Religion and Violence

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

What is it that causes some people to commit violent acts in the name of religion, either against themselves or others? Why does violence even play a role in religion to begin with? How can theology, as well as history, sociology, and other frameworks, help us grasp the nature of religious violence? All religions, including the world’s great faiths—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism—have their inner battles with violent beliefs and practices. And, in a world where violence in the name of religion can impact so many other people’s lives, it’s critical to understand the intersection between the two.

“If we want to know why bad stuff happens in the name of religion, we need to understand how those who commit religious violence perceive what they’re doing,” says Dr. Jason C. Bivins, award-winning professor of Religious Studies at North Carolina State University. “That’s the best way to understand why our world is producing so much of it, and what we can do about it.”

In his 24-lecture course, Thinking about Religion and Violence, Professor Bivins takes you on a global, historical, and multidisciplinary investigation of religious violence. Delivered with honesty and sensitivity to the diversity of spiritual beliefs, he examines the roots of this phenomenon and guides us toward more informed ways of thinking about it. We’ll consider how faiths like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism view concepts like human sacrifice, martyrdom, penitence, and means of violence; the ways religious violence can be directed toward specific races, genders, and cultural groups; the connections between violence and other religions, including Mormonism and Native American faiths; concepts like heresy, demonology, and witch-hunting; and more. Blending history, theology, psychology, sociology, and other fields, Professor Bivins helps you get to the heart of a complex problem that’s broader and deeper (and more optimistic) than we may have thought.

Join Us: Jim Sprouse


A Chance to Feed Others

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

How is it already November? I know I ask myself this question each year. As we move closer to Advent, I have a great opportunity for you, your family and even your friends. In this busy time of year, I hope you’ll find space in your schedule to take part.

Trinity Church is proud to again take part in Rise Against Hunger. (You may remember the organization’s former name: Stop Hunger Now.) This is a wonderful project that helps feed the hungry across the globe. Families are welcome to attend. (Children should be ages four and up.) It’s a good opportunity for multi-generational service. Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that helps impoverished people throughout the world. They are committed to ending world hunger by 2030 by supplying meals as well as through sustainability efforts. The meals we will make at our event will go to feed those in hospitals in Yemen.

We are aiming to make 300,000 meals at our McLean event. It’s a lofty goal, for certain. We’ve done this before, and I have no doubt we can do it again. At the end of the day, this will bring the total number of meals packaged by the McLean community to more than 2 million since 2010.

Rise Against Hunger

Saturday, November 2

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

Shifts start at 8:00 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

If you can’t make it but want to help, you can sponsor meals. In fact, you can sponsor 100 meals for just $31. No gift is too small.

Donations and registration are at

Come join people from all over our community to help.

I’ll see you at church!


Trinity, McLean, 22101

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

You’ve heard of Beverly Hills 90210: a teen TV show about a group of students from Beverly Hills High School. If you grew up in the nineties you knew someone who had a crush on Jennie Garth or Luke Perry. But did you know that the school was more than a source of entertainment? Much more … about $500,000 per year! The real-life campus sits on a large oil and gas reserve which is leased to oil companies. These companies then pay royalties to the school. Last time I checked, the royalties contributed in paying a large share of teachers’ salaries.

In the eighties, I found out about the school’s fortunes through a friend from a church camp. When we first met, he told me he went to Beverly Hills High School, and immediately I thought, “Ah, a rich kid! Maybe he knows some stars from the show,” because that’s when the show was really popular. He shot that down right away saying he lived in the Wilshire and Vermont Area, which at the time was not at all affluent. He said because of royalties from oil reserves, the school decided to offer scholarships to underprivileged kids from other parts of the Los Angeles School District. He and his sister applied and were accepted. He admitted he would not have received that high level of education from his local school and was very grateful.

I was sixteen then and was not at all impressed by the progressive social and educational advancements that program had on hundreds of students. (I was secretly hoping to meet one of the stars of the show.) Now I know better. I share this tidbit of info from a nostalgic past because we often tend to focus on the glamorous and alluring, underestimating the impact of the seemingly ordinary. I would like to remind us all that seemingly ordinary Sunday worship services, weekly Bible studies, steady fellowship interactions, children’s Sunday School classes and teaching faithfully as Sunday School teachers make a great impact on many lives.


November 2019 at Trinity

Nov. 3 Charge Conference

3 p.m.

