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Trinity Together | September 2016

News for 08.08.16
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TT header Sept 2016

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

new strategies for global missions

BY kevin sawyer, global missions director

Historically, support and care for overseas missionaries has been the nucleus of global missions at Trinity. This is still an important focus of our church’s participation in the redemptive work God is doing across the globe. Trinity’s Global Missions Team is undertaking in the coming year to dramatically improve our connection to and care for those serving overseas whom we have long supported.

Over the past several years, the Global Missions Team has also examined current movements in the American and global Church in relation to global missions. The changing landscape of missions is making us evaluate our aims for the future and has led us to add a new strategy. One of our paramount values is for Trinity, as a body, to not simply support those serving overseas but to ourselves participate in God’s work in the world. Our calling as a church is to recognize we've been blessed in order to be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12:1-3). We want to be stewards of all that God has given us, and we want to be servants to the global Church.

This new strategy, called the Gift-Based Strategy, begins with our own church—looking at the many ways God has blessed us. Our aim then is to match some of these inherent “gifts” within our congregation to particular needs in the world. After careful consideration of all the possibilities, four specific “gifts” have been identified as large parts of the DNA of our church.

These are the areas of medicine, education, theological education, and law and justice. Our next step is to identify leaders in our church (and potential partnerships outside our church) in these four areas and begin to mark out how we might offer these “gifts” to the world for the healing of the world and the good of the global Church.

Please stay tuned to hear how this progresses and for the first phases of this strategy launching in this coming year. If you are in one of these four fields and interested in participating, please contact me. Similarly, if you are interested in helping to improve our care for and communication with our global partners please contact me.

tears of joy as CNa program graduates second class

BY joe magri, pastor for mercy + care

Who would take care of you if you suffered a long-term illness? Most often, the person coming alongside and providing direct care is a Certified Nursing Assistant. CNAs are tasked with continually assessing patient status and meeting a myriad of practical physical needs. They offer comfort and dignity for those who are unable to care for themselves.

On July 26, Certified Nursing Assistant students gathered with family and friends to celebrate their completion of an intensive 10-week program at Trinity called Eleos Nursing Academy. (Eleos is a Greek word meaning “mercy.”) The state-approved CNA training program at Trinity is led by volunteer nurse instructors and prepares students to take the certification exam. This year the class included students from several different countries, all with a heart to be on the frontlines caring for people.

Carol Marsh, RN, led the Tuesday and Thursday evening classes with the help of other volunteers including Christine Guarnera, RN, Becky Jones, RDH, Marilyn Potter, RN, and Carey Bailey, RN. Molly Messimer served as the class coordinator, and Jason Biette and Ricky Green assisted as tutors. The class instruction also included clinical rotations every Saturday at a nursing care facility.

As the class started in May, Dr. Jim Avery addressed the students and spoke on compassion and the high calling of caring for the sick and dying. Despite great differences of age, background, and even heart languages, the students pulled together and developed a nurturing environment for learning and a shared camaraderie. That closeness was evident on graduation night as each student shared their appreciation for one another as well as for their instructors.

Tyler Hutcherson and TJ Stokes wowed the graduates and their guests with a rousing rendition of “You’re the Inspiration.” In the graduation message, students were encouraged to “stand in the gap” of human suffering by confidently and competently giving compassionate care with their newly developed skills. The students take their certification exams this month and expect to work in a variety of long-term healthcare settings.

The CNA training program is one way that Trinity is using the gifts and talents of our congregation to serve and care for our community. In this case, the gifts will be extended through others for years to come. Thanks to all who helped to make the graduation a memorable event for the students and their families.

Special Announcement

transition team update

After Labor Day we see so many changes all around us in schools, athletics, weather, and a return to regular rhythms that are interrupted or absent for three months. The same is true for this team and for our church. At an update gathering on Sunday, August 28, following reports from each of the leadership teams, Elder Corey McLellan introduced Trinity’s new staff and gave a summary of the Session’s decisions on pastoral leadership.

