Trinity StoriesAll 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
The Rev. Dr. Stephen Applegate
Breakfast is nigh!
On February 25th at 8:30am we will be opening our doors to members of our outside community for our first soft breakfast opening. Between now and then, there is a lot to do, but nothing that we can’t get done by carrying the load together. As Stephen said in his announcement of this “reboot”, this is going to be Trinity’s signature ministry that is outward oriented.
With food as the catalyst to deeper relationships with our neighbors and friends, we will be enriching our lives in ways known and unknown. But first- we must prepare the way! This Sunday after service we will be meeting in the room known as My Brother’s Place for two reasons:
1. Inventorying what we currently have so we can build an efficient list of needs.
2. Cleaning the kitchen with a good scrub.
If we can have 22 volunteers, 11 on cleaning and 11 on inventory, this will be done quickly. Knowing how well Trinity shows up when the ask is on the line, I am confident in our ability to get this done. Please click here for our signup genius for this event, and I will look forward to seeing you Sunday with some refreshments, a smile, and all-around good time.
Never forget, by rebooting this ministry we are becoming the hands and feet of God in a tangible way within our small corner of the Kin-dom.
Grace and peace my friends.
Deep in the bowels of Trinity are a number of rooms that are and have been used for different purposes: the room where AA meets every weekday at noon, the wood-paneled room complete with fireplace that was once the youth room, and the large space where Trinity’s Next-to-New resale shop was housed until the COVID pandemic changed everything.
Heather Meyer, Trinity’s Director of Operations, gave me a guided tour the afternoon of the day I met with the Vestry about serving as your Interim Rector. Since my memory of the space was blurred, I ventured back to the lower level of the church this week to remind myself.
In the Next-to-New space, Lynzi Miller, who served as manager, had posted a timeline of key events in the life of Trinity. Interspersed on the timeline were national events that provide context, for example, the assassination of President Kennedy. I’m told that one Sunday, after mining the parish archives, Lynzi hosted a coffee hour where people could view the timeline along with a photo album she’d created that contained decades of images.
In interim work, we call an event like Lynzi hosted a “heritage event.” Search Committees need to know the parish’s heritage so they can share it with candidates for rector.
What do I mean when I talk about heritage? It’s reviewing how the congregation has been shaped and formed. The congregation’s heritage, both corporate and individual, is the foundation upon which the present rests. Paying attention to heritage means encouraging and hearing all of the stories about the congregation’s past, and embracing the rich variety that makes up this particular congregation. The Annual Meeting this Sunday following the 10:00 am service will be Trinity 181st Annual Meeting. That’s a lot of heritage!
Soon the Search Committee will be scheduling “listening sessions” to hear your stories about your time at Trinity. In March a specific “heritage event” is being scheduled to help us all know about the ways Trinity has been molded.
What do you know about Trinity’s history? Whether you’ve been attending for thirty years or thirty minutes, I hope you have a hunger to learn more about our heritage as we move through this time of transition. And, if you ever want to take a field trip to the “bowels” of Trinity to see the timeline, I’d be happy to be your guide.
See you this Sunday at church and at the Annual Meeting following.
Trinity will be holding a couple of very important meetings after the 10:00 am service during the next two Sundays.
The first – this coming Sunday, January 21 – is the annual presentation about church finances. Margaret Baehren, the parish’s Treasurer, will lead the presentation along with other members of the Finance Committee. Together, we’ll review the financial report for 2023 – our income and expenses, and whether we ended the year in the “red” or in the “black” – and then go over the vestry-approved 2024 Budget.
Numbers aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the finances of a parish aren’t just about numbers. They’re about ministry and mission and our priorities when it comes to the work we’ve been called to do – that is, God’s work. Trinity has certainly been blessed by the generosity of our forebears, who left substantial legacies that support our excellent programs in music and the arts, allow us to experiment with new ministry initiatives, and preserve our buildings. But Trinity also receives significant support from today’s members. The stewardship of our financial resources is ultimately the responsibility of the Wardens & Vestry, but it isn’t only their responsibility. So, plan to get a cup of coffee at the end of the service and take a seat in the front of the church. You’ll gain important insight into the dollars and cents (not to mention the sense) it takes to do ministry in and from Trinity.
