Transformational Presence Month, 2019


Since October of 2011, the term “Transformational Presence” has been a guiding term for Trinity’s ministry posture here in the Bryant Neighborhood.  Trinity strives to be an authentic faith community whose presence not only brings relief and compassion to those in crisis, but hope through our efforts around education, advocacy, and authentic relationships with our neighbors.  In all that we do as a community, as we learn from one another and step into each others’ lives, our prayer is that mutual transformation takes place among us all. During the month of October, we focus on our commitment here at Trinity to live out this calling here, in this place, together

Joining us this month, we will hear from:


Duke Paulson

October 6, 2019

Executive Director of Tacoma Rescue Mission

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Pastor Paul Smith

October 13, 2019

Pastor of Mount Tahoma Seventh Day Adventist


L. Denice Randle

October 20, 2019

Executive Director of Peace Community Center


Bryant Sunday

October 27, 2019

On Bryant Sunday, we honor the 33 year partnership between Bryant Montessori and Trinity Presbyterian Church. This Sunday, we’ll invite a panel of teachers to share with us during service.

Backpack Giveaway!


On Wednesday, September 4th, Trinity joined the Teacher Meet and Greet at Bryant Montessori to hand out backpacks and school supplies! All told, we supported 100 Bryant and Jason Lee Middle School students with backpacks and school supplies.


With our church building under construction this year, we knew we would not be able to serve as many students as usual. Yet, while we planned to only support half as many students, the generosity of our donors went unchanged. In the end, we provided each student receiving more supplies than ever before.

Trinity certainly could not have accomplished this on our own. We are so thankful to our partners at and AllianceOne Receivables who collected supplies on our behalf, as well as Thrivent Financial, supporting with funding for backpacks. And of course, we are grateful to the many Trinity members who donated backpacks, funding for school supplies, or their time to support this work. Additionally, we’d like to give a big THANK YOU to the many hands who came along to sort supplies, arrange backpacks, hand out cookies, and offer a smiling face to the kids in our neighborhood as they prepare to go back to school. None of this would have been possible without you!

A Post-Sabbatical Letter from Pastor Matt

Dear Church Family,

I walked to Trinity this morning for the first time in three months (!), and was excited to see construction fences up, and to hear the sound of an excavator digging a hole between the church and Trinity House. We are certainly in full swing and lots has been going on over the time we’ve been away on Sabbatical.

First and foremost, I want to thank the Trinity community for this sabbatical season over the past three months. It was an incredible gift to be able to completely un-plug from my responsibilities at Trinity, and to embrace a time of rest and family and renewal. Many of you took on added responsibilities in order to make this sabbatical time possible, especially in the midst of our building project. So, on behalf of the entire Robbins-Ghormley clan, we offer our heartfelt gratitude.

This Sabbatical time gave me the gift of extended time to get back into my own skin, to remember in a deep way who I am, and who God is. We tried to embrace what the Sabbath is all about - a time to cease work and to spend time in the things that truly give us life. We had generous amounts of unhurried time and made it into a summer filled with  adventures together as a family. We spent much of the summer outside, camping and hiking and fishing and kayaking and swimming and sharing many meals with neighbors, family and old friends. We had the incredible opportunity to play on the beaches of Kauai, and to explore that beautiful place. I enjoyed reading several great books and studying with Andy Crouch at Regent College’s Summer School in Vancouver B.C. on navigating our technological age for family and church (which I hope to share with all of you in a class I’ll teach at Trinity soon). I re-built the front porch of our house, and got a good start on a re-siding project of our garage. Lydia did great on all of our adventures, is growing every day (four months and counting), and all four of the other R-Gs are now completely smitten with her. 

My only contact with any of you was when I happened to run into you around town, and the Trinity eNews - so there is lots to catch up on! I look forward to seeing you all soon and hearing your stories, and am glad to be back with you in worship on this upcoming Sunday, September 1st at Wright Park.

God’s Peace be with you,

Matt Robbins-Ghormley

Camp Trinity 2019


Every summer, a team of Trinity Outreach Staff and some incredible youth volunteers facilitate Camp Trinity, a two week extravaganza bringing together K-5th grade campers from the church, neighborhood, and nearby schools.

