I’ve been thinking recently about the power of words. We use words all the time: at home, at work, at school, at church. What we say and how we say it has great influence on our lives and the people we interact with every day. For many of us, maturity in Christian faith begins when we start to pay attention to our language — what we say and how we say it.
It has been said that prayer is the language of our relationship with God. This is a helpful definition because it reminds me to pay attention to the words I use when I’m communicating with God in prayer. One of the most important ways we use our words is to deepen our relationship with God in prayer. We need moments of silent, wordless, time alone with God, but we also need to take our joys and concerns to God. When we pray, we experience the power of words.
But words not only have power when we speak them, they also have power when we hear them. The healthiest relationships in our lives have a critical balance of speaking and listening. The best listeners are the people who pay close attention to our words and work hard to find meaning in what we say. One of the best gifts we can give a friend or loved one is to listen to them and allow their words to have an impact on our lives.
As Christians we know that the words we read in Scripture have the power to change our lives: especially the words spoken by Jesus. This summer, we’ve been listening carefully to the words Jesus used to teach us in parables. Jesus’ words are powerful and life-changing. If we want to be one of his deeply committed followers, we need to heed the words of the heavenly voice that speaks to Peter, James, and John on the mountain top in Matthew 17:5, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” I hope our collective efforts to “listen to him” through the parables have been meaningful for you.
Finally, because words are so important and so powerful, I’m planning a new sermon series that will start on September 12. It is called, Stung by the Tongue. In the four weeks of the series, we’ll look at portions of the New Testament Letter of James and consider the power of words and learn how we can use our words for good, for building others up while speaking the truth in love. My hope is that you’ll plan to join us for worship (on-line or in-person) and invite a friend, family member, or neighbor to join you.
I look forward to seeing you every Sunday at Trinity.
During our time of Covid, many of us have turned to our pets for distraction and even a mental health boost. The Washington Post reports that shelters adopted out dogs and cats in record numbers. (The hope now is that the animals will not be returned as people go back to working in person.) Our pandemic experience has been made much more tolerable by having our dog Henny around. She has gotten my husband and me out of the house every day for walks, she’s reminded us that play is a good thing, and she has consistently let us know how much she loves her family. Henny is a Dutch Shepherd mix who recently turned four-years-old. We rescued her when she was seven-months-old, about ten months after our beloved Labrador Biscuit died. In this photo she has a rawhide in her mouth. You can see how she keeps us entertained!
It’s almost time to celebrate our favorite animal friends. Mark your calendar because the Pet Blessing at Trinity Church is on October 3.
Pet blessings are held around the world. They were started to honor St. Francis of Assisi. He was an Italian Catholic friar who lived about 840 years ago. Francis did a lot to draw attention to the poor and needy. He also loved all animals, recognizing them as part of God’s great creation. (St. Francis was even known to carry on conversations with the birds in the trees!) In the year 1228, Pope Gregory named Francis the patron saint of both animals and the environment.
Here are the details of how we’ll celebrate the pets of our parish:
Important information: All dogs need to be on leashes. Cats and all other critters need to be in cages or other appropriate carriers. Henny will be there. We can’t wait to see you and your pets!
by Anne Hough, Interim Children’s Ministries Coordinator
I know that many of you have been wondering what is happening with the children’s ministries at Trinity. I want to assure you that we are working on plans that will be safe for your children and also exciting for them. We hope that the following ministries will make worship a more meaningful time for children and parents.
As we have returned to in-person worship services we have provided special children’s folders in the entrance to the sanctuary. These folders are available for children’s use, as presently they need to remain in the sanctuary for the whole service. The folders are color-coded according to reading ability: non-readers, beginning readers, elementary readers, and advanced readers. Each folder contains a clipboard, a Bible storybook, plain paper, a couple of Biblical coloring or activity papers, pencils, and crayons or coloring pencils. The folders for the younger children also have lacing cards, while the better readers have a copy of the Lord’s Prayer so they can participate when everyone prays.
We are also making plans for a new Children’s Worship experience beginning sometime in the fall. (Start date to be announced.) This will occur during both the 8:30 and 10:30 worship services. Following the children’s time in the sanctuary, children from 4 years through 4th grade may come with the leaders to room 303 in the Fellowship Building. (The Nursery will be available for children 0-3 years.)
