The Global View

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Let me tell you a story about what the state of Virginia looked like 110 years ago. The year is 1911. The population was 2,061,612 – Richmond (127,628), Norfolk (67,472), Roanoke (34,874), Danville (19,020), Alexandria (15,329), and my little hometown of Charlottesville (6,765) – Staunton was larger with 10,604. Total protestant church membership was 793,546 – 415,987 were Baptists, 200,771 Methodists, 28,487 Episcopalians, and the rest divided among the other denominations. The total indebtedness among all the churches in Virginia was $966,367. At my alma mater, the University of Virginia, there were 96 professors, 24 officials, and 784 students. The population of the world was 1.6 billion.

At the birth of Jesus of Nazareth the population of the world was 200 million. At the close of 2019 it was 7.7 billion. So, let me tell you a story about what life looks like in the rest of the world in this year. If we could shrink the earth population to a village of exactly 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the world would look like this: 61 Asians, 13 Africans, 12 Europeans, 13 from the Americas and 1 from Oceana; 50 would be female and 50 male; 70 would be non-white and 30 would be white; 33 would be Christian, 21 Moslems, 13 Hindus, 6 Buddhists, 11 other religions, and 14 without religion or atheist. 70 will be malnourished or undernourished, 15 overweight – 6 people will own 59% of the world’s wealth (all from the U.S.); 73 will own 39%, 20 own all the remaining wealth 2%;  20 have no clean drinking water, 15 are illiterate, 1 has a college degree, and 7 have computers. Across the world in one year for every person who dies, two babies are born.

Now, let me tell you one more story. You, I and all who worship God are on a grand adventure together with Jesus Christ. Jesus knows how badly things in His world are out of balance. And He expects His church to address human needs and conditions on a global scale. Only God knows what wonderful challenges and adventures lay ahead for us in year 2020; what new faces will join our happy throng; what familiar faces will disappear from our earthly fellowship. Let us remember those who in 2019 passed from time-bound life to life eternal: Bruce Benson, Al Conlon, Len Holmberg, Gene Larkin, Karen Loss, Fred Martin, Shirley Paul, and Kathleen Race. We are all just passing through time. Each of us has only a limited time in which to address the world’s needs we have inherited from our previous generations. We can see the incredible changes that occurred in our state over the last 100 years. What if the entire world could experience such dramatic, life altering change? With full confidence that God knows where our journeys meet, let’s embrace one another and the global community with an esprit de corp and enthusiasm for mission and ministry together with Christ that continues proclaiming the greatest story being told.

Shalom / Jim


What a Beautiful One It Is

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

I am a fan of L.R. Knost. Her website describes her as (among other things) an award-winning author, Jesus lover, feminist, social justice advocate, mom of six, and founder of a children’s rights advocacy group. She’s also a fierce fighter. Knost has been fighting a rare, incurable cancer for years. But in her words, “I’m still here!”

Maybe it’s because she’s a gifted writer. Maybe it’s because she’s confronted—and staved off—death for years. Whatever the reason, Knost consistently comes up with wording that leaves me thinking I wish I’d written it. As we kick off a new year and jump/tumble/are pushed toward a new decade, I share this gem.

Just One

“You can hate it.
You can love it.
You can hide from it.
You can embrace it.
You can analyze it.
You can idealize it.
You can romanticize it.
You can rage at it.
But you can’t ignore it.
It is in your bones.
It is in your lungs.
It fires through your brain.
It is wrapped around you
as intimately as your skin.
It flows through your veins.
It is woven into your DNA.
It is life.
It is life.
It is life.
One life.
Your life.
What will you do with it, love?
What will you do with it?”

Happy 2020. As Knost asks, What will you do with it? I hope you spend part of it with your church family. It’s not the same without you.


Korah’s Restoration

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

For some of us, 2019 was not memorable, and we wish we could have some moments over again. If that’s the case, then the story of Korah’s children should remind us of God’s restoration and redemption. There are eleven songs ascribed to “Sons of Korah” in the book of Psalms. This is surprising since Korah was a reviled character in the wilderness stories (Exodus-Numbers). Three main theories account for their existence: One, these psalms point to nefarious elements in the Bible; two, they are coincidental because they are not related to Korah in the Exodus-Numbers account; three, they witness to God’s redemptive act on the vilest elements in society. The strongest scholarly and rabbinic arguments favor theory number three.

Numbers 16 recounts the tale of Korah’s rebellion against Moses’ authority. The cause of the rebellion is not clear but Korah challenged Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership with support from 250 leaders. His claim was that Moses and Aaron should not be esteemed because all of God’s assembly is deemed holy. Moses replied that God will decide. The next day, the ground opened and swallowed up Korah, his family and his conspirators. Additionally, a plague broke out killing 14,700 people. Needless to say, this incident is one of the harshest stories in the wilderness narrative.

Rabbinic literature is unanimous that sons of Korah were saved. The most common view is that when the ground opened up, they were caught up in the air. Some say they were given a special place in the underworld to compose these psalms and other praises. As for scholarly sources I cite David Mitchell’s article on the topic. He points out various places in the Bible where the theme of Korah’s descendants are mentioned. The most famous one is Hannah because of her marriage to Elkanah (a name associated with the Korah clan). Mitchell claims the prevalent theme in Korahite psalms is the phrase “God will redeem my soul from Sheol.” This fits the idea that God restores those who were punished for their misdeeds and mistakes.

