Journeying Outside Ourselves Together

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 26. This means Easter is celebrated on April 12 this year. In order to get to Easter we must pass through the season of Lent which addresses our need for spiritual discipline.

The discipline involved in Christian spiritual formation begins by looking outside, not inside, ourselves. A long tradition that began in classical Roman Catholicism and has continued to be popular with many Protestants assumes that spiritual renewal begins by looking deep within our own souls and our private religious experience. Behind this assumption is the belief of the ancient Greeks that the human soul is a “little piece of divinity” in us, in hopes of encouraging us to get in touch with ourselves at the deepest level. If we want to recognize and experience God’s presence of God’s life-renewing Spirit in us, we must be willing first to look away from ourselves, outside ourselves, beyond our personal experiences.

This Lenten season I invite you to join me and others on a spiritual journey that will change the way you look at Jesus. For 6 weeks following Ash Wednesday we’ll look at the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life. The journey is called 24 Hours That Changed the World, by Adam Hamilton. Jesus is believed to have died between the age of 35-40. Most of the Gospel writers focus on the last three years of his life. Our primary interest in this Bible study will be on his last 24 hours. Our study will examine what happened on Thursday evening after sunset and end at the close of his life on Friday afternoon. During that time we’ll see Jesus eat the Last Supper with his disciples; pray in the garden of Gethsemane; be betrayed and deserted by his friends; be convicted of religious blasphemy; be tried and sentenced for insurrection by Pontius Pilate; be tortured by Roman soldiers; and finally, focus on his crucifixion, death and burial.

The aim of this study is to help you better understand the events that occurred during the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life, see more clearly the theological significance of Christ’s suffering and death, and reflect on the meaning of those events on your life. To do this we will look at the geographical and historical settings of the events; we’ll reflect theologically on the meaning of these events and Jesus’ death; and finally we’ll examine ourselves in light of the story, considering how we’re like Pilate, Peter, Judas, John, Mary and Martha.

Our class will meet Sundays at 9:30 a.m., Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. The study DVD is provided by Adam Hamilton and study books are available in paperback ($10) and Kindle (<$8). Simply ask me for your print copy. Remember, the Spirit is the Spirit of God that cares about each of us. This Spirit has the power to renew your faith and deepen your understanding of God’s work through salvation. This Lenten study will help us focus outside ourselves, give up our self-centered preoccupation, and soften toward the world, and others, who are also on a spiritual journey, whether they acknowledge it or not.

Let’s begin together our journey through the last 24 hours of Jesus life. See you at any of our three class offerings, as we take the first step.

Grace and Peace during this Lenten season of preparation.



It’s Time for Spiritual Decluttering

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Is your inbox in need of a good purge? I have hundreds of emails telling me I need new shoes/clothes/dog treats/medications from Canada to help me have a rich and fulfilling 2020. There are ads from so many businesses, stores and services, all trying to get me to buy from them. No need to worry; Angie still has her List and Victoria still has her Secret. It was refreshing to see an email from United Methodist Communications. They aren’t selling anything.

One of their articles caught my eye. It’s entitled Spiritual decluttering: A fresh start for a new year. We often use the new year as an opportunity to clean out the hall closet or sort through the kitchen junk drawer. As United Methodists, as blessed children of a loving God, we might want to take this time to declutter our lives, as well. First, let’s start by looking at the things we can set aside.

First, the church pew. Most people sit in approximately the same place each week. In fact, Jim, Keith and I can usually tell you which pew you frequent. Next Sunday, why not view the service from a new perspective in a different seat? Try sitting near someone you’ve never met. Introduce yourself to a person sitting alone.

Next on the list of things to go: time-wasters. In other words, get rid of the things that don’t matter and use your time in service to others. Ask about volunteering at Christ House, delivering snack bags to Martha’s Table, joining a church committee or Bible study.

