I cannot lie to you. I spent hours trying to figure out what I would say in this very last blog for “The Evangel.” Even though I do a lot of writing and am rarely at a loss for words, I found the words this time around to be less than forthcoming. As I grappled with where to begin, I realized that this struggle felt familiar to me. It was the same place I often find myself in during difficult times in my prayer life. There is so much, but so few words to capture the moment.
In the past when I faced writer’s block, I would go back to a favorite book on writing, “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. However, this time around, I found myself gravitating towards another book by Lamott, her book on prayer, “Help, Thanks, Wow.” If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it, especially if you find praying difficult. When I struggle with prayer, I remember this book and her assertion that all of our prayers boil down to those three little words: help, thanks, wow. And then came the epiphany that my final words for you come down to those as well.
Help: Lamott knows that many of our prayers center on seeking help in the midst of life’s challenges. We cry out for help to our creator for healing, for peace, for strength, for patience, for all our needs. And I have needed the help of the Almighty these past years and that help came in the form of the wonderful people at Trinity. The past five years has seen my life change significantly, and I needed the people of Trinity to be patient and supportive. And they always lived up to that. I needed time and space to work on ordination requirements and was always graciously given it. And I still need the help of the people of Trinity. I need your prayers as I transition into a new place. It’s exciting but scary, and there is the grief of leaving a people and a community whom you love. I also need your help in making sure that Rev. Deborah Williams is welcomed with open arms in the way that I was. I need you to stay committed to the work at Trinity. That will help me feel at peace with the transition. And I need your help and forgiveness. For all the ways that I have failed you in the past five years, I ask for your forgiveness. I promise that I never intentionally failed you. As Washington said in his farewell speech, “I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors.” For those errors, I am sorry and ask for your forgiveness.
Thanks: While we ask for help so often, we also need to say thanks. Prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude are an essential part of the life of discipleship. And a practice of gratitude has been shown even to be good for our health. I recognize that my space is limited in the newsletter. As a preacher, I rely on my words to convey messages. As a disciple of Christ, I rely on my actions. Today, however, both of those things seem inadequate to express my immense gratitude for the people at Trinity and for my time spent there. I am thankful for your patience with me as I learned to be a full-time pastor. I am thankful for your love and acceptance through difficult times. I am thankful for your sense of boundaries and allowing me to grow through continuing ed and Sabbath time. I am thankful for your commitment to Trinity and to the work of God. I am thankful for what you have taught me about following Jesus and loving others. I am thankful …just so thankful that God saw fit for me to be a part of your lives for this season.
Wow: Wow is the last word in Lamott’s trinity of prayerful words. It is an expression of amazement, a way to praise God for what God has done, is doing, and will do. When I think of Trinity, I can’t help but think, “Wow!” God has used the people in that building on the corner of Trinity Avenue and Washington St. for over 150 years to minister with the people of that community and the world. When I was first appointed to Trinity, someone who works in the conference office asked if Trinity was going to make it. Before I could give my opinion, she answered herself, “Of course, it is! We’ve been asking that question for the past 50 years and it’s still standing.” And it’s still standing because the people of Trinity say yes to God every single day…say yes to God’s call to build relationships, to care for each other, and to build a diverse community accepting and affirming of all God’s children. When I was first appointed to Trinity, I said “Wow!” to my DS. And now as I leave Trinity, I say “Wow!” to all the things I’ve seen and experienced and praise God for not abandoning Trinity, its people, and its work. Wow! I fully believe that God will take care of Trinity and the work of God through Trinity will continue to inspire “Wows” for years to come. Thank God for Trinity!
As you all know, the move was a surprise for many of us. But as I’ve had time to sit with this transition and as we celebrate Pentecost, I know that the Spirit is moving and will continue to move at Trinity, in your lives, in Rev. Williams’ life, and in my life. It is well with my soul.
New Water Fountain
For Maundy Thursday this year Trinity served and shared a TEAM dinner at Trinity Community Ministries and ended up joining with St. Paul UMC who was also there doing the same. It was a wonderful evening of fellowship, sharing our stories and eating, followed by a short communion service.
