Monday, January 31, 2011

“Created for Good Works”

"Created for Good Works" is the theme for the Trinity Outreach Celebration 2011.

Consider the theme passage found in Ephesians 2:8-10.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Wednesday, February 2
Mission Celebration Worship 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Worship Center.
Rev. Nate Ledbetter preaching with our children's choirs singing. Special mission prayer by Dr. Esaho Kipuke.

Togo Mission Update: Mission & Trip
Featuring Esaho Kipuke
Wednesday, February 2, 7:30-8:30 PM
Wesley Hall, Dining Room

Saturday, February 5 - Day of Service Local mission projects for all ages and stages. View the list of available work sites below & look for the sign-up sheets in the Gathering Area and online at the church website.
Gather- 8:00-8:30 a.m. Coffee and work assignments in Wesley Hall
Depart for work sites - 8:30-8:45 a.m. Break into groups and leave for various work sites. Serve - 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Serve Christ and the community

Day of Service Projects
Augusta Canal Cleanup
Augusta Rescue Mission Team
Augusta Urban Ministries - bed frame building.
Augusta Urban Ministries - disassembling bikes
Blythe United Methodist Church- cleaning up cemetery
ConKerr Cancer Project - sew pillowcases
Golden Harvest Food Bank
GoodWill - sort book donations.
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Augusta - painting
Lydia Project - clean up
Neighborhood Cleanup
UMCOR Kits - assemble health items
Visitation Teams
Welcome/Information Team
Sunday, February 6
Sunday School- 9:45 - 10:45 a.m. Special speakers and mission opportunities presented in each class. Get involved on a local, national or international level.

Mission classes include:
Local Outreach Update
Featuring Shirley Darracott & Ann Arnette, Trinity Local Outreach Chairpersons
And Including Local Outreach Leaders
Sunday, February 6, 9:45-10:45 AM, Wesley Hall Dining Room

National Outreach Update
Featuring Tim Smail, Trinity International Outreach Chairperson,& Eric Long, Roofing Ministry Leader
Sunday, February 6, 9:45-10:45 AM, Damren Class

International Outreach Update
Featuring Dr. Vince Brawley, Trinity International Outreach Chairperson, & Marla Day-Fitzwater, Executive Director of American Caribbean Experience (ACE) Jamaica
Sunday, February 6, 9:45-10:45 AM, Open Door Class

Mission Challenge Worship- 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Featuring New Creation and Love Unlimited Youth Choirs. Dr. Ron Eaker preaching. Special mission testimony by Brennan Meagher. Trinity Outreach Celebration concludes with our pledges of funding and participation in local, national, and international mission.

For more information check out the church website at or contact the church office.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Time for Trinity Outreach Celebration

Created for Good Works
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2: 8-10

Sunday, Jan 30, Noon – Interested in Togo Medical Team June 21-30. Meet Dr. Esaho Kipuke and Dr. Vince Brawley to learn about the ministry and the needs.

Wednesday, February 2, Worship-6:30-7:30 PM- “God’s Call to Believe”
Singing- Children’s Choirs
Mission Moment & Prayer: Dr. Esaho Kipuke
Message: Rev. Nate Ledbetter
7:30-8:30 PM, Wesley Hall Dining Room—Togo Mission Update with Esaho Kipuke

Saturday, February 5—Day of Service will include projects for children, youth, and adults with options in assembly, feeding, clean up, visitation, construction, and with many of our local mission partners.

Sunday, February 6- “God’s Call to Good Works” in worship at 8:30 & 11:00 AM
LU & New Creation Singing
Mission Testimony: Brennan Meagher
Message: Dr. Ron Eaker
The service will conclude with our commitments in mission by our prayers, funding, and participation in the next year of outreach.
Sunday School- 9:45-10:45
Classes for local, national, and international mission will be offered.

Prayer Request
Pray for Trinity Outreach Celebration 2011 February 2-6.
Pray for all of the musicians and speakers.
Pray for all of our mission partners.
Pray for our participation and witness in the community during the week, and especially on the Saturday of Service.
Pray for all who will hear a call to mission and for all who are called to take the next step of faith in Christ in mission.
Pray that everyone involved in worship will make decisions for participation and funding in mission in response to the Holy Spirits urging and conviction.

Trinity Outreach Celebration

February 2-6, 2011
The Trinity Outreach Celebration is held each year to celebrate the giving and service of the church during the previous year in mission and to hear the challenges and opportunities of the coming year in outreach. During TOC 2011 you will hear inspiring messages, uplifting music, mission updates and reports and receive information on ways you may become more active in outreach in 2011.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rest in the Lord

We continue to share devotions from various Trinity mission partners and church members as we prepare for our annual mission celebration.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28

Every child, youth or family who comes through the doors of the United Methodist Children’s Home is carrying a burden. Every child has suffered abuse, every family is experiencing hard times. We are a safe haven for them and, through the help of United Methodist church members and through Christ, we able to give them rest. Sometimes, this rest is in a very real form – a warm bed, good meal, safe home – and sometimes rest comes in less tangible ways, such as experiencing God’s forgiveness and knowing that God’s love is always with them.

