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.

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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.”

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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

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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.

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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

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New Neighborhood Clinic Director

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We are excited to announce the hiring of our new Trinity Neighborhood Clinic Director, Jessica Williams, RN. Jessica is currently finishing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Healthcare Leadership at UWT, and is also works at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Jessica says, "When I moved from Seattle to Tacoma in September of 2017 to complete my nursing education, I couldn’t have anticipated the difficulty of acclimating to my new city. The Trinity Neighborhood Clinic has been an integral part of making me feel welcome and valuable in my community and I look forward to welcoming others, both patients and volunteers, in the same way that I was welcomed."

Skateboarding with the BLC

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Monday - Thursday, the Bobcat Learning Center provides homework help and enrichment activities for their students. These enrichments range from cooking, to Leadership, to Japanese Club, to Skateboarding! Read on to hear about the BLC’s partnership with Alchemy Skateboarding.

If you’re going to visit the skateboarding enrichment at the Bobcat Learning Center, you need to be ready to dodge.

Learning Center Staff, Daniel Akamine, takes a dozen or so students from Jason Lee Middle School to visit Alchemy Skateboarding once a week after school. Alchemy Skateboarding is a local nonprofit on the corner of South 7th and St. Helens, featuring a skate shop and over 2000 square feet of indoor skate park, perfect for skateboarders of all ages to learn the ropes, even in rainy Washington weather.

Learning Center Staff, Daniel Akamine, supports a LC Student trying something new.

Learning Center Staff, Daniel Akamine, supports a LC Student trying something new.

When you first walk into the skatepark, it’s best to be light on your feet. Students are practicing their balance on the lowest ramp over here, other students are gliding up and down the half pipe against the back wall, and there stands a line of middle school students, waiting for Mr. Daniel’s support while they attempt something new. Every so often, someone yells “board!” and riderless skateboard shoots across the room. Everyone wears a helmet, but keep your eyes and ear open to avoid a bruised shin.

When this partnership was first getting off the ground, Daniel was excited to begin. “I owe it to Alchemy for getting this partnership started because there have been many barriers to getting skateboarding started at Jason Lee, regarding the liability concerns around skateboarding, as well as transportation for students to and from Alchemy’s indoor skatepark facility.” Daniel grew up skateboarding, and finds joy sharing this skill with his students.

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In the fall of 2017, the team at Alchemy reached out to Jason Lee to use skateboarding as an academic enrichment to middle school students. They believe the foundation of skateboarding, which is embracing failure to reach success, can be a tool students could use towards navigating school, relationships and self growth.

“When middle school programming is going on at Alchemy, I get to see students who are shy or have low self confidence come out of their shell and overcome self anxiety and fear,” says Daniel. “I am inspired by skateboarding, the skateboarding community and the power skateboarding has to incite our middle school students to create a riot from within, which plants the seeds for students to practice hard work and embrace failure.”

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Advent Meditations & Stories

Trinity has created an annual tradition of putting together Advent Meditations from contributions of members in the Trinity community. Julia Corbett, our Children, Youth & Family Director has curated a wonderful collection of stories, scriptures and meditations from our community that helps us prepare as an individual and a family during Advent. For a pdf of the collection, please click here. For an Advent Calendar for children, click here.

There are copies available in the entryway of the church building, as well. May you experience a blessed advent as you prepare for the Messiah.


What Did We Learn at the BNC Summit?

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After church on Sunday, November 18th, nearly 50 people from the Trinity congregation gathered in the lower level of the church for the Bryant Neighborhood Center Summit. This presentation and conversation offered an opportunity for the Transformational Presence Team to share with the congregation the developing vision, mission, and programming plans for the Bryant Neighborhood Center (BNC).

The Vision and Mission Statements

The drafts of the vision and mission statements were written with an eye towards the values of the Trinity Outreach Programs, and the outcomes we aspire to at the BNC. Both statements were well supported.

We presented the following draft Vision Statement:

We envision a diverse, connected, and empowered Bryant Neighborhood, with neighbors actively participating in the development of a healthy, just, and sustainable community.

Many respondents supported and appreciated the phrase, “neighbors actively participating.” It was also suggested we better define our terminology and scope, though the general consensus was that this accurately represents our vision for the BNC.

We also presented the following draft Mission Statement:

The Bryant Neighborhood Center serves as a community hub to link local residents with high quality resources, where young minds learn and grow, relationships are formed, and basic needs are met, amplifying residents’ vision for the community.