Staff Changes
New staff introduced included Beth Riley and Kyle O’Donnell, both working with the Student Ministry; Jaclyn Stokes, Assistant for Worship and Visual Arts; Kirby Hall, Sunday School Coordinator; D. J. Carter, Worship Ministry Resident; and Jessica Robinson, who starts work this week as our new Church Operations Director. We are richly blessed to have each of these join in the good work our staff accomplish and for which we are exceptionally grateful. Welcome, all!

Jessica takes on an especially challenging new job that combines financial and human resource management formerly accomplished by our executive pastor and broad oversight of all church operations formerly handled by Nicole Fleming. She reports to the Session and will be an integral part of the staff leadership team. Her extensive resume demonstrates the many skills she brings to this work, with a BA in social welfare from UC–Berkley and master’s degrees in religion and counseling from Westminster Seminary. Her more than 10 years of experience in service, development, administration, and management in various non-profit organizations range from healthcare to church-based programs. For the last year, since she and her husband, Jesse, moved from California, she has been associate director of student affairs for the UVa Center for Diversity in Engineering.

Transition Team Changes
As Jessica joins the staff, our transition team is losing its leader. Elder Jim Anderson has given countless hours to take on so many roles and fill gaps over the last four months, but it is now time for him to take a well-deserved rest to re-engage with his family and his business. The team has chosen Stu Scott to take over as our chair, but we also will be welcoming Jessica as part of this team and, as she feels equipped to assume the various aspects of her job, we will pull back. Expect to hear more from her and less from us in the weeks ahead. And to Jim—thanks for your leadership and sacrifice “for the peace of the church.”

Seeking Nominations for the Pastor for Community
The Pastor Search Committee (PSC) has asked that we alert the congregation that they are now ready to receive names suggested by you for the position of Pastor for Community. Nominations of candidates for the position or other comments should be sent to Our members should remember the confidentiality with which the PSC handles its work while remaining open to hear from the congregation. This email is not primarily for conversations so please do not expect replies. Remember to pray for the PSC and the man God has already ordained for them to find for us.

Pastoral Leadership
At the August 28 update Corey announced the title the Session has determined for the third of three lead pastors to serve in a collaborative framework. Joining the Pastor for Spiritual Formation (Wade Bradshaw) and the Pastor for Community (PSC seeking him) will be a Pastor for Church Mission. Corey explained that this pastor will focus on execution of the broad mission of our church, not just on the evangelical ministry traditionally called “missions.” Look for further communications next week on these positions and the collaborative leadership model endorsed by the Session. Our team is planning listening sessions for later this month to provide opportunities for anyone who wants to learn and understand more about this.

Celebrating the Thompsons
Be sure to join with many others next Sunday, September 11, at 4pm to recognize, give thanks, and celebrate the 10 years Greg Thompson served as Trinity’s Senior Pastor. The event begins with a program to be followed by a dessert reception.

In the midst of many changes we are truly a blessed people. Continue to pray for each other, our church community, and our leaders, both current and yet to come, as we live and work together as His Church.

From Your Transition Team
Stu Scott, Will Schnorr, Rachael Green, Corey McLellan, Bill Porter, Susan Prindle

august session summary

BY bill porter, moderator of the session

During August, the Session met twice. At the first meeting, we heard from a guest speaker, Rev. Irwyn Ince, who is pastor of City of Hope PCA Church in Columbia, MD.  He is the General Assembly Convener of the recently appointed PCA study committee on women’s role in ministry. He also spoke to the Session about another GA Overture on Racial Reconciliation and Repentance (regarding sins during the civil rights era) and the resulting Resolution passed by the Assembly.  The Session was encouraged by his views of why the overtures and resolution are an important sign and indicator of significant progress in the PCA on these important issues.