It isn’t just our clients who carry burdens. Our staff, volunteers, people who donate, church members who I speak to, and really every one of us is weary and burdened. We all have an opportunity every day to show God’s graciousness to other people, and we all can turn to God, lay down our own burdens and rest in His love.

Alina Crews, Assistant Director of Public Relations & Development
The United Methodist Children’s Home

Prayer Request
(beginning of Psalm 23 re-written by a young woman at the Children’s Home)

“Right now I am going through a rough, rough time.
And sometimes I think He isn’t there.
But those times I think God isn’t there, that’s when He is the most powerful.”
Peaceful Lord, thank you for being with us and for giving us rest from our burdens. Help us to show your love and mercy to others.

Pray for the diverse ministries of the UMCH and of our Augusta office which is led by Trinity member Thurman Norville.

UM Children's Home Mission and Ministry Update
The United Methodist Children’s Home is a connectional ministry partner of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church – we are YOUR ministry. Our mission is to provide redemptive, healing services that bring meaningful change to the lives of children and families. Grounded by scripture and the tradition of the church, we seek to bring the wholeness of God’s love to persons through Christ. We fulfill this mission at our five locations throughout north Georgia, including our office in Augusta.

The United Methodist Children’s Home has been serving children and families in crisis since opening in 1871. Originally founded as an orphanage, the Home has expanded services over the years to meet the changing needs of families in north Georgia.

The Augusta office of the Children’s Home works to make every home a safe haven for children by keeping families together and healthy. Through individual and family counseling, parenting skills classes and emergency financial assistance, the Augusta office helps many families get through crises and become healthy homes for their children.

There are more families who need emergency financial assistance than we have ever seen before. In 2009 the Augusta office provided financial assistance to 191 families and touched the lives of 435 children. Already this year, in just the first 10 months of 2010, we have served 29 more families and 47 more children than in all of 2009, and seen an 11% increase in the number of calls versus the same time period of 2009!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sharing the Gospel in a Challenging Yet Open Country

Read Acts 1:1-11

Here's an update from our missionaries in Togo in west Africa. Dr. Esaho Kipuke, and his wife Beatrice, have been working in the nation for a number of years. They have an exciting ministry, and he's a dynamic speaker who is back in the states for the next few weeks sharing news of their work in their sponsor churches. Of course, there's always room for more friends who will prayer, participate, and fund the mission. We've found that the impact upon the lives and churches of mission team participants in northern Togo the last 5 years has been profound and transformative. Read their some of their story below and consider joining this adventure for God in the remote villages of the Kara, Togo region.

“We have seen God’s hand in every area of our ministries. With our limited resources, we have been able to reach out to children orphans and elderly persons, run our training center teaching girls sewing, cooking and other courses to help girls become self-sufficient. We continue to run our nursery where babies of our students are taken in care while their mothers are focusing with their studies. With the help of our van, our outreach and evangelization programs are now well knows in the area due to our showing the “Jesus” movie in very small villages.

We are anticipating the graduation of the first girls trained at our Training Center in Pya by June 2011. Girls have been doing very well especially in sewing and cooking programs. Women from neighboring villages have been attending our women’s programs at our Training Center. They have been focusing on literacy training, evangelism to others, Bible study and especially the dyeing of fabric for making clothes, sewing and cooking programs. Women have developed small groups for Bible study, visitation and the reaching out to others by home and hospital visitations.

In our personal lives, we see God in action as we are redefining “normal.” This has been a big part of our transition from the US:

* Leaving dear family and friends behind for another years,
* Living in a developing country instead of a developed country,
* Sweating it out in a “non-air conditioned” society in the hot weather,
* Persevering in the “Land of Power Cuts, Water Cuts and Bottled Gas Shortages” rather than taking those luxuries for granted… These are the bigger things.

When it seems too much, we find solace in remembering that we serve a God who doesn’t change: “... the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). And even though life can seem out of our control, thankfully, we serve a God who is in control: “What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me” (Job 23:14).

