"Divine dNA: Who we are"
Isn’t it nice when someone gets you? Like that moment when someone understands exactly who you are. They understand what you value, what’s important to you, what excites you, what depresses you. There is nothing better than someone who understands who you are and embraces you for it!
Our community at Trinity UMC had that happen recently. At the beginning of August, the cabinet of the North Georgia Conference designated Trinity United Methodist Church Atlanta as the missional congregation for the Atlanta College Park District. This designation relieves of us our commitments to apportionments and the district work fund. The other churches in the district will now divide and pay our share. In return, we will continue to serve the least, the last, and the lost and explore new ways to be a light to those living in darkness in this part of the city.
While the details have not been ironed out and this is the beginning of this process, I am excited about what the future holds for Trinity. It will give us new ways to live out our call and hopefully additional resources to do so. It is also an affirmation of that missional DNA, or our missional identity. It reminds us of who we are.
The truth is that we all need to be reminded of who we are sometimes. I often end the benediction at the end of the service with the phrase, “remember who you are…” In this designation, the Conference has helped us collectively remember who we are and hopefully it will inspire and enable more expressions of that missional identity. But each of us also need to remember who we are individually.
In the Disney movie “The Lion King”, the protagonist Simba as a young adult lion is exiled from his kingdom. He is confused and feeling out of place. He wants to return home but he believes that he is responsible for the death of his father, Mustafa. His father’s counselor Rafiki comes to Simba and tells him that he still knows his father. Simba is incredulous and says, “My father is dead.” Rafiki smiles and tells Simba to follow him. He leads Simba to a mystical place where Simba encounters his father’s spirit in the clouds. And Mustafa says to him that because Simba lives, Mustafa still lives. And Mustafa gives Simba a little piece of useful advice. He tells him that he is the rightful king. And then he says, “Remember who you are.”
We all sometimes forget just who we are…beloved children of God. We forget what’s in our divine DNA. We forget that we belong to a God that loves unconditionally. We forget that, as children, that DNA of unconditional love courses through us as well. It courses through all of us. For Mustafa, he wanted Simba to embrace all that he is. That he is the true king. And that he has responsibilities as king.
I think that’s a tough part for us as well. I can hear God telling us “remember who you are” not just to remind us that nothing we can ever do will separate us from the love of God, but that as children of the God most high, there are expectations of us as well. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Movement, wrote a sermon called “On the Wedding Garment.” In it he says that we as Christians respond with holy living to God’s loving grace, and that holy living into our divine DNA helps us fit into and be co-creators of the kingdom of God here on earth. To have the divine DNA isn’t just a gift of our belovedness; it’s also a call.
It’s about to be a particularly ugly season in our culture. It’s an election year. We here in Georgia are electing a new governor. And I know that it’s going to lead to passionate debate on each side. I know it will lead to arguments between friends and family members. Emotions will run high. However, just as the conference affirmed our DNA at Trinity by reminding us of who we are let us be reminded of our own identity and our own call.
Let us disagree, passionately, without resorting to unholy actions…name calling, denigration, marginalization, and dehumanization. Let us advocate for our positions without villainizing the other positions. Let us stand firm in our values. Let us stand firm against hatred without resorting to hate ourselves. I know that there will be terrible horrible things said and done, especially racist and misogynist ones, given that one candidate for governor is an African American woman. Let us not stoop to that level of hatred in standing against evil.
In all things that happen in this season, let us remember who we are. Let us remember that we are children of God and thus reflections of God’s holy love. Let us then act accordingly.
Renewed Connections with Trinity Community Ministries
Renewed Connections with Trinity Community Ministries
In 1981 Trinity United Methodist Church saw a need in its community. Concerned with the increasing number of people sleeping on the streets and sidewalks, Trinity UMC opened up its basement as an emergency shelter. In addition, it started serving a free hot meal in that basement on Sundays. Eventually the two programs merged to form its own non-profit called Trinity Community Ministries.
Nearly 40 years later, Trinity Community Ministries has continued to offer services to help homeless men reclaim their lives. Through the years, the ministry outgrew the basement of TUMC and decided to focus on providing housing. However, Trinity UMC has continued to be involved in the ministry. Trinity members have worked at TCM and provided oversight through board membership. Trinity UMC is happy to report strengthened and renewed connections with Trinity Community Ministries in 2018.
In 2018, Trinity Community Ministries has three representatives from the church on its board of directors. The pastor of TUMC always has a seat on the board along with two other members elected by the congregation. Mary Yoder has spent countless hours volunteering with the organization and provided much-needed non-profit leadership as a board member through the years. This year William Boone was elected to the serve on the board. William brings especially important insight and wisdom to his work on the board. He is already connected to many of the residents at Trinity House-Big Bethel through his work at Trinity Table Community Kitchen. He also offers guidance and spiritual support to the men. Trinity UMC is thrilled that William agreed to serve others in this way.
