From Pastor Neil’s Study

In their 2011 book, Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results, Lovett Weems (Founding Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership in Washington DC) and Tom Berlin (Senior Pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon) describe, “The two most important words for fruitful leadership: so that.” (Page 19.)

They point out that the Bible has many examples of the importance of these two simple words: “so that.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9)

Tom and Lovett insist that we (both individual followers of Jesus and congregations) who are sent into the world to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, need to have clear “so that” statements — so that we stay focused on our mission and purpose and accomplish the outcomes God intends.

In other words, it’s not enough to “do church” or even “do church” well. We “do church” so that the people we serve have life-changing encounters with the love and saving grace of God, so that they will love God, grow in faith, and serve Christ, so that they will become faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

I’ll be honest, I’m both inspired and convicted by the way Tom and Lovett challenge us to think about who we are and what we do. I need a regular reminder that my life will bear fruit, and our lives together will bear fruit in ministry, when we “transform activities into outcomes using so that. (From Bearing Fruit, page 24.)

My challenge for you, as we begin to emerge from the cloud of the pandemic, is to spend some time with the activities of your life — especially church activities — and work on a so that statement. I believe that if you do, your life will bear much fruit.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

In Christ,

Pastor Neil

A Hard Place to Leave

Dear Church Family,

Thank you for our journey together at this wonderful congregation. As time passes, I’m sure I will fondly look back on our time and remember all those great moments we had. Thank you!

It’s been a blessing to be a pastor at this church. I’m grateful you have been gracious and kind to me and also to my family. Because my family enjoyed their time here, they were sad when I informed them about my new appointment. A pastor can’t ask for a greater request than having his/her family feel at home at the place of ministry.

I’m also grateful for so many leaders and members who supported all the ministries I was a part of. The children’s education, youth group, confirmation classes, Honduras mission trips, children and youth choirs, Appalachian Service Project outreach, young adult ministry, children’s ministry, VBS, preschool, video ministry, and Christmas tree sale were all possible because countless faithful volunteers stepped up and gave their time, talent and treasure for our faith community. Your love, kindness and generosity towards God and toward one another have given me encouragement and hope to continue my journey for God’s service.

Also I want to note your encouragement in helping me to develop my creative ministry skills. I did not know about puppetry, video editing, play writing, or making children’s videos before I came to Trinity. Through your acceptance and encouragement, I was able to develop these skills and others. One of the memorable children’s moments was when I performed as Mr. Rogers; it was a beautiful day in the Trinity neighborhood.

Lastly, I want to remind you how wonderful you are as a congregation and individuals. You are talented, faithful, generous, kind, creative and much more. One of the reasons for my sadness in leaving Trinity is that I will not be part of the transformative growth and change God will do through you in the future. Please allow me to be your Instagram or Facebook friend so that I can continue to witness the fabulous work and ministry in your life and ministry.

-The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make God’s face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up God’s countenance upon you and give you peace.

Keith Lee

A New(ish) Year’s Resolution

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Maybe the title of this article should be A Midyear’s Resolution. But this summer feels more like the start of something new, rather than the second half of something old. The last thing we need is for the second half of 2021 to be a continuation of the first half of the year. I think we’re all ready for something different. Call it a reset, a do-over or a fresh start; whatever you call it, let’s consider it new.

Fortunately for us, God is brilliant at taking awful situations and creating out of them the unexpected, even the beautiful. Think of where we were in the summer of 2020. We had no idea how much longer we would be living our lives apart from the people we love and the activities we longed to experience once again. While this summer is not going to be exactly as it was two summers ago, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. Instead of looking for a time that is the same as it was, why not look forward to a time that is shiny and fresh and brimming with possibilities?

This is the message God conveyed in Isaiah. Check out this verse:

I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert
. Isaiah 43:19

For those who would know what it meant to wander in the wilderness and experience the misery of life in the desert, this was more than just a pep talk. This was a promise from a God who was known for keeping promises. As if it were not enough to promise a way through and out of whatever wilderness and deserts God’s people might encounter, this was a promise for something completely new, better and exciting.

Thousands of years after those words were recorded, we are still a people who are turning to God, praying for our God to create a new thing in a world slammed by the unholy trifecta of pandemic, divisiveness and racial injustice. But fortunately for us, God is really good at taking situations that seem dire and finding cause for us to hope. That is why I am proposing we look at the second half of 2021 as a reason to celebrate a new(ish) year. 

What better way to do that than by making new(ish) year’s resolutions? Unsure if those pants (the ones that actually button and zip, not the ones with drawstrings, y’all) still fit? Make a new(ish) year’s resolution to exercise more … or some! Still haven’t learned to play that musical instrument you were sure you’d have time to master during lockdown? Make a new(ish) year’s resolution to learn via YouTube, Zoom or in-person lessons! The opportunities are endless.