Esaho & Beatrice Kipuke
Kipuke Ministry in Togo, west Africa

Prayer Request
Pray for open hearts on our part to trust God in this huge change.
Pray that our ears will continue to understand the national languages that we hear and that we’ll be able to communicate the Gospel accordingly.
Pray with us to be even more intentional about being lights for Jesus as we encounter and interact with our unbelieving friends.
Pray that we would have courage to speak truth boldly but with humility into people’s lives.
Pray for all our donors, their families and businesses. Pray for our financial support as we seek more church partners.
Pray for the good health and the safety of our four children and our two grand-daughters left in the US

Also, pray for a mission team from Trinity on the Hill UMC that will go to Togo in June 21-30, 2011 with Dr. Vince Brawley.

TOC Mission Update Groups

Trinity Outreach Celebration 2011 is the annual mission celebration at Trinity on the Hill UMC. A favorite element of it always involves mission updates and training groups. Find below the offerings during the next week:

Togo Mission Update: Sunday School
Featuring Esaho & Beatrice Kipuke
Sunday, January 30, 9:45-10:45 AM
Wesley Hall, Dining Room

+ + + + +

Togo Mission Trip Informational Meeting
Sunday, January 30, Noon- 1:00 PM
Wesley Hall, Dining Room

+ + + + +

Togo Mission Update: Mission & Trip
Featuring Esaho & Beatrice Kipuke
Wednesday, February 2, 7:30-8:30 PM
Wesley Hall, Dining Room

+ + + + +

Local Outreach Update
Featuring Shirley Darracott & Ann Arnette, Trinity Local Outreach Chairpersons
And Including Local Outreach Leaders
Sunday, February 6, 9:45-10:45 AM, Wesley Hall Dining Room

+ + + + +

National Outreach Update
Featuring Tim Smail, Trinity International Outreach Chairperson, & Eric Long, Roofing Ministry Leader
Sunday, February 6, 9:45-10:45 AM, Damren Class

+ + + + +

International Outreach Update
Featuring Dr. Vince Brawley, Trinity International Outreach Chairperson, & Marla Day-Fitzwater, Executive Director of American Caribbean Experience (ACE) Jamaica
Sunday, February 6, 9:45-10:45 AM, Open Door Class

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Community Work Day

An important part of our annual mission celebration at my church includes a Saturday morning workday. You can imagine that it can be a little bit of a challenge to get folk to give up a morning, but it is a VERY rewarding experience as children, teenagers, and adults pitch in to make a difference in our local community. We try to offer a variety of projects so that a person of any skill or interest level can get a taste of community mission work. I need captains for different groups who can coordinate with me and your team, as well as a good number of participants who can work Saturday, February 5, from 9AM-12Noon. We'll gather at the church between 8-8:30 that morning for some hot coffee, a devotion & song, building teams, and then a send off. Of course, if you live closer to the worksite you can go straight to the location for the 9AM start for work. We can work easily 150-200 people that day with the current project list. See below basic information and then go to the link for more details and to sign up. Sign up online or on the work clipboard near the Worship Center on Sunday morning.

GoodWill Book Sorting- book sorting
Golden Harvest Food Bank- sorting food
ConKerr Cancer Pillowcase Project- sewing
Photographer/Videographer- capture stories and images
Welcome/Information Team- give directions and help with administration
Augusta Rescue Mission- sort clothing
Interfaith Hospitality Network- painting
Blythe UMC Cemetery Cleanup
Augusta Urban Ministries Bike Project- disassemble old donated bikes
Augusta Urban Ministries Bed Frame Building Project- help put 100 donated twin mattresses to work
Augusta Canal Cleanup- clean up a section of the canal, weather permitting
Lydia Project House Cleanup- volunteer maid service
Neighborhood Cleanup near TOTH-
Visitation Teams-- visit in a local nursing home
UMCOR Kit Assembly- put health kits together

Online Signup

Not Alone in the World

Read Micah 6:8

Find below part of a letter written from a recipient of our compassion funding at Christmas in Project Immanuel. Our attempt was to identify friends of members of the congregation who might have great needs, but who were suffering in isolation. Attached to the note expressing the mom’s gratitude was a handwritten note from her son. The child wrote: “Thank you so much for the gifts… They made my mama so happy she cried. It was very nice of you.”

The boy’s mother wrote:
“ I am not sure that I can find the words to express how grateful I am for the Christmas gifts. I never expected to ever receive such a wonderful gift in my life. It came at a time when I was feeling pretty low and alone. Being an only child, I feel lost and alone since my parent’s passed, especially during this season. And, being a single mother doesn’t leave much time for social interaction with friends.

I don’t know if you are aware, but, 2010 has been a rough year for me, with major changes. God has brought me through tough days and continues to be there to hold my hand.

I had prayed that He would show me how I was going to make it through Christmas and get clothes and surprises for my son; not to mention being able to buy food. Not only did your gifts help me buy food, clothes, necessities and some presents, it made me feel that I am not so alone in this world; that, there are people who care about us. I can never thank you enough for that.