Mt. Olivet UMC, 1500 N Glebe Rd., Arlington


According to A Dictionary for United Methodists by Alan Waltz, “The charge conference is the basic governing body of each United Methodist local church and is composed of all members of the church council. The charge conference must meet at least once per year. The charge conference directs the work of the church and gives general oversight to the church council, reviews and evaluates the mission and ministry of the church, sets salaries for the pastor and staff, elects the members of the church council, and recommends candidates for ordained ministry.”
Nov. 4 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Nov. 10 Town Hall Meeting

11:30 a.m.

Nov. 10 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
Nov. 11 Office Closed
Nov. 12 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Nov. 16 Christ House
Nov. 17 Thanksgiving Feast

11:30 a.m.

See below for more or RSVP at and look for Thanksgiving Potluck under Get-Involved
Nov. 17 Celebration of Life: Shirley Paul

2 p.m.

Nov. 18 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Nov. 19 Trustees Meeting

6:30 p.m.

Nov. 20 Preschool Parenting Hour

9:30 a.m.

Nov. 24 Coffee with the Pastors

9:30 a.m.

Nov. 24 Craft Bazaar begins See below for more or visit and look for Crafts for a Cause under Get-Involved
Nov 24 Staff Parish Relations Committee

11:30 a.m.

Nov. 24 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

Nov. 26 Christmas Trees Arrive
Nov. 29 Christmas Tree Sales begin See below for or visit and look for Christmas Tree Sales under Get-Involved

Begins Nov. 29 at 12 p.m. Sales benefit Trinity’s Youth Group & Boy Scout Troop 869.

Giving Thanks

Hi, kids of Trinity Church. It’s your friend, Henny. I hope you’re enjoying fall. The cooler weather makes me want to run around the yard and play ball. Did you have a good Halloween? Here’s a picture of me in my costume. Can you tell what my costume is in this picture?

Last year I went as a taco. This year I was a hot dog!

Now it’s November and before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here. It’s a great time to think about what makes us thankful. I’m thankful for my family. They adopted me when I was a puppy. I’m also thankful for all the great food that comes at our Thanksgiving dinner. I love turkey. Maybe I’ll get a bite of sweet potato, too!

Sometimes kids get to help make things for a Thanksgiving meal. What if you don’t know how to cook or aren’t old enough to use the oven? There are other ways to help. You can set the table by putting out the silverware and the napkins. You can draw a little picture on a card at each place setting. You can even help with the prayer before the meal.

One of the Trinity preschool classes uses a great prayer:

Thank you for the world so sweet.

Thank you for the food we eat.

Thank you for the birds that sing.

Thank you, God for everything! Amen.

If your family doesn’t already have a prayer, maybe you can use that one.

Do you have a question for me about God, the Bible or Trinity Church? Send it to me at


Remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!


Book Chat: Nov. 2019

In November the Trinity Book Chat turns to Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, a “painfully beautiful first novel that is at once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature” (New York Times Book Review). We’ll discuss the book on Tuesday, November 12, at 6:30 p.m., in the Trinity Library. Bring a light dinner (dessert is provided) and enjoy fellowship and lively conversation. Then we’ll take a break for the holidays! We’ll resume on January 14 with America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie. Contact Kathy Maher to be added to the e-mail list.

Nov 2019 Music Ministry

Chancel Choir

To commemorate All Saints Day (November 1), the Chancel Choir will sing selections from Gabriel Fauré’s serene and consoling Requiem at the 10:30 service on November 3:

Libera me: Deliver me, Lord, from that day when heaven and earth shall quake as you judge the world. Eternal rest grant them, O Lord…

Sanctus: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Glory be to you, O Lord, Hosanna in the highest.

Pie Jesu: Gentle Lord Jesus, grant them eternal rest.

Agnus Dei: Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant them everlasting rest. Let perpetual light shine upon them together with your saints, for you are good.

In Paradisum: May angels lead you into paradise and martyrs bring you into the holy city Jerusalem. May choirs of angels welcome you, and, like Lazarus, may you have eternal rest.

Trinity Ringers

On November 17, the Trinity Ringers will present a festive prelude at the 10:30 service; Sandra Eithun’s 2015 version of the Baroque Rondeau by Jean-Joseph Mouret will be familiar to many as the theme to the PBS Masterpiece Theater series from 1971-2007.


Trinity Trebles

If you have a child between the ages of 2-12 who loves to sing?  Come join the Trinity Trebles on Sundays at 9:30 a.m.! We had a great time learning the song Give me Oil in My Lamp and soon we will be starting our Christmas presentation and learning how to play the choir chimes. No previous singing or musical experience needed! Any questions? Email Michelle Zenk.