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Sunday Services at 8:30 and 11:15
Seeking the renewal of all things through Jesus Christ

Trinity Together | January 2017

News for 01.09.17
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Jan 2017 TT header

A MONTHLY LOOK AT our life with God,

one another, and our neighbors

wednesdays, for more than 30 years:
Women together in the word continues long tradition

BY susan prindle

For more than 30 years Trinity has had a weekly morning Bible study ministry for women. It has had different names and different teachers, but its purpose has always been the same—for women to hear from an excellent Bible teacher (usually another woman) and spend time in smaller groups discussing the lesson, in praying for each other, and in fellowship to support each other in their daily lives. To allow moms with young children to participate, childcare is provided on site. The Trinity budget has helped support this added cost, and many moms have been thankful for the opportunity to attend a Bible study while their kids are cared for in a safe and loving way. Women who once were in the nursery while their moms studied are now bringing their own kids!

Last fall the ministry was renamed Women Together in the Word. On Wednesday mornings, women meet from 9:15–11:30 in room 202. And because so many asked for a Bible study in the evening, a second session was added at 7:30–9:00 on Wednesday evenings in room 250. (Childcare is not available for this session.)

At the morning session, teaching in a large group is followed by discussion, prayer, and fellowship in small groups. Lauren Byrne and Heather Uthlaut join Kelly Bowie and Jane Bopp on the teaching team this term. Also on the WTW team are small group leaders who work in pairs to shepherd a group of 8 to 12 women through the morning session. A guide with the biblical text and study questions for each lesson is provided to prepare for each week. In the evenings, the women meet as one group and work through the text and study questions together, guided by Kelly but without separate teaching

Last fall a new DVD-based study from the PCA called From Garden to Glory was used in both sessions. One woman wrote, “This study has been a special blessing. It helped me appreciate far more deeply how much God wants to dwell with us. Also, the fellowship—the opportunity to learn from God's Word and from each other, to share life together, and to pray for one another—has been such a gift. Thank you, WTW, for this study!” Similar thoughts are often heard—won’t you consider joining now? After a long holiday break, both sessions start again for the winter-spring term on Wednesday, January 18.

The new study will be on Paul’s two letters to the church in Thessalonica. Wrong assumptions had arisen about some of Paul's teaching, as well as intentional false teaching from men seeking to discredit him. These left the Thessalonians confused and discouraged. Paul writes to answer their specific questions, to clarify their misconceptions, and to deeply encourage them in the hope of their salvation in Christ and the certainty of His return for them. We pray God will capture our hearts with that same certainty and encouragement Paul displays, enabling us to boldly live joyous and effective lives sharing His good news with others.

Fall participants need not register again, but other women wanting to join should not delay. For morning or evening, register before January 18 by sending an email to with your name and phone, and noting either morning or evening session. If you need childcare for the morning session, include the name and age of each child.

deacon emeritus gene potter: a long history of service

BY deacon jim garmey

Gene Potter became a deacon at Trinity in June of 1990 and has served our church family with distinction for 26 years. Most of this time he spent working on the Facilities Committee or serving as its chairman. It was here that we witnessed Gene’s energy, enthusiasm, and problem-solving skills, which had an immediate and lasting impact on the way things are done here at Trinity.

From the beginning Gene’s “M.O.” was to see a need and respond to it. Not one to waste time calling a meeting to discuss options for how to fix a problem, Gene simply figured out what was needed and did it himself or organized and led a work crew that did. More often than not, Gene had things fixed before anyone knew they needed fixing.

Did you know that Gene used to regularly work around the church grounds, mowing, pruning, painting, and doing whatever was needed to keep the church property looking nice before this work was contracted out? Or that he designed and oversaw the construction of the pumping station and sewer lines that eventually allowed Trinity to be able to connect to the public sewer? Gene was also instrumental in having our new sign designed and constructed, after which he stained and installed it.

Gene is not only capable, he’s also fearless, as demonstrated by his climbing the portable scaffolding to the peak of the ceiling in the sanctuary, where he installed a speaker over the choir area.

In addition to facilities work, Gene also spent time in Mercy Ministry where we witnessed his softer side. Frequently, when heartbreaking tales of personal struggle were discussed at Mercy Committee meetings, Gene would sit with moist eyes, wringing his hands in disbelief. In an era when the kneejerk response was to throw money and resources at the problem, his ready response was predictable: “Verify the need and help them get a job.” In fact, his mercy motto, “tough love,” has become the universal expression of rigorous treatment with the intent to help someone in the long run. This approach to reaching out to others in need has since been corroborated by respected Christian ministries such as the Chalmers Center. Gene knew it to be true years before Chalmers even existed.

Gene’s work in the Mercy Ministry continues today. Gene has enjoyed woodworking since his retirement five years ago, and he’s been putting his new skills to work. For several years now, Gene and some of his woodworking friends have been making and delivering bunk beds for kids referred by Love INC. He completed and delivered the sixteenth set of bunk beds not long ago.