Prayer Request
Pray that we will be aware of those in our circle of relationships, friendships, and acquaintances who may feel lost… alone… hopeless… praying for help. Pray that God may God use you to be an answer to someone’s prayer.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Have You Caught the Fever?"

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-13

Trinity’s Augusta Roofing Ministry, Part 2
Here’s a reply received in response to Scott’s story yesterday. What a wonderful way God uses our words and actions as He continues to build the Kingdom. One piece of the puzzle, one interaction and good deed, becomes interconnected to other actions and reactions.

“What a powerful story and wonderful example of the power of Christians working together to serve our Lord. When two or more gather in his name, I believe we could move the mountains.

I will add a little bit more to this wonderful story to show “that one act of inspiring faith leads others to action.” First Assembly has two softball teams that play in the same league as Trinity. Last Friday night the First Assembly B-team played the game prior to ours. After the game, I spoke to Pastor Stanley (who plays on the B-team) who couldn’t stop talking about how “we” inspired his whole church to think differently about missions. He stated in the past that they sent a lot of money overseas and often wondered about the impact it was having. After this experience, they are revisiting their mission statements and plan to do a lot more in their own backyard. I don’t want to highlight that changing their percentages or where they send them as the important item, but that the congregation seems to be catching the mission fever and wants to do more.

After speaking with Pastor Stanley, we played the First Assembly A-team in our game. After the game, they led the prayer and during the prayer thanked Trinity for teaching them to roof and “do” missions. Again, this was not Pastor Stanley, but lay people that had caught the fever and were looking forward to continuing to serve God through missions. I didn’t really think of this as a big deal at the time, but after hearing Mark’s story realized that it all connects.”

Tim Smail

Prayer Request
Pray that everyone at Trinity on the Hill—all ages and stages, all skills and interests—would catch the “fever” of sharing the love of Christ by action in the world. Pray that our generosity in giving and participation in mission would be directly related to our enthusiastic confession of Christ as we all seek to “abound in every good work.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Epworth By the Sea Retreat

I'm just back from a great weekend in retreat as I helped lead a large Sunday School class in their annual gathering at the historic Epworth by the Sea center. It was an incredible time as we enjoyed thinking back on Methodist history & considered what the call of Christ means for us today as we follow in the footsteps of circuit riders. Add some great food and fellowship, wonderful Methodist singing, and this retreat leader ;-) and an inspiring time was enjoyed by all of us!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spring Children's Consignment Sale

My church in Augusta GA holds a HUGE Children's Consignment Sale twice a year with 40% of the proceeds (after all consignors get 60%!) going to the church's mission partners.

The exciting news this time is that we’re moving back home!

Due to church renovation we were off site in the fall. I won't even go into those headaches and hassles.

The Spring Sale will be held back at the church location at 1330 Monte Sano Avenue (Wesley Hall). We’re excited to come home, but due to continuing church renovations, our available space will be slightly smaller than what we are used to having.

New Check In Procedures
Due to our limited space and a desire to improve the quality of our sale for shoppers, we will be screening items
more closely for compliance with our standards. In addition, we will no longer be accepting certain items. Please visit our website (Consignor FAQs) for specific guidelines of what items will and will not be accepted for consignment.

New Tags
We are moving to a new system of color coded tags. Blue tags will be used for items you wish to have returned to you if they do not sell. Pink tags will be used for items you wish to donate if they do not sell. You will no longer need to mark each tag “To Be Returned”; just use the correct color tag! Your consignor packet will contain ~ 50 tags of each color.

What types of items may be consigned?
 Clothing - Children’s (size 20 or less) and junior (size 13 or less)
Excellent condition
Clean and smoke-free
No holes or tears or worn out knees
No broken zippers or missing buttons
No excessive fading or stretching
No stains
 Shoes & Accessories
 Toys, Books, & Videos
Must be clean and in working condition with all pieces included
Include batteries
 Bedding & Decor
Must be infant/child themed
 Furniture & Equipment
No car/booster seats, carriers, or mattresses due to state law
 No items included on the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission list of recalls
 Only spring/summer items accepted at Spring Sale and fall/winter items at the Fall Sale


The Trinity on the Hill Children’s Consignment Sale (TOTH CCS) is held twice a year in the spring and fall on the church property located at 1330 Monte Sano Avenue in Augusta, Georgia. Proceeds from the sale are divided between the seller (60%) and the TOTH CCS (40%). The net proceeds retained by the church are used to support the local, national and international missions of Trinity Outreach Ministries. (Click here for a list of our mission partners.) In addition, at the discretion of the consignor, any unsold items may be donated to TOTH CCS to be used in various missions projects.

