By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor
Annual Conference was held in Roanoke this year and one of its highlights was catching up on the news of how things are going with pastors I have known and worked with over the years. I was a little surprised that three persons in my ordination class took medical leaves of absence this year and three died.
Former associate pastor at Trinity, Phyllis Earley, is on medical leave. Now her husband, Jim, will also be on medical leave. Former Trinity associate, Melissa Dunlap, is serving as Bi-District Coordinator for Church Development; former Trinity youth pastor Marc Mrini, returns to St. Stevens on the Alexandria District. Former Trinity associate, Eric Song, returns to Good Shepherd in Vienna. Amy Crisp, former DCE at Trinity is the youth pastor at Mt. Pisgah in Richmond. Associate Pastor Eileen Gilmer returns beginning her seventh year in ministry to our Trinity family. And … Associate Pastor Keith Lee returns beginning his fifth year. We have been blessed richly across the years.
Sharma Lewis, Bishop of the Virginia Conference, continues to recover after her fourth surgery regarding a hip replacement. Her three areas of concern remain, 1. Church attendance; 2. Church Finances and 3. Deeper spiritual formation.
The Virginia Annual Conference used electronic handsets to vote for delegates to the General Conference and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Voting electronically was expected to reduce the amount of time involved in making these important selections and increase the accuracy of the balloting process. The Virginia Conference elected 11 clergy delegates and 11 laity delegates to General Conference to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from May 5 – 15, 2020. The General Conference will be trying to hold the denomination together despite global differences regarding the ordination of LGBTQ persons and same-gender weddings.
In the next three years, it’s predicted that one of every two pastors in the VA Conference will retire or be eligible to retire. This will dramatically affect the system of appointments will perhaps not having enough ordained clergy to supply all the churches looking for an appointed pastor.
These are only a few of this summer’s happenings. Don’t be scarce this summer. Have fun, enjoy your vacation time, and come to church when you’re home. Try our 8:30 a.m. service. Try our Wednesday Noon service. Try our Celtic Service. It will be great to see you.