In Children’s Worship, we will begin with circle time around our worship table, lighting the candles, talking about them and other special parts of worship and receiving their offering which will go to a mission project. Each child will have the opportunity to tell us something special about their week and after this we will join in a prayer together. Then it will be story time. We will be using many different children’s books that connect with a Biblical teaching so we can learn more about following Jesus. After the story time the candles are extinguished, and we move to tables for activity sheets, crafts or games that expand on the lesson until parents collect their children following the service.
Although 5th-6th graders will remain in the Sanctuary during worship for now (the folders are available for them), we are also working on plans for a new ministry for them called Club 56! More information on that will come later.
I hope all this will reassure you that we love your children and are working hard to make sure there are great ministries at Trinity to help them learn about God’s love. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the foundational tenets of the United Methodist Church is to live in service to others, or as John Wesley phrased it to “put our love and faith into action.” This year the youth program at Trinity will be leaning into this foundational tenet by finding ways to give back to our Trinity Family, our local community, and our global community. Our goal is to participate in one service-oriented activity each month. Some examples of these opportunities are food and clothing collections for organizations like SHARE, selling Christmas trees, assisting our international missions programs, reaching out to our Trinity Family in nursing homes, and making sandwiches for Martha’s Table. The opportunities for service are endless and I encourage the youth to suggest activities as well.
Our first service project will be an International Coastal Clean Up hosted by Ocean Conservancy. Ocean Conservancy (OC) is a non-profit organization headquartered right here in DC. Their mission is to work with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges with science-based solutions to create a healthy ocean and support the wildlife communities that depend on it. For 30 years OC has organized International Coastal Cleanups all over the world, making it a long-standing global movement. The local cleanup in DC will be held on Kingman Island on September 18, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Kingman Island is near RFK Stadium and the Stadium Armory Metro stop. The day will begin with a welcome, safety instructions, and history of the island. Volunteers will clean up the island for approximately 2 hours, grab and go lunches will be provided. Everything you need to participate will be provided by Ocean Conservancy and people of all ages are welcome to participate. At the end of the cleanup all the trash collected will be weighed and added to their international cleanup database.
This event has become increasingly popular and in September of 2019 they had approximately 1,000 volunteers attend. Due to covid they have decided to cap the number of volunteers allowed to attend at 400. The evite will be posted soon and we don’t want to miss our chance to participate. If you would like to join, please let Catherine (email@example.com) know so she can reserve a spot for you.
Let’s bring this global movement to our Trinity Family and take action to improve our local community and our international community.
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Offering Envelopes – Would You Like? Or Not?
As more members of Trinity are utilizing Pushpay or other online donation tools, the desire of some for your own personal box of offering envelopes seems to have waned. We also understand that there are those who desire to utilize personalized offering envelopes as a way of personally giving their treasures to God and the church. No matter how you give, it is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
We want to make giving opportunities streamlined for everyone, and therefore ask you for a bit of information to help us out. If you are not receiving offering envelopes and would like envelopes, please let us know through a personal email to the church office manager, Harriet Latta. If you have been receiving envelopes, but do not desire to use them in the future because you give electronically, we would ask that you send an email to Harriet so we can take your name off the envelope printing list. Harriet’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your help with this information.
It cannot be said enough: Thank you for your contributions to Trinity.
Be Scam Aware
With the advancement in technology allowing us to communicate easily by phone, text and e-mail, we are also seeing an advancement in scam tactics. Churches are not exempt from these scams. No matter how you receive a message, please be sure you know the request is from a legitimate company or person. For example, the most popular scam targeting church members is an e-mail that appears to be from the pastor. But, it’s not. How can you tell? The two biggest clues are in the sender’s e-mail address and in the content of the message. The sender’s email address—that’s the part that includes the @-sign—may contain part of a person’s name or it might just look like random letters. The part that follows the @-sign is the key. A request from Trinity’s pastors will always come from @umtrinity.org addresses. The message itself is usually one to two sentences. The sentence structure, grammar, spelling and word choices are usually indicators of a scam. A recent scam included the sentence, “Kindly reply me when you get these.” Does that read like a sentence written by one of Trinity’s pastors?
Scammers who call, text or e-mail sometimes request gift cards. They ask you to go buy a bunch of gift cards and will even stay on the phone with you while you drive all over town trying to accumulate enough cards to fulfill their request. It’s ok to hang up on scammers.
When in doubt, you can call the church to verify the legitimacy of a message.