Attendees appreciated the idea of “amplifying residents’ vision for the community,” but some felt that other phrases needed to be clarified. The BNC will be a place for people of all ages, and some of the phrasing needs to be updated to represent that. The Transformational Presence team is excited to continue crafting our mission statement with the feedback we received.

Programming in the BNC

Blue: Trinity’s Current Outreach Programs; Green: Current Community Partners

Blue: Trinity’s Current Outreach Programs; Green: Current Community Partners

The Summit took a look at what programming will be offered once the BNC opens.

Trinity’s current Outreach Programs already actively address many needs in our community. When this new space opens, we expect to expand programming and opportunities in our neighborhood. Trinity Outreach Programs currently serve 3,500 people each year. Within the first five years of the BNC, we seek to grow that number to nearly 5,000.

Below, see some of our current thinking on how that might impact our current programs.

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TAP - The Trinity Afterschool Program

TAP generally serves 10-12 students every year. If we want to serve additional students, we might step away from our one-to-one, student to volunteer ratio, find a new way to recruit additional volunteers, or expand the program to serve students with different needs on different days. Whatever happens, we will continue to provide opportunities for involvement and developing relationships with the students and families from Bryant Montessori.

Learning Center

The Bobcat Learning Center will continue to be hosted on site at Jason Lee, Monday - Thursday. The classroom spaces and partnerships with teachers and community members serve the program well. However, events like the weekly Friday programming, Spring Break Week, Parent Nights and other special events would benefit from the revitalized space of the Bryant Neighborhood Center.

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Tony’s Kitchen

Tony’s Kitchen will continue to offer soup and conversation. Our team of volunteers do an excellent job building neighborhood relationships, and we are excited to see that continue. With our revitalized space, we could potentially expand and host a meal more than one day a week.

Pat’s Closet

Our Pat’s Closet leadership is discussing changes to our current model that would focus more on distributing specific, high-need items throughout the year, such as socks, gloves, hygiene items, and coats. Our new space means less room for clothing storage, and this shift is causing  us to consider how we might serve our neighbors in even more mindful ways. Pat’s Closet and Tony’s Kitchen will likely continue to operate alongside each other, possibly with an even greater capacity than before.

The Trinity Neighborhood Clinic

The Clinic will continue to operate at Trinity House each Tuesday evening. After much conversation, the Clinic board determined that the current arrangement works remarkably well for a ‘pop up’ weekly clinic. The BNC will seek to create opportunities in coordination with the Clinic around health education and workshops.

Opportunities We’re Exploring

Blue: Trinity’s Current Outreach Programs; Green: Current Community Partners; Orange: Potential and Planned Partnerships

Blue: Trinity’s Current Outreach Programs; Green: Current Community Partners; Orange: Potential and Planned Partnerships

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While Trinity Outreach Programs are already meeting many needs of our neighbors, the Bryant Neighborhood Center also opens up opportunities for even more investment and intentionality, as well as new programming that could be brought into our neighborhood. One potential opportunity highlighted at the Summit is the Play To Learn program run by the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. In conversations with the Children’s Museum, there is excitement on both sides to see a Play To Learn group potentially hosted in the BNC.

The Trinity community was eager to discuss the many opportunities the BNC will afford, and is looking forward to having a bright, open and welcoming space, with a crowd-friendly kitchen to host and care for our neighbors. The list of ideas is as long and diverse as the church members in attendance, and the community we seek to serve. Check out some ideas below!

Additional Ideas from the Community

  • A Bike Program

  • Partnership with Metro Parks

  • Parkour on the handicap accessible ramp

  • Resource Center

  • Neighborhood Council

  • Youth Game Night

  • Yoga

  • Non-profit Coworking Space

  • Cooking Classes

  • Affordable Daycare

  • Music Education

  • Opportunities for Special Needs Kids

  • Community Organizing

  • Exercise Classes

  • Parenting Classes

  • Evening Pick-Up Basketball

  • Free Legal Advice

  • Veteran Support Group

  • Financial Counseling

  • Baby/Mom Meet Up

  • Talk Time

  • Parent Resource Center

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The BNC Summit was one more important step in the process of building and developing the Bryant Neighborhood Center. We are grateful for such a well-attended meeting, with so many enthusiastic and invested members of the Trinity community! Thank you for showing up, sharing your thoughts, and demonstrating how we truly are Here for Good.