With the Trinity Presbyterian Church building under construction, we were grateful to be hosted by Jason Lee Middle School, one of our partner schools across the street. Our 35 campers embraced the new setting, playing Hide-and-Go-Seek in the classrooms, and endless rounds of Mushroom Tag in the baseball diamond.

For the first time, Camp Trinity traveled downtown to TinkerTopia! This incredible shop and TinkerSpace is an opportunity to creatively re-use materials that might otherwise go to a landfill. From foam pieces, to discarded laser cut wood, to fabric scraps, campers pushed the limits of their imagination as they turned things into other things, under the guidance of the kind and capable Ms. Darcy.

One morning, we invited our partners at the Tacoma Rescue Mission to host a workshop. Outreach Coordinator, Hayley Uliana, gave campers the opportunity to consider what they understood and perceived about homelessness, then played “True or False” to give campers and leaders alike the chance to learn important facts about our neighbors without homes, inspiring continued conversation throughout the afternoon.

Campers enjoyed a trip to Sail at Sandpoint, an annual highlight! Our incredible hosts provide us with kayaks for the kids to try out, as well as catamarans staffed with skilled volunteers. In true Pacific Northwest style, our staff campers paddled, sailed, and swam, even in the rain!

All this and more filled the two weeks of camp, a summer highlight for staff and kids alike! When the Bryant Neighborhood Center opens next year, we’ll look forward to hosting camp in our revitalized space, designed for opportunities just like this!

Construction Update!

Six weeks ago, we packed up the last box, carried out the last bookshelf and stowed the last pew bible from the church for the start of construction! We’ve seen multiple dumpsters arrive, fill up, and leave as the team from Mountain Construction has been hard at work in our space.

Tip: Use the left/right buttons to switch between the before and in-progress photos.


When Trinity last hosted service in our space, the front of the sanctuary had already experienced a measure of demolition. Volunteers had carefully removed parts of the choir loft so that congregants could memorialize the old, familiar wood in other projects. Now, the entire choir loft has been removed. The beautiful, old trellis has been taken down, and the floor demolished. Soon, we’ll see this big, open space converted into two stories of Sunday School classrooms, with a soundproof wall filling in the arched space. The second two photos are a before and after of what was the shed, formerly located below the floor of the choir loft.

For several years, an old roof resulted in water damage on several areas of the ceiling. The damage has been removed, with the happy report that there is no evidence of dry rot in the beams. We may choose to leave the plaster off these walls to allow the beautiful brick to accent our space. Don’t worry! The historic stained glass is being carefully preserved throughout the whole process.

Fellowship Hall

Stepping into the Fellowship Hall, you’ll hear the crinkle of plastic protecting the carpet, and immediately notice that the wall separating the Sacristy, more commonly known as the “Flower Room,” and the pre-school play room has been demolished. This allows space for a future stair tower, which will both both connect all three floors of the building, and provide a measure of seismic stability.

Sunday School Classrooms

In the upper level Sunday School rooms, we see two distinct types of working occurring.

First, in these rooms and throughout the building, a stretch of ceiling drywall has been removed to expose the beams. This allows for Mountain Construction to access the “bones” of the building and put in the necessary seismic upgrades.


Next, especially in classrooms with external, brickwork walls, the drywall has been removed to allow access to the masonry. We were delighted to learn that our brick work is in decent shape considering the age of the building. Any old, crumbled brick will be removed, and grout poured into the walls to fill the gaps. For now, we see the brick behind the walls of these classrooms.

The Bryant Neighborhood Center

When Trinity committed to staying here and fixing this building, we were also committing to continue to serve the surrounding neighborhood. Out of that vision comes the Bryant Neighborhood Center.

The Entrance

Overall, the entrance to the lower level from the ramp is going to look incredibly different. While these pictures don’t speak of the future changes, such as the stair tower entrance and ADA ramp, you can see the work that has been started to open and brighten this space.

