What is Palm Sunday?

Duke Rose, Trinity Church mascot

Hello to all the kids of Trinity Church! I hope you are having a good March. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring. It won’t be too long of a wait. Spring arrives on March 20.

Something else happens this month. It’s Palm Sunday. Do you know why we celebrate Palm Sunday or why we celebrate with palms? This is a very important day in the life of the church so let’s take a look at what it means.

First, let’s see what a palm tree looks like. If you’ve been to Florida, South Carolina or California before, then you’ve probably seen a palm tree. Lots of tropical places have palms. Here’s a picture of one. See those individual leaves? Those are called palm fronds. When you come to church on Palm Sunday, you’ll be given a frond to wave when we sing.

On Palm Sunday we will be remembering the day when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. There was a lot of celebrating. People were excited to see him. As he rode in, the people put their cloaks (today it would be jackets or coats) on the road in front of him. Other people put down palm branches on the road. This sounds funny to us today but it would have been a sign of respect and honor.

This Palm Sunday story is found in all the gospels. Grab your Bible and see how it’s in four different places in the Bible. Here’s where to look for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:12-15.

Palm Sunday is important for another reason. It is the start of what we call Holy Week. If the start is Palm Sunday, do you know what the next Sunday is called? If you said Easter, you are right!

Do you know there’s a cool project you can do with a palm frond? You can make a cross out of it! We’ll have directions for you on Palm Sunday. Here’s a picture of one.

We look forward to seeing you soon. And remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!



The Sweetest Gift for Valentine’s Day

Duke Rose, Trinity Church mascot

Hi, kids of Trinity! Duke Dog, here. I hope you’re having a great 2018.

Do you know what holiday we celebrate this month? If you guessed Valentine’s Day, you’re right! Do you know that Valentine’s Day is actually named after a priest from Italy who lived more than 1,700 years ago? We don’t know much about him but there are a lot of stories of how he had a kind heart and taught many people about Jesus.

That’s something we can all keep in mind this Valentine’s Day. We like to give cards and candy, and that’s awesome. (Just make sure your pets don’t get into the chocolate!) There’s another gift that can make people happier than any present. It’s the gift of kind words.

Can you think of a time that someone said something really nice to you? It’s so awesome when that happens and it probably made you feel good. Why not take the chance to do the same for someone else? You might want to let somebody know how much you appreciate them, thank them for how they help you, or tell them how important they are in your life. Parents, grandparents and teachers really like to hear from you. You can either tell them in person or make a Valentine’s Day card for them. Think about all the super people you have in your life and let them know what they mean to you.

Words are important. Harsh words can hurt but kind words can do great things. Let’s work to make 2018 the year of kindness!

Do you have a question for me? Send me a note at bit.ly/AskDuke.

Remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!


Happy New Year!

Hello to all the kids of Trinity Church! I hope you had a great Christmas and enjoyed spending some time with your family and friends. A lot of people travel to see relatives in another city or state. We visit my grandparents in Falls Church for Christmas. (My grandfather always gives me treats under the table. Turkey and ham. Yum!)

Have you heard about people making New Year’s resolutions? That’s just a fancy way of saying you are making a promise with yourself. Sometimes people make resolutions to exercise. (I recommend finding a dog to take for a walk.) Have you made a New Year’s resolution before? I have some ideas that might be cool to try.

  • Make a resolution to read more. Why not spend a half hour every day reading something for fun? Ask your parents or grandparents to take you to the library to find cool books.
  • Look for ways every day to do at least one nice thing for someone. It can be as simple as holding a door for someone or setting the table before a meal.
  • Make a resolution to clean out your old toys and clothes, and then donate them. Share is a great place to donate things that are still in good condition. They help families who live in our community. The church office can give you more details.
  • Memorize a different verse from the Bible each week. If you need some help finding verses to memorize, just let me know. I can send your family a list of great verses.
  • Pray! Prayer is just another way of saying talking with God. That’s right. God wants you to talk about what makes you happy, sad, concerned, or even what makes you laugh! It doesn’t take a lot of time and God really wants to hear from you.

I hope your family will also make a resolution to come to see your church family at Trinity. When you come to church, you get to hear even more about God’s love.

Do you have any questions for me? Just send them to me at bit.ly/AskDuke.

Remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!


Ask Duke: Where Was Jesus Born?

Duke Rose, Trinity Church mascot

If you are reading this December 3 or after, Happy Advent! What an awesome time of year. Advent is the season where we prepare for the birth of Jesus.  You can think of it as a giant birthday party for Jesus, and we’re all invited! That reminds me of a question from Ms. Lauren Michelle’s Sunday School class. The kids ask: Where was Jesus born? Great question!

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. That’s Christmas! This answers when we celebrate, but our smart Sunday School children want to know where he was born. How do we answer that? If you said that we look to the Bible, you’re right. The Bible tells us all we need to know.  Matthew and Luke talk about Jesus’ birth. We read in Luke that Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth, but had to return to Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem to be counted by the government in a process called a census. While they were in Bethlehem, Jesus was born.

Here’s something really cool. Bethlehem is called the city of David.  You might remember David when he was a boy and fought a giant named Goliath. David grew up to be a king one thousand years before Jesus lived. He was also a relative of Joseph. So, Jesus was considered to be from the “House of David,” meaning he was a relative of David. This was predicted, or “prophesied” in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

Ask your parents, older brothers or sisters, or your grandparents to help you find Bethlehem on a map. It’s in the country of Israel. Bethlehem is 5,904 miles from McLean. If you took a plane from Washington, it would take you about 15 hours to fly to Tel Aviv, then you’d still have to drive another 36 miles to get to Bethlehem. Although Jesus’ place of birth is far away from us, his love is as close as our heart. As we celebrate with gifts on Christmas day, let’s also remember the greatest gift of all: Jesus.