Learn more about CCS

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blessed to be a Blessing

Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

Trinity’s Augusta Roofing Ministry, Part 1

In early 2010 we learned about a house in Harrisburg in desperate need of repair. The homeowner is disabled, on polio-style crutches, and with rain buckets in the attic and in the rooms to deal with all the holes in his roof. He was in a hopeless situation of living in the old, family owned home, yet living only on disability with no means or ability to repair the roof. Mark, the homeowner, was outside with us through the whole renovation, always eager to do what he could. These were the early, hot days of summer in May and June of 2010. Mark is talking about having enough food and drinks for the May work teams. I’m trying to tell him we don’t want to be an imposition and be self sufficient (so we don’t take away from his limited funds) yet we’d be glad to receive his hospitality. I’m trying to navigate that line where we are partners in the work, he has his dignity, and we all are stronger in our love of God and each other after the project. I could tell Mark was getting a little exasperated with me as he wanted to do something to show his appreciation and finally he says “Look, you are saving my life!”

We had an amazing coalition of people working this huge project (Eric Long might tell you it was one of the toughest roofing jobs the church has tackled). First Assembly of God, Army Reserves at Ft. Gordon, college students, teenagers, and some of our usual great roofers from the church made this life changing project a masterpiece. After the project was completed I sent an e-mail to some of the leaders:

“Hi mission friends. Thank you again for the tremendous ministry and the partnership through May & early June as you worked so diligently on Mark's roof. The spirit and perseverance, in spite of a tough job and the early summer heat, is another inspiring example of faith in action as we bear witness to the love of Christ. I tagged a few of you leaders and hope you'll pass it on to others who worked this particular project, or who would be motivated by a reminder of the story that continues to grow.

Of course, the way this works is that one act of inspiring faith leads others to action.Today, Mark stopped by the church office. He'd been able to crank up that old blue church van sitting in the road, and though he had to leave it running in our parking lot (for fear it wouldn't crank back up), he came into the office for a few minutes to again say thank you and to give us something.

He once again expressed profound, almost teary eyed gratitude for the new roof. Mark said that with the recent rains he again gave thanks to God, and to all of you workers, that he was dry and wasn't forced to worry with rain buckets in the attic and in the rooms. He wasn't forced to worry and scramble, but could spend the time in prayer and thanksgiving.

I could see he was also holding an envelope. Mark went on to say that he hadn't been involved with church in awhile and wanted to catch up on his tithe. He had committed to giving finances as he could to both Trinity and to First Assembly.

At this point I was trying not to cry.

Mark lives on disability and lives in a home that his family has bought for him.

You've seen his house. You know how meagerly he lives. You know how he makes do with what he has, how resourceful he is. And here he was going to give us a tithe.

I thought of the power of God in our lives. I was reminded of what I'd told Mark so many times through this process, "We are merely trying to be a blessing so that you can be a blessing to others." I thought of the power of faith. I recalled the story of the Widow's Mite.

Mark handed me an envelope. It was marked with his name, "tithe," and $80!

In addition to tithing to the churches so that ministry to others will continue Mark still wants to offer the workers from the two churches a celebration type luncheon.

And now I'm more motivated for us to do some of the follow-up that a few of us have already discussed regarding a wheelchair ramp, interior renovation, etc.

Blessings as you continue to serve the Risen Christ in our community,”

Rev. Scott Parrish

Prayer Request
Pray for all we serve in mission and ministry that we would have the correct humble attitude of a servant of Christ, that we would seek to share the abundant love of God by our words and actions, and that we would be moved to greater acts of faith as we are blessed to be a blessing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thailand Mission Devotion

"Good News in Thailand"
Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

The new United Methodist congregation in Chiang Rai province is in an Akha Tribe village set in the hills of the far north of Thailand, near the border of Burma. There is not a flat piece of land to be found, with huts and small homes clinging to the hillsides.

The Akha village has many seniors and many children, but not many of the middle generations, who must live in the city to work. They are very hard workers; farming in the hills is difficult work. I saw many of the seniors there carrying heavy loads on their backs as they trudged up the steep hills to their homes in the late afternoon.

The older women wear their traditional hat with coins attached as well as traditional Akha clothing. But the older men and the younger generations no longer wear Akha clothing, and instead blend in with Thai culture.

Eating Akha traditional food was an exotic experience. I saw the mother of Pastor Guy going to a tree next to her house. She began scraping the bark from the tree. When I asked what she would do with the bark, everyone told me we would be eating it. Later, one of the dishes, called “Lahp”, was a mixture of bark and meat. It was actually quite good. They don’t use many sauces in their food like Thai people do. Instead they rely on strong natural flavors. One vegetable dish was quite bitter, but was delicious when eaten in combination with other foods.