Sign-Up Online to be in Annual Christmas Pageant

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This year, you can sign up online for your child to participate in Trinity's 2018 Christmas Pageant. The Christmas Pageant will be in the Sunday, December 23rd, 10 AM worship service.

Trinity is doing a traditional Christmas Pageant based on the Gospel birth narratives. Actors with lines and without are needed, as well as readers, dancers, and musicians. The only rehearsal will be Saturday, Dec 22nd, 9 am-12 noon. Younger children with smaller roles come in for only 1 hour.

If you have questions, please contact Julia Corbett at juliac@tpctacoma.org

Youth Service Reflection

This reflection is written by Kyle Bradshaw, Trinity Youth Ministry Coordinator.

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Peering around the circle where we stood at Venture Apartments in South Tacoma, the students wore visible signs of the hard work they had just completed: blue latex gloves from picking up trash around the complex, dirty knees from raking and stooping in the dirt to pick up leaves, and mustard smears on sleeves from our sandwich assembly line at Nativity House earlier in the day.

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Justin Mootz, our host for this second and final stop in our day of service stood across the circle from me and introduced us to one of the tenants of the apartments and a friend of the Mootz’s. Justin asked her questions and translated for us from Spanish explaining that she had been awake for over 36 hours, working several different jobs in order to provide for her family. Then she began to pray for our team and gave us a blessing. I was humbled and amazed at the generosity within this woman. She had been working nonstop and rather than coming back and going straight to bed she took the time to meet with our group and bless us.

Learning propels us toward service.

On Saturday, I was reminded of the importance of service-learning. These service outing find their true value in the hyphen between service and learning. The service we completed on Saturday is not nearly as valuable if not paired with the opportunity to learn from the stories this woman shared with us or from Bill Bruno at Nativity House who took us around the shelter while sharing stories and breaking down stigmas behind homelessness

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At the same time learning propels us towards service. Justin and Amanda Mootz invited us into their apartment to teach us about many of the challenges people living in poverty face in their community. With this new knowledge fresh in our minds we stepped outside to try and make the apartment a little bit more of a beautiful place. I’m proud of our students for raking leaves and wearing mustard on sleeves and for their commitment to service-learning.     







Trinity Deepens Commitment to Arts & Worship

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Trinity Presbyterian Church is excited to announce their participation in this year’s Cascadia Worship & Arts Residency program, run by Fuller Seminary Northwest. The goal of the Cascadia Residency is to deepen the connection between artists and the worship life of the church. Paul & Lisa Duke will act as Trinity’s delegate with Paul serving as an "artist in residence", bringing his gifts in theater, and Lisa helping to gather other artists. The program involves a series of short retreats where Paul & Lisa will gather with artists and congregational leaders from other churches along the I-5 corridor from Vancouver BC to Portland. 


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Preparation for Ministry Complete

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While in academia, Carol McLaughlin began to question her calling. Academics or ministry? She took her thoughts and questions to her pastor, Rev. Matt Robbins-Ghormley. Thus began a five year journey which recently culminated in the Presbytery of Olympia certifying Carol as ready to submit her credentials to churches seeking a pastor. 

Bev Hatter, Carol's Session representative at Trinity, reflects on her walk with Carol down this beautiful and difficult path.

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One of the perks of serving on Session is the opportunity to walk with a candidate for ministry in their journey to realizing their call.  Five years ago, Carol McLaughlin was pursuing a doctorate in religion at George Fox Evangelical Seminary (now Portland Seminary) while teaching religion classes there.  Carol had been undecided about whether to continue teaching or to apply to the Committee for the Preparation of Ministry (CPM) through the Presbyterian Church. She loved the academic challenge and richness of the teaching profession but wasn’t sure which path would better use her unique gifts. I was given the opportunity to serve as Carol’s Session liaison with the CPM while Carol went through the process of readiness and discernment.

The ordination process is lengthy and demanding.  In addition to the educational component of completing a Master in Divinity degree, there are written exams in the areas of Bible content, theology, Bible exegesis, polity and worship and sacraments.  It is necessary to complete a psychological evaluation, submit character references, complete a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education and meet for regular consultations with the CPM. All the while, her faith and commitment were growing and changing and challenging.

