Trinity Stories

All Jesus did that day was tell stories—a long storytelling afternoon. His storytelling fulfilled the prophecy: I will open my mouth and tell stories; I will bring out into the open things hidden since the world's first day.
Matthew 13:34-35 – The Message

RECTOR’S BLOG

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Applegate

Pentecost (or Whitsunday)

Pentecost (or Whitsunday)

Dear Friends,

The Great 50 Days of Easter come to an end this Sunday when we celebrate Pentecost. Actually, this Sunday has two names. In addition to Pentecost, this Sunday is also known as Whitsunday. Not surprisingly, the name is a contraction of “White Sunday,” a name that derives from the white garments worn by those who were being baptized on that Sunday.

Pentecost, or Whitsunday, is one of the five great baptismal days recommended in The Book of Common Prayer. From the second century on, Pentecost was a time for baptizing those who had been prepared but who, for some reason, had not been baptized at Easter.

We’ll celebrate a baptism here at Trinity this Sunday as Ariel Grube, an adult member of our choir, undergoes the central liturgy of Christian community. As a way of underscoring the centrality of community, she has asked the choir to be her sponsors!

Ariel has chosen to be baptized by immersion, so this will be the first time in several years that the baptismal pool at the entrance to the church will be put to use. Although it’s unusual in the Episcopal Church for a person to be baptized by immersion, it’s the norm in many other Christian communities. The traditional American song, “I went down in the river to pray . . “ made famous by the move, “O Brother, where art thou?”, is often sung at outdoor full-immersion baptisms for obvious reasons.

That immersion baptism has a long history in our own church is borne out by the fact that the rubrics (or instructions) for performing a baptism give immersion as the first option: “Each candidate is presented by name to the Celebrant, or to an assisting priest or deacon, who then immerses, or pours water upon, the candidate . . .”

The connection between water and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost goes all the way back to something Jesus said in the Gospel according to John, “”Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, `Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” John immediately explains the meaning of Jesus’ words this way, “Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive.”

I hope that you will be present on Sunday to witness this very special baptism and that you will pray for Ariel and for all those who long for a deeper relationship with our gracious and loving God. If you can’t find the right words to pray, here are some you might use:

O God, you have created all things by the power of your Word, and you renew the earth by your Spirit: Give now the water of life to those who thirst for you, that they may bring forth abundant fruit in your glorious kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And, yes, Ariel will be wearing a white robe for her baptism – it is Whitsunday, after all! Let me encourage you to dress for the occasion, too. Wear red in honor of the “tongues, as of fire” that appeared among the disciples when the Day of Pentecost came all those years ago in Jerusalem. No matter what you decide to wear, it will be a festive day!

Blessings,

Stephen Applegate

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Mother’s Day is complicated

Mother’s Day is complicated

Dear Friends,

For the last week, my friends from the Village Flower Basket have been posting photos of all the different flower arrangements and gifts they have available for Mother’s Day. Wednesday, they went above and beyond with the announcement that the shoppe will be open on Sunday from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm and sharing a postcard they’re going to have popping up all over town with vases. The postcard has a QR code that can be scanned so customers can view and shop VFB’s Mother’s Day section. To top it off, the store will be hosting Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace’s food truck. Evidently nothing says Mother’s Day like the combination of floral arrangements and franks.

I know the owners and employees of the Village Flower Basket well. They’re former parishioners, and I have been their customer for many years. Holiday centerpieces, prom corsages and boutonnieres, “no special occasion” bouquets for Terry – VFB has done a terrific job with all of it! Most recently, I asked them to do the flowers for the rehearsal dinner on the night before the Bishop of Southern Ohio was going to be ordained. So I’m a fan – not only of their work, but also of their entrepreneurial spirit. One can hardly blame them for advertising so aggressively. Mother’s Day ranks as the second largest “single-day” holiday for florists, falling just behind Valentine’s Day, and it generates a significant portion of many florists’ annual revenue.

