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Seeking the renewal of all things through Jesus Christ

Trinity Together | November 2016

News for 11.07.16
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TT header Nov 2016

A MONTHLY LOOK AT our life with God,

one another, and our neighbors

forming leaders: the ambrose program

BY kevin sawyer, director of missions

As Trinity continues to embrace our identity and context as a missionary congregation in a secular age, one of the questions that surfaces is What is required of church leadership to be faithful? While we are considering this for our own church, we are also considering it for the broader church. We are convinced that the church in the West as a whole is in the midst of cultural shifts that demand a serious consideration of faithfulness in this context of secularism. Part of our vision is that we would be generous with what we have been blessed with, that we might be of service to the broader church. These are some of the formative convictions that helped give rise to the Ambrose Program at Trinity.

The Ambrose Program is designed with the ambition to help form the next generation of leaders for the church. The horizon of our particular cultural context is one that requires the church be led by people who are more significantly formed theologically and spiritually, and equipped ministerially, to endure in faithfulness in our age for the glory of God. Seminaries find their curriculums already over-full. It is difficult for them to give their students sufficient practical experience of the workings of a church—workings that are very complex in our society. Even more critically, many seminary experiences do not form their students in a rich spiritual life. Seminaries mean to do both, but they often fall short in both. The Ambrose Program is a two-year training program—forming leaders through theological deepening, spiritual formation, and ministerial experience. At the end of the program, Residents are sent out to the particular place God has prepared for them that they might serve faithfully.

The program is best understood by comparing it to the model of a teaching hospital. The participants are called Residents. Ambrose Residents have completed (or nearly completed) formal theological training and are already capable leaders with a clear calling in ministry. Each Resident has a focus area in one of our core ministry departments and is under the supervision of the leader of that department. Additionally, like a resident in a hospital, each year they will rotate through all departments of the church for six-week blocks to get wider ministry experience, learn different aspects of the life of the church, and glean knowledge from a variety of leaders. Residents also have the opportunity to participate in and gain experience in various pastoral duties (weddings, funerals, preaching) as they arise, and participate in various focused training (counseling, preaching).

Interns follow a second track of the Ambrose Program. Interns differ from Residents in that they are part-time, have yet to receive theological training, are only participating in the rotations through the departments, are only with us for a year, and are primarily seeking to discern potential fit for and calling into ministry.

This year we are very excited to have two Residents and two Interns with us. DJ Carter and Bo Waldo are full-time Residents serving in the areas of Worship and Community & Care respectively. Bo’s wife, Kathryn, is also participating in the program part-time and serving in Children’s Ministry. Our two Interns this year are Micah Webber and Preston Grissom. We are delighted to have these young leaders among us, helping to serve our church. Please welcome them as you see and get to know them.

third quarter report

BY trinity's leadership teams

Each quarter, Trinity's leadership teams (Worship, Spiritual Formation, Community & Care, Global Missions, and Local Missions) report on their current efforts within the context of our strategic plan, including stories and anecdotes of what their respective ministries are doing. To learn more, download the PDF here.

Special Announcement


Thank you for your participation in selecting two additional members for the Pastoral Search Committee to undertake a search for the Pastor for Church Mission. We are especially thankful to the 7 candidates for their willingness to be nominated. The new members who have been appointed to serve us are Jim Anderson and Heather Uthlaut.
They will not join the current committee until after the 2016 financial report is completed and the financial feasibility of this position is reviewed. Please pray that the Spirit would guide their work as they seek for a Pastor for Church Mission.
Jessica Wey Robinson
Church Operations Director


Carlton and Beth Dixon met at Virginia Tech. Raised in a church-going family, Carlton still knew he was not living as he should and, to earn Beth’s commitment, he needed to change. While skiing in Aspen he encountered a group of Young Life leaders who drew him into their fellowship and helped him gain a clearer understanding of Christian faith and life, enabling him to fully embrace his faith. As he neared completion of a master’s in business, Carlton and Beth were married. He accepted a job in Charlottesville in the fall of 1983. Asking about local churches led them to Trinity, where they have happily remained ever since.

Dixon family With his career in the financial world, Carlton had a natural interest in personal money management and stewardship. When he was elected to the Diaconate in 1990, he began working with other deacons to help educate the congregation on a biblical view of money and personal finance. They looked into various programs and settled on Crown Ministries, a leading organization doing that work, and brought the program to Trinity, teaching and overseeing it for several years. During these years the three Dixon children were being nurtured through Trinity’s Children’s Ministry, and Beth was building relationships and serving as an encouragement and prayer support for others.

As the Fellows Program began in 2003–04, the Dixon family became involved and have continued, mentoring individuals and hosting Fellows in their home. From their investment of time they have seen dividends paid in the lives of the Fellows and of their own family. Among those blessings are their two grandchildren born to daughter Kelly and her husband, former Fellow Sean Greer, a second-generation Trinity family.

When first encouraged to consider service as an Elder, Carlton felt he did not have the necessary gifts. After a period of prayer and reflection, he began to see that he might have a gift of shepherding, so he accepted the nomination when offered again and was ordained in 2005. “SonShip” played a large role in helping him develop as an Elder. This is a program of World Harvest Ministry, now called Serge, that was introduced to Trinity members in the late 1990s.  Carlton and Beth have both participated in this study and feel the material it presents has had a greater impact on their lives than any other. They have seen it powerfully used in mentoring relationships. Carlton used it when assisting with training men to become Elders. This fall Beth and Carlton are mentoring and leading a new group of former Fellows through SonShip, and they see the Spirit already moving among them.

Carlton runs the local office of an investment management firm based in North Carolina, but he has a number of interests to pursue at other times, including traveling with Beth. He has always loved to hunt and fish with his sons, Kyle and Eric, and several Elders with whom he is close. He also enjoys watching his Hokies in most any sport.

Reflecting on the last half of Trinity’s history, Carlton says that he was sad to see senior pastors John Hall and Greg Thompson leave, but he knows they were both God’s men given to us for their time and that each helped us grow as a body in our brokenness. Carlton is excited to see Trinity poised for the future, in gratitude for the past, under the vision articulated by the Session and leadership teams.



Through October 31, 2016, our overall church revenue numbers are nearly even with last year. Total contributions to the General Fund are $1,596,000, only a few thousand dollars behind 2015. We are encouraged by your generous giving during October and for your renewed efforts to support Trinity’s mission. Thank you.

As with most churches, we typically receive most of our income during the months of November and December. We have 8 Sundays remaining and are prayerful that we will be able to replenish our reserves to begin the new year—ready cover the costs of running the church, and meeting the needs of our local community and our global missionaries. Our church giving and expenses for FY2016 have been budgeted at about $2.3 million. We anticipate the need to fund $2.6 million in 2017, with a full staff and our ongoing mission to share the gospel both locally and around the world.

We remain in a heathy financial position for 2016 with sufficient funds to cover our expenses this year, but will need to increase giving in order to meet our plans for 2017. Please consider how you can support Trinity with your tithes and offerings, both in the closing weeks of 2016 and into the new year.

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Morning Prayer Emails Adult Classes
Evening/Family Prayer Emails


Sunday evenings through December 4: Evening Prayer Service, 5pm, worship alcove
Sunday, November 20: International Thanksgiving Dinner LOTS OF HELP NEEDED!
Wednesday, November 23:
Thanksgiving Eve Service, 7pm
Sunday, November 27: Advent Wreath Workshop, 10am, gym

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