Mark your calendars for “History.” Following worship on Sunday, June 2 in the Friendship Room and on the evening of Wednesday, June 19, at 6 p.m. in the Great Room the congregation will have two opportunities to craft our “congregational narrative” as Morris DuBose, our narrative consultant, facilitates two “story suppers.” The entire
congregation is encouraged to participate; but you only need to attend one of the two story events.
Morris and table facilitators will lead us in celebrating and “cataloguing” memories of such things as: past pastors, our
music program over the years, our missions and community outreach, how our surrounding neighborhood has evolved, memorable holiday traditions, etc. Light food and childcare will be provided at both events. This will be an enjoyable, interactive experience and will allow us to consciously shape our congregation’s narrative in preparation of celebrating our 200th anniversary in 2027.
“Growing in love and service through relationships with God and community” is Trinity’s Vision statement. Pastor Tracey used Trinity’s Vision Statement as the foundation for her Lilly clergy renewal grant. Pastor Tracey’s various sabbatical activities are designed to deepen relationships with:
While Pastor Tracey is living out our vision, Trinity will be diving deep into our vision as well. Among other activities, May 17-18, Rev. Dr. John Whitaker, from Shiloh United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio will facilitate a retreat for our congregation. This retreat is open to everyone who is a part of Trinity. It is not limited to leadership. It is not limited to “official” members. If you engage with Trinity, you are welcomed and encouraged to participate!
The title of the retreat is The Choice for Community. The retreat will feature learning and discussion around such things as:
Rev. Whitaker is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and a certified spiritual director. He completed his Doctorate in Ministry at United Theological Seminary. Understanding and constructing healthy Christian community within American culture was the topic of Rev. Whitaker’s doctoral dissertation. Rev. Whitaker and Pastor Tracey served on staff together for four years at Church of the Cross United Methodist in Dayton, Ohio. You will find that Rev. Whitaker’s teaching is well-aligned with our congregational vision and values. Rev. Whitaker will also bring the morning message on Sunday morning, May 19.
In July, 2019, Morris DuBose began a grant-funded position as Trinity’s Narrative Consultant. Trinity has built our discipleship and outreach around narrative and story. Trinity Fusion (our Monday evening gathering) fuses together sacred story and our personal stories and experiences. Last summer we hosted Unfinished, monthly gatherings for story telling. Previously, Morris led a small group of church members who came together to share their life stories and experiences with one another.
What makes our stories so important? Why have we chosen narrative as the primary format for our discipleship and outreach? Because, as Irene Nowell writes: “telling our stories leads us to understand who we are… If our stories are not told, the depth of our souls will not be known.”
As we continue to explore new and exciting ways to engage the community both within and external to Trinity we are fine tuning our approach to our storytelling and narrative. We are pivoting from our original Storytelling Group model, that featured designated storytellers with hour and a half presentations, to the Unfinished Circle.
The Unfinished Circle will meet on Wednesdays beginning on April 3rd, continuing weekly at 5:30pm in Trinity’s Great Room. We will create a space for small scale storytelling that will center around specific themes. People are invited to share, listen, or of course do both. Come to as few or as many evenings as you want. If a specific topic inspires a particularly compelling story, contact Morris DuBose at email@example.com or leave a message at the church office.
Pastor Tracey’s sabbatical will include multiple opportunities with religious communities. As mentioned in a prior newsletter, there will be time with a Bruderhof community in the UK. A week will also be spent at
Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. Thomas Merton is this monastery’s most famous monk. Trappist monks are cloistered Benedictines, meaning that they are strictly focused on prayer and work. Each day they observe the seven prayer times – Vigils, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. The abbey is in a remote setting, very quiet and includes many trails through the forest.
In May, Britt and I will spend a few days in Portland, Oregon seeing the sites. It will be my first time in the
Pacific Northwest. Then, Britt will return home and Tracey will drive to Great Vow Zen Buddhist monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon. This monastery also follows a strict communal schedule with three one-hour meditation times each day. Like Gethsemani, it is in a beautiful setting surrounded by walking trails. At both
monasteries, nearly all of the day will be spent in silence.
Please join us for an after-worship “leave-taking” reception on Sunday, April 7, at 11:30. Although Pastor Tracey’s sabbatical does not officially begin until April 25, the reception is being planned earlier in the month so as not to conflict with Holy Week and Easter.
While Tracey is gone, Trinity will have the opportunity to celebrate life together in community through two Story Suppers. These will be led by Morris DuBose, our narrative consultant. Through the story suppers, under Morris’ leadership, Trinity members and constituents will craft the story of Trinity through the decades from the 1950’s until now. This congregational narrative will be shared and celebrated with Pastor Tracey when she returns from her sabbatical and will also become a resource for Trinity’s 200th anniversary celebration of our faith community in 2027. The first story supper will be held on Sunday, June 2, immediately following worship and will include a light lunch. The second will be held on Wednesday, June 19 at 6 p.m. and will include a light meal. Select the date most convenient for you. Whether you joined Trinity in the 1970’s or 2010’s, please come to share your perspective and experiences on our church family through the decades. Please RSVP to the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org). Direct any questions to Morris DuBose (email@example.com).
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