The Great Room

If you visited The Great Room before, you’d find a number of stable, but temporary walls dividing the room into storage areas for Pat’s Closet. Not anymore! By taking down these walls, we are making space for flexible seating and programming. From one-on-one meetings, to larger group opportunities, this revitalized area will be prepared to host a variety of diverse groups.

The Gym

Since 1922, the Trinity Gym has hosted thousands of kids and adults alike for basketball, foursquare, and just about any other type of recreation you can imagine. We are pleased to report that the dangling ceiling tiles have been entirely removed, as has the flooring, and we are preparing for the next 97 years of play and recreation in this important space.

The Learning Center

Similar to the Sunday School Classrooms in the upper level, the bulk of the planned work in the Learning Center will be the tasks surrounding the seismic retrofit. Here, removed ceiling tiles show the progress being made.

The Kitchen

Work has not yet begun inside the lower level kitchen. We know that the new entrance to the Bryant Neighborhood Center will open against the wall where the stove formerly sat. We hope to remove the walls to open the Great Room even wider, while moving the kitchen to a different space in the lower level. A shared meal is an important and meaningful tool for community. However, the cost associated with moving gas lines and installing a range hood might prohibit these goals. We continue to raise funds, with a functional, hospitable, community-focused Bryant Neighborhood Center (and kitchen!) in mind.


Will you consider coming alongside us in support of this goal? A donation to the Here for Good Campaign for the Bryant Neighborhood Center will help us through the decisions associated with this significant construction project. Every gift has an impact as we work to build a welcoming space for all!

Visit to make a donation, or to learn more about the project.

Now Hiring: AmeriCorps Learning Center Staff


Trinity Outreach Programs is hiring!

We are looking for THREE committed individuals who are deeply passionate about serving middle school-aged youth, and skilled at relational engagement in an educational context.

These staff will work in the Bobcat Learning Center, supporting students in classes and working in the after school program.

Full job description available here; prospective applicants direct questions and application materials to Rachel Boisen, Outreach Administrator at

Want to learn more about the Learning Center?

Check out this story from Spring Break 2019

Learn more about a skateboarding opportunity offered in 2018

Read about the YPQI Award the Learning Center received in 2016

This reflection is from 2015 Learning Center AmeriCorps, Kyle Lee

Outreach Auction 2019

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The 2019 Trinity Outreach Auction was our MOST SUCCESSFUL EVER!

How much did we raise? $21,000!

Not only is this the most money we’ve ever raised at the Trinity Outreach Auction, it more than surpassed the goals we had established for this year!

We are incredibly grateful to the many people who helped make this possible. This includes our generous event sponsors: Dukesbay Theater, Mountain Construction, and Broderick Architects.

Additionally, we’d like to thank the many businesses and organizations who donated items for our silent and live auctions. The wonderful response from our neighbors is always to encouraging, and a significant part of the night!

In the same way, we appreciate the many, many Trinity people who donated auction items: from beautiful art pieces and overflowing goody baskets, to acting lessons and vacation rentals. And another thank you to the many people who brought in platters of snacks for us to enjoy throughout the evening!

Finally, thank you to everyone who attended, who bidded on auction items, who bought raffle tickets, and who “raised a paddle” for the programs at Trinity. In many ways, the work and relationships of the Trinity Outreach programs could not exist without this tangible support from our community. Thank you for giving and attending and being a part of our night at the Trinity Outreach Auction.

Have you seen the BNC Website?

The Bryant Neighborhood Center has its own website!

Visit for all things Bryant Neighborhood Center! You can find:

More exciting content is planned; be sure to check in and see what’s new with the Bryant Neighborhood Center!

A Spring Adventure with the Bobcat Learning Center

Trying something new can be difficult for all of us. Daniel Akamine, one of the Bobcat Learning Center Staff members reflects on watching the middle school students move outside their comfort zone.


For Spring Break, the Bobcat Learning Center took a group of Jason Lee Middle School students to Climb Tacoma, which is an indoor bouldering gym. All of the students got the opportunity to boulder and took the leap of faith to overcome the mental and physical challenges of bouldering. During this outing you could hear many of our students positively encouraging each other to figure out new routes on the bouldering wall as well as provide tips to each other to reach their bouldering goals.

