Celtic Worship at Trinity

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Welcome to May. The flowers are starting to bloom, the temperature is going up and we have more hours of daylight. It’s a beautiful time of the year in Northern Virginia.

It’s also a great time to seek out the beauty in worship. If you’ve never experienced our Celtic worship service, I invite you to come join us. We meet on the last Sunday of every month at 5 p.m. in the Chapel. We offer times of quiet, hear lovely prayers, and listen to inspiring music played on the hammered dulcimer. Think of it as an antidote to the stress and tension of our daily lives.

Here’s the type of prayer we might read during a Celtic worship. It’s from Saint Patrick, the fifth-century missionary and bishop in Ireland.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through a belief in the Threeness,

Through a confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of creation.

I hope to see you at our next Celtic worship!



By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

I was a bit nervous that night because I’ve never experienced Shavuot in a synagogue and didn’t know what to expect. I’ve known the holiday as Pentecost but had no idea about its Jewish significance. On one hand, I was grateful to be with a group of students from Hebrew U. participating at Bet Kinneset Moreshet Ysrael Synagogue. On the other hand, I was uncomfortable facing my own ignorance. What I call the Old Testament is not old to many, and especially to Jews, it’s an important document that carries deep and sacred traditions totally different from mine.

Traditional rabbinic calculation places the holiday near the same time as the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. Many customs and practices have taken root in the last two and a half thousand years, but the main practice and the reason why I was there that night was studying the Torah all night! There were multiple speakers and sessions and the most memorable one was when everyone was divided into small groups to read the book of Ruth. All major Jewish holidays have a book of OT assigned to them. For Shavuot, the book of Ruth is read for a variety of reasons, but the number one being that at the end of chapter one, there’s a mention of a barley harvest which usually falls around March-April.

In my small group instead just reading it, we were instructed to enact roleplay reading. I was not assigned a role (thank goodness because I felt awkward enough). The other members did a splendid job. The impressionable part was when it came to Ruth reciting the lines, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

Not only the person playing Naomi (the mother-in-law of Ruth who is the recipient of the heartfelt pledge) but practically everyone in the room (except, me, of course) was desperately convincing Ruth to not become Jewish. Emotions ran high. It was real and not roleplay anymore. Something deep within their psyche and soul fluttered out. Their main reason was that being Jewish is not only difficult and painful, but dangerous as proven by their history. At the time, I was thinking this is completely opposite to Christianity where everyone urges you to join the faith. I found out later that in Jewish tradition, you’re supposed to discourage a potential convert at least three times. Maybe that was it, but at that time, the emotion was too strong for me to ignore. I walked out of that session a bit perplexed.

I share this story for Pentecost and for confirmands preparing for the Confirmation Service. Life in Christ is not easy. We have a cross on top of the roof and as the most prominent symbol in the Sanctuary. We celebrate Communion with the words “This is His body given and blood shed for you.” I sincerely hope our journey with Christ has been arduous and strenuous and will continue to be that. Because Jesus said, “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”


Trinity, May 2019

May 1 Widows’ Support Group

6:30 p.m.

May 4 Crafts for a Cause

10 a.m.

See below for more about this special session.
May 6 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

See below for more.
May 12 Trinity Trebles’ musical

10:30 a.m.

It’s Cool in the Furnace, for more, click here.


May 12 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
May 13 Paul, Apostle of Christ

7 p.m.

Movie shown in the Chapel, see below page for more
May 14


May 18

Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Christ House

10 a.m.

Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
May 20 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

May 21 Trustees

6:30 p.m.

Meeting by telephone
May 27 Office Closed
July 25– Aug 2 Mission trip to Honduras’ Heart to Heart Contact Keith Lee to get involved klee@umtrinity.org
Aug. 5-9 Vacation Bible School Volunteer at http://umtrinity.org/education/vbs

Crafts for a Cause

Blankets for children, dresses for girls in Honduras, comfort pillows and blankets for hospital patients – that’s what Crafts for a Cause has been working on this spring. The group meets on alternating Monday nights from 7 to 8:30 to cut, stitch, stuff and sew, and turn piles of fabric into items of comfort. Upcoming sessions: May 6, May 20, June 3, June 17. There will be a Weekend Workshop to make t-shirt dresses for needy girls in Honduras on Sat., May 4, from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 124. We also have a no-sew blanket project to make a comfort blanket for children who have lost a loved one in combat or to PTSD. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse, mollysprouse@gmail.com.

Paul, Apostle of Christ

The Engage Bible Study, a Trinity community-based Bible study that meets every Monday evening, invites you to a special movie presentation.

On Monday evening May 13, we will show the movie, Paul, Apostle of Christ in the Chapel. This 1 hour 45-minute feature film is an entertaining and informative story of Paul the Apostle and his friend Luke.

Join for a light potluck dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. The movie will start at 7.



Music at Trinity, May 2019

Here are some of the musical selections scheduled for Trinity UMC in May 2019.

May 5 

Augustinian monk Felix Gass, an organist active in Augsburg, Germany wrote his Aria in B-flat in 1740.

Charles Callahan’s 2003 Prayer of St. Paul is based on I Thessalonians 5:23.

Harpsichordist Domenico Scarlatti departed from custom to write his 1753 Sonata in D K. 288 for organ.