But let’s be honest, Mother’s Day is complicated for many. It isn’t a mimosas-and-brunch-kind-of-day for everyone. Here are some reasons:

– Some people don’t have moms.
– Some people don’t have moms – anymore.

And, not even everyone who does have a mom is celebrating.
– Some are estranged.
– Some may be incarcerated & are suffering shame.
– Some may be abandoned.

And then regarding be-ing a mom, some struggle.
– Some struggle hard & long & get success but haven’t gotten there yet.
– Some struggle hard & long & never get their dream.
– Some moms are single moms bringing a new list of complications.

Whether it is due to being widowed, being unwed, being abandoned, they may have no one to head up the celebration of them. They may have mourning attached to their celebration.

That’s a lot of emotion that could potentially be wrapped up in the biggest phone call day of the year.

If you’re excited for Mother’s Day and the day is flowers and cards for you, that’s wonderful. I’m happy for you. And if Mother’s Day is complicated for you, and if you need to take a moment to cry, or hurt, or struggle to forgive, or establish boundaries, those feelings matter too. Sometimes Mother’s Day is complicated. And although I am not a mother, I’ve known enough of them to know that motherhood can be complicated, too.

Now about floral arrangements and franks . . . .

Blessings,

Stephen Applegate

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Toledo Streets Newspaper

Toledo Streets Newspaper

Dear Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Trinity will have a new building partner starting next month. Toledo Streets Newspaper (TSN) will occupy the former Next to New space located in the lower level of the church. TSN launched in 2009 as part of 1Matters.org. After five years as a branch of 1Matters, TSN grew to become its own organization. They are part of a global street paper movement of over 110 papers in 35 countries, all with the same goal – giving their communities a program to lift individuals out of poverty through work.

The way their program works is simple: each self-employed vendor starts with 10 free newspapers. Papers are sold with a suggested donation of $1.00. After the first 10 free papers, additional copies are available to vendors at $0.25 each. The vendors keep all profits.

Before this latest development, Trinity already had a solid, positive relationship with TSN. Our volunteers provide a TSN vendor lunch each month, and a generous portion of this year’s Easter offering was designated for support of TSN’s mission.

Trinity is in the process of clearing out the former Next to New space and has been able to donate some of the store fixtures to other area non-profits. However, there’s still much to do. If you’d like to help get the space ready, come on Saturday, May 11, between 10:00 am – 12:00 noon. That day we’ll also be weeding the beds on the Plaza and sprucing up the N. St. Clair side of the church. TSN will use their new space for offices and vendor meetings. They will have their own entrance on N. St. Clair Street. When Trinity delivers lunch each month, the travel distance will be much shorter!

What a blessing it is to be able to welcome an organization that makes such a huge difference in Toledo! And what a terrific thing it will be to have a significant portion of Trinity’s unused space occupied by a group whose mission aligns with the church’s mission! This kind of ongoing partnership is exactly what a progressive, downtown parish should be forming. Welcome, Toledo Streets Newspaper! We look forward to collaborating for a long time to come.

Blessings,

Stephen Applegate

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Plazapalooza

Plazapalooza

Dear Friends,

Many years ago, I attended a meeting of one of the committees of the parish I was serving. Clergy attend a LOT of committee meetings – in the parishes they serve, in the dioceses where they’re canonically resident, and in the communities where their churches are located. I have no idea how many such meetings I’ve gone to, but the number is well into triple digits and may have crossed the one thousand mark. I never thought to count them.

The particular committee whose meeting I attended many years ago was planning a special event – a joyous celebration that would involve both parishioners and people from the surrounding neighborhood. As we talked about the different activities that would be part of the event, excitement started to grow. Finally one of the committee members said, “It’s going to be an extravaganzia!” – not an extravaganza, but an extra-va-gan-zia! I’m not sure why the addition of a single letter – the letter “i” – made the event sound like it was going to be so much more fun, but it certainly did.

