How We Can All Be Informed About the Changing Church

James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

All Christian churches are in the midst of a new reformation. You and I will help determine the mission and ministries of the United Methodist Church for the next generation. So what is our denomination doing to assist us? Here is what’s new.

The UMC has stopped looking for quick fixes to revitalize our churches and we’ve begun looking for persons right outside our doors that Christ has called us to reach.

Trinity and other UM churches are focusing on living in relationship with those around us and creating an intentional system of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the world’s transformation.

The Discipleship Ministry of the UMC encourages every local church to embrace the spirit of the Wesleyan tradition by being in relationship with the communities that surround our church buildings.

#SeeAllThePeople is a grass roots initiative designed to inspire a disciple-making movement across our denomination. Discipleship Ministries ( is shifting priorities to create the necessary resources, events and discipleship system that emphasizes congregations being in relationships outside our walls.

To launch the conversation about #SeeAllThePeople, a discussion video and guide are on the initiative website, I urge all Trinity’s members to start a conversation by using the hashtag #SeeAllThePeople and using the resources on the website with others in our congregation.

Another exciting change is that Church and Society has launched a new website focusing on working for justice and peace. The new site is

So many challenges our world and church must face together involve addressing a world filled with injustice. This new website allows United Methodists and visitors to learn about the positions the UMC has on faith, justice, and peace. There are also clear opportunities for engagement and advocacy.

Our new site includes information about educational opportunities for adults, youth and children. The UMC offers seminars and internships, information about our Social Principles and training opportunities. The Secretary of the UM Church and Society is Susan Henry-Crowe. She said the agency has switched it’s Twitter handle to @umcjustice. I encourage our Trinity family to check out this website: and let them know your thoughts.

There is no reason for any member of Trinity Church to be uninformed about our denomination’s focus on mission and ministries and it’s witness to the world through social justice efforts. Being informed will make us better disciples.


A Tribute to a Loveable, Furry, Goofball Life Well-Lived

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

“A dog has the soul of a philosopher.” – Plato

Taking a swim in the lake. Oviedo, FL, 2005.

It is with a heavy (but very grateful) heart I share the news that we have had to say goodbye to our beloved Biscuit. He was more than our family pet; he was Trinity’s mascot, the church office’s unofficial welcoming committee, shredder of all things cardboard, and a columnist for The Spire. Biscuit was indeed quite talented at answering questions sent to him by our Sunday School children—a feat unmatched by most Yellow Labradors. He accomplished a lot during his 13-and-a-half years. He certainly freely gave tail wags and kisses at an above-average rate.

Learning to fetch. Biscuit at a few months old at home in Oviedo, FL, 2004.

Biscuit was even known to make an appearance during the Sunday morning children’s message and at our PDO preschool chapel time. If you have children who remember Biscuit, this is a great opportunity to share with them the importance in celebrating all that God has given us, including our much-loved pets. This would also be a good chance to read to them the creation stories in Genesis, emphasizing the inclusion of animals in God’s plan and the importance of caring for them.

Step aside, Blitzen! Falls Church, 2012.

Another message about God’s love for animals is found in Isaiah 11:6-9. We read of the harmony that is to come in God’s peaceable kingdom when the “wolf will live with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the goat.” John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, discusses the importance of animals in God’s world in the present and beyond. In his Sermon 60, “The General Deliverance,” Wesley preaches that God’s love for creation will be revealed one day when everything made by God (people, animals and nature) will be fully restored and made whole.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow … Falls Church, 2015.

A woman once asked Rev. Billy Graham if she’ll get to see her dog in heaven. Here’s what he had to say: “Heaven will be a place of perfect happiness for us—and if we need animals around us to make our happiness complete, then you can be sure God will have them there.” Amen, Rev. Graham. Amen.

Preteen Ministry

Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

One of the changes that will take place this fall will be approaching 5th and 6th graders as preteens rather than as elementary children. The class for preteens will have a different curriculum and ministry approach. For curriculum, we will be teaching Christian doctrines, United Methodist social principles and life coach lessons. For the ministry approach, we will be using similar teen ministry techniques.

In recent years many churches have made adjustments to minister to preteens, or children ages 9-12. The need arises mainly due to preteens not wanting to be treated as children. Therefore, many elementary departments serve students up to 4th grade. This change has resulted in 5th and 6th graders either becoming an extension of elementary or part of a youth group. We’re making a gradual change in viewing the 10:30 a.m. children’s education class for 5th & 6th graders as preteens.

Another reason is to make connections to our 7th grade confirmation class. Two years ago, when I taught confirmands at Trinity, I was overwhelmed by all the doctrines and creeds that needed to be presented. We had a lot to cover so we ended up just going over the basics; we did not have time to discuss in depth core of the gospel. Last year, I focused on the gospel, but didn’t have adequate time to go over all the creeds and doctrines of United Methodist Church. To make our confirmation process more complete, I would like for us to view grades 5 and 6 as a group working towards confirmation.

Lastly, viewing 5th & 6th graders as preteens offers an excellent opportunity to begin a new avenue to spiritual growth. Preteens are more mature than kids at that age twenty years ago. The internet and other technological developments offer today’s youth greater exposure to information and experiences than previous generations. They are still impressionable to learn and be open to new ideas. My hope is that they respond positively to the new curriculum and approach because they are validated by the church in their stage of development. Please pray with us as we take this new venture in spiritual education for our 5th & 6th graders.


