"Inside Out Church"
Every July, pastors from all other North Georgia and South Georgia converge at Epworth-by-the-Sea at St. Simons Island for something called Georgia Pastors’ School. It is a week of presentations, seminars, worship, fellowship, and beach time (provided the weather cooperates). I attended for the first time this year, and I’m really glad I did, even though the weather did not cooperate for the beach most days. I am glad that I attended for a variety of reasons. It was an opportunity to spend some time and catch up with dear clergy colleagues and their families. I got to eat some fabulous seafood. I got to attend inspiring worship and hear some sermons, especially the one from our own Bishop Sue. Overall it was a week of nourishment and spiritual renewal.
However, I am especially glad that I went this year because of the theme of the presentations. Sometimes the education part of continuing education events is an afterthought. Not for me at this year’s Pastors’ School. The theme this year was “Inside Out Church”, and all the presentations focused on how we are called and commissioned to take the church the Body of Christ outside the walls of the church the building. In other words, get out of the pew, get out of the classroom, get out of the parlor, get out of the kitchen, and GET INTO THE WORLD! There were some moving and motivating stories from churches around the country and right here in North Georgia. As I furiously took notes, I realized that Trinity does a pretty good job of getting into the world and our neighborhood. The obvious ways we engage our neighborhood is through Trinity Table and Trinity Assessment Center. But we do it in other, less formalized ways. How many times has a member of Trinity spent time making sure some of our unstably housed neighbors had things they needed? How many times has a Trinity member spoken to and gotten to know our unstably housed neighbors as people, beloved children of God, and not a nuisance? We don’t call it this, but Trinity’s members operate as our own sort of case management team, making appointments for folks, providing transportation, and showing up when needed. Trinity is in the community.
One of the other pieces of advice was helping congregations to figure out how to partner with community agencies to bring healing and wholeness to a hurting world. And as I was furiously taking notes, I realized we do pretty well on that count too. We entered into this wonderful partnership with Action Ministries to ensure the sustainability of Trinity Table and our women’s shelter. We have been partners with Trinity Community Ministries since it broke off from TUMC, and we are looking forward to new leadership there. We are in talks to partner with them on an exciting innovative ministry. (I’ll keep you in suspense until we hear back from a grant!)
We do quite a bit to be in our community. As I said, some of it is formalized and well-known. Others we do quietly because it’s what we are called to do as disciples. For a smaller church, we do a lot of community engagement. But….could we do more? What are some more ways that we can get outside the walls? It reminds me of a lot of the stories in the Gospel of Mark that we’ve been reading in this summer’s lectionary readings. Everywhere Jesus goes there is great need. People crowd around him. They grasp at his cloak, hoping that just touching his garment will bring healing. There is still great need, and unfortunately the church itself has been asleep at the wheel while suffering, brokenness, and isolation/loneliness has taken over.
So I am inviting the people of Trinity United Methodist Church to dream with me…dream how we can turn church inside out even more! What ways could we be partnering with our community? What is happening in our community that needs the unique voice and contribution of the Body of Christ? Dream with me! Maybe we could take the food and fellowship of Brunch Church outside the church. Maybe we could get to know our neighbors who work in our area better through innovate ministry ideas. Maybe we could just be a constant reliable presence in our neighborhood hangouts and get to know people. The need is great. Jesus always figured out a way to get out and be with the people. Can we do that too? Can we turn the church inside out?
One of the most challenging things I heard this week came from Bishop Sue. In her sermon at Tuesday night’s worship, she recounted how scandalous it was to be a Methodist in the earliest days of the movement. It was scandalous because Methodists were seen as radicals who showed absolutely no regard for class divisions. Those Methodists dared to engage with the least, the last, and the lost. And in the class system of 18th century England, that was disgraceful behavior for good polite church people. She lamented that perhaps we have lost what it means to be a Methodist and challenged us to remember our heritage as scandalous people and rabble-rousers involved with the suffering of the world. Just like Jesus did. In a stinging critique of the current church she reminded us that Jesus is not saying defend me. Jesus is crying out, “Be me!” Church, it’s time to go further as Jesus did and be Jesus outside the walls. It’s time to be the Body of Christ!
partnering with action ministries
NEW members Levonia & Jarrod
Trinity is so excited to welcome new members Levonia and Jarrod. Levonia was born and raised in Atlanta and grew up an only child. Today though, she has 8 kids, 12 grandkids and 4 great-grand kids. Levonia and Jarrod have been attending regularly for the last 4 months and became members on June 24, 2018. Welcome Levonia and Jarrod - and thank you for all you bring to Trinity.
This year's back to school list for a kindergartner costs an estimated $125. Action Ministries' Women's Community Kitchen will open a temporary back to school store for 100 children at their Community Kitchen located at Grace UMC. Parents will be able to "shop" for free supplies using their children's supply lists. Action Ministries' partner churches, organizations and supporters were invited to help with the effort and we at Trinity UMC were delighted to pitch in. Here are some of the collected supplies, beautifully modeled by some Trinity young folks.f them!
Save the date
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.
Charge Conference is Monday, September 17th at 7pm
The one day the sun shined
at the beach
There was food for the belly and food for the soul, music, fellowship, communion -- we had another great Brunch Church. Mark your calendar because the next one is September 30 and you won't want to miss it!
"The Christmas story is a love story. It is the story of a God who loves God's creation so much God was willing to come and be with us. It is the story of a God who loved so much that God was willing to come to an imperfect world, to struggle, to be just like you and me so that we would know that we are never alone. The Christmas story is the greatest love story ever told. The love that is expressed at Christmas never ends. It never goes out of season. There is no season for God's love because it is eternal, it is lasting and it is faithful. And we need to be reminded of that." - excerpt from Pastor Dana's sermon "'Tis the Season"
Christmas in July
265 Washington St. SW
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Trinity United Methodist Church
our Trinity Stories
Atlanta, GA 30303
25 years Later...alto buddies forever!
We will share more about this project in the fall but here's a small teaser of a project that we're working on.