A Grand Adventure Story

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

A well constructed story appeals to us all because everything that happens contributes to the whole, and we, most of us, often wish that all the events of our own lives contributed to some overall meaning in the same way. In Orthodoxy G.K. Chesterton described how he eventually came to the conviction that all life was like a story – a grand adventure story. Adventure stories usually have some important goal that requires great dedication if it is to be achieved; they tell of the valor of loyal companions who face danger and endure losses in achieving that goal. Chesterton showed that this “life as adventure” theme is also present in the Christian understanding of life.

You and I express who we are in the form of the stories we tell about ourselves. We introduce ourselves to other people by telling them where we are from, where we were educated, who we know, whether we are married and have family, and sometimes, what our goals are, etc. We do this because our identity is achieved slowly, through time, and it cannot be expressed apart from an account of our specific passage through time. Let us remember those who in 2018 passed from time-bound life to life eternal: Ruth Mutchler, Woody Rogers, John Sadler and Doug Swanson.

You, I and all who worship with God at Trinity Church are on a grand adventure together. Only God knows what wonderful adventures lay ahead for us in year 2019; what new faces will join our happy throng; what familiar faces will disappear from our earthly fellowship. We are all just passing through time. So, with full confidence that God knows where our journey leads, let’s embrace one another with an esprit de corp. and enthusiasm for ministry together with Christ that we write our names on the pages of volume 2019 of the greatest story still being told.




Prayer 2019

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” – Abraham Lincoln

Life exposes our limitations and capabilities. It demands far more from us than what we know is possible. Therefore Lincoln, one of the finest and capable presidents, is known to have been a person of prayer. However, most are unaware that he was viewed as the most irreligious president, despite his emphasis on prayer.

I asked all the parents to pray for their children this year. I also asked that they include in their prayers all those who influence their children – their children’s friends, schoolmates, classmates in school and church, pastors, teachers, neighbors, teammates, coaches, church and community leaders, and for the welfare of our country and the world. I renew my request because when I look at my own children, on one hand I thank God for the protection and grace that was provided. But on the other hand, I realize how inadequate I was as a father. I was not fully aware of all the changes that were happening to them and even if I did, I was not equipped to adequately address them. Thank God for God!

The picture is a prayer wall in Room 301. For confirmation and preteen classes, I have been asking students to write down their prayers and place them in the canvas. This exercise not only helps them to pray but also visualize in a concrete way that Trinity is a praying community. Let’s pray together to help our children grow in the Lord!


January 2019 at Trinity

Jan. 1 Office Closed  
Jan. 5 Celebration of Life: Phyllis King
Jan. 8 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes
Jan. 9 Widows’ Support Group

6:30 p.m.

Meets in the Fellowship Building.
Jan. 13 Martha’s Table Sandwich Making Sunday
Jan. 20 Celebration of Life: John Sadler

2 p.m.

Jan. 21 Office Closed  


book cover
Book Chat’s January pick

Start the New Year with a book! The Trinity Book Chat will meet on Tuesday, January 8, to discuss The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, by Kelli Estes, a novel inspired by true events that speaks to the endurance of the human spirit and the human heart. 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! Contact Kathy Maher to be added to the e-mail list. Coming up: Our book for February is West With the Night, by Beryl Markham.


Bridging God’s Word to Everyday Life (Dec. 2)


Our Prayer List

Abby, Addy, Alexis, Amy, Andrea, Andrew, Ann, Anne, Annie Ruth, Annie, Ashley, Barb, Barbara, Bates family, Beth, Bill, Bobbie, Brenda, Buddy, Burl, Carl, Carla, Carol Ann, Carol, Carrie, Carroll, Cathy, Charlie, Cherié, Clary family, Dane, Daniel, Darlene, Dave, David, Dean, Debbie, Del, Diana, Dorothy, Ed, Ella, Emma, Erika, Flo, Florian, Frank, Fred, Gary, George, Gloria, Herb, Herb, Holly, Jane, Janet, Jean, Jeff, Jerome, Jerry, Jim, Jim & Sharon, Joan, Joe, John Matthew, John, Jon, Josh, Joyce, JR, Judy, Julie, June, Kaela, Kate & Leo, Kay, Ken, Lance, Laurel, Layne, Len, Lenny, Leonida, Lilly, Lincoln, Linda, Lindie, Lisa, Liz, LJ, Lorraine, Lou, Maddy, Marcia, Marciene, Mark, Martha, Mary, Mary Lou, Matt, McCullough family, Megan, Merlin, Michele, Michelle, Mike, Molly, Nancy, Niko, Olivia, Patty, Paul, Paul & Jeanette, Paula, Pauline, Peg, Peggy & Bill, Peggy, Penny, Phyllis, Ray, Richard, Robert, Ron & Maryann, Rosa, Sadler family, Sally, Sandy, Sarkees, Scott, Scott & Kathy, Sherry, Steve, Sue, Susan, Suzanne, Teresa, Terry, Theresa, Thomas, Tiki, Tom, Tonia, Tony, Torry, Vanna, Virginia, Vivian, the people of the Carolinas and the Florida panhandle and California, migrants, and those affected by mass shootings.

