On the Road Again

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

The Virginia Conference lists 1,025 clergy under appointment full and part time. Together we serve the 1,200 churches throughout the state. On Wednesday, June 26, 57 clergy and their families will load all their personal belongings into a moving van and travel to their next pastoral appointment. Some will travel to large multi-staff church communities, others to rural congregations; all go in hopes of joining Christ in faithful ministry. Thirty-three of our clergy will try to adjust to being retired and will feel a bit strange when Sunday rolls around and they find out what life is like in the pews … again.

A typical year in the Virginia Conference sees from 25% to 30% of our clergy relocate to new assignments. This year only 5% of our clergy will take a new posting. On the average, congregations in our conference adjust to new clergy in the pulpit every three years. National studies compiled by various church institutes assert that the most effective years of pastoral leadership occur after year ten. Sadly, the marriage of most clergy and their congregations doesn’t last long enough to experience the benefits of long-term committed relationship and shared ministry through discipleship.

On Sunday, July 7, ten new pastors to the Arlington District will arrive in their churches prepared to work at making disciples for Jesus Christ. Those ten churches will swell in attendance as active and inactive members turn out to check out the new pastor. The Rev. Cathy Abbott will retire as District Superintendent of the Arlington District. Our new superintendent of Arlington will be the Rev. Sarah Calvert.

Trinity is proud to announce that Nila Curry graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary in May and will be living in Maryland. Nila has lived at Trinity House while at WTS.

On another joyous note: Keith Lee, Eileen Gilmer and I return to Trinity as your pastors. I am very glad that Keith and Eileen are my colleagues in pastoral ministry at Trinity, along with Michelle, Jerry, Harriet, Jose, our lay leader Peggy Fox, and of course, all of you. We make a great team. All of us are here to make disciples for Jesus Christ.

Shalom, Jim


Mid-Year Resolutions

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Maybe you resolved to work out more, read more or cut down on screen time. How’s that going? I think we should start a new trend: a mid-year’s resolution. What’s the point of rushing into things? Give yourself a good six months to see where the year takes you. I invite you to make a resolution centered on prayer.

O Lord, help me not to despise or oppose what I do not understand. -William Penn

Pray for discernment. Pray that God will open our eyes to see the other side. Pray for the wisdom to keep our mouths shut until we understand why the other person acts/speaks/thinks a certain way.

 God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. -C.S. Lewis

Pray for the ability to hear that small (and sometimes not so small) voice. Pray that God’s sensibility will rise above the din of our cries for help or attention. Pray for the confidence to know that we succeed because of God’s grace and power, and not because of our own race to selfish gain.

Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.  –John 20:29

Pray that God will empower you to have so much faith that you are fearless. Pray for the courage to trust God fully and completely, at all times and in all situations. Pray that God will enable us to willingly give up the need to be in control.

How about if we make a pledge? I’ll pray for you, and you pray for the clergy and lay leaders here at Trinity. Please pray for our greater United Methodist Church, and all the Methodist churches around the world. We need it.

Prayer works. Prayer strengthens. Prayer is how we talk with God. If you need help in finding ways to pray, just let Jim, Keith or me know.

I’ll see you in church!


What’s Happening in June

June 2 High School & College Graduate Recognition

10:30 a.m.

To add yourself or your child to the list, please email Harriet
June 3 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

See below for more.
June 9 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
June 11 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Dinner, fellowship and 2019-20 planning
June 15 Choir Concert

7 p.m.

Small Blue Marble is the theme; admission is free. See below.
June 16 Church Picnic

11:30 a.m.

Bring a side dish or salad to share.
June 17 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

See below for more.
June 18 Trustees

6:30 p.m.

June 30 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

July 25– Aug 2 Mission trip to Honduras’ Heart to Heart Contact Keith Lee to get involved
Aug. 5-9 Vacation Bible School Register/Volunteer at http://umtrinity.org/education/vbs
Crafts for a Cause

Crafts for a Cause meets twice a month on Monday nights from 7 to 8:30 in Room 124 to make comfort items for hospital patients. No crafty skills required. Upcoming dates: June 3, June 17.