One thing that interested me was an archway at the side of the road. Pastor Guy said this was the “ghost gate” (see the picture with this article). It was believed by the Akha people who are not Christian that evil spirits would be tricked into going into the Ghost gate, rather than using the road into the village. The Akha people put much effort into protecting themselves from evil spirits. The Akha who are Christian are freed from this fear, because they know Christ is more powerful than any other spirit.

A report from the United Methodist work we sponsor in Thailand as Pastor Guy establishes a church with the Akha.

Prayer Request
Pray for the Good News that is shared in Thailand, for the missionaries and ministers, and for the pastor and church Trinity on the Hill supports.

Trinity Outreach Celebration
February 2-6, 2011
The Trinity Outreach Celebration is held each year to celebrate the giving and service of the church during the previous year in mission and to hear the challenges and opportunities of the coming year in outreach. During TOC 2011 you will hear inspiring messages, uplifting music, mission updates and reports and receive information on ways you may become more active in outreach in 2011.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"The One Who Danced"

We continue today with devotions written by church members and mission partners to help our congregation prepare for our upcoming annual outreach event.

The One Who Danced
Super Saturday is a ministry of over 30 years at Trinity on the Hill established for and with special needs adults. Many of you have faithfully served food, sung & danced, and helped us extend this ministry of hospitality over the years. When I think of that monthly gathering I can’t help but think of music, food, and of an inner joy that breaks out in exciting ways!

Read Psalm 96

My grandson was about 6 years old. He had come to stay with us for a week and it just happened to be a Super Saturday weekend. We were having one of the Friday night dances. I told my grandson we were going to help with a ministry at our church and have a dance for handicapped adults. I'm not sure he completely understood what I meant by handicapped because he asked "what do you mean, do they have like broke legs?" I replied by telling him they didn't have broken legs but some did have walkers and some had wheelchairs. To be honest, I wasn't sure how he would respond to this particular ministry .

When we arrived I told him we would be greeters. We stood just outside the doors of Wesley Hall. As our first guests arrived we greeted them and after they were inside my grandson whispered "Grand Mommy, was that one handicapped?" I said "yes." He replied, "I couldn't tell."

As the next guest arrived, we greeted them and they greeted us in return. After they went in Wesley Hall he whispered, "Grand Mommy, was that one handicapped?" I said "yes." He replied, "I couldn't tell, they could talk."

Then, a tall slim girl with a severe limp came walking across the parking lot. My grandson looked up at me and said, "Grand Mommy, look! That one dances when she walks!"

That night, I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life. Through the innocence of this precious 6-year-old child, I realized how I had labeled and categorized people. I did it with my grandson. This child did not see anything except beauty in each and every person that came to our Super Saturday Dance. Makes you wonder if that's not how God sees each and every one of us!

When I took my grandson home and we told his mother all about our week and the Super Saturday dance, he asked me to tell his mother which one was his favorite at Super Saturday. I said, "I don't know." And he replied, "you know, the one that dances when she walks!"

Prayer Request
Pray for Super Saturday, for the faithful workers, and for our friends who so enjoy this ministry and have so much to teach us about life and faith.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Affected by a Gift"

January 18, 2011

"Affected by a Gift"
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2:8-10

A report on Christmas Compassion Funds aka Project Immanuel.

Note that the following “thank you” is written by someone who is not a believer nor involved with a church except through some friends who attend a church. The note is in response to a compassion gift at Christmas of some gift cards to a grocery store, hardware store, gas card, etc. Also be aware that every time we “give” away compassion funds it is to meet specific needs. IN this particular case the recipient wasn’t asking for assistance but we became aware that this middle class, professional, single mom with a special needs child was suffering in isolation. Each time we give away compassion funds our prayers are that God continues to use the Gift (you know our small expression was merely a reflection of something much larger!), the relationships, and the "touch" to bless and shape their lives. This note was written by the one who delivered the gift cards and the names have been changed so we recognize and maintain the proper respect of these children of God.

“I have to write you about this because it's hard to talk about it without getting choked up. I went to see W____ yesterday to give her the gift cards. She wasn't sure what was going on when I gave her the envelope. We opened the envelope, and I let her read the card first. Then I handed her each card, one at a time, telling her what each card was for, and the amount. I could barely make it through because I started crying, I was so happy for her. And she started crying because she was so surprised and thankful that people wanted to help her out like that.

It was, and still is, a very emotional experience. I am honored that you asked me to deliver this gift to W____. I wanted to let you know how much this gift affected and touched W____. I also wanted to let you know how much it affected and touched me.

