Every year in September or October, a group meets in Washington, D.C. The meeting is hosted by the Family Research Council, The meeting is called the Values Voters Summit and brings together social conservatives, activists, and politicians. They usually coalesce around the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, with the attendees and sponsors being against both. The attendees also advocate for a strong military. Every year candidates for public office attend hoping to gain the support of the “values voter.” The Los Angeles times once described the summit as part political rally, part religious revival, part bazaar. Most of the attendees would describe themselves as Christians and proclaim that they vote with their values.
While I myself do not agree with their stances, I think that we Christians are all, or at least should be, values voters. I think we must consider our values whenever we walk into the voting booth. As we approach this contentious election this year, I ask you to vote your values as well. And as Christians and United Methodists, I hope and pray that our values are consistent with the teachings of our savior, Jesus Christ. I hope that our values are consistent with God’s will for us as we understand it from scripture.
So just what are some of those teachings and examples that we see from scripture? I could quote specific bible verses (Matthew 25: 31-46, Micah 6:8, the Beatitudes or the entire book of Exodus), but if we take a big picture view of scripture and Jesus’ teachings, it all boils down to Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 22: 37-40 when asked what the greatest commandment is:
37He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
As we go to the polls this week and as we continue to work for the kingdom of God in this divided and, let’s face it, scary time, no matter what happens we cannot forget these commandments. Let us do whatever we do and however we vote with love as our value. Not sentimental love but the agape love we are called to enact. Love that may require sacrifice. Love that may require us to put our neighbor’s needs above our own. Love that requires us to see everyone as a beloved child of God. Those are the values that I seek to embody always, and that doesn’t stop when entering the voting booth.
So in this season of tensions, outright hate, and division, what are your values? Where is your faith leading you in forming those values? And how will you express those values in the voting booth? I would never dream of telling anyone how to vote…we are not that kind of church. But I do remind you that our faith should inform all of our actions. Will you be a values voter this year? The kingdom of God needs it.
I would like to leave you with this poem by Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann for your consideration during this time.
The Noise of Politics
We watch as the jets fly in with the power people and the money people, the suits, the budgets, the billions.
We wonder about monetary policy because we are among the haves, and about generosity because we care about the have-nots.
By slower modes we notice Lazarus and the poor arriving from Africa, and the beggars from Central Europe, and the throng of environmentalists with their vision of butterflies and oil of flowers and tanks of growing things and killing fields.
We wonder about peace and war, about ecology and development, about hope and entitlement.
We listen beyond jeering protesters and soaring jets and faintly we hear the mumbling of the crucified one, something about feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty, about clothing the naked, and noticing the prisoners, more about the least and about holiness among them.
We are moved by the mumbles of the gospel,
even while we are tenured in our privilege.
We are half ready to join the choir of hope, half afraid things might change, and in a third half of our faith turning to you, and your outpouring love that works justice and that binds us each and all to one another.
So we pray amidst jeering protesters and soaring jets.
Come by here and make new, even at some risk to our entitlements.
We had our third Brunch Church of the year the last Sunday in September. Good food, good fellowship, good music and a great sermon! What more could you ask for? Look for Brunch Church again in December!
Our annual charge conference this year was held on September 17, 2018 at Warren Memorial UMC. It was attended by four other churches in our district and each church submitted their annual reports and shared their ministries. We had 8 from our church attend including our Pastor.
We are proud and happy to share with you that the Atlanta Business Chronicle has selected Cheryl as one of the 20 women (from over 350 who were nominated), to be honored with its 2018 Women Who Mean Business Awards on October 18, 2018.
Among Cheryl’s many accomplishments that were cited in her nomination were that she served as the Senior Program Manager over the design and construction of all 33 sports venues for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, including the Olympic Stadium and its conversion to a pro baseball stadium, Turner Field, after the Games. She also served as the Principal Architect for the Joint venture that did the Master Planning for the $7 billion, 13-year expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, including the new Maynard Jackson International Terminal. Cheryl also was the first woman elected to serve as President of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), and was the first African-American woman to serve as the Chair of a National Convention of the American Institute of Architects. Her family-owned firm, McAfee 3 Architects, was founded in 1963 by Cheryl’s father, and is one of the oldest African-America-owned architectural firms in the US. And, when their father retired, Cheryl and her sister Charyl became the sole owners, so it is now a women-owned, minority-owned architectural firm, one of very few in the entire country.
Way to go Cheryl!
Cheryl McAfee Honored
We are excited to announce that Pastor Dana's sermons are now available in podcast form. Thank you to Joanna Harbin for the idea! Click here for the latest episode. You can also search Trinity UMC Atlanta Sermons in the iTunes Podcast app and in the Google Play store. In addition, the latest podcast will always be available on the home page of our website: www.atlantatrinity.org
Murl Blackman graduated
Congratulations to Murl Blackman on completing the Atlanta Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training. His graduation will be this coming Saturday. Trinity is so proud of you!
Action Ministries life Changers Breakfast
It's always a pleasure to get out and support Action Ministries. They had a great panel of Women Leaders from the Atlanta area for their Life Changers Breakfast, talking about life, work, service and community along with a tasty breakfast. Thanks for inviting us!
Our Blessing of the Animals service was held the first Saturday in October at Grant Park. This yearly service is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi's love for all creatures whose feast day is October 4. There were a number of dogs in attendance who brought their humans with them.
25 years Later...alto buddies forever!
Winifred Denise Shaw passed away peacefully on October 1, 2018. Denise was born August 5, 1965, graduated from Marietta High School, and was a devoted employee of Georgia State University for 31 years. Hobbies included walking, time in the library, computer games, and attending religious services of all faiths throughout Atlanta. Denise will be remembered for her wisdom, courage, love of others, tenacity, sense of humor, authenticity, and generosity. She is survived by her longtime companions, Mary and Tim Yoder, and a host of colleagues and friends.
Blessing of the Animals
There was a woman who was at Denise's funeral from one of the Citizen Advocacy groups here in Atlanta and she brought a pamphlet that Mary and Denise were featured in that we wanted to share with you.
It reads: "Mary and Denise have been together for more than four decades. Mary met Denise when she was a young girl living in Brook Run Hospital, or as it was known at its inception, 'the Georgia Retardation Center.' Denise had lived in that facility from its earliest years.
Mary and her husband, Tim, advocated for Denise to live outside of that institution. They protected her through her years in foster care, monitored her education and provided typical childhood experiences for Denise. Now they all live together as family. Denise says, "I would be dead if it weren't for Mary." Mary says, "Denise is my very best friend."
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Trinity United Methodist Church
Atlanta, GA 30303
Wesley Walk For Others
The Wesley Walk for Others which begins at Stone Mountain UMC, goes around Stone Mountain and back to the church again (6 miles!) was Saturday, October 27th. Our team walked for youth ministry funds at Trinity. Thanks to everyone who came out at 7:30am on a Saturday. Special shout out to Gavin who jumped right in after only attending church one Sunday!
Laity Sunday - October 21
We celebrated Laity Sunday highlighting the gift of music in our worship. There were up-tempo selections, a capella pieces, spirituals and some favorite hymns which focused on themes of praise, worship and music. We also recited a liturgy recognizing the many ways in which laity at Trinity help keep our community running smoothly as well as offer a warm and hospitable welcome to all.