Here’s another thing to give the boot: negativity. We have many triggers for negativity in our culture: political rhetoric; the Beltway; or an overload of cell phones, emails and conference calls. It may seem easier said than done, but this can actually be turned into a spiritual practice. Whenever you feel stressed, stop. Read a devotion for a quick pick-me-up (we have Upper Room devotion booklets in the Fellowship Building). Another tactic: think about something that you are grateful for in your life. Or, pray for God’s good grace to surround you as you forge ahead past the negative noise.

I’m glad I got that email about decluttering from UM Communications. And, I’m grateful to have you as a part of Trinity’s family.


Youth Group Schedule

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

Last month, our group made plans for the year. We decided to have two categories. One was for fellowship/fun events. The other was for outreach and service projects. Fellowship outings are important in maintaining and building relationships. These outings provide opportunities to form memories and experiences that will shape students’ faith journeys. The other important category was outreach and service projects. Our group felt that this was an important area and had many ideas. Also, some parents expressed the desire to increase opportunities for service projects. We listed some options and discussed their merits. We narrowed the list to the following below. We welcome greater participation by Trinity’s youth community at these events. Please take a look and join us soon!

Fellowship/Fun Events

April 5 Ice Skating

Skating might not be inviting when it’s cold outside. But when the weather warms up, and we miss the chill in the air, then skating should be fun.

May 17 Laser Tag

We had a great time with laser tag last time so we’re going again!

June 7 Bible Museum

July 13-26 King’s Dominion

The date is still up in the air depending on students’ availability and schedule.

Game Conference

If there is a fantastic game conference held in the area, we will consider it and announce the date. We’re waiting for more info from our game master before we decide.

Ski Trip

We went to Whitetail this January and had more than twenty participants. We’ll go again next year so look for announcements.

Outreach/Service Projects

Tree Sales

You know this will be in the list. Last year we sold all the trees in three weeks. We hope to do the same. Please plan on helping out starting Thanksgiving weekend!

Christ House Lunch Service Project

Christ House is a medical care facility for those who are homeless. It’s located in DC, and every third Saturday of the month a team from Trinity makes lunch and serves residents. Connie Jeremiah said that she would love to take a team from the youth group. Let me know if you’re interested in this service project.

Vacation Bible School

VBS is a vital ministry of Trinity that serves the greater McLean community. It’s not just a program but a great way to minister to 100+ children and their families. The end of July or first week of August are possible dates.

Honduras/Overseas Mission

This is still in planning stage but most likely the trip will be for one week right after the end of the school year on June 12. Look for more info.

Youth-Based Food Drive for SHARE

Trinity collects food for many organizations, and SHARE is one of them. We thought that we could sponsor one. Most likely, we’ll have one in September.

College Care Packages

The youth group has always helped send out college care packages. Our next shipment will be in February. Donations for food and postage costs will be appreciated.


February 2020 at Trinity

Finance Update: 2019 Contribution statements were mailed on Friday, January 31, 2020. The 2020 offering envelopes will arrive by mid-February. Please pick up your box from the Narthex or Fellowship Lobby. Or, easily and securely sign-up for electronic giving through our app or

Feb. 3 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Feb. 9 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
Feb. 11 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Morning Star, by Ann Hood
Feb. 15 Christ House
Feb. 16 Trustees

11:30 a.m.

Feb. 17 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Feb. 23 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

Feb. 23 3rd Grade Bibles If your 3rd grader will be present to receive a Bible, Please contact .
Feb. 25 Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

5 –7 p.m.

See graphic above for details
Feb. 26 Ash Wednesday worship

12 & 7 p.m.



February 2020 Book Chat

Trinity’s book club will get together on Tuesday, February 11, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Morningstar: Growing Up With Books, a journey through author Ann Hood’s early fascination with reading, We meet the second Tuesday of the month (from September through May) in the Trinity Library. Everyone is welcome, even if you haven’t read the book! The selection for March is Finding Dorothy, by Elizabeth Letts. For information, contact Kathy Maher (

Feb 2020 Trinity Trebles

Happy New Year!