There is one resolution I would love for you to consider. Your Trinity clergy and church family miss you. Even if you haven’t watched our services regularly online, do not worry. They’re still available on YouTube and Facebook. And, a dedicated group of church members has been diligently working on ways for us to safely meet more regularly in person. We are so grateful for all the time and effort that has gone into the services we’ve had and those that are yet to come.

Please plan to make Trinity a part of your new(ish) year’s resolution.

I’ll see you (soon!) at church.

Healthy Church Team Update

By William Liu and Jim Wilson, HCT Chairs

The Virginia UMC Conference Bishop, in response to recent amended Virginia Governor Executive Orders, has determined that much of what the Healthy Church Teams (HCT) were doing to help church’s return to in-person worship, can now be managed by smaller teams who are closely aligned with church’s Executive Committees or Councils. The new local church organizations will closely align with what the Conference is calling Post-COVID ReEntry Groups (PRG). Each church is being asked to make their own decisions about various previously identified safety protocols, and any associated relaxed rulings. With that in mind, and with concurrence of the clergy and the Church Council, the Trinity HCT will do one more modification to the church Healthy Church Team Plan, and enter the next phase of protocol actions. Several key members of the HCT will support the Church Council as it goes forward to keep our congregation and communities safe as we see COVID-19 move from a pandemic to an endemic.

A quick shoutout of thanks to all those who participated as members of the HCT to ensure the overall safety of the church. They are: Barry Beach, Dr. Cynthia Bernard, David Case, Peggy Fox, Pastor Eileen, Pastor Neil, Ray Gilmer, Brian Grunenfelder, Harriet Latta, Pastor Keith, Jamie Loving, Susan Maines, Margie Meak, Dan Moore, Mary Newcomb, John Smith, and Emily Yosmanovich.

Start looking for new direction and protocol information as to heading back to in-person inside services as of July 1, and what that will entail.

Thanks for all your support!

This Summer at Trinity

We’ll Meet Again

By Jerry Rich, Director of Music

In the past year, Trinity’s music program has created 153 videos (63 keyboard, 49 choral, 33 solo vocal, 6 handbells, 2 solo violin) as well as numerous hymn videos for its weekly online services. Our songs have spanned four centuries and have used the language of classical, jazz, and pop music to proclaim the Good News. While we have enjoyed sending out these musical “postcards” (as in “wishing you were here”), we also look forward to the time when we will once again be able to share our sounds with you in person, providing sacred music moments to complement the weekly Trinity church service. Please stay tuned for future announcements about opportunities at Trinity to sing in our choirs, join our handbell ensemble, or provide solos.

Trinity Preschool

By Emily Yosmanovich, Director of Trinity Preschool

Trinity Preschool concludes another successful school year despite the many challenges and obstacles of operating through a pandemic. The school would like to extend many thanks to the Trustees, Healthy Church Team, and staff who have performed various tasks, large and small, to keep us open to serve the community during this time! In the coming 2021-2022 school year, we are excited to announce that Trinity Preschool will expand to include a new multi-age class, a Kindergarten class and Playcare extended hours programming for ages 2.5 -6. Enrollment is well underway, and interested families are encouraged to visit our website at www.umtrinity.org/preschool for more information.

From Pastor Neil’s Study

The Christian season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday (February 17, 2021), is a 40-day season of spiritual preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection at Easter (April 4, 2021). (Sundays are always feast days and are not included in the 40 days of Lent.) For centuries, Christians have been using Lent to reflect on their need for God’s saving grace and to intentionally practice Spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading and study, fasting, worship, sacrificial giving, and service.

As you embark on your Lenten journey, I hope you will make time to observe Lent by setting aside time to nurture your relationship with God. At Trinity, you will have weekly opportunities to reflect on the gift of God’s grace offered through Jesus Christ and deepen your relationship with God. We’ll be preaching a series of sermons and I’ll be offering a companion discipleship study called, Teach Us To Pray.  In the sermons and the study, we will use the example and teaching of Jesus in The Gospel According to Luke to learn how to pray – or to grow in our ability to pray. One of the things we’ll discover is that there are more examples of Jesus praying in Luke’s Gospel than the other three combined. Jesus set an example for his disciples to follow. There are important lessons to learn. That’s why I’m going to challenge the entire Trinity Church family to read the whole of the Gospel as we worship and study together.