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Many of our students were not afraid to ask for advice from experienced climbers, such as Brian Doyle who is one of the founders of Climb Tacoma. Brian and Climb Tacoma staff members provided a welcoming and supportive environment for the Jason Lee students.  As a staff member at the Bobcat Learning Center it was inspiring to see Jason Lee students who had never bouldered or climbed before step out of their comfort zone and try something unlike the traditional sports they are used to.

Moving Party!

On Saturday, April 27th at 9:00AM, come to Trinity and help us pack up the church for our big move and construction project!! 

We need trucks, dollys, and ALL HANDS ON DECK!  If you're able to do anything from packing boxes or carrying couches, we need you!  Click here to let us know you’re coming!

We’ll have church in the space until May 12th, but we are going plastic-bin style for those last few weeks.

What Feeds Your Faith, Mark?

During the season of Lent, various members of Trinity’s community will share what has nurtured their faith during their life’s journey. This week, we hear from Mark.

For the last few years, I’ve been consumed with CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce.  Lewis’ depictions of Heaven and Hell are so practical and play out in our daily interactions with one another. The characters and stories both inspire me, and quite frankly haunt me.

One encounter is illustrated in chapter 4, when a man encounters a heavenly figure on the road to Heaven.   It turns out this heavenly figure was a murderer and the other a self-described righteous man. The irony is the murderer, who has embraced his redemption, is to help the self-righteous man understand the ways of Heaven.  However, the self-righteous man is insulted by this requirement and states “I’d rather be damned than go along with you”.

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This past week, my oldest son, Luke, and I were talking through the Lenten youth study questions and were talking about the “Parable of the Prodigal Son”.  A question is posed why this parable is sometimes described as the “Parable of the Two Lost Sons”.  We explored together how each son could be “lost”, including the more responsible and dutiful older brother.  Luke thoughtfully replied, “He is lost in his jealousy”.

Both instances challenge my view of God’s love and force me to wonder if my faith is big enough.  When I feel like the prodigal son, this is a relief. But when I feel like the older brother, this is challenging.  Either way---my faith is forced to grow when dealing with the truth. - Mark

What Feeds Your Faith, Pat?

During the season of Lent, various members of Trinity’s community will share what has nurtured their faith during their life’s journey. This week, we hear from Pat B.

In a time when people are insatiable in their drive for the newest technology, Pat reflects that what feeds her faith is the ancient practice of scripture memorization.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Smartphones have given us quick access to the Bible and daily devotionals, so it can be easy to forget the importance of memorizing scripture. Each week during the school year our kids memorize a bible verse, and we, as a family, have two scriptures that we get to reflect on together throughout the week. In a decade where technology is disrupting every aspect of our lives, reflecting on scripture is a great way to feed our faith.  As a parent, we don’t have a full appreciation of struggles our kids will face each day, but what we do know is that having Scripture hidden in their hearts can help them face whatever life, and technology, throws at them. God is with them every step of the way. - Pat B.

What Feeds Your Faith, Emily?

During the season of Lent, various members of Trinity’s community will share what has nurtured their faith during their life’s journey. This week, we hear from Emily C.

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I have two things that have fed and nurtured my faith tremendously in the last year. I know I was supposed to pick one, but both have been so tender to me that I can’t leave one out!


Author Rachel Held Evans has been a very important voice in my life as I have gone through the process of my faith being deconstructed and yet never being able to walk away from the Truth of the message of Jesus and the radical story of God told throughout the history of God’s people. Rachel has never shied away from asking hard questions or acknowledging her doubts. In 2018, Rachel wrote a new book called “Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again.” If you, like me, sometimes wonder what you’re doing here… If you, like me, can’t quite disentangle yourself from the hope and the doubting… If you, like me, could use an honest and endearing peek back into some of the most familiar stories in the Bible, this book might be something that feeds your spiritual life.


Singer and songwriter Andrew Peterson has written some of our family’s favorite music over the last few years. If you’re a parent of littles and you don’t have Slugs & Bugs (Andrew Peterson and Randall Goodgame) in your life, do yourself a favor and go buy or stream them straight away. In 2018, Andrew released a new album called “Resurrection Letters: Volume 1.” The whole album is good, but the song “Is He Worthy” has been almost a daily centering ritual for me over the last several months. The simple words and elegantly composed choral arrangement feed my soul no matter how joyful or weary it may be. It’s honest, beautiful, and hopeful.

