Dear Friends,

This coming Sunday we celebrate Trinity Sunday. This church doesn’t have a patron saint. We’re not named after a person like many other Episcopal congregations are – we’re not a St. Andrew’s, or a St. John’s, or a St. James, or a St. Philip’s. This church was named after the Trinity when the parish had its beginnings in early 1837. So it’s fair to say that this Sunday is our “patronal feast day.”

Trinity Sunday is when we talk about what God is like. We do that every Sunday, of course – at least I hope we do – but on this particular Sunday we are invited to think together about one of the core doctrines of the Christian church – that idea God is three in one and one in three. What’s so important about the doctrine of the Trinity? The answer is Community.

In 2000, a serious, deeply theological book appeared written by the Brazilian theologian and writer, Leonardo Boff. For those who may not recognize the name, Leonardo Boff is a former Franciscan friar who has published widely and has written particularly in the field of what’s called Liberation Theology. He is brilliant and controversial. Both his brilliance and his willingness to provoke controversy landed him in frequent trouble with the Roman Catholic Church. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith went as far as to silence Boff for an entire year back in 1985 – at a time when Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict, was leading it.

The book I’m referring to is the book entitled, Holy Trinity: Perfect Community. In the book, Boff talks about the doctrine of the Trinity – how the doctrine helps us see that, in the beginning was “the communion of the Three, not the solitude of the One.” Boff is saying, in other words, that the very nature of God is community.

If the nature of God is “community,” then it makes all the difference for us at Trinity Toledo. It means that when we are called into fellowship with God, we are also called to be in community with each other. And not just any community. We are called to be in holy community the way God is in holy community – a community of love and giving – a community of hope and joy – a community passionate for justice and truth – a community through which others can catch a glimpse of the very nature of God.

So, this Sunday we celebrate God’s community and our Trinity community. It seems like a fitting thing for us to do in this parish church where all are welcome and wanted. And you thought the doctrine of the Trinity was boring and dry. Not so much.

See you soon!


Stephen Applegate