The Trebles are starting a new year with new music. We have been singing, dancing and playing already in just one rehearsal! It was a lot of fun! We will be singing in our first performance in February, so if you haven’t been able to join us, you still have a chance to be ready! You are welcome!

Youth: Keep an eye out for an email soon. I would like to invite ALL of the youth to our first music get together in February—no singing necessary! The only music skill you will need is to be able to count to four. I promise!

See you soon!

Musically Yours,

Michelle Zenk

Choral, Handbell, and Organ Music for February 2020

If you’d like to know how our adult choirs plan to mark the transition from hope-filled Epiphany to reflective Lent while also celebrating Black History Month, here are some of the musical offerings we will share with the Trinity community during Sunday services this February.

EPIPHANY IV, V, and VI (February 2, 9, 16): We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace is a spiritual based on Psalm 23 as arranged by the distinguished African American choral conductor, pianist, arranger, and educator William Appling. In the Sweet By-and-By is an 1868 Joseph Webster hymn that has been sung by artists as diverse as Louis Armstrong, Willie Nelson, and Anonymous 4; Trinity’s Chancel Choir uses Howard Helvey’s 1993 arrangement. O God, Our Help in Ages Past is Penny Rodriguez’s moving 2006 setting of Psalm 90.

TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY (February 23): Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies is Philip Ledger’s 1988 setting of a Charles Wesley hymn text. O Wondrous Sight, O Vision Fair is a Transfiguration hymn for handbells; its stirring melody is based on the Renaissance English Agincourt carol DEO GRACIAS ANGLIA and can be heard in Sir Laurence Olivier’s 1944 film Henry V.

ASH WEDNESDAY (February 26): Be Merciful, O Lord is a 1990 setting by Australian composer Christopher Willcock of Psalm 51, which is traditionally sung at the beginning of Lent. O God, Be Merciful to Me is a 1999 setting by William Rowan of an 1860 chorale by Jean-Baptiste Weckerlin.

ORGAN MUSIC: February’s preludes and postludes will include music by African-American composers Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989; Professor of Music at Virginia State University); Mark Fax (1911-1974; Professor of Music at Howard University); and Nkeiru Okoye (b. 1975, composer of the opera Harriet Tubman) as well as settings of the spirituals Balm in Gilead, I Want to Be Ready, and Steal Away.

Answering Questions and Scoring Big at Scrabble

Henny Gilmer, Trinity Church Mascot

Hello to all the kids of Trinity Church! I hope your February is going well. Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? Dogs aren’t supposed to have chocolate, so my family gives me a Valentine’s cookie that’s made especially for dogs. It’s pretty awesome.

You know what else I love? Answering questions from my friends! Here’s one from a Sunday School class. They were learning about how some churches are shaped like a cross, and they asked why Trinity doesn’t have a cross shape. Good question!

Do you play Scrabble? It’s a fun board game where you spell out words. I have a good one for you: cruciform. Churches that are in the shape of a cross are said to have a cruciform shape. That’s just a fancy way of saying they are built to look like a cross. Sometimes you can see the shape by looking at the outside of the building. But, that’s not true with Trinity. You need to be inside the sanctuary to see it.  In fact, to see the shape best, you really should be standing in the balcony.

Check out the picture of the sanctuary. We drew in an outline of the cross to let you see it better. The center aisle makes up the long part of the cross. The shorter “arms” of the cross are called the transepts. The top of our cross ends with the organ.

Here’s another fun fact: the altar (top) end of the cross is pointing to the east. Do you remember why the east is so important in the Bible? I’ll give you a hint. It has something to do with the wise men. The wise men followed the star that was in the eastern sky. They followed that east star to find Jesus. So, our church also faces Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

Thanks for your question. Do you have a question you’d like me to answer? Ask away!

Don’t forget my motto: Paws for Jesus!