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Trinity Together | August 2015

News for 08.03.15
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A monthly look at our life with God, one another and our neighbors

An evening with Friends for Life

Feat. Megan Wardell, Volunteer Friends for Life Coordinator


Planning for Trinity's Next 40 Years, PT. 2

BY Drew Field, Executive Pastor

Trinity is embarking on a long-term Strategic Planning process throughout this summer and fall. The hope is to complete a broad five-year plan with a matching one-year set of goals by November to inform our plans for 2016 and beyond. The process will include points of input for everyone at Trinity, from leaders to members and even visitors.

Last month’s newsletter addressed the question: Why would a church do strategic planning? Carefully planning ahead five or more years allows organizations to carefully discern priorities as it helps choose between good ideas: to pick the best things for that group to do, at the right time, in the right order, with the resources that they have, for the most fruitful results. Rather than this being a cold process, it will be done prayerfully, with the hope that these choices honor God’s call for our life together.

This month, I’m writing about the part that everyone has in this process of moving Trinity toward its second 40 years. What is the heart of our church?

A key step in planning for the future is to hear the collective hopes, dreams, and experiences of our congregation. The elders want to know where we all, as a body, see God leading us into areas of service. The elders also want to hear where we all, as a body, see strengths to expand, weaknesses to overcome, and opportunities to consider.

We will gather formal input in three ways:

  1. Email whatever ideas or thoughts you might have. This is the most free-form way of sending ideas for ministries. Email any idea you have at any time this month.

  2. Fill out the survey coming later in August. We’re putting the finishing touches on a survey that covers broad areas of the church. We can’t ask everything we would like to, but it will give space to provide feedback about congregational participation, evaluation, and priorities.

  3. Participate in a focus group. We will host a few focus groups touching on areas that cannot easily be surveyed. These group times of guided conversation will uncover perceptions and possibilities for improving aspects of our community. If you are interested in participating in a focus group, please contact Nicole Fleming.

Results of the survey will be published, in the aggregate, along with a draft five-year plan later this fall. Please take time to participate; this is an important way for all of us to share in God’s leading for His church.

Last month, we clarified the five main Leadership Teams: Worship, Community + Care, Spiritual Formation, World Missions, and Local Missions. All the ministries of Trinity fit inside these five areas, with the exception of the leadership/support areas that are directly connected to the Session or Diaconate.

This structure has loosely been in place for many years, but not been made clear. As we gain clarity about goals and hopes for ministries, we hope this creates a better system of support and communication for all.

Some folks have asked where certain ministries fit? The outline below is only two levels deep for the sake of fitting it into a clear graphic. Many major ministries sit inside the categories listed, for example Wednesday in the Word, Abundant Life, Worship Music, etc. As we clarify each team this fall, we’ll provide a comprehensive and detailed list of ministries for each area of the church.

These teams are not yet fully created, with approved charters and policies, but they are headed toward activation by fall. Pray for wisdom and energy so that we may better fulfill our calling together.



Full Session Meeting, July 30, 2015

The full Session combined July and August meetings into one. After welcoming visitors, including pastoral resident Robert Cunningham and his family, the Session prayed for the congregation and ministries of the church.

The Session processed the common administrative actions of approving minutes and releasing members who moved away.

First, a report was given on improvements to our hospitality and welcoming teams. A team including Michael Guthrie, Frances Shaw, Tim Jones and others prepared a plan for expanded teams which will start later this month to add more greeters around the building for visitors, and a larger welcome center to provide more information.

Second, the elders discussed ways to divide parish boundaries so that there will be more even coverage of elders for congregational care. A later report will come from the Community + Care Leadership Team.

Third, a brief update on the status of our strategic planning process was given including plans for congregational surveys and focus groups. Leadership Team charters will be presented at the September Session meeting.

Fourth, the Personnel Committee presented changes in the Student Ministry department and the Session voted on several related items. More details will be sent in a separate letter.

Fifth, the Session confirmed two requests from deacons, after a lengthy discussion. Deacon Dave Archer’s request to demit was approved with sadness, but with gratitude for his many years of service. Deacon Lew William’s request to become Emeritus was granted with thanks for his many years as a deacon.

The Session appointed one elder to a three year term on the CGC: Jim Anderson. Two more elders for the CGC and also committee assignments will be brought to the next Session, pending confirmation with those nominated. The Session also discussed updates to the officer training process.

Next Meeting: Thursday, September 10, 7:00PM in room 201 as a Full Session meeting.

Questions? Email:

Session FAQ

What are term limits for elders and deacons?

Elders and Deacons are ordained in the PCA for life. Our denomination’s Book of Church Order leaves term limits for active Session service up to local congregations, and a variety of terms exist at churches in the PCA. At Trinity, an elder (or deacon) remains on the Session (or Diaconate) for life as well, unless they request a change. The possible changes for officers in the PCA are:

  • Emeritus: honorable ‘retirement’ granted on request to an Elder or Deacon after long service, which releases the officer from obligations but allows them to serve on committees or other areas.

