Reflection on Annual Conference

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.


The Importance of Rest and Play

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Now that we are into the midst of summer, I hope you’ve either taken some time to relax and renew, or that your plans are in the works. Taking a break isn’t just an extravagance, it’s vital to our health and well-being. When we were children, few of us had to be told to stop working and start playing. Somewhere along the line, most of us lost sight of the importance of play.

Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! Psalm 149:3

The Bible mentions play, joy and celebrations many times. It also speaks of the importance of taking time away from our everyday lives and stressors. Jesus guided his disciples about the importance of time away.

He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
Mark 6:31-32

We read of the importance of celebrating and of getting away from the noise that can fill our lives. We can find guidance in the Bible on how we are to situate our lives even during the times of rest and relaxation.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether you are here at home amidst your daily routine or find yourself taking some time away, I hope you’ll seek out ways to do everything to the glory of God. When you’re in NOVA this summer, I hope you’ll join us for worship at Trinity Church. In addition to our regular Sunday morning worship at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., we invite you to join us for the Wednesday noon Communion service. There’s also our Celtic worship on the last Sunday of each month at 5 p.m.

No matter which service you attend, I’ll see you at church!


How Curriculum Is Presented

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

This summer during children’s Sunday School we will have a one-room class using a camp-like format. For its curriculum I usually take a prepackaged one and alter it to suit our context and situation. This year, I went with Roar! Life is Wild, God is Good from Group Publishing because I like VBS formats in general. However, it has received criticism for racial insensitivity. For example, an article from United Methodist Insight ( points out that institutional racism and the pervasiveness of ethnocentrism are so ingrained in our institutions—including Christian ones— if not careful, we pass on these harmful elements to our children in Sunday School. It goes on to point out examples of Group Publishing’s blind spots and lack of intercultural competency found in their Roar! Life is Wild, God is Good curriculum. In recent weeks, Group Publishing has provided some corrections. Critics contend that they should have completely replaced the material with corrections. I reviewed the corrected pages and I agree with the critics. To go through all the material and manually insert those corrections would take a lot of work and time.

The good news is that I always filter and alter all of our curriculum resources for our setting. Roar! is not the first one in my years of teaching that I had to filter and alter. I am conscientious in presenting theological ideas that convey the essence of Jesus and the theology of love. In fact, all early church leaders meticulously filtered out and explained troubling passages from the Bible. For example, passages in Joshua and Nehemiah were always explained. In Judaism, the stories in Genesis are so troubling, they start children’s education of the Torah from the book of Leviticus. I suspect you do the same consciously or subconsciously whenever you read the Bible or even the news.

The old adage “Don’t believe everything you read” is even more relevant today. We will be using Roar but with much discretion. We do this for all material presented in Sunday School anyway. In fact, I believe the Roar! curriculum will provide a great springboard into discussion about intercultural understanding and the need to diminish institutional racism and ethnocentrism. Looking forward to a wonderful summer Sunday School!


July 2019 at Trinity

July 1 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

July 4 Office Closed
July 9 Youth Trip:

Kings Dominion

Contact Pastor Keith,
July 14 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
July 15 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

July 16 Trustees

6:30 p.m.

Meeting by telephone
July 20 Christ House  
July 28 Executive Council  
July 28 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

July 24 – 30 Mission trip to Honduras’ Heart to Heart Contact Keith Lee to get involved
Aug. 5-9 Vacation Bible School Register/Volunteer at

Pastor Keith’s Prayer of the Month: A  Summer Prayer

Creator of all, thank You for summer! Thank You for the warmth of the sun and the increased daylight. Thank You for the beauty I see all around me and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation. Thank You for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family, and for the more casual pace of the summer season.

Draw me closer to You this summer. Teach me how I can pray no matter where I am or what I am doing. Warm my soul with the awareness of Your presence, and light my path with Your Word and Counsel.

As I enjoy Your creation, create in me a pure heart and a hunger and a thirst for You. Amen.


Trinity Summer Choir 2019

Trinity’s Chancel Choir provides service music throughout the year, but in the summer we choose lighter pieces to make it easier for you to join us. If you’d like to sing with us, just show up in the Music Room (Rm. 115) at 10 a.m. on any given Sunday in July or August to learn an easy-to-sing piece for that week’s 10:30 service.

The July anthems are: Earthen Vessels (July 7), Uphold Me in Life (July 14), You Are Near (July 21), and Come to Me (July 28); the August anthems are Near the Cross (August 4), Hosea (August 11), There Is a Balm in Gilead (August 18), and Father, We Praise Thee (August 25).

We don’t wear choir robes in the summer; whatever you normally wear to church will be fine. If you like to sing, why not give us a try!

Words to Live By

Henny Gilmer, Trinity Church mascot

Hello kids of Trinity! It’s your friend and church mascot, Henny. I hope you are loving summer as much as I am. Do you know my favorite part? I love when my family cooks out on our deck! I keep hoping for a hamburger to fall off the grill.

I have a fun activity for us to do this summer. You can do it while you’re on vacation, at home or on a weekend. It’s also good during road trips. It’s learning important verses from the Bible. I love being able to tell people my favorite verse. Do you know which one it is? Here’s my favorite:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Here are some other good scriptures for you to learn. See if you can memorize one per week this month.

Let’s start from the beginning of the Bible:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Does this one sound familiar? We call it the golden rule!

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

Your parents will like this one!

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20

This one talks about God’s great love for us!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16


Have a safe and happy July and remember my motto:

Paws for Jesus!