Merry Christmas and remember our motto: Paws for Jesus!


Ask Duke: Why Does God Make Hurricanes?

Duke Rose, Trinity Church Mascot

Hello to all the kids of Trinity Church! It’s me, Duke Dog; but you can call me Duke. I am excited to be answering your questions about God, the church, or whatever else is on your mind. First, let me tell you a little about me. I live in Charlottesville, Virginia. My mom and dad went to school at James Madison University where the school mascot is a dog. Cool! Can you guess the mascot’s name? That’s right. It’s Duke Dog! I am also the Grand-dog of Pastor Eileen. She asked me to help with your questions.

Here’s one from our good friend Bennett. He asks: Why does God make hurricanes? Awesome question, Bennett!

It has been a very active hurricane season. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma did a lot a damage. People in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and beyond have suffered because of the big storms. Hurricanes are very powerful storms. They can be as much as 600 miles across. That’s huge! Hurricanes also bring big amounts of rain. Hurricane Harvey dumped 27 trillion gallons of rain on Texas and Louisiana! Here’s a good YouTube video your parents or grandparents can help you watch.

It helps us to remember that God is bigger than any storm. We read in the book of Genesis (the very first book of the Bible) that God made the sky and everything in it: our sun, moon, stars, clouds, even the lightning and thunder.

In the book of Job, we see where God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash. God is powerful! Lightning and thunder are mentioned a bunch of times in the Bible.

Hurricane Catrina as seen from the International Space Station, 2004

Look at this picture of a hurricane. See the part in the very middle? It’s called the eye. Inside the eye of the storm it’s very quiet and dry. As the eye passes over land, the rain and wind calm down. That’s how God’s love is for us. Even when things might be loud and busy around us, we find peace and comfort in God. We can find calm, even in the middle of our own hurricanes in life.

Just like everything else in nature, God made the rain, thunder and lightning. Sometimes those storms can get bright, noisy, windy and rainy. But, I hope you’ll look at them differently next time you see them. Lightning and thunder, hurricanes and storms are really just cool science projects made by God!

If you have a question you can give it to your Sunday School teacher or send it to me at http://bit.ly/AskDuke.

Remember my motto:

Paws for Jesus!

A Tribute to a Loveable, Furry, Goofball Life Well-Lived

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

“A dog has the soul of a philosopher.” – Plato

Taking a swim in the lake. Oviedo, FL, 2005.

It is with a heavy (but very grateful) heart I share the news that we have had to say goodbye to our beloved Biscuit. He was more than our family pet; he was Trinity’s mascot, the church office’s unofficial welcoming committee, shredder of all things cardboard, and a columnist for The Spire. Biscuit was indeed quite talented at answering questions sent to him by our Sunday School children—a feat unmatched by most Yellow Labradors. He accomplished a lot during his 13-and-a-half years. He certainly freely gave tail wags and kisses at an above-average rate.

Learning to fetch. Biscuit at a few months old at home in Oviedo, FL, 2004.

Biscuit was even known to make an appearance during the Sunday morning children’s message and at our PDO preschool chapel time. If you have children who remember Biscuit, this is a great opportunity to share with them the importance in celebrating all that God has given us, including our much-loved pets. This would also be a good chance to read to them the creation stories in Genesis, emphasizing the inclusion of animals in God’s plan and the importance of caring for them.

Step aside, Blitzen! Falls Church, 2012.

Another message about God’s love for animals is found in Isaiah 11:6-9. We read of the harmony that is to come in God’s peaceable kingdom when the “wolf will live with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the goat.” John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, discusses the importance of animals in God’s world in the present and beyond. In his Sermon 60, “The General Deliverance,” Wesley preaches that God’s love for creation will be revealed one day when everything made by God (people, animals and nature) will be fully restored and made whole.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow … Falls Church, 2015.

A woman once asked Rev. Billy Graham if she’ll get to see her dog in heaven. Here’s what he had to say: “Heaven will be a place of perfect happiness for us—and if we need animals around us to make our happiness complete, then you can be sure God will have them there.” Amen, Rev. Graham. Amen.

You’ve Got Questions, I’ve Got Answers!

Hello to all the kids of Trinity Church! I hope you are having a great spring. I’m enjoying hanging out with my family on our back deck. I like to watch the squirrels and birds.

I’ve gotten several good questions from friends, so I thought I would share two with you. I always go to the Bible to find the answers. I’ll tell you where you can find the answers, too. You can look them up in your Bible. Remember, if you don’t have a Bible of your own, just let us know and we can get one for you!

Why can’t I see God?

We might not be able to see God now, but some day we will. A man named Paul wrote this about God in a letter to a church in Corinth: “In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now” (1 Cor 12:13 NLB).

Paul is telling us it’s OK that we can’t see God yet. We can still feel God’s love in our hearts. Plus, this tells us that God can see into our hearts right now! That means God knows if we are happy, sad, scared or anything in between.

If God is everywhere, why do I need to go to church?

Another great question! You’re right when you say that God is everywhere. You can see God’s fingerprints all over our world. Have you noticed the beauty of a sunset or a rainbow? How about animals? Look at how amazing a cheetah, giraffe or toucan look. God is all around us, from the skies above us to the grass under our feet. While you can pray and talk to God anywhere, there is something extra that you get when you come to church.

“Remember what Christ taught, and let his words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts” (Col 3:16 NLB).

God made us to be with other people, and that includes other church people. We learn about God from our pastors and Sunday School teachers, we join together in prayer with other people, and we get to sing about God’s love.

Don’t forget to send me your questions. I’m at bit.ly/AskBiscuit.

And, remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!