Serving Easter Dinner at Trinity Table
Recently I got a chance to see a musical that I had been wanting to see for a while. “Dear Evan Hansen”, which won six Tonys at the 2017 ceremony, tells the story of a teenage boy suffering from social anxiety and profound loneliness. When tragedy strikes and a series of misunderstandings unfold, he invents for himself an important role in the tragedy that he did not earn. That’s all I’ll say about the plot. What I will tell you is that I loved the show more than I thought I could. I laughed. I cried. I sang along. It stayed with me long after I left the Fox.
As my friend and I were waiting to enter the theatre, we noticed how many young people were attending. My friend, who knew nothing about the show, asked, “Is this a young people’s show?” I replied, “Well, yes, but not like Aladdin or The Lion King.” After finally seeing it, I believe that anyone who works with young people or cares about young people should see it, not just have young people see it. Why is that?
Through the characters, young and old, we catch a glimpse of ourselves. I was transported back to some painful times in middle school and high school. And if I’m honest, painful times as an adult, too. You see all of these characters are wounded in some way, and most of that damage is a result of isolation. Obviously, we understand and are familiar with the trope of the lonely, isolated, disconnected adolescent. But it’s a trope that applies to a lot of us, I think. That even in the day of constant digital connection, many of us still feel unspeakably lonely and alone.
I understand why the musical is so popular. It speaks to us no matter how old we are. My friend and I both cried at points in the show. And it was both that we felt the way the characters felt many years ago in our younger years AND not so long ago in our adult lives. I made the comment to someone after seeing the show that I could probably do an entire sermon series on the show. The world of Dear Evan Hansen is the world in which, so many of us and people we know, live. It’s a story of belonging, connections, and visibility or what it’s like to lack all those things. And if the family of God doesn’t have anything to say about that, then what are we doing?
So many of the healing stories in the Gospel weren’t just about physical healing. The most powerful thing that Jesus did when he healed is that he enabled the person to rejoin the community. When Jesus healed, he restored a sense of belonging, reconnected people, and made them visible. Sure, to suffer no longer with an ailment is wonderful, but to belong and to be seen is miraculous.
In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control reported that life expectancy in the U.S. declined for a third straight year. Deaths from cancer are decreasing, but other diseases' death rates continue to climb. And for the first time, the CDC mentioned that the declining life expectancy was in part due to what it called “diseases of despair.” These were deaths attributed to drug and alcohol abuse and suicide. It disproportionately affected white middle-aged Americans, but there was an increase overall.
If Jesus were here, I’m pretty sure he’d be all about healing these diseases of despair. Here’s the Good News though: Jesus is here. Jesus is here through the Body of Christ, the church, you and me. Community is so important to healing. I’m so excited for how Trinity is seeking to build community. We’ve been doing it for so long with The Table and other ministries. It’s so exciting to think about the community we can create through Story Time this summer. I can’t help but wonder how the young characters in Dear Evan Hansen would’ve fared had they been involved in a good youth group. Or any place that fostered connection.
We are called to follow the example of Jesus, and that includes healing ministries. That might not mean laying of hands on someone. It may mean inviting them to a meal. It may mean inviting them to worship. It may mean telling them that they belong here. We can heal by just seeing someone. We can heal by including someone. We can heal by letting people know they matter. We can heal by making connections.
This is the Gospel:
“Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
When you’re broken on the ground
You will be found.”
*Verse from “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
May Trinity always be a place of belonging, connection, and visibility for all those who need hope in the midst of despair. For those in the dark, in need of a friend, for those broken on the ground. May we all be found.
A message from Trinity's SPRC to the Trinity Community
It is with sadness, yet excitement, that we wish our beloved Sakinah well as she leaves the choir at Trinity to pursue a full time, tenured position at the collegiate level. We wish her well and thank her for the gifts, generosity and love she has shared with us over the last few years. We had a send off party for her the last Sunday in April, which some of her family was able to attend. We also got to sing "Lift Thine Eyes" one more time and her sister joined us! We wish you the best, Sakinah!
Lift Thine Eyes - Mendelssohn
Five years ago we welcomed Dana to Trinity, and her ministry has truly been a blessing to us. However, she is being appointed to St. Timothy UMC in Stone Mountain in June. Dana will be greatly missed. We are planning a celebration and sending forth for June 2nd, which will be her last Sunday with us.