Carol was well prepared to meet many of the challenges of the ordination process, however there were unplanned obstacles and events that occurred in her life.  In a very short span of time Carol and her family experienced the deaths of her father-in-law and brother-in-law, the serious car accident of her elderly mother-in-law and the premature births of twin grandchildren.  Any one of these difficult experiences could have derailed Carol’s process. Because of her maturity, faith and resilience, Carol took the time to care for self and family while she persevered in the process of her faith walk.  The CPM has recently approved her as a Certified Candidate for Ministry within the PC(USA). Carol is now invited to present her credentials to churches seeking a pastor.

I am grateful for this opportunity to sojourn with Carol while representing Trinity in its support of a highly qualified candidate for the ministry.  Please pray along with me as Carol faces her next steps in discerning her call.



New Community Group Forms

A Community Group is a small group of people from the Trinity community who regularly gather in a home to grow in relationship with God and one another. Members of a community group may prayer together or study together or work on a service project together. They share their life with one another.

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This fall, a new community group is forming at Trinity which will be led by Jason & Julia Corbett. If you are interested in learning more about this new community group, please contact Julia at juliac@tpctacoma.org or call 253-272-8819 x104.



Bryant Late Start, 2018-2019

Trinity is offering childcare for students in Kindergarten - Fifth Grade on the "Late Start Days" in the 2018-19 school year.  Late Start is the second Wednesday of every month during the academic year. 

Students can be dropped off at Trinity starting at 9 AM. Trinity Staff will walk the students to school at 11:30 AM.

Our staff supervise fun activities and free time for the students, in addition to a light snack.

We have space for 20 students. 

TO REGISTER

Contact daniel@tpctacoma.org or call 253-272-8819 to reserve your space!

Cost is $10 for the first student, and $5 for each additional student in the family. Payable via check or cash when you drop off your student.

Click here to download the registration form. Return in advance, or turn in Wednesday morning.

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Last Year at the BLC

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Jaquette Easterlin has served as Trinity’s Learning Center Coordinator for seven years now. We are grateful for her leadership as we start a new year of programming this fall. The Trinity Learning Center offers academic support and enrichment activities to middle school students from Bryant Montessori and Jason Lee. Read on to learn some of what the Learning Center has done in the last year.

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2017-2018 featured another amazing year at the Learning Center. We served a total of 194 students this school, alongside 15 volunteers, including 4 returned from the previous year. We added several new partnerships with Alchemy Skateboarding, Weikart Center, YPQI SEL, Tacoma Rescue Mission, and SnapEd.

When students were surveyed they highlighted how personable and supportive our staff was, and their appreciation for a safe/physical space to do homework! Our staff strives to provide all students with opportunities to grow emotionally and academically. We strongly believe in allowing students to have choice and voice in program. We do this by asking for input on current and potential activities. Several of our current enrichment activities came for a passion of a youth. For example, cooking, poetry, robotics, dance, and leadership.

This has truly been one of best years. I want to give a special shout out to Trinity’s Learning Center staff, Daniel Akamine and Laura Johnson, and to the Peace Community Center Staff we partner closely with; Maya, Tarik, Nichole, Que'Veon, and Ben. Thank you all for a wonderful year!

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Tony's Kitchen: An Experience Not to Skip!

Every Friday from 1 - 2 PM, Trinity opens up our lower level to Tony's Kitchen, a long standing program offering soup and conversation to anyone who walks through the doors. We were happy to have Trinity Youth, Malia Neidlinger, spend an afternoon serving. Read her thoughts below.

By Malia Neidlinger

During Foss High School’s 2018 Senior Skip Day, I decided I would volunteer at Tony's Kitchen. I assisted the head chef in baking bread, preparing cookies, cooking soup, and serving our guests. I served food to everyone who came in for the meal. I was able to discuss the importance of generosity, hospitality, and love, in community with people from all walks of life who happened to come through our doors. I had several interesting conversations with people I served regarding childcare and education in times of poverty. These conversations with our guests about their lives helped put things in perspective for me and my own life. Reflecting on the experience, I'm extremely grateful for the life I lead, and the opportunity to help those around me. I plan on continuing this activity long after my completion of the International Baccalaureate Program at Foss, and am so proud that Trinity continues to reach out to our neighbors in this way. If you’ve never helped out on a Friday at Tony’s Kitchen, I’d encourage you to do it!  You won’t be sorry you did.

Official disclaimer: Trinity Presbyterian Church does not condone students skipping school, but if one must skip school, serving at Tony’s Kitchen is a solid alternative for that day.