May 12

Ach Gott und Herr by Johann Walther is a pensive setting of a 1613 chorale that was based on Psalm 38:4.

It’s Cool in the Furnace is the Trinity Trebles’ spring musical (see director Michelle Zenk’s article for details).

Creation Will Be at Peace is based on the prophecy in Isaiah 11: 6-9, this 1993 setting is by Anna Laura Page.

JS Bach’s familiar March in D is from a collection compiled in 1722 for his musical wife Anna Magdalena.

May 19

Sandra Eithun arranged the prayerful adagio from Dvořák’s New World Symphony for handbells in 2015.

O Jesus, I Have Promised is a 2015 setting by Timothy Shaw of an 1868 hymn (see #396 in our Hymnal).

Marc-Antoine Charpentier, maître de musique for Louis XIV, wrote his Prelude to Te Deum in 1692.

May 26

Jay Althouse wrote Lord, I Stretch My Hands to You in 1992; the text states: “Lord, I stretch my hands to you; no other help I know. If you should leave me all alone, where then shall I go? Lord, I give my soul to you; I seek your care and love. No other blessings do I need but those from you above. Lord, I ask you: give me faith, and help me understand. And Lord, when I this life shall leave, just hold me in your hand.”

Handel wrote his Passacaille in 1720; its variations progress from the sedate theme to a cascade of scales.

An Invitation to Join Trinity Trebles

by Michele Zenk, Director of Children’s & Youth Choirs

The Trinity Trebles have been having a great time with our musical, It’s Cool in the Furnace! We will be performing May 12 at the 10:30 service.

We rehearse Wednesday evenings. We have pizza at 6, sing at 6:30, cookies at 7 and have fun the whole time!

If your child has never sung with us and is interested, please come check us out! If your child is interested in joining us, but your schedule is booked, please email me at michelle.zenk@gmail.com anyway. We can try to find a flexible arrangement for you.

Why Do We Say Amen?

Henny Gilmer, Trinity Church mascot

Summer is almost here. Hooray! I love summer because it means longer walks and more time outside. Amen to that. What exactly do we mean when we say the word Amen? Have you ever wondered why we end a prayer by saying Amen? Well, that’s a great question.

It’s a Hebrew word. Amen is a response to something else that’s been said. When someone says Amen, he or she is saying, “I agree with this,” or “I believe this is the truth.” That’s why we say Amen at the end of prayers. We’re saying we believe that what we just said is true. You could also think of it as an exclamation point.

Somebody else used the word Amen, only it was at the beginning of sentences. Can you guess who it was? Jesus! “Very truly” or “Truly, truly” is the way it has been translated into English. Grab your Bible and turn to the book of John, chapter three. See what Jesus said in John 3John 3, verses 3, 5, and 11. He was telling people that what he was about to say was the truth, it was important and they should pay attention!

Do you have a question for me? I’d love to answer it. You can contact me at bit.ly/AskHenny.

Remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!


Leadership in the 21st Century

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Keith, Eileen and I over the last 3 months have been attending leadership seminars training us for the church of the 21st century. You and I are part of the first generation of North Americans to live in a society that no longer appreciates the presence of Christianity. Many are hostile toward the church. The early church shared the gospel of Jesus in a religiously plural, but hostile world. The 21st century has brought Christianity full circle.

Early Christians came together to celebrate their life together with God through prayer, table fellowship, and teaching about the Way. They also went out from the Temple and into the streets to be witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Their message asked persons to embrace the Way of life and the rule of God in their hearts but it was not about joining a particular church. They established small groups that met in homes for nurture and fellowship. It was through these small groups that a larger sense of community developed. Finally, they experienced persecution and arrest from religious authorities and non-religious people because the Way they chose affected the economic practices of society and challenged established religious traditions.

Based on these essential concerns of the early church and what is becoming obvious to us by now of the emerging world, we can conclude a few ideas about the church in the 21st century.

      1. Our primary mission will be to establish Christian communities in the midst of a hostile and violent world.
      2. The mission of these communities will be to proclaim the rule of God to all people.
      3. Existing and emerging Christian communities will need to nurture this new life in the Way and to bring new life to others.
      4. Our mission’s dominant theme will be the Way of life prefigured in the life and ministry of Jesus.
      5. The life of prayer will be necessary to keep our Christian communities focused on our mission as witnesses to the Way.
      6. And finally, all church and community leadership will be based on faithful service to the Way of Christ.

The excellent leadership of Trinity Church believes that, based on the life of the early church, the only way to move forward together in our time is for our congregation to turn outward to the world. All our new and existing buildings, ministries, and missions need to shout to the entire world that Jesus is the Way without being judgmental or forming value judgments on the worth of others with regard to their religious beliefs or their nationality. Our mission involves not losing our passion for social justice and the demand Christ makes on us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive sins, and love the enemy.

To move forward together as followers of the Way of Christ, all our missions and ministries must be willing to exist for the sole purpose of bringing this new life to others who are not yet experiencing it. We must be willing to invest our time, our talents, our treasures, and our very lives in order to turn society upside down so that, from time to time, those who are usually last can be first at the table of the world’s bounty. You and I need to discover as we move forward together the courage needed for embracing and offering this new life in Jesus as the Way. We are fellow pilgrims along the Way that leads us more fully and deeply into the wonder of God’s love, presence in the world, and mission.