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Letter from a New Deacon

News for 05.15.15
05.15.15
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Trinity folks, we invite you to read this compelling letter from Clark Walker, a member of the new deacon class of 2014. With almost his first full year as a deacon under his belt, he has given us the gift of these reflections on his journey of becoming a deacon. Clark's letter is timely, as we have the opportunity on May 24 to vote on the election of a new elder (Bob Byrne) and a new deacon (Bob Mallette). Please read and reflect on what gifts our Lord has given us in our elders and deacons.
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When I joined Trinity Presbyterian through the Fellows Program in 2005, I gravitated toward being involved with student ministry for two simple reasons. One, I could be my teenage self again, which I was never good at hiding anyway; two, God put on my heart to be the youth mentor that I never had and desperately needed when I was a teenager. Seven years later, when my D-group had already graduated from high school, I was becoming more involved in other areas within the church, mostly in ways that I felt comfortable, which were mostly “behind the scenes.”

When I was initially nominated to be a deacon, I honestly thought they were making a mistake. They saw what I was doing on the outside in terms of service, but I believed that I lacked the spiritual maturity, experience, and time in order to make the necessary sacrifices to serve in this position. I knew several of the active deacons and had seen their hectic schedules and was hesitant. Nonetheless, I reluctantly agreed to go through the year of training and discernment in 2013.

That year was eye opening for me in so many ways. It was refreshing to be back in the classroom with one of my favorite teachers, John Cunningham, learning about church history and the function of the Diaconate within Trinity. While the time commitment stretched me in many ways, it was inspiring to learn about how so much detail and thought has gone into how Trinity conducts their worship and how unique Trinity is given its size, growing diversity, and long-standing traditions. The biggest thing that I ascertained, however, was that all of these men exhibited two things: one, true brokenness with how they saw themselves in light of the Gospel; and two, a desire to serve God and the church through their unique gifts and story.

That point seems extremely basic and obvious, and it is. But for me in this situation, it was groundbreaking. As I accepted my role within Trinity’s Diaconate, I was able to understand something that I didn’t before—it wasn’t about my abilities, my holiness, or my ability to understand supralapsarianism (or even say it!), but about His love, His plan, and His work in my heart and whether I will submit to that on a daily basis. As I’ve jumped into helping serve and administer the (somewhat difficult) changes that have occurred with Trinity over the last year, it has helped to know that we are not an elite group in any respect, but simply a body that is trying their best to follow God and serve those in need—and there are so many wonderful and diverse needs in a big church like Trinity.

Over this past year, as I have jumped into monthly meetings, weekly conversations with elders, and congregational town hall meetings, I’ve become more aware of the need for His wisdom simply because we are incapable of bringing the love, hope, and resources that so many inside and outside Trinity ask of us. We all want Trinity to be a beacon of love and hope for its members and the Charlottesville community as a whole, and we are “falling and failing forward” about how we can be a small piece in helping that become a reality.

In closing, being a deacon within Trinity is a humbling yet incredibly rewarding opportunity. We are in a position of leadership in order to create and facilitate many solutions that will hopefully bring about the true desires that God has for each one of us here at Trinity. We, as a Diaconate, are continually learning what it looks like to be a leader with Christ as our example—with open hands, serving, hoping, persevering, and striving toward His love in all things.

Grace and Peace,

Clark Walker