In the coming weeks, our online worship will continue, including an online Ash Wednesday service, as we look forward to gathering in-person. Look for details about Ash Wednesday and other services, programs, and events in upcoming bulletins and weekly announcements. I hope that you will join us for worship and for the study, but even if you are not able to attend a single activity, I hope you will make your relationship with God a priority in your life. Make time every day to connect with God in silence, solitude, and stillness. Read the Gospel. Think about the people in need—in our church, community, and around the world—and prayerfully offer some of your time and resources to help them. The five (5) commitments we make as members of the Body of Christ will change your life if you let them: worship, grow, service, share, and give. Keeping those commitments is a wonderful way to observe a Holy Lent.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

In Christ,

Pastor Neil

Why Lent Matters

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

It will soon be time for a new season to begin. But don’t go looking for a greeting card or suggested Amazon gift list. There are no movies on the Hallmark Channel romanticizing it. No, there is no hype surrounding Lent. However, millions of Christians, in many different denominations all around the world, observe this liturgical season of preparation. Lent begins Ash Wednesday, February 17 this year, lasting forty days (plus Sundays). When Lent has finished, the joy of Easter begins.  

Lent doesn’t have the feel-good decorations or cookies that Advent and Christmas claim. You won’t find a seasonal scent dedicated to it at the Yankee Candle outlet. It doesn’t have the bold sounds of Easter’s Hallelujah Chorus. For many people, the only thing they can tell you about Lent is that it’s the time when you give up something: maybe chocolate, coffee, or shopping online. Those are some of the biggies. But I would argue this is the very reason why we should turn our eyes toward Lent, when what we really want to do is look away. Lent asks much of us.  

For those who observe Lent, it can be a time of fasting. This is a nod to Jesus’ fasting when he spent forty days in the wilderness. Sopping wet from the baptismal waters of the Jordan River —with a divine voice still ringing in his ears, “You are my Son, the Beloved”—Jesus found himself both full of and led by the very Spirit of God. We read in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) of Jesus’ time in the wilderness. He may have self-exiled from family and friends, but he was not alone. We read where he was tempted by evil; a scripture-quoting Satan tries three different times to tempt Jesus. It is after the final test that Matthew says the devil departed from Jesus “until an opportune time.” Very ominous. All of this took place just prior to the start of his ministry; it was a ministry that would not only change the world but also lead him to the cross.  

It’s becoming more clear why Lent isn’t marketed as the feel-good season of the year, isn’t it? But before you are ready to spiritually sit out this time and set your eyes toward Easter, please let me ask a few questions. Have you ever found yourself in a wilderness? Was there ever a time you felt exhausted, alone, and even tempted? Sometimes our temptations come in the form of money, food, power, alcohol, drugs; the list is endless. There is good news, beloved. Jesus, our God-come-to-earth, has willingly walked into the wilderness, done battle with what is not of God, and can truly feel your pain. Jesus is now willing to walk into your wilderness today, in order to relieve whatever pain plagues you.  

We walk through Lent, knowing what is on the other side: an empty tomb, a resurrected Lord, and the promise of a new life through Christ. Lent helps us get there. Our self-reflection of this season is not always easy, but as Christians we know who we are and whose we are. We are Easter people.
Click the graphic to download

Children & Youth at Trinity (Jan. 2021)

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

Greetings,

It’s a new year and I pray all things are well with you. Even though we have experienced difficulties in 2020, I am grateful for all the ways God comforted and guided us through it. Furthermore, I pray God continues to be merciful in guiding and helping us through 2021!

Ash Wednesday

As staff, we decided to make Ash Wednesday meaningful for the congregation. One of the ways is to hand out individual ash packets for the congregation. Plus, we will prepare an online service that will be meaningful for all family members. I ask the youth group, confirmation class and families in children’s education to participate in the Ash Wednesday service this year. Because this service is usually in the middle of the week, many families with children or youth could not participate. However, this year we want to utilize this opportunity to introduce the Ash Wednesday service to all ages. Ash Wednesday is on Feb. 17 this year, and we will be distributing the packets on Feb. 14. We will share more info in the future.

Easter

We are in the planning stages, but we hope to offer two outdoor worship services on Easter Sunday. There will be one for the Sunrise Service and another one for the morning. The important thing is that we want to gather to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. It should be quite a celebration. Look for more announcements as we get closer to Easter, April 4. I would like to ask all families with youth and children to participate if they’re able. Also I would like volunteers from youth to help with setup and break down. This event will serve Trinity members who have been longing to be with one another. Therefore, we would need many volunteers to put this together. Please consider volunteering for this wonderful occasion. The Lord is Risen!

Possible Easter Egg Hunt

Last year due to Covid restrictions we could not hold the annual Easter Egg Hunt. This year I’m thinking about holding one when we have Communion and Palm Leaves drive-thru the week before Holy Week. In order to put that together, we need your help! We definitely need someone to be the Easter Bunny. If you want to be a celebrity for a day, this is it! Most volunteers in the past shared with me the thrill of kids coming up to them and being treated as someone special. Also we need volunteers to plan and execute a safe and memorable Easter Egg Hunt. Please contact me via email (klee@umtrinity.org) or phone (703-356-3312, ext 117).