The redemption of the sons of Korah is not explicit in the Hebrew Bible. A careful and distinct thread is woven through different parts, and an attentive eye could uncover this truth; no matter how bad one messes up, God works diligently to turn that around. If you had an unpleasant 2019, for the start of the new year I want to remind you that God restores us from the pit of the most dreadful mistakes, circumstances and problems, and we have a future to look forward to. Psalm 85, one of the Korahite psalms, declares:

Restore us, O God of our salvation,

And cause Your indignation toward us to cease.

Will You be angry with us forever?

Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?…

Show us Your loving kindness, O Lord,

And grant us Your salvation.


January 2020 at Trinity

Get Involved at Trinity

Want to be more involved? Trinity Church is always in need of more volunteers. To sign up or learn more about these ministries, please contact the people listed:

Acolytes, Crucifers and Langley Bell Ringers (for children in 2nd – 12th grade)

Adult Choirs: Jerry Rich

Children’s Choir: Michelle Zenk

Children’s Sunday School Teachers: Melissa Harris

Greeters & Fellowship at 8:30: Karen Taylor

Greeters & Fellowship at 10:30: Kathy Maher

Ushers at 10:30: Vinnie & Sandy DeMicco

For other opportunities, please speak with one of the pastors.

Jan. 1 Office Closed  
Jan. 7 Staff Parish Relations Committee

7 p.m.

Jan. 12 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
Jan. 14 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoi
Jan. 15 Preschool Parenting Hour

9:30 a.m

Jan. 15 Staff Parish Relations Committee

7 p.m.

Jan. 18 Christ House  
Jan. 20 Office Closed  
Jan. 21 Celebration of Life: Len Holmberg

10 a.m.

Jan. 26 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

Jan. 30 Lunch & Learn for

11 a.m.

See graphic below

January 2020 Book Chat

Start the New Year with a good book! The Trinity Book Chat will meet on Tuesday, January 14, to discuss America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoi, a richly researched novel about Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph. We’ll get together at 6:30 p.m. in the Trinity Library. Bring a light dinner (dessert is provided) and enjoy fellowship and lively conversation. Reading the book isn’t even required! Up for discussion on February 11: Morningstar, about writer Ann Hood’s early fascination with reading. Contact Kathy Maher to be added to the e-mail list.

2020 Resolutions

By Jerry Rich, Director of Music

“The New Year is here, and I am looking for a resolution.”

If you are having this thought, why not join one of Trinity’s choirs? Choir is more than rehearsing, ringing and singing. It is a vital part of Trinity whose members feel called to minister to others through music.

Join one of our choirs and you will:

1) Be a part of the church’s worship life

2) Fellowship with others who feel God’s call to serve through music

3) Experience how music becomes an extension of God’s word

Qualifications for joining a choir include:

1) Loving Jesus with all your heart

2) Wanting to express through music what God has done for you

3) Being willing to serve at Trinity

You don’t have to be a great singer or ringer (although we are blessed with those!). If God has called you to serve in a choir, others will help you begin your journey in this new way to serve. Remember that “God does not call the qualified; rather, he qualifies the called.” If God is calling you to serve at Trinity through its music program, please make a resolution now to try one of its choirs! Our handbell choir, Trinity Ringers, rehearses at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays and our adult vocal choir, Chancel Choir, rehearses at 7:30 p.m., also on Thursdays. Both rehearsals are held in Room 115. If you have other questions, please contact me at


Trinity Trebles resumes in January

Dear Trinity family,

I am SO PROUD of our Trinity Trebles and how well they presented The First Christmas. They did a wonderful job of singing and playing their instruments! I hope you enjoyed their presentation!

We will resume rehearsals on January 5 to have more fun learning music to praise God and to put smiles on everyone’s faces. All children, ages 4 – 6th grade, are welcome join us in Room 115 at 9:30 a.m.

I hope you have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful holiday break!

Michelle Zenk

Trinity Trebles Director


Christmas Lasts Twelve Days? Cool!

Henny Gilmer, Trinity Church mascot

Happy New Year to all the kids of Trinity Church! It’s your friend and church mascot; I’m Henny! Did you have a good Christmas? I did. I got some treats and new toys. I got to play with other dogs in the family. It was fun.

Here’s something awesome that I learned about Christmas: It’s not just one day. Christmas is a season and it lasts for twelve whole days! When we hear Christmas music, we think it must be the season, but it’s not. It’s usually Advent. It starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day so it’s just about a month before Christmas. Advent is the time when we get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. When does Advent end? If you guessed Christmas Eve, you’re right. That means the Christmas season starts on Christmas Day itself!

Now that we know when the season starts, let’s figure out when it ends. If you’ve ever heard the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, you’ve got a great clue. The Christmas season lasts twelve days. The end of it is Epiphany. Have you ever heard that word before? An epiphany can mean when someone suddenly figures something out. For Christians, Epiphany means something much bigger. It represents the day when the Wise Men made it to see Jesus and realized Jesus was the Son of God.

What do you think about Christmas lasting for twelve days? Some kids might think they should get presents for each of the days. But really, we do. We get the gift of Jesus’ love every day of every year. The love of God through Jesus is the very best gift of all!

Do you have a question for me about God, the Bible or Trinity Church? Here’s how you reach me:

Remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!