Summer Youth Mission Trip 2018

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Reflections by Youth Intern Christian Rude

Nothing can prepare you for Grant on a microphone. Not when he's backed  by his band. There’s John, Bella, Ian, Zach and Katy all thrash their respective instruments. Heads are banging, hair is flying. Grant’s face is beet red with intensity. Like any good rocker his words are barely decipherable. It is a spectacle.

Julia looks at me, a wild glint in her eye. “This is why I love youth ministry” she says.

That was our third day in Novato,  a suburbia across the bay from San Francisco. We had just returned  to our host church, Living Word Chapel, after a long day of running a VBS, exploring the bay, and visiting a Sikh Temple. Your average humans would have been too tired for such a show, but not these kids.

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About a month ago, Trinity's youth embarked on our first solo mission trip. None of us knew what to expect. Here we were traveling 746 miles south via van to work with a mission organization and church with whom we had no prior history. We'd be stuck together for seven days, for better, or for worse.

I’d be lying if I said the trip was all sunshine and rainbows. We didn’t sleep much. One student concussed themselves by walking into a pole. There was some conflict and shouting. We powered through though. The kids bonded in that uncomfortable , pressure cooker, can’t escape from each other kind of way. On numerous nights they stayed up to talk. Not to tell jokes and make fun of each other, but to be real and to listen.

We learned from each other and from people of other faiths, learned from people who shared our faith but followed Jesus way differently, learned from people whose home was under an overpass and whose homes were burned to the ground.

Under a bridge a lady named Tina spoke to us. She lived there, in a tent, with her huge pitbull Marshmallow. Her community was just yards away from six lanes of rushing traffic. Tina told her story, shared how she had seen Jesus, and prayed for us.  

Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a someone who plants seeds. Whether the sower sleeps or rises the seeds grow, and she doesn’t know how. In a way, we just showed up and then God was doing things. I guess that’s one of the reasons the Kingdom of God is so good. We don't get to know, we don’t get to take credit.

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Middle School Master Chef: Spring Break at the BLC

Throughout the academic year, Trinity's Bobcat Learning Center offers students at Jason Lee Middle school academic support and enrichment activities. During spring break, our staff turn their attention to community building and having fun with the students in their program. Read on to hear from Laura Johnson, LC Staff, as she shares what the experience means to her.

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As April rolled around this year, there were two things that I was looking forward to: the possibility of sunshine and Trinity Outreach’s annual Spring Break Adventures with the middle school students at Jason Lee. When school is out every year, we prepare a few days of fun activities, team building challenges, exciting outings, and community service for our students. After a few busy (and often gloomy) months, our Spring Break Adventures is an opportunity for students and staff to take a break, have some fun, and reconnect.

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This year was full of special activities that included watching Black Panther, grabbing food at Five Guys, playing Laser Tag at Odyssey 1, and undertaking the equal parts disgusting and fun Bean Boozled challenge. However, I was most excited for the return of an activity that we did last year. Inspired by such cooking shows as Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen, Daniel and I created the Bobcat Cooking Challenge: two teams, two kitchens, $1000 Bobcat Bucks, five mystery ingredients, and two mystery recipes. Before cooking students bid against each other for sabotages (like having a staff member choose the music for the entire duration) and choice of mystery ingredient. The end result was a few hours of student led fun, creativity, and laughter.

In our regular programming during the week at Jason Lee, it is easy to get bogged down by tasks; there’s always another assignment to ask about, another teacher to talk about, another binder check to do. In our work to create and atmosphere and avenues for students to succeed academically, it is easy to forget what our main goal is: building community. For me, there are a few important times in the year to take a step back, reframe, and refocus on our values, mission, and efforts after school at Jason Lee, and Spring Break is one of the most important ones. At the end of the day, it’s often the moments for having fun with our students, acting silly, and laughing together that inspire the most connection and community.

As another Spring Break Adventures came to a close, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed myself and how much I learned about my students. As we head into the end of the year, I am looking forward to creating more time and space for my students to connect with each other, staff members, and our community. Hopefully this time around, however, there will also be some sunshine as well.

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A Day at the BNC

The Bryant Neighborhood Center is is both the future home of the current outreach programs at Trinity Presbyterian Church, and a space for potential community partners to use, offering programming that welcomes our community into this space. To accomplish this, we are working towards a $4.7M capital campaign. Read on to experience more of what a day in the completed BNC might look like, and consider supporting us in this journey! 

Special thanks to Tom Llewellyn for writing down this vision, originally shared at Trinity's 2018 Easter Service.

