals? Look at how amazing a cheetah, giraffe or toucan look. God is all around us, from the skies above us to the grass under our feet. While you can pray and talk to God anywhere, there is something extra that you get when you come to church.

“Remember what Christ taught, and let his words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts” (Col 3:16 NLB).

God made us to be with other people, and that includes other church people. We learn about God from our pastors and Sunday School teachers, we join together in prayer with other people, and we get to sing about God’s love.

Don’t forget to send me your questions. I’m at bit.ly/AskBiscuit.

And, remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!