Later Gene turned his attention to service as chairman of the Diaconate, where his leadership and no-nonsense approach to problem-solving helped keep us focused on our roles and responsibilities. When deacons of that era were asked what they remember most about Gene’s tenure as chairman, the response was unanimous: “We started every meeting on time and we never ended a meeting late.”

Many of you know of Gene’s passion for running. He has run everything from a 50-yard dash to a 100-mile endurance race. So it probably won’t surprise you when I tell you that serving as Deacon of the Day over 26 years, Gene has also “run” the equivalent of 208 miles around Trinity on Sunday mornings unlocking doors, turning on lights, and checking thermostats.

Gene’s spiritual walk with the Lord is undeniable. His devotions were deeply thought out, often personal, and always poignant. I was reminded recently that Gene once did a devotion that openly challenged us to abandon our superficial faith and to measure our trust in the Lord by asking the really honest questions we all tend to avoid. This direct and sometimes shockingly genuine approach not only governs Gene’s practical life, but his spiritual one as well. After all, he concluded, do we really think God doesn’t know what we believe?

Gene Potter is an exemplary deacon and has served Trinity faithfully from the day he was ordained. The Diaconate and our church have benefited enormously from his service and sacrifice. We are deeply grateful for his care of our church building and grounds and his support for the folks who are our church family. It is with deep gratitude and appreciation that we bid him God’s speed as he moves to emeritus status, and pray the Lord will continue using him in mighty ways to demonstrate His love, grace, and mercy to others.

May God supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Romans 4:19) and may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always (2 Corinthians 13:14).

MEET elder louis nelson

Louis Nelson is in his sixteenth year on faculty in the UVA School of Architecture. He moved here for that appointment in 2001 with his wife Kristine and their two kids. Their third child was born here the following year. Louis recently also accepted the university-wide post of Associate Provost for Academic Outreach, following three years as Associate Dean for Academics and Research in the School of Architecture.

Louis Nelson Louis received his undergraduate education at William & Mary and a doctoral degree in art history from the University of Delaware with a focus on faith and the visual world. Raised in the Episcopal Church he says it was while reading seventeenth-century theology for his dissertation that he became convicted of the truth of reformed theology. When his postdoctoral fellowship mentor at Valparaiso University heard the Nelsons were moving to Charlottesville, he predicted that regardless of other churches they might visit, they would end up at Trinity. After that they never tried another church and have been happy here with us.

Upon arrival at Trinity the Nelsons joined the Young Marrieds & More teaching fellowship. Having been mentored through small groups, the couple wanted to continue and see others share the experience, so Louis started a new group. Then, working with Pastor Tony Giles, he became a leader in that ministry, focusing on open groups that intentionally expand and divide. More recently, with the development of the Community + Care Ministry Leadership Team, Louis has taken his passion for this work there. He happily reports that there are now 40 small groups, but he desires to see Trinity grow many more, with special interest in helping cross-generational groups develop as those in their 30s express a desire to develop deeper relationships with older Christians. Louis asks more established members to see this work as service and sacrifice in order to create space for new arrivals.

The Nelson kids have all been part of our church’s children’s and student ministries and have grown through participation in D-groups. Daughters Perri and Parker attend Charlottesville High School and Nathanael is a second-year at UVA. For the last six years Kristine has held an administrative position with the School of Architecture. When they can find the time, the Nelson family enjoys hiking and being together outdoors.

In 2009 Louis was ordained as a Ruling Elder and has been an active member of our Session. He served on committees for Adult Education, Senior Pastor Oversight, and Church Governance. Last year he gathered officers and members with expertise in development of land and buildings to study and plan for the opportunities and needs of Trinity’s facilities in the future, reporting to the Session and Diaconate. Last summer he was chosen by the Session and membership to serve on our Pastoral Search Committee. Louis says as a member of the Session he has a burden that our church would move more deeply into a culture of humility and confession so we would each own the responsibility to confess our common sins often to each other, helping us see ourselves and others as we really are and yet beloved of the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ.



Brothers and Sisters,

Won’t you join the Finance Committee as we praise the Lord for His bounty and thank our people for their generous gifts given to help support our church’s mission! We are pleased to announce that contributions made by the end of the year brought us a little over our giving target of $2.5 million for 2016! Knowledge of this level of congregational support will help guide the actions of our officers, staff, and ministry leaders as they prepare Trinity’s budget for 2017 over the coming weeks. Later this month the Session will be equipped with year-end reports and other information to help them direct the work of leadership teams and the Pastoral Search Committee. While this is wonderful news, it reminds us that ministry and staff costs continue throughout the year, and we urge each family and individual to plan now for continued generous giving throughout the new year as the Lord blesses us.

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through January 14: PACEM in residence
Monday, January 16: Church offices closed for MLK Day

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