Leadership in the 21st Century

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Keith, Eileen and I over the last 3 months have been attending leadership seminars training us for the church of the 21st century. You and I are part of the first generation of North Americans to live in a society that no longer appreciates the presence of Christianity. Many are hostile toward the church. The early church shared the gospel of Jesus in a religiously plural, but hostile world. The 21st century has brought Christianity full circle.

Early Christians came together to celebrate their life together with God through prayer, table fellowship, and teaching about the Way. They also went out from the Temple and into the streets to be witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Their message asked persons to embrace the Way of life and the rule of God in their hearts but it was not about joining a particular church. They established small groups that met in homes for nurture and fellowship. It was through these small groups that a larger sense of community developed. Finally, they experienced persecution and arrest from religious authorities and non-religious people because the Way they chose affected the economic practices of society and challenged established religious traditions.

Based on these essential concerns of the early church and what is becoming obvious to us by now of the emerging world, we can conclude a few ideas about the church in the 21st century.

      1. Our primary mission will be to establish Christian communities in the midst of a hostile and violent world.
      2. The mission of these communities will be to proclaim the rule of God to all people.
      3. Existing and emerging Christian communities will need to nurture this new life in the Way and to bring new life to others.
      4. Our mission’s dominant theme will be the Way of life prefigured in the life and ministry of Jesus.
      5. The life of prayer will be necessary to keep our Christian communities focused on our mission as witnesses to the Way.
      6. And finally, all church and community leadership will be based on faithful service to the Way of Christ.

The excellent leadership of Trinity Church believes that, based on the life of the early church, the only way to move forward together in our time is for our congregation to turn outward to the world. All our new and existing buildings, ministries, and missions need to shout to the entire world that Jesus is the Way without being judgmental or forming value judgments on the worth of others with regard to their religious beliefs or their nationality. Our mission involves not losing our passion for social justice and the demand Christ makes on us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive sins, and love the enemy.

To move forward together as followers of the Way of Christ, all our missions and ministries must be willing to exist for the sole purpose of bringing this new life to others who are not yet experiencing it. We must be willing to invest our time, our talents, our treasures, and our very lives in order to turn society upside down so that, from time to time, those who are usually last can be first at the table of the world’s bounty. You and I need to discover as we move forward together the courage needed for embracing and offering this new life in Jesus as the Way. We are fellow pilgrims along the Way that leads us more fully and deeply into the wonder of God’s love, presence in the world, and mission.

 

Spending Holy Week at Trinity

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

It’s hard to believe that Easter is almost here. I know I say this every year. It seems like we just celebrated Christmas and now it’s April. We certainly hope you’ll spend Easter Sunday with us but that’s not the only day we hope you’ll join us. In order to get to Easter, it’s important we walk through Holy Week. Here’s a quick look at all the days of Holy Week and why they matter in the lives of followers of Christ.

Palm Sunday, April 14, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.: We celebrate the day that Jesus made a triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The crowds cheered him as he humbly entered the city riding on a donkey. In a sign of respect, the people threw their cloaks and leafy branches on the road in front of him. We will wave the palm fronds during worship to mark this first day of Holy Week.

Maundy Thursday, April 18, 7:30 p.m., Chapel: The English word for Maundy comes from the Latin mandatum, which means commandment. John’s gospel tells us that on his last night on earth (before his betrayal and arrest), Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and then gave them a new commandment to love one another as Jesus had loved them. John’s gospel does not record the institution of the Lord’s Supper among the events of this night, but the other gospels do. That’s why we mark this night with celebrations both at the basin (foot washing) and at the Lord’s Table (Holy Communion). Those who attend our service can choose whether to participate in one or both celebrations.

Good Friday, April 19, 7:30 p.m., Sanctuary: We will remember the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary. We’ll mark this reverent evening in our dimmed Sanctuary, hearing scripture readings of the powerful story of the last hours of Jesus’ life. If you have never attended a Good Friday service, I encourage you to come this year. Experiencing Good Friday will make Easter Sunday even more meaningful.

Easter Sunday, April 21, 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.: Christ the Lord is risen today! We will celebrate bright and early at our sunrise service in the memorial garden, right outside the Fellowship Building. We will also be celebrating in our Sanctuary at our regular worship times. It is a day of celebration and joy, and we look forward to having you join us.

I’ll see you in church!

April 2019 at Trinity

April 1 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

https://wp.me/p3ZFFv-uthttps://wp.me/p3ZFFv-ut
April 3 Widows’ Support Group

6:30 p.m.

Meets in the Fellowship Building.
April 6 Good Works Day

8 a.m.—12 p.m.

See graphic below
April 7 Youth Choir Practice

11:40 a.m.

Meet in the Chapel
April 9 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Varina, by Charles Frazier
April 10 Easter flower orders due http://umtrinity.org/worship/easter-flowershttp://umtrinity.org/worship/easter-flowers
April 14 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
April 15 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

https://wp.me/p3ZFFv-uthttps://wp.me/p3ZFFv-ut
April 14

April 18 and 19

April 21

Palm Sunday

Maundy Thursday & Good Friday

Easter

 
April 22 Office Closed  
July 6-13 Mission trip to Honduras’ Heart to Heart Contact Keith Lee to get involved klee@umtrinity.org
Aug. 5-9 Vacation Bible School Volunteer at http://umtrinity.org/education/vbs

March 2019 at Trinity

March 3 Town Hall Meeting

9:15 & 11:30 a.m.

Update from General Conference

March 4: Live stream at 10 a.m.