August 2017 at Trinity

Aug. 6 Children’s Education: Jesus teaches us to accept others, even those different from us (Luke 6:27-36)
Aug. 6 VBS Volunteer Lunch & Training We’ll meet after 10:30 a.m worship for lunch and to talk about the exciting week ahead so that everyone knows what to expect.
Aug. 7-11 Vacation Bible School
Aug. 13 Children’s Education: Jesus feeds the hungry (Luke 9:10-17)
Aug. 13 Martha’s Table Sandwich Making We’ll make 900 sandwiches and 400 trail mix immediately after worship. Sign-up to shop or deliver: in the Fellowship Lobby or at For more info, contact Barb Long,
Aug. 14 Crafts for a Cause Meet 7 – 8:30 p.m. All adults are welcome, no craft skills required. For more info, contact
Aug. 19 Christ House To volunteer to help shop, cook and serve for Christ House, please contact Connie Jeremiah,
Aug. 20 Children’s Education: Jesus teaches us to pray (Luke 11:1-2)
Aug. 20 Town Hall Meeting We’ll talk about education opportunities in the fall for children, and all adults, including a new women’s Bible study..
Aug. 27 Children’s Education: Jesus teaches us not to worry but trust God (Luke 12:22-30
Aug. 28 Crafts for a Cause Meet 7 – 8:30 p.m. All adults are welcome, no craft skills required. For more info, contact

Music, Fall 2017

By Jerry Rich

What do these people have in common?

Tim Caine, Kristin Chenoweth, Kevin Costner, Aretha Franklin, Orrin Hatch, John Legend, Bobby McFerrin, Katy Perry, Brad Pitt, Leontyne Price, Condoleezza Rice, Diana Ross, Justin Timberlake, Tina Turner, Carrie Underwood

At one point in their busy lives, they were all in church choirs.

Belonging to a church choir can help forge social bonds, create a strong sense of happiness and well-being, and exercise the brain while improving breathing, posture, and muscle tension. Being in a church choir also assists the congregation in praising God.

Why not join one of Trinity’s choirs this Fall?

Choir rehearsals begin for children and youth on September 13 and for adults on September 14.

  • Children’s Choir (ages 4 – 6th grade)
    • Wednesdays at 6 p.m.
  • Youth Choir (Grades 7 & up)
    • Wednesdays at 6 p.m.
  • Trinity Ringers (handbell choir)
    • Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.
  • Chancel Choir
    • Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.

Singing Heroes

By Catherine Wethington

Heroes are easy to love. They fight evil and win, people like them, they usually have a supernatural power that makes them special and sometimes heroes are the people you’d least expect. At least the heroes we watch in movies and read about in comic books- like Spiderman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. But what about real life heroes? The music for this year’s VBS goes through all the steps we need to do to be Heroes of God. Like pledging to help those in need, having the courage to trust in God, finding strength in God’s love for us, meeting every test that comes our way with God’s grace, praying and recognizing God’s grace within ourselves. It is wonderful how music can empower our children and us in all that we do. I encourage you to consider continuing this journey of courage and exploration into expressing our love for God with us throughout the school year. Children’s and Youth Choirs will rehearse on Wednesday nights from 6-7 p.m. (dinner included) in Langley Hall starting September 13. For more information, please contact me anytime.

Church & Society, August 2017

August Collection Drive

In August and September, we will be collecting school supplies for Stanton Elementary School. Needed school supplies include 24-count crayons, #2 pencils, glue sticks, markers (washable ink markers – either fat or fine line), rulers and black marble composition books. Please place your donations in the bins outside the sanctuary and in the Fellowship Building.

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

Please contact Alexandra Kiefer with questions about the drive or any other Church and Society committee programs.

Crafts for a Cause, August 2017

Crafts for a Cause just shipped out 41 handmade cotton dresses for needy girls in Uganda, in addition to donating 20 fleece blankets for the Linus Project to distribute to local children and teens in need of comfort. This is all on top of the monthly quota of 20 neck pillows that Crafts makes for patients at Fair Oaks Hospital, along with caps for chemotherapy patients and knit caps for newborns. Nell Gilmore continues to churn out those baby hats for us; new recruit Rory Hartsoe recently donated her first batch of caps.

We’ll be working on the pillows, dolls, caps and dresses at our work sessions on Monday nights in August – Mon., Aug. 14, and Mon., Aug. 28, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 124. All adults are welcome, even if you think you’re not a “crafter.” We also have homework if you’re a knitter or crocheter. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse.

Book Chat, Fall 2017

By Kathy Maher

Do you enjoy reading? Consider joining the Trinity Book Chat, which meets the second Tuesday of the month from September through June. Over the summer we’re reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, a beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the 20th century. We’ll meet to discuss the book at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, in the Trinity Library. Bring a light dinner, if you like (dessert is provided), and enjoy fellowship and lively conversation. Reading the book isn’t even required!

Coming up:

September 12      A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

October 10           The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

November 14       The Road to Character, by David Brooks

Contact Kathy Maher if you have questions or would like to be added to the book club e-mail list.