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Trinity Together | February 2017

News for 02.07.17
02.07.17
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Header February 2017

A MONTHLY LOOK AT our life with God,
one another, and our neighbors

Four years after: lessons from the fellows program

BY kaitlyn amos, fellows class of 2012

Some Trinity Fellows begin their year with an already substantial idea about who they are and where they are headed. The wild ride of this program simply secures their confidence, broadens their perspective, and launches them into a sector of the culture (and the Kingdom) they will help build. While I admired the beautiful insight some of my peers possessed, I wasn’t one of those Fellows. I walked out of our graduation banquet brimming with ideas coupled with a healthy dose of uncertainty—all under the framework of a grand narrative that (for the first time) actually felt grand enough to hold all my fragments together. I concluded Trinity Fellows with little direction and a lot of conviction to slow down, to prioritize a few Fellows-inspired disciplines, and to pay attention to my own story unfolding within this larger plot.

In May 2012, to the best of my ability, I started to do just that.

I committed to live intentionally with four other Fellows Program graduates. I started a new job, joined a prayer group, and immersed myself in a community of Latino kids who wanted to hang out as much as possible. I tended to that patch of life with all my might, while trying to remain alert to the Lord’s leading. It looked something like: one step forward, two steps, stop; ear to the ground, look around, evaluate my next move. While I haven’t covered a great distance at this pace, I have tried to thoroughly inhabit each space, giving myself back to the people and work given to me.

Surprisingly, this past year my little patchwork trail led to a more paved road. It’s a road down a newer career in healthcare that curiously gathers together so many of the gifts, wounds, and relationships I’ve tended to. (And this road actually has a map!)

Not surprisingly, the vocational framework established during my time as a Fellow provided me with the imagination to recognize this unlikely pavement as my own. Because of Fellows, and the days of rooting in that followed, I was prepared to take on this next venture when it emerged.

A few months ago, I handed over my job of four years to a younger Fellows Program graduate (whom I now consider a close friend). She had recently crossed the finish line of her high-paced year and was ripe for processing the transition. But I found it difficult to answer her questions about my experience adequately. I struggled to distinguish (much less articulate) what specific lessons from the Fellows Program I had carried into the real world.

The more I reflected, the more the patches of life-since-Fellows morphed together—blurring where one section ended and another began. Over the years that followed our program, I had hardly noticed how much our Fellows-taught theology and Fellows-embodied practices had transformed the way I understood the world. And now, looking back, it felt as though it had always been this way. When my childhood friend called to talk about her dad’s diagnosis, I didn’t pull up Bill Wilder’s PowerPoint illustration to explain away her fear. His teaching once interpreted this already-but-not-yet life we inhabit, and now it is the only context within which I can receive her pained words. It is the sole structure that enables me to hold both the suffering and the hope with her, believing that the story won’t end there.

When I choose to sit and read another Narnia book with Juana, I don’t rehearse my training as an Abundant Life Tutor before I open the cover. I do recall the freedom of giving my hours away, witnessing someone thrive in their own story, and mysteriously receiving more than I invested—now it is just what I want to include as essential in my weeks.

When my boss stayed for hours after I left Monroe Hall to edit and perfect a report for the tenth time, I didn’t need a National Fellows Conference to tell me he’s aspiring for excellence because he knows all his work matters to the King and His Kingdom. But at a conference someone did speak about all work being sacred, and now it is the standard by which I will always measure the worth of labor.

When the girls of our 411 Moseley Drive household invite another new peer to our Sunday night celebrations, I don’t quote John Cunningham’s lesson about perichoresis. But I hold onto that word in place of a language I once lacked. Now I can tell you that triune love expands and welcomes because that is who God is and we are becoming like Him, so hospitality is actually very holy work.

When Michael and Dottie Guthrie sat across from me and offered their home and endless support for yet another season of unknowns, I didn’t pull out Dennis Doran’s email about how your host family might one day become like your real family, although I did remember his words. I am able to accept their generosity after years of learning to trust its richness.

If I cry after a poignant conversation with Wade Bradshaw, I am no longer alarmed because I now believe I am only becoming more human.

When I meet with roommates for morning prayer, I’m not trying to check a box. I know I need to be in conversation with the Lord alongside other believers. And now I crave it.

When my small group represents different cultures and demographics, I don’t consciously think of how the Fellows’ Micah 6:8 Retreat might have birthed my desire to worship amidst a diverse body of believers. Now I am continually drawn to sisters and brothers who together portray the mosaic and textured glimpse of Christ’s Kingdom I’ve come to long for.

When I break bread with the Prums or the Stampers or the Coppocks or the Pickells or any of the countless families who graciously and repeatedly welcome me into their homes, I know Christ communes with us in our fellowship. And it is good.

The truths I learned my first year in Charlottesville have become so integrated into my current life, it feels difficult to distinguish what I once did not know. The experiences I had as a Fellow informed so much of the way I live and operate today, it feels difficult to separate how I approached life before.

Despite such coherence, I know that it has not always been this way. The Lord used the Fellows Program to help me initially recognize my belonging in a narrative that, in Wade’s words, “changes everything.”

It’s the narrative of Christ and His coming Kingdom; a story that did not seek to detach from what and whom I grew to love, but a story that instead became solidified by people and practices in the years since our graduation banquet.

The Fellows Program helped me more fully understand the life of Christ and, in doing so, gave me a truer knowing of myself, a bigger dream about where I’m headed, and a better attentiveness to both the loss and the abundance along the way. And Christ’s life is soaked in God’s faithfulness to us, to me. So when the Holy Spirit invites me to be faithful with what is right in front of me—paved road or winding trail—I am freed to do just that.