Volunteer Spotlight: Deacon White

For over twenty-five years, Pat’s Closet at Trinity Presbyterian Church has offered clothes and households items to our neighbors. Anyone can stop by on a Thursday evening or Friday afternoon and take what they need. If you visit on a Thursday night, there’s a good chance they will encounter faithful volunteer, 81 year old Deacon John M. White. Trinity staff, Iris Jackson, shares:

“Deacon John M. White is a consistent, dedicated volunteer at Pat’s Closet every Thursday. Over the last six years, Deacon White of Shiloh Baptist Church has rarely missed serving on our Thursday nights….John is a great encouragement to everyone.”

We are so grateful for the support of Deacon White, and all the other volunteers who offer their time and talent to Pat’s Closet. The many hands involved allow us to sort more clothes and build more relationships with the people who come through our doors.

Thank you again, Deacon White, for all your years of service! We are so grateful to have you on the team!

Click here to learn more about Pat’s Closet. You are also welcome to visit Pat’s Closet on Thursday nights from 5 - 7 PM, or Friday afternoons from 1 - 3 PM. Have items to donate? Drop by while Pat’s closet is open, or during office hours to contribute.

What Feeds Your Faith? A New Vision


During the season of Lent, various members of Trinity’s community will share what has nurtured their faith during their life’s journey. This week, we hear from Don B.

I left the church and abandoned my faith from the ages of 18-41. In that period of my life, I focused too much on those voices in the church that equated the American dream with the embodiment of Christianity.


I told myself that if that is what Christianity means then I wanted nothing to do with it. Fortunately, Christ’s spirit is so much bigger than any small minded notion of “religion” that I literally fell to my knees in 1991 and begged God to open my heart to his truth.

Jonathan Walton’s book, (2019) Twelve Lies that Hold America Captive: And the Truth that Sets Us Free speaks to the dichotomy between White American Folk Religion (WAFR), which embraces the pursuit of peace, prosperity and happiness, our “right” given to us by our Constitution, and and the building of God’s kingdom here on earth and beyond.  In its most “meaty” form, the season of Lent focuses upon redemption, forgiveness, submission, and a path to new beginnings, Walton makes the case that the tenets of American life that we often just accept as truths (these are the Twelve Lies, such as we are a Christian nation, all men are created equal, we are the most generous nation in the world, America is the land of the free) interfere and may be in direct conflict with establishing God’s kingdom.  For example, when Walton discusses the tenet of “America is the Greatest Nation on Earth, he says:

“All of us have to choose who we will serve. We can worship at the altar of work and performance for a reward. Or we can rest in Christ and work in response to the reception of our reward in full as we are adopted into the family of God and filled with the holy Spirit by his glorious grace. The myth of American exceptionalism and the lie the America is the greatest country in the world is the extension of the individual belief that I am the best. And no person can bear this burden of superiority and supremacy, except for Christ (p. 168-9).”

 I am hoping that a few of us can meet during Lent ,perhaps as part of a dinner group, to listen carefully to each other, to hear each other’s stories, and to delight in discovering the truths that set us free. The value of sharing time in this book and gathering in community is not to agree with everything that Walton says but to have a meaningful, reflective, honest conversation about how the culture that we all live in affects our ability to truly carry out the Gospel and build God’s kingdom.

Why Would 20 Teenagers Fast for 38 Hours?

Julia Corbett, Director Children, Youth & Family at Trinity. Reflected with gratitude, on her 38 hours with hungry teens.


20 Trinity teens and 6 adults spent last weekend Fasting for Honduras. They went for 38 hours without food as they learned about 1500 of their brothers and sisters in Christ who live, work and have families in the garbage dumps of Tegucigalpa. They fasted for 38 hours and prayed for children as young as age 3 who spend their childhood scavenging the mountains of poisonous waste for food and items they could salvage. The teens participated in a poverty simulation where they were asked to enter the experience of these children: the activities they had to do and the decisions that faced them every day.  