March 4 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

https://wp.me/p3ZFFv-tUhttps://wp.me/p3ZFFv-tU
March 5 Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper See details below.
March 6 Ash Wednesday

12 & 7:30 p.m.

March 6 Widows’ Support Group

6:30 p.m.

Meets in the Fellowship Building.
March 10 Martha’s Table Sandwich Making Sunday
March 12 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude, by Stephanie Rosenbloom
March 18 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

https://wp.me/p3ZFFv-tUhttps://wp.me/p3ZFFv-tU
March 19 Trustees Meeting

6:30 p.m.

March 31 Stewardship Sunday
April 14

April 18

April 19

April 21

Palm Sunday

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

Easter Sunday


Book Chat

Trinity’s book club will meet Tuesday, March 12, to discuss Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude, by Stephanie Rosenbloom, which spotlights the joys and benefits of time alone, especially while traveling. We’ll come together as a group, however, to talk about the book and enjoy dessert! See you at 6:30 p.m. in the Trinity Library. The selection for April 9 is Varina, by Charles Frazier, a Civil War novel about the wife of Jefferson Davis. For more information, contact Kathy Maher.


The Benefits of Choirs

by Jerry Rich, Director of Music

The roles of music, choirs, and musicians at Trinity

Sacred music:

      1. adds solemnity to a public worship service
      2. illuminates and clarifies the day’s Scripture
      3. offers beautiful songs that reflect the beauty of God’s creation
      4. unifies the congregation through shared singing

Choirs can:

      1. lead and enliven the congregation’s song to better embody God’s word through music
      2. sing music that the congregation cannot sing, providing comfort or inspiration to broaden our experience of the divine
      3. give spiritual direction to the church’s music groups, showing love and charity while seeking musical excellence
      4. present beautiful and challenging music to praise God and edify the congregation

Trinity’s musicians strive to:

      1. provide moments for meditation and reflection
      2. bring the community to order with a choral introit
      3. support congregational singing
      4. reinforce the day’s Bible readings
      5. allow others to participate actively in the service by joining a choir
      6. blend old favorites with new songs and styles
      7. educate our children through sacred texts and beloved hymn melodies
      8. build a bridge between the church and the world
      9. send the congregation forth, refreshed and energized, to serve others

Why not join us? Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. for Trinity Ringers and 7:30 p.m. for Chancel Choir. Contact Jerry Rich for more information.

When the Church Finds Itself at a Crossroads

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

If you have been around United Methodists for any length of time, you know that we like committees, gatherings of people and food—maybe not in that order. Our polity (the way we’re organized as a church) is structured in a way that encourages this (the committees and gatherings, not the food).

Trinity is a member of the Virginia Conference. Each conference across the globe meets annually to discuss the business of their area. Once every four years, representatives from each conference come together for General Conference. It’s there that items are voted on that can change our Book of Discipline (BoD)—the scary-sounding name of what is, for all intents and purposes, the rule book of the worldwide Methodist Church.

What does the BoD say? First, all people are welcome here.

¶ 4. Article IV. Inclusiveness of the Church: The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth.

¶ 214. Eligibility: All people may attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments and become members in any local church in the connection.

During at least the last two General Conferences (2012 and 2016), attempts were made to have discussions about what the church should do regarding two topics: ordaining gay clergy and allowing clergy to perform weddings of same-sex couples. Here’s what the BoD states about the ministry of the ordained:

¶ 304.3: The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.

¶ 341.6: Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.

A special committee (the Commission on a Way Forward) made up of clergy and laity has worked for the last two years on a plan for the church. Here are the commission’s three suggestions.

One Church Plan (recommended by the Council of Bishops of the UMC): Allows conferences to make decisions regarding ministry with or by LGBTQ persons rather than having a single standard throughout the worldwide church. It removes certain language (mentioned above) from the BoD. It gives conferences, churches and pastors the flexibility to decide whether to ordain gay clergy or allow same-sex marriages. This plan would also protect the rights of United Methodists whose theological convictions will not allow them to perform same-sex weddings or ordain LGBTQ people.

Traditionalist Plan: Affirms the current language about homosexuality in the BoD and seeks to strengthen enforcement (against clergy) for violations of church law.

Connectional-Conference Plan: Creates three connectional conferences based on theology or perspective, each having clearly defined values. Annual conferences would determine their affiliation with one of the connectional conferences. Local churches who choose a branch other than the one chosen by their annual conference could vote to join another conference.

A special session of the General Conference has been called to hash out a plan. These three plans, plus any others that may be brought forth, will be voted on at the meeting on February 23-26 in St. Louis. This is not the final step. The regular General Conference and each annual conference must also approve the final plan. You’ll find more details at umc.org.

We’ll have a town hall meeting following worship in March to discuss which plan was selected and what happens next. Please be in prayer for all those in attendance and for our United Methodist Church.

 

February 2019 Happenings

Feb. 4 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Read the latest update:
https://wp.me/p3ZFFv-tp
Feb. 6 Widows’ Support Group

6:30 p.m.

Meets in the Fellowship Building.
Feb. 10 Martha’s Table Sandwich Making Sunday
Feb. 12 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

West with the Night, by Beryl Markham

Feb. 16 Christ House
Feb. 18 Office Closed
Feb. 18 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

https://wp.me/p3ZFFv-tp
Feb. 19 Trustees Meeting

6:30 p.m.

Meeting by telephone
Feb. 24 Third Grade Bible Presentation

10:30 a.m.

March 5

March 6

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Ash Wednesday