Session Summary

session summary

BY bill porter and bill cassidy

Dear beloved ones,

As your elders, we want to update you on news in our church life and our denomination.

At the January meeting, the good news was shared of God’s gracious provision for the financial needs of the church through the congregation’s generosity. Elder David Mills reported for the Finance Committee the marvelous blessing of an increase of 6.6 percent in giving through 2016, and a free cash balance significantly higher than at the start of last year. Your generous giving is making it possible for the church to proceed with calling two pastors in 2017. Thank you for your support.

The Session also reviewed and approved the spring (Epiphany, Lent, and Easter) worship and preaching schedule plan with the Worship Leadership Team and pastoral staff.

The Pastor Search Committee reported that although it is early in the process, they are enjoying good-spirited and smooth processing of numerous applications as the committee continues its efforts to identify the pastors God is calling to Trinity. The Session took the action of authorizing the addition of the congregation’s choices, Heather Uthlaut and Jim Anderson, to the Committee.

Also in January, Pastor Wade Bradshaw’s election by the congregation to be called as Associate Pastor was reviewed and accepted by the Blue Ridge Presbytery. Pastor Bradshaw will be installed to the office at a service later in February.

The Blue Ridge Presbytery passed a motion to recommend Ruling Elder Craig Wood to the General Assembly as a nominee for the Covenant College Board. The General Assembly will act on the nomination at its annual meeting in June.

Finally, Bo Waldo, one of Trinity’s Ambrose Residents, was examined by the Blue Ridge Presbytery for ordination at a called meeting early in January. Bo passed the exams with flying colors, and was ordained as a teaching elder in a beautiful evening service at Trinity on Sunday, January 29. Congratulate and welcome Pastor Waldo when you next see him!

Have a question about our Session? Email session@trinitycville.org.

MEET deacon jeff johnson

Jeff Johnson began his career as an engineer in the shipbuilding industry in Tidewater. While living there he and his wife, Sandra, experienced a return to the Lord through the church they attended. In 1978 they moved to Charlottesville for a job with Sperry Marine, now known as Northrup Grumman, where Jeff still works, and for him to attend graduate school part time at UVa. Jeff and Sandra joined Trinity in 1982. All four of their children benefited from participation in the Trinity Children’s and Student Ministries, while both Jeff and Sandra speak of the exceptional teaching and grounding in the faith they personally received during their early years at Trinity.

Jeff and Sandra Johnson Jeff completed his graduate work in 1985, allowing him time to accept nomination for training as a Deacon the following year. He has served in that role for almost 30 years, including five years chairing the Diaconate or a committee. His main area of service has been on the Mercy Committee, which he chaired for several years. Jeff is happy that while Mercy Ministry has always involved direct service, recently it has produced greater personal blessings through more relational roles and one-on-one mentoring.

All the Johnson children are married with children of their own, giving Sandra and Jeff seven grandchildren. Laura and her family live outside Boston, Sarah is a nurse at UVa, and Meg is a teacher in Kentucky. Their brother, Charles, is a youth pastor at a PCA church in Tennessee after getting his start working with Trinity’s Student Ministry under Mark Kuiper. Jeff is an avid whitewater kayaker in his spare time and reports that it is a sport he enjoys often with several of his children and sons-in-law.

Sandra taught math and science at the Covenant School for more than 20 years and chaired the science department for a time. More recently she too has been on the Mercy Committee and has served as a mentor for students in both the Jobs for Life and Faith and Finances ministries. Last spring she was nominated to enter training to become a member of Trinity’s first class of Deacon Assistants. Sandra says she is honored to have this opportunity and be affirmed in her calling to Mercy Ministry. Both Sandra and Jeff appreciate these new opportunities they have to serve in ministry together and look forward to more in the future.



FINANCIAL UPDATE

BY BOB LUCK, CHAIR, FINANCE COMMITTEE

2016 Results
Our year-end 2016 results were excellent and, thanks to your generous giving, we are in a strong financial position to begin 2017. Donations for 2016 to Trinity's general fund exceeded our $2.5 million target with a final total of $2,508,500. Trinity's 2016 expenses came in under budget—due largely to the savings we had from the two open pastoral positions. Our 2016 expenses totaled $2,220,000—about $130,000 under budget. As a result, we ended 2016 with a surplus of nearly $300,000.

Some of these extra funds will be put into our Facility Reserves to save toward the costs of several major repairs to the church building, which we need to make in the next 3–5 years. The remainder will be used in our operations over the coming 12 months. Each year we operate with monthly deficits from January through November, drawing down our operating cash balance, until it is replenished by congregational giving in December.

2017 Budget
With guidance from the Finance Committee, Trinity's five ministry teams have now drafted an initial budget for 2017 of approximately $2.6 million. The proposed budget includes fully funding the two open pastoral positions for approximately six months of 2017—under the assumption that we will be able to fill both positions mid-year. We are now in the process of reviewing the details of that draft budget with the Session and Diaconate. Based on their input, we will prepare a revised budget and share it with the congregation later in February. We plan to hold a congregational meeting to discuss the budget on February 26.


Sermon Podcast Small Groups
Morning Prayer Emails Adult Classes
Evening/Family Prayer Emails Retreats

UPCOMING EVENTS

Friday, February 10: Night to Shine!
Saturday, February 11:
Bringing Our Stories Together in Worship: A Workshop on Hospitality. More information.
Monday, February 20: Church offices closed for Presidents' Day
Wednesday, March 1: Ash Wednesday. Service at noon.

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