The participants of the Fast discussed the plight of the multitudes of Hondurans who are walking to the US border seeking hope and a future. They visited the Northwest Detention Center in the Tacoma tide flats and prayed for the 1500 detainees who are held there.


During the Fast, Trinity teens heard about an amazing ministry that brings hope, light and love to the children of Honduras: Amigos de Jesus is a home for abandoned and abused children that provides for their physical, emotional, spiritual and vocational needs. Trinity’s own Julie Q., who has been deeply invested in the ministry for years introduced our youth to the 120 children who live, go to school, learn valuable farming and metal work skills, and just get to be a kid at Amigos de Jesus. Nalani L. shared her experience visiting Amigos and being inspired by their faith and hospitality.

Thanks to the Trinity community who kept us in prayer! Please consider supporting our teens and their efforts by donating to Amigos de Jesus following this LINK.

Elder & Deacon Nominations Announced

Sunday, February 10th, at Trinity’s Annual Meeting, the Nominating Team will bring the following nominees to the congregation for election as Deacon and Elders.

Elders exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and together have responsibilities for the life of the congregation. The active elders form the Session who is the governing body of the church.


CHAD MCCANN  Chad and his wife, Emily, have been attending Trinity since 2006. They now have two girls, Ela and Cleo, who will be raised here. Chad has played percussion for worship for years and finds himself doing many oddball jobs around the church.

 “I’m excited to invest deeper at a church that acts in the ways that many other places only talk about. I hope to follow those before me and continue Trinity’s special commitment to serving the neighborhood.”


DEB LLEWELLYN  A “never-at-home mom” who served on many boards and volunteered at schools and community organizations, Deb is passionate about hospitality, Tacoma, and social justice and loves that Trinity shares these values. Married to Tom, Deb has been at Trinity since 2004: Ben (26), Abel (22), Bizayehu (19) and Genet (16).

“Trinity is home for me. It’s not perfect, but the fact that it never pretends to be is a kind of perfection in itself. The focus on real, meaningful outreach helps keep my own wobbly faith grounded. I’m excited to help us fulfill our vital mission of living the gospel in the heart of my beloved city.”

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CRAIG ARMSTRONG Craig and his wife, Christine, have been members at Trinity since 2004 after being won over by Harlan Shoop and the wonderful congregation.  They have one son, Eli, who is 14. Craig has served on the Trinity Personnel Team for the past 3 years.

“I am honored to be nominated and excited to grow as personally as the church moves forward and I hope to contribute anyway I can."

The office of Deacon is set forth in Scripture as one of compassion and prayer, witness and service after the example of Jesus Christ


CHERYL HILLIS  Cheryl and her husband, Mark, have attended Trinity for almost 30 years of their 34 year marriage. They came to Trinity with the Hunters and raised their four boys here.

“I am beyond grateful for how God has used Trinity in my life to "see" God moving in love towards me and this community. Micah 6:8 has always been a favorite verse of mine.." the Lord has told you what is good... To act justly and  to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God"... I am humbled and thankful to serve Trinity as a deacon and this verse will be my prayer.


SUZANNE ANNEST  A mother of two grown daughters and a proud grandmother, Trinity has been Suzanne’s church home for the past 16 years.

“In addition to loving the people of Trinity, I value our outreach and commitment to the neighborhood. It is so impressive that a small congregation has had such a powerful impact in our local community. I look forward to the adventures the Holy Spirit has in store for me over the next three years as a deacon.”

Living in the Neighborhood

This is a reflection written by Melissa Yager who serves at the Interim Front Door Ministry Coordinator at Trinity.

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My favorite part of assisting with the Front Door at Trinity and being the steward of this ministry is all the neighbors I get to meet. I often walk to Trinity and get to chat with our neighbors, especially those who live at the Salvation Army.

One new neighbor I have become friends with first came into the Trinity House office during the fall. Mrs. M. is in her late 60s and has been living at the Salvation Army for a while. She was behind on utility payments from her old apartment and could not come up with the back payment to clear her account. This overdue bill was preventing her from being placed in an apart. An amount of money that felt astronomical to someone who is on a fixed income, was within our Front Door budget.