  • Release: granted to an officer that moves out of the area or to another church, which keeps the ordination intact so that the officer can serve at a different church.

  • Demit: a resignation from the office itself including a setting aside of the ordination vows.

  • Removal: the rarest change, only used in cases where an officer is involved in a breach of their vows or church discipline which includes removing the ordination.

Committees of the Session or Diaconate have rotating terms. The Session’s small Church Governing Commission (CGC) has three year terms. Other committees have two or three year terms.


deacon Stu Scott

Stu Scott and his wife, Sharon, joined Trinity in 1997, and he was ordained as a Deacon in 2010. Stu grew up in a PCUSA church in Roanoke, experienced Christ’s guidance first-hand in 1992 when he found his daughter’s finger in a multi-acre park in Indian Hills, Ohio. Read more.

Sharon currently divides her time between Virginia and Tennessee where she assists her father as he transitions into a new stage of life. She enjoys time outdoors hiking and gardening but finds swimming with grandchildren the best.

Stu and Sharon have served various roles with the Fellows program for several years. Sharon is thankful for the community opportunities at Trinity and the joy that serving together for God's Kingdom brings them as a couple.

In July Stu assumed the role of chairman of the Diaconate for the coming year. He and Sharon have been married for 37 wonderful years and have three grown children and two granddaughters. They lived in the Charlottesville area from 1978–86 and again since 1997 after ten years in Cincinnati.

Asked to identify the most important and challenging aspects of serving as an officer at Trinity, Stu says, “I want to continue to focus on serving the church and building a stronger ‘relationship-focused’ church community.” One of his desires for the Diaconate is to continue to foster the incorporation of all Trinity members—men and women—into the works of the Mercy, Finance, and Facilities Committees for which the Diaconate provides leadership.

Stu retired from GE after 38 years and now spends most of his week dabbling in photography as a second career focused on “giving back.” Photography has become a passion since he lost much of his hearing due to Ménière’s disease. He views this as a classic case of the reduction of one key sense dramatically improving another sense, as his attention to visual detail has improved his photography.

Stu invites any member of the congregation to share thoughts on diaconal service with him by contacting him at

Elder Bill Porter

Bill Porter is one of two men who have served as Clerk of the Trinity Session for most of its existence. (Tom Nolan is the other.) Bill was raised in Lynchburg, graduated from Virginia Tech, and moved to Richmond where he met and married Sheila. While living there, their two children were born and Bill was ordained as a ruling elder in the Reformed Presbyterian church, a denomination that later merged with the PCA. When the Porters moved to Charlottesville in 1984, they immediately became part of Trinity and Bill was soon elected to join our Session and become its Clerk. They remained a part of Trinity while temporarily living and working in Colorado from 2008–12 but served with a small PCA church during that time where Bill helped teach new elders.

Bill recently retired from a career as a licensed civil engineer involved with managing design and construction for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, but he expects to continue professional involvement in that field while now having time to travel with Sheila to see their children, both of whom were raised at Trinity. Daughter Gini is a healthcare administrator in New York. Son Ben is the father of three and an assistant pastor in St. Louis. Bill’s other plans for retirement include building model trains and beekeeping.

Sheila is a retired teacher and very active in leadership of Trinity’s ministries of Mainly Music and Wednesday in the Word, as she has a passion for mentoring younger moms in their faith and child-rearing. The Porters are again hosting a Trinity Fellow in their home this year.

Bill was raised in the Methodist Church but has been a part of reformed Presbyterianism all his adult life. He says, “I love the PCA and firmly believe its doctrines and forms of government are sound and biblical.” He is active with the PCA General Assembly, the national governing body of our church, and serves on the Reformed University Fellowship Permanent Committee. Having again assumed the job of Session Clerk, his is the only permanent Session office held by a ruling elder. Bill prays that a spirit of grace and understanding will grow and flourish among our congregation and its leaders, enabling Trinity to serve the purposes of God in even greater ways in the years to come.



JuLY 2015

Giving through the summer is hard to predict, but Trinity's giving through July is slightly below expectations. Giving is $17,000 lower than the budgeted amount, at $1,103,000. Expenses are on track at $1,378,000. This is a crucial time of year as we ramp up for ministries that restart in September and people return from vacations. Our free operating cash balance has gone up slightly to $125,000. Cash usually drops throughout the year since expenses are greater than giving until December, and is affected by major facilities expenses, missions grants, and fund transfers.


NEW Sermon Podcast Parish Small Groups
Morning Prayer Emails Current Adult Ed. Offerings
Evening / Family Prayer Emails Spiritual Formation Retreats


Saturday, August 1: Wednesday in the Word Fall 2015 Registration Open, click here to register
Wednesday, August 26: Fellows Kickoff Banquet at Trinity, 5:30pm. Email Dennis Doran

Sunday, August 30: All-church Potluck Picnic, 1:00pm on the back lawn of Trinity

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