Worship at Trinity (2021)

With the continued rise in Coronavirus cases, we are continuing to offer worship and other ministries online. See below for those options. As the weather warms and more people are vaccinated, our pastors will consider some outdoor in-person worship opportunities. While we miss worshiping in-person together, we feel it is our calling to ensure the healthy and safety of all persons.

Lent—Holy Week—Easter 2021

On Youtube, Facebook & Zoom

Key:

F       Facebook (facebook.com/TrinityUMCMcLean)

Y       Youtube (youtube.com/UMTrinity)

Z       Zoom, Meeting ID shown (all Zoom passwords are 1205)

DateEventPlatform
SundaysWorshipF, Y
SundaysChildren’s Education Activities : http://umtrinity.org/children
Mondays, 7 p.m.Engage Bible Study on Zoom: Contact Jim Wilson, jaswilson@sloflt.com
Tuesday, 10 a.m.Bible StudyZ: 894 8087 9762
Wednesdays,
7 p.m.
Bible StudyZ: 886 5257 6837
Wednesdays,
10 a.m.
Prayer GroupZ: 875 6105 5580
Wed., Feb. 17 9 a.m.Ash WednesdayF, Y
Sun., Feb. 28 Sun., March 28 5 p.m.Celtic ServiceF, Y
Thurs., April 1 7 p.m.Maundy ThursdayF, Y
Fri., April 2 7 p.m.Good FridayF, Y
Sun., April 4 6 a.m. 10:30 a.m.EasterF, Y
Sunday, Feb. 14
1 – 2 p.m.
We will have individual packs of ashes available for each family.
 

March 21 (tent.) Holy Week Worship Pick-Up

We will distribute palms and communion elements at this drive thru event.

Palm Sunday               March 28                                       worship online

Maundy Thursday      April 1                                       worship online

Good Friday                 April 2                                       worship online

Easter Sunday            April 4                                       worship online

Possible worship services in-person at 7 & 10:30 a.m.

See above table for online worship details.

Pastors and the HCT are exploring other outdoor opportunities as the weather warms up. Look for announcements for more opportunities.

Children and Youth at Trinity

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor
 
It’s been a long time since I communicated through The Spire and I am glad to say hello! Due to in-person gathering restrictions, we have not been meeting in-person but the church has been, and is still, going strong with activities and events. I would like to share some of the plans for Advent.
 
Advent Page
Pastor Neil’s wife, Pastor Anne, is also an elder in the United Methodist Church. Although she’s retired, she continues to carry out her call to serve God’s people. One of the ministries on her heart is Children’s Sunday School. For Advent, she will offer videos and crafts related to Advent. These videos and links for crafts will be available at https://umtrinity.org/children
Make sure to view them with your children. I’m grateful for Pastor Anne’s dedication and service to Trinity’s children and their families.
 
Christmas Eve Family Worship Video
Regardless of our in-person worship status, the staff plans to provide a meaningful Christmas Eve Family Worship experience through the internet. One feature of the service is for families to share a precious memory or tradition from Christmas. It should be about one-minute length and describe Christmas memories or traditions. Please let me know if you would like to contribute (klee@umtrinity.org). I would love to hear your story and make this a unique Christmas celebration opportunity.
 
Christmas Tree Sales
Winter’s coming! That means our Annual Christmas Tree Sale is near! The Scouts and Trinity did not want to cancel it because many in the McLean community depend on us for their trees. When I sent out an email to gauge the Trinity youth group’s interest in holding it, thankfully, I received many enthusiastic responses. Thanks so much for your interest and willingness to participate in serving our community. To ensure everyone’s safety, we will provide guidelines such as wearing masks and keeping socially distanced. Also, we ordered 200 trees so that we can end the sale in two weeks. That means if you want a tree you should plan to come by the first weekend.
 
Tree Sales: Opening Weekend
November 27 – 29
Friday: Noon-5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.
  
To help unload trees on Nov. 23 please sign up at:
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040b4da8ad22a57-christmas4
All volunteers must bring a signed copy of the following document HealthAcknowledgementform__Scouting Update – 20201012.docx
To volunteer please go to:
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0D44A5A829A13-christmas3
 
Confirmation & Baptism Class of 2021
Confirmation Class 2020 held a Zoom service on June 7 and the video recording of the service was shared on the following Sunday. This class will have an in-person service when the situation allows. I will send out an announcement when the date is determined.
 
The Confirmation and Baptism Class of 2021 began in September! There are over twelve confirmands actively participating through the online platform. Some of the goals of the confirmands are drawing closer to God as well as becoming full members of Trinity. Please keep them in your prayers. As always, I’m so honored to be part of this journey with them.