At the beginning of August, the Trinity UMC board members sponsored a TEAM dinner for residents at Trinity House. TEAM stands for “Together Everyone Achieves More.” With a delicious home-cooked meal provided by Mary Yoder, the Trinity UMC members had a chance to hear the inspiring stories of the men at Trinity House, and the men had a chance to get to know the Trinity members better. It was a wonderful evening.
Going forward, we would like to continue to strengthen our connections. We would like members of Trinity UMC to get involved in TEAM dinners. Come out and be inspired. We are currently seeking a collaborative ministry project that would help Trinity UMC meet more of its neighbors, give the men of Trinity House a chance to hone work skills, and get the word about both Trinity UMC and TCM out in our community. Stay tuned for more details!
Lost in thought
Carrie and Tasso submitted the following regarding the birth of their first child:
Lochlan George Tasioudis was born 7-28-18 at 8:14 am via emergency C-section. He was 5 lbs 12 oz, 18 inches long and was so tiny he had to wear preemie clothes for a couple of weeks but now at 3 weeks old he's 6 lbs 13 oz and can wear newborn size. His first name is Gaelic and means "Land of Lakes". His middle name is after Tasso's dad. He likes to eat every 2-3 hours and prefers to sleep in someone's arms though we're trying to break him of that habit :-) He doesn't cry very much unless he's hungry (so far!) and when he's awake he likes to just sit and take everything in. He went for his first outside walk recently but slept through the whole thing. Carrie's parents live with us now and are thoroughly enjoying being grandparents! Enjoy the cuteness!!!
After his first bath in the tub Dana gave us
Three weeks old
Tummy time on the blanket Mary Maynard made.
One day old
For those of you that shop on Amazon, whether it be a little or a lot, did you know you can support Trinity UMC with your purchases? When you shop on AmazonSmile the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations that you select. To participate in the AmazonSmile program, simply go to smile.amazon.com from your computer or mobile device. On your first visit, before you shop, select an organization to receive donations from your eligible purchases; the site will remember your selection for future purchases from AmazonSmile. Type “Trinity United Methodist Church Atlanta” into the search field and press enter. You will be asked to confirm your choice, and you’re done. Every time you go to make a purchase on Amazon, make sure you got to smile.amazon.com. Your choice of Trinity should be saved and under the search bar it should say "supporting: Trinity United Methodist Church". Thank you for supporting us with your purchases and happy shopping!
We are excited to announce that Pastor Dana's sermons will soon be available in podcast form. You'll be able to find them where ever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Thank you to Joanna Harbin for the idea! Watch this space for more details soon!
Gordy & Ardell Graner
Missionaries among us
If you want to follow the mission activities of the Graners in the Dominican Republic, check out their website at www.granerfamily.org
Gordon and Ardell Graner have much appreciated the opportunity to spend some time with the Trinity folks over the past weeks. They are in Atlanta for Gordon to get his shoulder fixed at Emory Hospital. Back in May, he was on a hike descending El Morrow, a small mountain outcropping in the Dominican Republic, when he fell and injured himself. Later after an MRI he learned that he had broken a bone and detached his rotator cuff. It took two surgeries to get it fixed and he seems to be on recovery road.
Gordon says, “Atlanta/Emory has been our refuge for wellness and recovery over the years. In addition, Trinity UMC has been a long term partner with us in mission to Bolivia and now the Dominican Republic. It feels like we are a part of the Trinity family as you have always opened your hearts to us whenever we are here to share in worship, Bible study, special meals, and the blessings of many rides from Kathey Stubbs and Dianne O’Neal.”
Charge Conference is Monday, September 17th at 7pm
Save the Date!
Blessing of the animals service is Saturday, October 6th
25 years Later...alto buddies forever!
Panel discussion on immigration is Sunday, September 30th
Our annual charge conference in which we submit annual reports and celebrate our ministries from the past year will be held on Monday, September 17 at 7pm at Warren Memorial UMC (181 Joseph E Lowery Blvd SW, Atlanta, GA 30314). It is a cluster conference where we will join with several other UMC's in our area. Please make plans to attend.
Brunch Church is Sunday, September 30th at 10:30am
It's our third Brunch Church of the year! We'll begin gathering and eating around 10:30am and church will start about 11am. We’ll eat, sing, hear stories from the bible, and learn from a short message. Bring your appetite, bring your friends and please, if you are able, bring a potluck brunch dish to share.
Atlanta Pride Demonstration of love and welcome October 13th
Atlanta Pride will take place the weekend of October 13th - 14th. We will have our annual demonstration of love and welcome on Saturday, October 13th. If you're interested in helping to plan or participate, reach out and let Pastor Dana know.
As we get more details we will share them on social media but save the date! And watch our Facebook page for more details!
As you may remember Pastor Dana visited the Borderland this last May for about a week. On Sunday afternoon, September 30th we'll be having a panel discussion with her and some of her colleagues that visited El Paso and the surrounding regions with her. They will be discussing what they saw and learned and we will be offering a time at the end for questions that you may have about what's really going on at the border.
265 Washington St. SW
*We stream our sermon every Sunday at 11:15am on Facebook. Come Join Us!
Trinity United Methodist Church
Atlanta, GA 30303