We extend sympathy to Jennifer, Jeff, Matt and David Sadler and their families on the Nov. 27 death of their father John Sadler. A service to celebrate John’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on January 20, 2019.

Pray with Us Each Weekday

Eileen Gilmer prays on Facebook each weekday at 7 a.m. Tune in to begin your day with your church family. The video is also posted to her profile and the church’s Facebook page (Trinity UMC, McLean).

This week  

Join Pastor Jim for Bible Study for a new Advent study, We’re Not That Different from Joseph, a video series by Adam Hamilton. Sundays at 9:30 a.m., Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Library. This week: A Carpenter Names Joseph.

Crafts for a Cause is counting on you to drop by the Holiday Bazaar on Sunday in the Fellowship Building following both worship services. The Bazaar will be open each Sunday between now and Dec. 16, 9:30 a.m.—12 p.m. We accept cash, check and credit card.

Share Angel Tree gifts with tag are due Sunday. Gifts will be distributed at Share’s annual party later this week. Thank you for helping make the clients’ holiday special.

Widows Support Group will meet on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for a potluck and to discuss the book, Option B by Sheryl Sandberg. The next gathering will be Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. for the Blue Christmas service in the Chapel.

Collection Drive for Share

Trinity’s Church & Society Committee sponsors monthly collections for local and worldwide ministries. During the month of December, we are collecting items for Share, our local food pantry that serves many homeless and underemployed members of our community. Their biggest needs now are:

  •  Vegetable Oil-48 oz
  •  Canned Fruit
  •  Canned Corn
  •  Pasta sauce- can or plastic
  •  1-2 lb bags Rice
  •  Canned black beans
  •  Canned chick peas
  •  Feminine Hygiene
  •  Diapers and Wipes

Please place donations in the bins outside the Sanctuary and in the Fellowship Building.

Crafts for a Cause

Find something for everyone on your list at the Crafts for a Cause Holiday Bazaar, going on every Sunday from 9:30 to noon in the Fellowship Building, through Dec. 16. The inventory changes every week, with tasty food, baby gifts and toys, pet treats, Christmas goodies and a new gifts for men section. You can’t find ANY of these things on Amazon, and all proceeds go to the Crafts ministry for the next year. We accept cash, checks and credit cards.

If you’re interested in exploring the Crafts group, we have two work sessions coming up when volunteers make comfort items for hospitals and shelters – Mon., Dec. 3, and Mon., Dec. 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 124. We also have homework, and a Loom Hat project. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse.

in the Chapel

Moms’ Group Cookie Exchange

Please join us on Sunday, December 9 at 7 p.m. at the home of Erika Keough (6360 Lynwood Hill Rd, McLean). What you need to bring: About 3 dozen cookies/brownies/treats to exchange and an empty container to hold your share of the goodies. Questions? Contact Jessica Faust.


The Mystery of Christmas

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

What do you and I believe about Advent & Christmas, really? When the church confesses its faith, it doesn’t say: “I believe in the virgin birth, the magi, the empty tomb, and the second coming.” We believe in a person, Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. Church doctrines deal with Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection and are necessary if we are to articulate our faith. But they are not the object of our faith. Our trust, hope, and confidence are in Jesus and him alone.

We take church doctrines about him very seriously, but we should never confuse even the most orthodox doctrines with genuine Christian faith. We may be comforted by the fact that faith in him can be revealed even though our ability to express that faith in words is always inadequate. We must be constantly vigilant during this season of preparation, Advent, and through the season of arrival, Christmas, that our main concern is about Jesus himself, not with our own or even the church’s sometimes confusing presentation of him – not the glitter and lights of the shopping malls – not even the ideas you and I think are right.