Bless you…


Prayer Request
Today pray for all in our community who are in need and praying to God for some sort of help. Pray about our listening to God, our response to God’s direction and the needs around us, and for all who we are privileged to serve in the name of Christ.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Strengthen My Hands"

Trinity Outreach Celebration Devotion
January 17, 2011

Strengthen My Hands
"But I prayed, now strengthen my hands."
-Nehemiah 6:9

What if God wanted you to step out of your comfort zone and join a group of (mostly) medical providers headed for a medical mission in Jamaica? What if you followed His call, wrote a nonrefundable check for over a thousand dollars within 24 hours of that call, and showed up for a meeting two days later?

It’s not that I had never considered going on a mission. I just had not ever felt ‘raised up and pushed forward’ like the Sunday after the 11:00 service when I committed to join the medical mission team going to Jamaica.

I was not convinced that I could or should be a part of the mission team, and I remember asking God if He really wanted me there. Those conversations you have with the Lord on the way to doing something He wants you to do often sound something like this: “Lord, there seems to be a good many people signed up for this mission. I think I must have misunderstood Your message. I’m sure I can just cancel out now, maybe even donate the airline ticket to someone who really should be here. Maybe the check won’t clear. What could I possibly have to offer?”

The check cleared the next day. I was going on a medical mission to Jamaica. I was going on a medical mission to Jamaica with a bunch of real medical people. What could I possibly have to offer?

Our team left Atlanta on a cold sunny day in early November and landed in Jamaica several hours later. The resorts along the coast do not tell the story of the real Jamaica just an hour’s drive into the mountains. Within 48 hours, we would begin to get a sense of just how poor the country really is. The overwhelming need was evident at the first day’s clinic, and at the end of the day I wondered how we could make any difference in the lives of these people.

The morning of the second day during my quiet time, I turned to the book of Nehemiah. As I read, I thought about the overwhelming task God had given Nehemiah. He was a regular man with an insurmountable task. I wondered if he asked God what difference he could possibly make. The walls of the city of Jerusalem were in shambles and the task looked impossible, yet Nehemiah didn’t ask God to miraculously raise the wall. He asked the Lord to strengthen his hands so he might complete the task that He placed before him. So that was my prayer that morning….Lord strengthen our hands to do Your work.

Life often brings us challenges that we never imagined we would have to face, and sometimes God’s miracle is the strength of our hands. Whether we are experiencing the overwhelming task of caring for the Jamaicans in the mountains of that country or facing devastating personal challenges of our own, we can ask our Lord to strengthen our hands to do the next thing. Our situation may not change, perhaps it will get worse, but in my experience, a prayer for strength is always answered. God’s strength becomes ours when we pray.

What could any of us possibly have to offer?

Melrose York

Prayer Request
Today pray for ministries at ACE in Jamaica throughout, St. Mary’s Parish

Today's Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, God of Heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and obey His commands, let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayers Your servants are praying. Allow us to bring hope and healing to those who need You most. Let us be examples of Your unfailing grace, mercy, and love, and above all, strengthen our hands as we continue to do the work You would have us do. In Your Precious Son’s name we pray…Amen.

“Perhaps this is how you know you are doing the thing God intended you to do: No matter how slow or slight your progress, you never feel it is a waste of time.”
C. Sittenfeld

Friday, January 14, 2011

Augusta GA Mission Opportunities

Upcoming Mission Opportunities through Trinity on the Hill UMC
Winter 2011

1) Trinity Outreach Celebration- February 2 -6, check website for ALL the details

2) Children's Consignment Sale - March 7 -14 at Trinity on the Hill. Registration begins January 21st

3) Jewell Roofing Ministry- March 18-20- the last surviving member of the now closed Jewell United Methodist Church needs our help. Our Augusta District Superintendent, Rev. Gary Dean, made us aware of the need of Martha Carr. She’s almost 87 & lives in the house her deceased husband built in the 1960’s. Ms. Martha needs a roof, and on limited income and with no family or church to assist her, needs the help of Trinity. The modest 900 square foot home should be a great project. We plan to spend Friday night at a church (like we’d do on a construction mission team—bring your air mattress or sleeping bag) and do the project on a Saturday. For more information or to sign up contact Tim Smail ( or Scott Parrish in the church office. All experience levels needed. Note: this will be a great project to learn on and get a taste of an “away” team, plus you’ll want to spend time with Ms. Martha!

4) Choctaw Mission Team- April 2-9, This extraordinary experience will use a combined team from Trinity on the Hill & the Augusta State University Wesley Foundation. We’ll be working in the Philadelphia MS area at the Choctaw Reservation. The group will arrive on Saturday, worship with Choctaw Methodists on Sunday, and spend the weekdays doing projects, VBS, cultural tours, etc. Sign up now for this by contacting the church mission office.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

UMC 2012 Conference Delegates

Joining 48 other states we've had a few snow days here recently. Perhaps you can imagine what a place like Augusta GA does when a little snow and ice hits! That meant Monday off work and then a late start on Tuesday. Today I enjoyed my usual day off, and it primarily involved washing a dozen loads of clothes that my children went through while school was off. That gave me some time to think through some work projects and to contemplate the year ahead.