We heard a report from the Pastor Search Committee and made plans for future work with the committee. Then the Session set aside the remainder of the docketed business in order to pause and reflect on the life of our late brother, RE Tom Gilliam. We reminded ourselves of the beauty of the truth of the Gospel, read some Scripture, shared a few beautiful stories and memories, and prayed prayers both of thanksgiving for Tom’s life and ministry and of supplication and comfort for Tom’s family.

At the second August meeting, we went back to the business of Trinity’s ministries and transition. The Session heard from TE Todd Johnson about the status of Hope Presbyterian Church (Crozet), and discussed how to encourage Hope and continue, maintain, build, and improve our pastoral and congregational relationships with Hope.

The Session gave consideration to Trinity’s Ambrose Program, which is in the process of finding and bringing pastoral residents to Trinity for a “post-seminary” experience as they begin to develop their ministry paths. Kevin Sawyer will oversee the Ambrose residents and would be pleased to inform interested congregants more about the program.

Trinity’s continuing staff transition was discussed, with information coming from the Transition Team, the Personnel Committee, and the Pastor Search Committee (PSC). The Session previously adopted a collaborative model for the church structural organization, and has made a final designation of the two pastoral positions we are seeking: (1) Pastor for Community (the current responsibility of the PSC, which the congregation elected in May), and (2) Pastor for Church Mission (that search has not yet begun but will be the topic of a future congregational meeting).

An important bright spot in the staff transition was announced to the Session; to wit, the church has hired Jessica Robinson as Church Operations Director. Jessica (wife of Jesse Robinson, who is under care of the Trinity Session as he continues along his own church ministry path with the Blue Ridge Presbytery) brings a wonderful wealth of knowledge and experience to the Trinity staff. The Session encourages you to find and welcome Jessica to this new position among us.

Questions? Email:

MEET ELDER craig wood

Craig Wood is one of the rare people you meet who was actually born and raised in Charlottesville! In 1980 while working with Orange County schools, he met Lisa, who was attending Trinity, thus leading to a long and fruitful marriage and church involvement for the entire family. After 2¾ degrees from UVa, Craig graduated law school at Washington & Lee in 1984. While beginning his career with the McGuireWoods firm, and with a growing family, he became a deacon, serving for three years before being elected to the office of elder. He is now entering his thirtieth year on the Trinity Session, where he has often been looked to for leadership in personnel matters. Craig has also chaired the Global Missions Team for ten years.

Woods With a master’s in deaf education, Lisa ran the Speech and Hearing Center at UVa for nine years. Then, with four young children born in the 1980s, she moved to teach kindergarten, and more recently literacy, at the Covenant School, retiring two years ago after 20 years. She has taught Sunday school and VBS, led Trinity’s Women’s Ministry, and helped start Great Beginnings Preschool. She now enjoys mentoring young women, and she and Craig conduct a marriage discipleship course for young couples each year.  In June she was elected to serve on our Pastoral Search Committee. Their family has hosted a number of Trinity Fellows. In the 1990s they added teenager Rudy from Bolivia to their family and now rejoice to see him living and working in Charlottesville and attending Trinity with his wife. Craig and Lisa’s youngest child, Skip, and his wife live in Atlanta but their other three (Robby, Emily Luck, and Ashley) all live here and attend Trinity along with five grandchildren. They feel blessed to be a multi-generational Trinity family.

Due in part to his specialty in employment and education law, Craig is sought out by the boards of many organizations. He has served for the last eight years on the board of Covenant College. Twelve years ago Trinity pastor John Hall asked him to assist the board of World Harvest Mission (now Serge) with a problem. Craig joined the board and now serves as its chair. Craig tells the story of his daughter Ashley informing her parents that she had applied and been chosen to work with Trinity missionaries in Uganda under World Harvest only to learn then that her father was on that board. Ashley taught in Uganda for three years.

Having been a leader at Trinity through all of its previous pastoral changes, Craig urges our members now to take their membership vows seriously. He emphasizes the need to pull together as a church family and says that our investment in Trinity now will yield its return in eternity. It is on Craig’s heart to encourage us to apply the gospel to all our situations of change, knowing that the Spirit will provide help as He works to make all things new within the perfection of His own timing.

