On the Road Again

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

The Virginia Conference lists 1,025 clergy under appointment full and part time. Together we serve the 1,200 churches throughout the state. On Wednesday, June 26, 57 clergy and their families will load all their personal belongings into a moving van and travel to their next pastoral appointment. Some will travel to large multi-staff church communities, others to rural congregations; all go in hopes of joining Christ in faithful ministry. Thirty-three of our clergy will try to adjust to being retired and will feel a bit strange when Sunday rolls around and they find out what life is like in the pews … again.

A typical year in the Virginia Conference sees from 25% to 30% of our clergy relocate to new assignments. This year only 5% of our clergy will take a new posting. On the average, congregations in our conference adjust to new clergy in the pulpit every three years. National studies compiled by various church institutes assert that the most effective years of pastoral leadership occur after year ten. Sadly, the marriage of most clergy and their congregations doesn’t last long enough to experience the benefits of long-term committed relationship and shared ministry through discipleship.

On Sunday, July 7, ten new pastors to the Arlington District will arrive in their churches prepared to work at making disciples for Jesus Christ. Those ten churches will swell in attendance as active and inactive members turn out to check out the new pastor. The Rev. Cathy Abbott will retire as District Superintendent of the Arlington District. Our new superintendent of Arlington will be the Rev. Sarah Calvert.

Trinity is proud to announce that Nila Curry graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary in May and will be living in Maryland. Nila has lived at Trinity House while at WTS.

On another joyous note: Keith Lee, Eileen Gilmer and I return to Trinity as your pastors. I am very glad that Keith and Eileen are my colleagues in pastoral ministry at Trinity, along with Michelle, Jerry, Harriet, Jose, our lay leader Peggy Fox, and of course, all of you. We make a great team. All of us are here to make disciples for Jesus Christ.

Shalom, Jim


Mid-Year Resolutions

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Maybe you resolved to work out more, read more or cut down on screen time. How’s that going? I think we should start a new trend: a mid-year’s resolution. What’s the point of rushing into things? Give yourself a good six months to see where the year takes you. I invite you to make a resolution centered on prayer.

O Lord, help me not to despise or oppose what I do not understand. -William Penn

Pray for discernment. Pray that God will open our eyes to see the other side. Pray for the wisdom to keep our mouths shut until we understand why the other person acts/speaks/thinks a certain way.

 God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. -C.S. Lewis

Pray for the ability to hear that small (and sometimes not so small) voice. Pray that God’s sensibility will rise above the din of our cries for help or attention. Pray for the confidence to know that we succeed because of God’s grace and power, and not because of our own race to selfish gain.

Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.  –John 20:29

Pray that God will empower you to have so much faith that you are fearless. Pray for the courage to trust God fully and completely, at all times and in all situations. Pray that God will enable us to willingly give up the need to be in control.

How about if we make a pledge? I’ll pray for you, and you pray for the clergy and lay leaders here at Trinity. Please pray for our greater United Methodist Church, and all the Methodist churches around the world. We need it.

Prayer works. Prayer strengthens. Prayer is how we talk with God. If you need help in finding ways to pray, just let Jim, Keith or me know.

I’ll see you in church!


Twenty Something Spirituality

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

How many of us faithfully attended church when we were in our late teens and early twenties? I reckon not many. I was that age during the eighties and nineties, which was a far different context from where we are as a church today. Young adults weren’t in the church back then. And they’re not in the church today. But here’s what I remember: even though I wasn’t in church or active in my faith or anything remotely resembling traditional faith activities at that time, I remember God was always in the picture.

God’s presence was nothing overtly religious but the wondering about God or thoughts about the afterlife were always hovering in my conscience. But anyone or anything that reminded me of organized religion, I impulsively rejected. These were emotional reactions, as if organized religion were parts from the past, forgotten and should be rejected. The irony is, although I ran from any form of religiosity, I still yearned for God, wondering silently if I was a spiritual orphan.

In looking back at those times, I struggled with these two opposing tensions because humans are intrinsically spiritual. We long for meaning beyond the physical and empirical. But at that age we don’t have the language or the tools to explain our inner world except for whatever was handed down to us from our parents or from Sunday School or from popular media.

In my mid-twenties, I wanted to come back to the church because I was down and felt that I’d lost control of my life. Salvation for me was not only about attaining eternal life but also gaining control and purpose. At that time, everything seemed topsy-turvy like Friday afternoon traffic in Tyson’s Corner; I felt like I was trapped and had no sense of direction or momentum. I was STUCK.

Then I got involved with various Christian faith communities many years later. Here I am, a pastor at a United Methodist Church and am grateful to be part of our faith community. There are some spiritual experiences I wish I never had. But as I reflect on this journey, I see that the thing that I needed most was God, in the most compassionate and loving way possible. God who is love not rules, tradition or dogma. God in the most universal and down to earth way. God without Calvinism or Arminianism or Reformed or fundamentalism or liberalism but just God.