This coming Sunday, the big event (other than the celebration of the Holy Eucharist which is always a big event) will be Plazapalooza. Plazapalooza will be an extra-va-gan-zia! (I hope you are smiling at this silliness.) What’s going to happen?

Here’s an overview:
Trinity’s always popular coffee hour will move to My Brother’s Place on the second floor of the Parish House and will be enhanced with special food provided by the Wardens and Vestry. Heather Meyer, Trinity’s Director of Operations, will provide a brief history of the Plaza which she will illustrate with some amazing photos from the parish archives. Finance Committee member Dennis Degnan will “do the numbers” – laying out the cost of this critically important project and how it’s been paid for. And then Bruce & Deacon Meribah Mansfield will invite us out onto the Plaza itself where four “stations” will be set up. We’ll learn what it means to be a Sacred Grounds congregation, and they’ll share aspects of a vision for the terrific restored space and seek input and ideas from everyone present. What fun it will be!

So, plan to come to Plazapalooza – this Sunday’s extravaganzia. After days of chilly and damp weather, Sunday is supposed to be warm with a predicted high of 83 degrees! The three “celebration” maples planted earlier this spring have started leafing out. There’ll be food, fellowship, and Plaza possibilities. Who knows? It may even turn into a Plazapaloo-zia!

Blessings,

Stephen Applegate

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COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

George Benson

A Word for Sunday

A Word for Sunday

Excerpt from "Another Nautical" found in Amanda Gorman’s book, Call Us What We Carry:   Hope is the soft bird We send across the sea To see if this earth is still home.  We ask you honestly: Is it?   For those not in the know, Priest Lisa gave us this book in an...

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The Light and the Dark

The Light and the Dark

The above quote comes from the “Cosmic Order” section of the Song of Creation from the Episcopal Church’s Common Book of Prayer and it is something that I find personally comforting. For so long the church has used the word dark or darkness as synonymous with bad or...

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We Came. We Prided. We Conquered

We Came. We Prided. We Conquered

Y’all. Pride was such a good time. Thank you so, so much to everyone who came, donated water, time, candy, WHATEVER. This is the type of radical welcoming that Trinity has been known for, for decades and you help make continue to make it happen. Rest well knowing that...

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The Plan For This Weekend

The Plan For This Weekend

Y'ALL WE ARE HERE FOR PRIDE! THIS IS WHAT IS UP: FRIDAY NIGHT:We will be assembling in My Brother’s Place, volunteers, if you are able to get here at 3pm to help set up that would be great! Other than that, it starts at 4 and rolls through until 7pm. We’ll have...

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MUSIC & THE ARTS

Chelsie Cree

The one who sings prays twice. (St. Augustine)

The one who sings prays twice. (St. Augustine)

Hello, friends! It is my pleasure to share with you this lovely note from Yvonne Dubielak. Chelsie Some of the most spiritual moments in my life have been while singing: Leading 30 imprisoned men in singing “Silent Night” in a federal correctional facility during a...

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Ashley Espinosa on Music

Ashley Espinosa on Music

Hello my Friends!  As promised, this week I have another wonderful music reflection to share with you. This week, it comes from choir member Ashley Espinoza. I hope this note inspires you, too, to think about music; what place it holds in your life, how you use it,...

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Relationship to Music – by Hugh Grefe

Relationship to Music – by Hugh Grefe

My friends: For the next couple weeks, I am delighted to share with you writings from our beloved choir. Each of these stories will share something about them and their relationship with music. Today, please read this letter from Hugh Grefe. <3 Chelsie   My life’s...

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Pride!

Pride!

Well here we are: We’ve made it to TOLEDO PRIDE WEEKEND!  This weekend we have a fantastic array of great activities here at Trinity that are meant to compliment the fantastic pride event being provided by Toledo Pride. Friday Night, we’ll have a family friendly...

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