MEET DEACON bob fleischman

Bob and Fran Fleischman met 20 years ago as each was working to build a new life. Bob began attending the same local church as Fran, and in time they both felt ready to take on a new marriage. Bob was building a second career in financial advising after an earlier career where he used his degrees in social work and counseling. A few years later, Bob and Fran were asked by her son Nigel to join his sponsoring team for a mission he would be undertaking in England. Nigel invited his mom and Bob to join him at a Trinity service where they were introduced to Mark Kuiper, youth pastor at that time. Bob recalls how blessed he and Fran were by Mark’s prayer that they would find a church that was just right for them. The following Sunday Bob and Fran started attending Trinity and in 2000 became members.

Fran and Bob enjoy travel and cruising. Each has two sons. Bob’s two have given them five grandchildren, and they love to visit them in Texas and Kentucky. Fran’s sons are local, and this past winter a Charlottesville grandbaby was born.

During his early years as a member, Bob says he was asked several times to take a leadership role, but he recalls always replying that he was too busy with his work. Then in 2005 he was faced with the loss of a large business contract that was going to significantly reduce his income, and he cried out to the Lord for help. The Holy Spirit directed him to do two things: reinvent his work to provide greater help to his clients, and give more of his time to the Lord. Bob took both directions, with one of his first actions being to accept a nomination to become a deacon.

As Bob was involved in the year of discernment and training, Fran was also encountering calls to involvement. She became a group co-leader for women’s Bible study and took on coordination of the Angel Tree ministry, which they continue to lead. In 2008 as he neared ordination as a deacon, Bob asked Pastor John Cunningham to suggest where he might best serve. “Leading the Divorce Care Ministry” was the reply. Fran had been seeking a further “wake-up” call of her own and found her answer there as well. As a couple, they led the program for several years, helping many men and women find a forgiving spirit and a road for the future. More recently, both Bob and Fran have mentored individuals dealing with separation or divorce.

Over the years Bob has served on the Worship Ministry Leadership Team, the Stewardship Committee, and the Finance Committee and has just returned to the latter as church treasurer. In the last year he added a change of focus for his service, joining the Community + Care Leadership Team. Bob believes that his path is a life of being helpful to others in the name of Christ.

Our financial status through August indicates that our church giving numbers are down somewhat when compared with last year. Total contributions to the General Fund are $1,247,000—approximately $30,000 less than at August 31, 2015. Giving has been off through the summer months, and we are prayerful that the with arrival of fall, our giving will return to more normal levels. On the expense side, monthly expenditures are temporarily running lower than budgeted, due to our two open pastoral positions. We are currently running small monthly deficits, which typically are made up by significant giving during November and December. Because of your generous giving in December 2015, we remain in a heathy financial position YTD for 2016, and with your faithful giving in the coming months, we will have sufficient funds to continue to move forward with Trinity’s mission this year.  Please prayerfully consider how you can support Trinity with your tithes and offerings.


Is the area of family finances “divide and conquer” territory for you and yours? Has one spouse, perhaps the one more inclined, been labeled the Finance Minister of your household? Such a division of duties makes sense in many ways but can also be a breeding ground for dysfunction: one spouse may drift into being totally unaware of the family finances; one spouse may be carrying a burden all alone when they actually need some support.

The answer? Sharing the load. Either on an ongoing basis (e.g., talking about financial matters with some measure of detail every month or two) or on a rotating basis (e.g., have the non-Finance Minister spouse do the bills and financial tasks for 3–4 months every other year).

Sermon Podcast Small Groups
Morning Prayer Emails Spiritual Formation Retreats
Evening / Family Prayer Emails


Sunday, September 11: Celebrate Greg Thompson's 10 years as our senior pastor. Program begins at 4pm, followed by a dessert reception. Childcare for infant–4.
Friday, September 30–Sunday, October 2: HOMECOMING! We celebrate 40 years of God's goodness to Trinity. Information and RSVP

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