The second important meeting – on Sunday, January 28 – is the Annual Meeting of Trinity Episcopal Church of Toledo, Ohio (the official name of our church.) Having covered the finances of the parish the week before, we’ll turn our attention to celebrating the year just completed and elect three people to serve terms on the Vestry. The Annual Meeting of an Episcopal parish is a business meeting to be sure, but it’s also a time to look back with gratitude for all the ways the Holy Spirit has moved in and through us as well as to look ahead to the coming year. Given that Trinity is in the midst of a rector transition, your leadership will review the steps the parish will be taking to identify and call a priest as your next rector.
Some find it difficult to think of a church as a “business.” For many of us, our parish is our spiritual home, where we are renewed each week by Word and Sacrament. And we ask, why should I come to meetings that are mostly about parish administration. The answer is that administration is holy work, too.
In his First Letter to the Corinthians Paul cites “administrators” as one of God’s gifts to the Christian community (1 Corinthians 12:28). The word translated administrating in 1 Corinthians is κυβέρνησις, which means “to steer a ship.” That seems like just the right image for a progressive, inclusive, creative community of faith located in downtown Toledo – one of the busiest ports on the Great Lakes! So, please steer your ship to church the next two Sundays and, then, to the meetings that will follow worship.
This coming Monday, January 15, the nation will observe the birthday of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He would have been 95 this year. He was only 39 when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. It’s difficult to think of how young he was when he died.
Many churches, including Trinity, will mark Dr. King’s birthday a day earlier – on Sunday – with prayers, readings, and music that reflect his values and ideals: among them, the principle of non-violent resistance to racist oppression and the dream of Beloved Community.
The Episcopal Church, inspired by our own Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, is guided by the long-term commitment to Becoming Beloved Community in its work toward racial reconciliation, healing and justice. Our ministries are organized around four things:
- Truth-telling: Telling the Truth about Our Churches and Race
- Proclamation: Proclaiming the Dream of Beloved Community
- Formation: Practicing Jesus’ Way of Healing Love
- Justice: Repairing the Breach in Society and Institutions
None of these is easy. Just take the first – Truth-telling – and think about all the ways many people, including some political leaders, try to deny the truth about Black history in America and attempt to rewrite that history by requiring teachers to give – or stay away from – certain lessons, on penalty of possibly losing their jobs. In July, The Washington Post reported that “A 2022 law [in Florida] mandates students may not be made to ‘feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress’ because they were forced to reflect on bad acts committed in the past by members of their race. And now, according to curriculum standards released last week, Florida students must learn that enslaved people ‘developed skills’ that ‘could be applied for their personal benefit.. . . ‘”
Trinity’s own recent unwelcome visit from an avowed white supremacist, who took issue with our Black Lives Matter banner, was a stark reminder of the persistence of racism in our society.
A dozen years ago, a parishioner in the parish where I was rector wanted to find a way to observe the King holiday that would involve the community. He had been part of the King Center in Atlanta in its early days, and had worked with Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow. His goal was to make the holiday more than a day off. He decided to help the local food pantry network by organizing a food drive that would gather a ton of food on Dr. King’s birthday.
Since he was a marketing guy, he called it Feed the Dream. Feed the Dream’s slogan, “One Day, One Ton,” captured the simple idea – and the slogan became the URL for the drive’s website: onedayoneton.org. The idea caught on, and has subsequently received volunteer support from the local public schools, Denison University, service clubs, the local IGA grocery store, and others.
For whatever reason, the King holiday always seems to fall on the coldest day of the year. This year, January 15 is predicted to have temperatures down in the single digits. While we are all trying to stay warm, may I suggest we find a way to make this year’s King holiday more than a day off. I plan to attend the celebration at Glenwood Lutheran Church, 2545 Monroe St., this Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm and then contribute to The Toledo NW Ohio Food Bank. I invite you to join me, or to find another way to help Dr. King’s dream of Beloved Community become a reality.
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