Our new pastor will be Rev. Deborah Williams Haag, Provisional Elder. She currently serves as Assistant Pastor at Mt. Zion UMC in Marietta. Rev. Williams has a bachelor’s degree in Religion and Philosophy and is a graduate of Candler School of Theology. Her passion for ministry is all about being in relationship with God’s people, inside and outside of the church. She and her husband have a two and a half year old son. We look forward to welcoming Rev. Williams on Sunday, June 23. Meanwhile, if you would like to hear her preach, go to: https://www.mtzionumc.org/sermon/leaving-everything-behind
We thank God for the pastors who have ministered to and with us over the years. And now we look forward to welcoming Rev. Williams and supporting her in her ministry at Trinity.
Sakinah Singing "Sweet Little Jesus Boy"
Farewell To Sakinah
It has been such a JOY having Sakinah in the choir! Not only does she have an incredible voice and read music beautifully, I feel that I am a better musician having had the opportunity to sing with her. I have also enjoyed hearing her sing in other productions around town. I will miss her energy, love and knowledge of music, humor and her HUGS! Oh my, the wonderful hugs! I have also grown to respect the depth of her faith and her constancy in living it out. She is a beautiful woman inside and out, and I wish her every amazing joy and success in the future!
- Betsy Crawford
This summer, Trinity UMC, located in Downtown Atlanta, will be hosting a children’s storytime on Wednesday mornings at 10am during the months of June and July. We will have 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.
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.
Last month we featured a tribute to Muriel Race. In response, a former member wrote a letter that just needed to be shared. Thank you Bobbie for your beautiful letter.
I fondly remember meeting her and the Race family when The Pittmans first arrived at TUMC. We were one of the first families of "color" at the Church. Ms. Race, was so gracious in her faith and love of people, that she welcomed us with open arms. The Pittman kids played with the Race children on the "Great Rock" in front if the church. I remember Ms. Race always so elegant in her beautiful pink suits, perfectly coiffed hair, matching purses and shoes. She and Mr. Race, always sat on the left side of the church, facing from the pulpit. She would always smile at me when I lit the church candles as a little girl. She sang with me in choir and encouraged me to become the woman I am today. We talked and continued contact for years. I listened to her stories as a young lady growing up. Her early hard days. Then meeting the love of her life Gordon. The trips to NY and the surprise trips he gave her to Alaska, Hawaii and other locations. She was an amazing woman, mentor and friend. The class and love of life that she exuded, was present in all that she did. I will remember her as we always signed off after our chats, "she was my favorite girl!"
- Bobbie Pittman-Palmer
June & Junly - Wednesdays @ 10AM
Anne Muriel Forsyth Race
Storytime At trinity
Adrienne & Carson Willard
at Kathey Stubb's house
snippets from Holy Week & Easter
Party goers put together 225 To-Go Bags
Joanna Harbin & Ben
Party With A Purpose
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).
Bruce Wynn Playing Widor's tocatta
Easter Egg Hunt & Decoration
Our own Mary Maynard has four of her quilts featured in the Sewjourners Quilters Guild's exhibition titled "Uncommon Threads XVI". This exhibit is ongoing until May 24, 2019 at the Culture Southwest Arts Center located at 915 New Hope Rd SW, Atlanta, GA 30331. If you have ever seen Mary at church, she often has a needle and squares in hand; here is a chance to see the fruition of that work. We are proud.
gathering colors for the winter
SewJourners Quilt Exhibition
Modern Log Cabin
The Renshaws served as missionaries for the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church at a Methodist university in the state of Sao Paulo. “Look at the Moon” shares how Mary and Parke found each other and tells of their four-year odyssey in this beautiful country. The book gives Glory to God for the many doors of opportunity and service He opened for them to make their journey fruitful.
The challenges were great, but with God all things are possible! Parke and Mary Renshaw were members of Trinity UMC beginning in 1982 after returning from their Brazil missionary assignment. They served the church in a number of roles. Parke had a Bible study for those in the congregation challenged by homelessness. He was the interim pastor of Trinity during a time of transition. Mary taught Sunday school with Geri Harris and served on committees.
You can find the book here at Amazon.
Recently Published Memoir
Former Trinity Members
Mary and Parke Renshaw Highlight Their Missionary Adventures in Brazil
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
Our Trinity Stories