Out of that shared time together, came a wonderful gift to Trinity from St. Paul. Trinity needs to replace the water fountain outside our church, as it is often the only free water available to our non-housed neighbors around the church which is especially crucial during the summer months. We have purchased the fountain but had not yet secured the funds for its installation. And so, in the spirit of loving one another, a wonderful donor from St. Paul heard that money was needed to install the fountain and offered to pay it in full.
Trinity would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to this anonymous donor for helping us provide this necessity before summer arrives.
"I give you a new commandment: love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other" (John 13:34-35 CEB).
Pastor Dana's Last Sunday
TRINITY United Methodist Church 2014 - 2019
To Pastor Dana: With Love, Trinity
For Pastor Dana's last Sunday I decided to put together a video of her last five years here at Trinity. It originally was just going to be some photos and some of her favorite music however, as I were editing her "Our Trinity Stories" video that we shot late last year, (you will find that video below on page 10), I realized that some of that video had to be included as well. This is the final result. - Angela
One: Dana, in the five years you have been with us at Trinity your love and care for us has been unceasing;
ALL: your leadership has been brave in all things big and small, but most importantly, you have shared life, ministry, mission and witness with us.
One: You have been woven into the fabric of our spiritual life together. In doing so, you have reminded each of us how to be a witness to God's love:
ALL: to each other, to our neighbor, to the voiceless, to the "other" in our midst and to the refugee at our door.
One: You have become part of the DNA of this church that is called Trinity United Methodist, and you will forever be etched in our hearts.
ALL: We say goodbye to your mama, Ethel Lee, to Teri, Dave, Erin and Paulina. We have been so blessed to have all of you as part of our family.
One: So, in our sorrow but with our love and deepest gratitude for all the gifts you have bestowed on this congregation, we send you forth in the Spirit to continue the good work you have been called to do at St. Timothy UMC. Know that now, and always, you will walk in the strong and loving arms of the Creator, Redeemer and Holy Spirit.
ALL: Dana, we send you forth to love and serve God and your neighbor in all that you do, always remembering who you are and to whom you belong. Amen.
Liturgy of Sending Forth & Benediction
We had our first Summertime Storytime Hour this past Wednesday and it was a lot of fun! Michael read us some great stories about friends, we sang songs and Betsy helped us make some beautiful dragonflys! Weny even led a few of the kids in a came of Red Light/Green Light! Thank you to all who have helped and who are signed up to help in the next few months!
We will continue through the months of June and July with an hour filled with children’s stories, music and an art project before finishing up with a light snack. The event is free and there is free parking in the parking deck next to the church. Please see our website for additional parking instructions. All children ages 0-10 are welcome and must by accompanied by a parent, grandparent, or guardian. Come join us!
We would love your help in spreading the word, so if you or someone you know, would be interested in joining us this summer, you can find more information on our website and Facebook page.
Johnathan E. Palmer (son of Bobbie Pitmann Palmer and grandson of Doris Pitmann) will graduate from West Milford High School, 6-19-2019. Johnathan is a 4 year member of the High Honor Society and 2 year member of the National Honors Society. He is a recipient of the WMHS Citizen of The Month Award. A member of the National Thespian Society and member of the WMHS Mens Master Singers. Johnathan is an avid student of Martial Arts and plays the guitar. Graduating in the top 5% of his class, Johnathan will attend Montclair State University of NJ in the fall of 2019. He plans to study Theater & Media Arts with a minor in Communications.
June & Junly - Wednesdays @ 10AM
Storytime At trinity
Johnathan E. Palmer
265 Washington St. SW
Our story is one of the most important things we can share with each other. For it is through our stories that we can share our joys and our pains, our triumphs, our struggles and our humanity. In this series we wanted to explore the different paths our members took in coming to Trinity, what inspired them to stay, what they love about the church and what frustrates them about the church. We will be sharing our stories in the next few months -- maybe you'll find a bit of your story too.
Our Sunday sermon is streamed on Facebook at 11:15am and can also be found as a podcast on Apple podcasts and Google Play.
Trinity United Methodist Church
Atlanta, GA 30303
Pastor Dana Ezell
Our Trinity Stories