During Advent and especially during Christmas we ask, “Who is this person who stands at the center of the Christian faith?” It is significant that the Apostles’ Creed speaks of Jesus with verbs: born, crucified, raised, ascended, and so on. It doesn’t give us an explanation or analysis of his deity and humanity and how they are related.

The New Testament tells us through different versions about Jesus. It gives no theological discussion about doctrines surrounding his life and its events. It simply tells us stories of who Jesus is and what he said and did. He is the one who speaks with authority, heals, serves, loves, obeys, commands, forgives, judges, prays, suffers, gives up his life, triumphs, and rules.

During Advent and Christmas you and I need to reflect on the meaning of his life among us, which means we must consider how Jesus chose to live his life and what that means for how we live our lives. Only through our meditation on the meaning of his life and actions will you and I learn the secret of who he really is. The person of Jesus is inseparable from his work. You and I must never forget that Christmas is not an intellectual or even metaphysical puzzle we are solving, but the arrival of a life through which all history is interpreted … our lives included.

So, “The Word became flesh,” John once wrote, and of all flesh this particular flesh: son of a what was a teenage pregnancy, near victim of a ruler’s genocide, 1st century stone-mason and rabbi, sinner’s hero, poor person’s Messiah, Savior-Healer of the world. Christmas means Jesus is the Word of God made flesh – and we can take it or leave it. And yet, it’s this birth, this life, this death, and this life again, through which God manages to reveal who God truly is.


Seeking Comfort During the Holidays

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

We see the ads, hear the songs and watch the television shows. The Christmas season is special. It is. But the message we’re given tells us we’re to be overjoyed, spending our December with family and friends. Everyone has a fireplace, a gigantic tree, lots of presents and a spotless home. Looking at the television ads, you’d also think everyone gets a new car with a giant bow on Christmas morning.

The fact of the matter is that this season can be stressful. (Tysons, anyone?) Our lives don’t match up to the hype. The children aren’t perfect; that big-bowed car doesn’t magically appear; and sometimes the season can feel isolating. If the month of December leaves you feeling this way, I have some good news. You are not alone and your church family loves you.

For anyone who is missing a loved one, I hope you’ll join us for a special service that recognizes this season can sometimes be difficult. This service will recognize loss of any kind: divorce, job loss, pet loss, loss of a relationship.

in the Chapel

We’ll join together with our friends from Charles Wesley United Methodist Church in Trinity’s Chapel for this service. It’s very much a community-invited service. We hope you will invite family, neighbors and friends who would benefit. We’ll have beautiful Celtic music and offer a chance to come together, recognizing our loss and seeking the hope and peace we are promised through the birth of the Christ child.

As always, Jim, Keith and I are here for you if you ever need to talk, visit or just go get coffee. Please join us for worship this Christmas season.

I look forward to seeing you at church!


What’s Happening at Trinity (Dec. 2018)

Dec. 3 & 17 Crafts for a Cause
7 p.m.
Learn about the latest projects:
Dec. 5 Widow Support Group
6:30 p.m.
We will discuss Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
Dec. 9 Children’s musical
10:30 a.m.
Trinity Trebles presents Aaron, the Allergic Shepherd
Dec. 9 Moms’ Group Cookie Exchange, 7 p.m. RSVP Jessica Faust
Dec. 9 Martha’s Table Sandwich Making
Dec. 16 Lessons & Carols
10:30 a.m.
Dec. 16 Advent Workshop
2—4:30 p.m.
Annual children’s event. To learn more and register: http://umtrinity.org/get-involved/advent-workshop
Dec. 19 Blue Christmas
7 p.m.
A service of remembrance for those who feel loss.
Dec. 24 Christmas Eve worship
5, 8 & 10 p.m.
Celebrate Christ’s birth with your Trinity Church family
Dec. 24-26 Office Closed

Book Chat will take a break for the holidays and resume on Tuesday, January 8, with a discussion of The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, by Kelli Estes, a powerful story about family secrets that testifies to the endurance of the human spirit and the human heart. We meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Trinity Library. Bring a light dinner (dessert is provided) and enjoy fellowship and lively conversation. Questions? Contact Kathy Maher.

Moms’ Group Cookie Exchange

Please join us on Sunday, December 9 at 7 p.m. at the home of Erika Keough (6360 Lynwood Hill Rd, McLean). What you need to bring: About 3 dozen cookies/brownies/treats to exchange and an empty container to hold your share of the goodies. Questions? Contact Jessica Faust.


Click the graphic for more or to register