Here’s a roundup of what’s been delivered recently by Crafts for a Cause:

    • 31 blankets made by Trinity members were delivered to the Linus Project, which is partnering with TAPS to provide 1,000 blankets at Camp Good Grief for children who’ve lost a parent to combat or PTSD. Thanks to everyone who helped!
    • To Fair Oaks Hospital, we delivered 80 baby caps, 20 neck pillows, two lap blankets, 9 NICU beds, and 7 surgery dolls.
    • To Christ House, we sent 20 knit caps for residents.
    • We made 25 pillowcases for hospital patients at Children’s Hospital in Richmond.
    • Chris Moore and our volunteers have prepared 50 dresses for needy girls in Honduras, another brainchild of the young women at The Leadership Center.

Thanks to one and all for putting your hands to work so that others might be blessed! For more information on Crafts, contact Molly Sprouse.

Graduate Sunday: June 2

This prayer is an ancient Irish prayer modified to bless our graduates.

May The Road Rise Up To Meet You 

As you graduate, may the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields

and during your journey,

may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Amen.

Trinity’s Music Ministry will present its annual concert on Saturday, June 15, at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Soloists Emily Casey, Philip Keirstead, Catherine Wethington, Nadine Wethington, and Joey Wilson will be joined by the Chancel Choir and Trinity Ringers, all accompanied by Music Director Jerry Rich. The theme is “Small Blue Marble”, a nickname for our planet Earth after it was first photographed from space in 1972; musical selections from six continents will include Tan Dun’s Staccato Beans, a trio from Verdi’s Il Corsaro, A Whole New World from Aladdin, This Is My Father’s World, You Are the New Day, Croisez’s Three Tyrolians for piano trio, Phil the Fluter’s Ball, Vaughan Williams’ The Vagabond from Songs of Travel, Largo from Dvořak’s New World Symphony, Remember Me from Coco, Grainger’s Country Gardens, Ah! Non Giunge from Bellini’s La Sonnambula, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, selections from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and Narverud’s Sisi Ni Moja. Admission is free.


Celtic Worship at Trinity

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Welcome to May. The flowers are starting to bloom, the temperature is going up and we have more hours of daylight. It’s a beautiful time of the year in Northern Virginia.

It’s also a great time to seek out the beauty in worship. If you’ve never experienced our Celtic worship service, I invite you to come join us. We meet on the last Sunday of every month at 5 p.m. in the Chapel. We offer times of quiet, hear lovely prayers, and listen to inspiring music played on the hammered dulcimer. Think of it as an antidote to the stress and tension of our daily lives.

Here’s the type of prayer we might read during a Celtic worship. It’s from Saint Patrick, the fifth-century missionary and bishop in Ireland.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through a belief in the Threeness,

Through a confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of creation.

I hope to see you at our next Celtic worship!



By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

I was a bit nervous that night because I’ve never experienced Shavuot in a synagogue and didn’t know what to expect. I’ve known the holiday as Pentecost but had no idea about its Jewish significance. On one hand, I was grateful to be with a group of students from Hebrew U. participating at Bet Kinneset Moreshet Ysrael Synagogue. On the other hand, I was uncomfortable facing my own ignorance. What I call the Old Testament is not old to many, and especially to Jews, it’s an important document that carries deep and sacred traditions totally different from mine.

Traditional rabbinic calculation places the holiday near the same time as the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. Many customs and practices have taken root in the last two and a half thousand years, but the main practice and the reason why I was there that night was studying the Torah all night! There were multiple speakers and sessions and the most memorable one was when everyone was divided into small groups to read the book of Ruth. All major Jewish holidays have a book of OT assigned to them. For Shavuot, the book of Ruth is read for a variety of reasons, but the number one being that at the end of chapter one, there’s a mention of a barley harvest which usually falls around March-April.