There are many who are graduating from college at this time of the year and/or who are in their twenties wanting something spiritual or religious again. I believe we should be that community to welcome them. I encourage you to continue to journey with God and share that genuine experience in an honest and vulnerable way. They will see God in-and-through you.


What’s Happening in June

June 2 High School & College Graduate Recognition

10:30 a.m.

To add yourself or your child to the list, please email Harriet
June 3 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

See below for more.
June 9 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
June 11 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Dinner, fellowship and 2019-20 planning
June 15 Choir Concert

7 p.m.

Small Blue Marble is the theme; admission is free. See below.
June 16 Church Picnic

11:30 a.m.

Bring a side dish or salad to share.
June 17 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

See below for more.
June 18 Trustees

6:30 p.m.

June 30 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

July 25– Aug 2 Mission trip to Honduras’ Heart to Heart Contact Keith Lee to get involved
Aug. 5-9 Vacation Bible School Register/Volunteer at http://umtrinity.org/education/vbs
Crafts for a Cause

Crafts for a Cause meets twice a month on Monday nights from 7 to 8:30 in Room 124 to make comfort items for hospital patients. No crafty skills required. Upcoming dates: June 3, June 17.

Here’s a roundup of what’s been delivered recently by Crafts for a Cause:

    • 31 blankets made by Trinity members were delivered to the Linus Project, which is partnering with TAPS to provide 1,000 blankets at Camp Good Grief for children who’ve lost a parent to combat or PTSD. Thanks to everyone who helped!
    • To Fair Oaks Hospital, we delivered 80 baby caps, 20 neck pillows, two lap blankets, 9 NICU beds, and 7 surgery dolls.
    • To Christ House, we sent 20 knit caps for residents.
    • We made 25 pillowcases for hospital patients at Children’s Hospital in Richmond.
    • Chris Moore and our volunteers have prepared 50 dresses for needy girls in Honduras, another brainchild of the young women at The Leadership Center.

Thanks to one and all for putting your hands to work so that others might be blessed! For more information on Crafts, contact Molly Sprouse.

Graduate Sunday: June 2

This prayer is an ancient Irish prayer modified to bless our graduates.

May The Road Rise Up To Meet You 

As you graduate, may the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields

and during your journey,

may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Amen.

Trinity’s Music Ministry will present its annual concert on Saturday, June 15, at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Soloists Emily Casey, Philip Keirstead, Catherine Wethington, Nadine Wethington, and Joey Wilson will be joined by the Chancel Choir and Trinity Ringers, all accompanied by Music Director Jerry Rich. The theme is “Small Blue Marble”, a nickname for our planet Earth after it was first photographed from space in 1972; musical selections from six continents will include Tan Dun’s Staccato Beans, a trio from Verdi’s Il Corsaro, A Whole New World from Aladdin, This Is My Father’s World, You Are the New Day, Croisez’s Three Tyrolians for piano trio, Phil the Fluter’s Ball, Vaughan Williams’ The Vagabond from Songs of Travel, Largo from Dvořak’s New World Symphony, Remember Me from Coco, Grainger’s Country Gardens, Ah! Non Giunge from Bellini’s La Sonnambula, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, selections from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and Narverud’s Sisi Ni Moja. Admission is free.


More Than Just a Name

Henny Gilmer, Trinity Church mascot

Happy June to all the kids of Trinity Church. I love this month because on June 21, we celebrate the start of summer. Woohoo, summer is here!

Summer is a good time to catch up on hobbies. One activity a lot of people do is tracing their family histories. My mom has started to work on figuring out her ancestry. Do you know what that means? When someone tracks their ancestry, that person is keeping track of their grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents, and beyond. My mom has found what her family members did for jobs, where they lived and if they had kids. (It’s too bad the records don’t show if they had pets!)

Speaking of names, some people have asked about my name. I’m Henny. It’s not a name that most people have heard before. My name means ruler of the house. I like the idea of being the boss of the house! My name is Dutch. Want to know another cool thing? I’m Dutch, just like my name! I’m a Dutch Shepherd.

I like my name but there is a lot more to me that just my name. I make sure my family knows someone arrives by barking when somebody is at the door. I am a toasty foot warmer by sleeping on my family members’ feet. And, I’m an excellent crumb catcher; I’m always on duty under the table during dinner!

You are more than just your name, too. You might be a brother or sister, son or daughter, a grandchild, or even a great-grandchild! Are you a painter, a singer, a reader or a game player? I almost forgot the most important title of all. You are a loved child of God! No matter how old you might be, you will always be God’s child. We can’t outgrow that because God will love us and care for us forever.

Do you have a question for me? Just send it to bit.ly/AskHenny.

Don’t forget my motto: Paws for Jesus!