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The first thing you see is the sign. You notice the name—Bryant Neighborhood Center. That’s your neighborhood’s name. That’s for you. This place is for you—for you and your neighbors.

And that’s who you see going in there. On a Monday morning, you hear and see a mob of preschoolers and their parents gathering in the new space—playing, creating, connecting with each other, and with professional parenting resources. You hear the sounds of kids playing—laughing, crying, shouting. You hear mothers and fathers talking—getting to know each other, building relationships.

After the kids leave, you watch adults come for a workshop for medical resources—less fun, but practical—connecting these people—your neighbors in need—to services that help folks navigate the complicated system of healthcare resources.

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Then you see an after-school program. This one looks familiar. You recall it’s been going on for years, but here it is again, only this time it’s in a sparkling new space, brightly lit and brand new. And the quality of the space communicates something to you—a first-class level of love for your neighborhood and for the kids who live by you.

And then you hear the sounds of play again. More laughing and shouting, along with running feet and balls bouncing—when the gym is opened up for supervised playtime—a safe place for kids to gather, a safe place for kids to do the best of human activities—to play.

That same feeling of safety carries over to the next group that comes. This one is called the IF Project and it connects juvenile offenders to the resources and support they need to succeed on the outside.

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And that’s just Monday—just one day of a busy week.

But there’s so much more to come in the rest of the week: support groups for Bryant Montessori parents, financial literacy classes, a professionally staffed health clinic, meeting space for community partners like AA and Youth For Christ.

One of your favorite things to watch is the bike repair workshop, done in partnership with a local non-profit, helping turn well-loved bikes into well-working bikes. You like watching your neighbors find the clothes they need at Pat’s Closet. And you like watching when Tony’s Kitchen turns the Center into place of soup and conversation. And on Sundays, you see the space fill with kids from the church above. Seems like a nice church. Seems like nice people.

But your eye keeps returning to that sign: Bryant Neighborhood Center. You smile when you look at it, because it means something—to have a space just for your neighborhood. Because, you know, lots of folks talk about helping, but talk is cheap. But that kind of dedication—I mean, such a nice place—such a busy place, just for your neighborhood. Well, that’s kind of what love looks like, doesn’t it?

 

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Pat's Closet and the Heart of Christ

Trinity's clothing bank, Pat's Closet, offers clothing and household items to anyone in our community. Our inventory is donated by groups and individuals throughout the Tacoma area, and made freely available for anyone to come and take what they need. Pat's Closet is open Thursdays from 5-7 PM, and Fridays from 1-3 PM. Mark Hillis regularly volunteers at Pat's Closet, and offers a reflection on his experience.

Mark Hillis, a regular Pat's Closet volunteer.

Mark Hillis, a regular Pat's Closet volunteer.

Pat’s Clothing Closet is an example of a ministry that, like all good outreach programs, serves multiple purposes consistent with the heart of Christ: meeting needs, being present, and staying put for the long term.  What’s illuminating here is how the heart of Christ works too, which is to say inclusively.

The Clothing Closet is a place, located in the basement of Trinity Presbyterian Church, that provides clothes and food to those with modest means.  More than that, it provides a retreat for someone to get out of the cold. A place to talk. A place to relax in a peaceful atmosphere. What is experienced reveals itself by means of thankfulness and humility, charity and welcome… and it’s really good.

But there is something else at play, which I hadn’t planned on experiencing as a volunteer: humility.  This emerged through watching and serving others who consistently expressed a deep sense of gratitude. This is what it looks like:

  • A woman asking if it would be alright to grab an extra pair of socks

  • Listening to a teenager express gratefulness as they receive a hot meal

  • Watching Iris engage in a lengthy conversation with a someone who just needed to talk and be heard

  • Always hearing a ‘thank you and God bless’ when leaving Pat's Closet

I came to Pat’s Closet thinking I was going to ‘do a good thing.’  Fortunately, it has turned into ‘having a good thing done to me.’ And that, in the best sense of the word, is humbling.

Iris and Barry Jackson, serving coffee to Pat's Closet guests.

Iris and Barry Jackson, serving coffee to Pat's Closet guests.

Those who frequent Pat’s Closet are gracious people.  They don’t have a lot, but they still somehow find it in themselves to be thankful for everything they get.  The heart of Christ is a funny thing. Right when you think you’ve figured out the dimensions of it, it seems to expand and include much more than you ever thought possible.