In my small group instead just reading it, we were instructed to enact roleplay reading. I was not assigned a role (thank goodness because I felt awkward enough). The other members did a splendid job. The impressionable part was when it came to Ruth reciting the lines, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

Not only the person playing Naomi (the mother-in-law of Ruth who is the recipient of the heartfelt pledge) but practically everyone in the room (except, me, of course) was desperately convincing Ruth to not become Jewish. Emotions ran high. It was real and not roleplay anymore. Something deep within their psyche and soul fluttered out. Their main reason was that being Jewish is not only difficult and painful, but dangerous as proven by their history. At the time, I was thinking this is completely opposite to Christianity where everyone urges you to join the faith. I found out later that in Jewish tradition, you’re supposed to discourage a potential convert at least three times. Maybe that was it, but at that time, the emotion was too strong for me to ignore. I walked out of that session a bit perplexed.

I share this story for Pentecost and for confirmands preparing for the Confirmation Service. Life in Christ is not easy. We have a cross on top of the roof and as the most prominent symbol in the Sanctuary. We celebrate Communion with the words “This is His body given and blood shed for you.” I sincerely hope our journey with Christ has been arduous and strenuous and will continue to be that. Because Jesus said, “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”


Trinity, May 2019

May 1 Widows’ Support Group

6:30 p.m.

May 4 Crafts for a Cause

10 a.m.

See below for more about this special session.
May 6 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

See below for more.
May 12 Trinity Trebles’ musical

10:30 a.m.

It’s Cool in the Furnace, for more, click here.


May 12 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
May 13 Paul, Apostle of Christ

7 p.m.

Movie shown in the Chapel, see below page for more
May 14


May 18

Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Christ House

10 a.m.

Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
May 20 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

May 21 Trustees

6:30 p.m.

Meeting by telephone
May 27 Office Closed
July 25– Aug 2 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

Crafts for a Cause

Blankets for children, dresses for girls in Honduras, comfort pillows and blankets for hospital patients – that’s what Crafts for a Cause has been working on this spring. The group meets on alternating Monday nights from 7 to 8:30 to cut, stitch, stuff and sew, and turn piles of fabric into items of comfort. Upcoming sessions: May 6, May 20, June 3, June 17. There will be a Weekend Workshop to make t-shirt dresses for needy girls in Honduras on Sat., May 4, from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 124. We also have a no-sew blanket project to make a comfort blanket for children who have lost a loved one in combat or to PTSD. For more information, contact Molly Sprouse, mollysprouse@gmail.com.

Paul, Apostle of Christ

The Engage Bible Study, a Trinity community-based Bible study that meets every Monday evening, invites you to a special movie presentation.

On Monday evening May 13, we will show the movie, Paul, Apostle of Christ in the Chapel. This 1 hour 45-minute feature film is an entertaining and informative story of Paul the Apostle and his friend Luke.

Join for a light potluck dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. The movie will start at 7.



Why Do We Say Amen?

Henny Gilmer, Trinity Church mascot

Summer is almost here. Hooray! I love summer because it means longer walks and more time outside. Amen to that. What exactly do we mean when we say the word Amen? Have you ever wondered why we end a prayer by saying Amen? Well, that’s a great question.

It’s a Hebrew word. Amen is a response to something else that’s been said. When someone says Amen, he or she is saying, “I agree with this,” or “I believe this is the truth.” That’s why we say Amen at the end of prayers. We’re saying we believe that what we just said is true. You could also think of it as an exclamation point.

Somebody else used the word Amen, only it was at the beginning of sentences. Can you guess who it was? Jesus! “Very truly” or “Truly, truly” is the way it has been translated into English. Grab your Bible and turn to the book of John, chapter three. See what Jesus said in John 3John 3, verses 3, 5, and 11. He was telling people that what he was about to say was the truth, it was important and they should pay attention!

Do you have a question for me? I’d love to answer it. You can contact me at bit.ly/AskHenny.

Remember my motto: Paws for Jesus!