This is one of those years in United Methodism that each Annual Conference (there can be a double meaning here-- do you know the lingo?) will elect clergy and lay delegates for the 2012 General Conference as well as for the Jurisdictional Conferences. Some annual conferences have laity and clergy declare themselves to be candidates and may nominate themselves for consideration. So, they'll fill out an application, submit some thoughts, and place themselves before the other delegates by seeking election as a 2012 delegate. The South Georgia Conference takes this "formal" approach.

In other annual conferences it's up for grabs for any delegate in attendance and slowly but surely some will get enough of a percentage of the votes to be elected as a delegate for the regional and international conferences. My North Georgia conference uses this second "informal" approach for clergy, though the laity are required to register and makes themselves available in the "formal" election manner. As you can imagine if a group must elect 20 or more people this process can be an extended ordeal. Those who garner large numbers in the early votes tend to eventually win out.

I guess either method is political and that's just the nature of any group from any organization attempting to elect a few delegates among hundreds, or in the case of North GA thousands in attendance. As with anything I suppose there are pros and cons to each approach shared above. Some of the downside I've seen with the "informal" clergy delegate election approach is:

1) those who are high profile or have high name recognition tend to gain enough votes to gain momentum in the early stages of voting. The annual conference delegates have been good at attempting to get a mix of delegates elected that reflect the whole of the annual conference. But, we inevitably miss representation of small or medium membership churches, and ministries in settings outside the local congregation such as campus, chaplaincy, military, etc.

2) this approach has also given rise to both formal and informal caucuses or groups seeking to elect "their" people. This was such an issue after one voting year for delegates (this only happens for us every 4 years) that a task force was developed and their were many meetings to increase trust, talk through the impact of caucuses, and so on. While these groups may not be formal this year conversations about who's "running" or who's got interest are bound to occur.

It's interesting stuff, this thing we would call church polity. No easy answers, likely no one, right way to do it. And all with a strong mix of various views of the church, of the issues of the day, plus all the relational aspects of conference life as ministry colleagues spend many years serving together at different levels of the church.

I'd be curious how United Methodist clergy discern and decide upon their General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference delegates:
Does your conference use one of the methods above, or some different way of running for a position and electing clergy?

Further, what are you looking for in a delegate and in a group of delegates? Do you seek a mix of representation that conveys who your conference is? Are you electing those with the most political savvy and interest? Do the people who get your vote represent the past or the future? What factor does the spiritual dimension play in your vote?

Thanks for any answers you might share as I try to finish up all my dirty laundry, and solidify some ideas in my own mind as I think through and pray through this year in Methodism and my obligation to vote for the best clergy delegates to help shape the work of the United Methodist Church. My sincere prayer is that we are in honest conversation with God and with one another as we seek to be a church eager to follow the Christ and work in exciting ways empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Augusta GA Classes on Parenting & Finances

Here are some great options offered at Trinity on the Hill UMC in Augusta GA. You'll find expert advice in an encouraging environment as we all seek to live up to those New Year's resolutions.

“Parenting with Purpose,” or “How to Raise Your Kids to Lead a Meaningful Life.”
Tim and Wendy Reeve – experienced parents of three boys (and Tim is an assistant principal) - offer advice and lead the discussion. Parents and grandparents, or uncles and aunts, of children of all ages should find valuable information in this informal group meeting three Wednesdays beginning this week, January 12 (meeting in the Youth Building).

"Achieving Financial Freedom" Get some expert advice from Jeff Fehrman, experienced financial advisor, with practical tips on achieving financial freedom. Three sessions beginning this Wednesday, January 12, in Wesley Hall.

"Create Your Financial Plan" Want more in-depth financial wisdom that can lead you to becoming truly financially free? David Duff is a trained Crown Financial leader who will lead this Biblical Financial Study. This is a 10-week class that requires active participation and homework to lead you to create a proven plan to manage your money, get out of debt, establish wealth, and learn to give. Come to the free Orientation class on Monday, January 17, in the Library. You can decide then if this is the class for you. You will need to purchase materials for this class, and it would help to call the church office this week and let Kathy Lake know you want to attend.

We offer many different options on classes, Bible studies, and small groups that meet in different locations on various days. I can help with basic questions or see more information at Contact Kathy Lake in the church office at 706-738-8822 to move forward in your life and faith in 2011.