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Today, as I was walking to the Trinity House, Mrs. M stopped me on the road and told me she had been accepted to move into an apartment and she would be moved in by the end of the month! She was so happy. I am also so happy that I got to be apart of Mrs. M's life and joy in this way. 

Thank you Trinity Family for caring for your neighborhood in this amazing way. 

Celebrating a Miracle

Loren was our miracle.

After trying the Godly Play curriculum in Sunday school for about a year and falling in love with it, we had drained our children’s ministry budget on first set of expensive wooden pieces for the basic Godly Play stories. That’s when God gave us Loren.

I remember going to his house for the first time in Purallup, bearing the expensive wooden Noah’s Ark we had bought hoping that seeing it might make it easier for him to decide whether he could possibly replicate it and other projects for a smaller cost. Born and raised in Minnesota, Loren spent most of his life fixing cars or ground equipment in airports. In 1989, after retiring from his 40 year career with Northwest Airlines, Loren took up woodworking as a hobby. I held my breath in anticipation of what he would say.

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Four years and hundreds of wooden projects later, I continued to make regular trips to Loren’s to pick up boxes and boxes of beautiful wooden pieces he had created for Trinity’s kids. He would accept no money from the church for his time or his materials. He did it for the love of woodworking and the love of our children at Trinity.

One of my last trips to his home, Loren showed me to his bulletin board. “This is my most precious possession,” he said pointing to a thank you card that MaryEllen, a child at Trinity, had made for him during his visit to Trinity.

Last Sunday, as our Sunday school kids made get well cards for him, Loren went to be with Jesus. On his side table, next to his phone and a cup of water, sat a card I had sent him with the photo of the Nativity scene he had made for Trinity.

“Creating things for your kids is what kept Loren going after his wife passed away,” I heard from his granddaughter Wendy, who painted the Nativity scene as well as helped with many other of Loren’s projects.

“Thank you for everything,” is the last thing I heard Loren say to me over phone.

But it is Trinity who is thankful for our friend, Loren - for his skill, his faith, his dedication and generosity! Each Sunday at Trinity, as children work with the wooden, “hands on” materials that is central to each lessons, the loving hands that took the time too carve each and every piece will be a part of their journey in faith.

Thank you, Loren.

A reflection by Julia Corbett, Children, Youth and Family Director at Trinity on her four year friendship with Loren Peterson.

UNITE! Retreat 2018

The whole Trinity group!

The whole Trinity group!

One of my favorite sections of scripture is Revelation 7, where John the revelator prophecies of a “great multitude that no one can number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne of God” and praising him. At the UNITE retreat, we get a foretaste of what it might be like to be caught up in that unity of praise. Teens from the greater Seattle area of different ages, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds gather together in the snowy woods of the Cascades for 4 days of worship, games, delicious food, and play in the snow.  

Beautiful camp Tall Timber.

Beautiful camp Tall Timber.

Each morning and evening we gathered and were led in worship by the UNITE band. Following the band, our speaker for the weekend, Paul Patu of Urban Family Seattle gave us rousing talks about how much God likes us and how much God loves us.  It was beautiful to watch teens from all different background learn from each other, and worship alongside each other.

Snowman Competition.

Snowman Competition.

When we weren’t in worship we were most likely outside playing in the snow. We had a snowman building competition, and plenty of free time to go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or snow tubing. Students also loved staying inside and warm by the fire or playing card games with new and old friends.

My favorite part of the whole weekend was watching our Trinity students laugh and joke with each other and others,especially on the last night during the annual skit competition. This year students had to combine a Christmas movie, a popular song, and Psalm 139. The result were hilarious skits such as a remixed version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas with the Disney hit song “We’re All in This Together”  mixed in. Our teens had a blast!

Despite the lack of sleep, I’m already looking forward to next years UNITE retreat and watching God again give us a foretaste of the kingdom of God breaking into our world through this amazing weekend in the snowy mountains.

Written by Trinity Youth Ministry Coordinator: Kyle Bradshaw