Soup and Friends at Tony's

Over the last four years, Tony's Kitchen has been blessed by the presence of Sarah Ladderud, a University of Puget Sound graduate. First as an undergrad and, most recently, a student in the Masters in Occupational Therapy program, Sarah has consistently furthered the mission of Tony's Kitchen by sharing soup and conversation with our guests. Read on to hear what the experience has meant to her.

I have been serving at Tony’s Kitchen for the past four years, since my sophomore year at the University of Puget Sound, and it has been a truly invaluable experience. Tony’s has made a lasting impact on me, both personally and professionally. In fact, here in the last semester of my Masters of Occupational Therapy program at Puget Sound, I created a life skills business proposal in the hopes of continuing the work of serving the homeless through my professional and personal life.

Tony’s Kitchen is a rare type of community where many different kinds of people come together in one place. There is always laughter and active chitchat among the guests, talking about life or sports, or where the best breakfast options are. Our Tony’s volunteers consistently go above and beyond by getting to know our guests and helping in very tangible ways. This is the type of community that I hope to always be a part of - loving and supportive.

Among the Tony’s volunteers is a sense of shared life. I have seen other volunteers’ children grow up, and they have shared in my happiness, like when, just a few weeks ago, I got engaged! We have shared bad days and rough weeks, and, through it all, the community at Tony’s Kitchen has been simply amazing.

We don’t see every guest every week and there is always conversation around who is present and who we have not seen in awhile. The individuals who attend Tony’s Kitchen have increased my compassion, forgiveness, and empathy. Hearing their stories and life narratives have broadened the worldview I now hold. I have heard countless stories of layoffs, disease, and other life circumstances outside of individual control, landing these individuals on the streets of Tacoma, seeking support systems and other means of community. I believe that they can and have found that community at Tony’s Kitchen.

Now that my Master’s program is completed, my consistency at Tony’s may be coming to an end – though I am not positive what the future holds, exactly. I do know that I have found a source of community through Tony’s Kitchen, both with fellow volunteers as well as with the guests, that I will carry with me my whole life long. 

Nurturing a Child's Faith: FAQ

At our Family Faith Formation nights, Trinity families come together for a meal and workshop on different aspects of raising children in faith. On April 30th, we sat down with Heather Ingersoll, a specialist in child faith formation. Afterwards, we gathered your questions from Heather, and here are her answers.

1. How much of our kids' spiritual development spills out from our own, as opposed to child focused practices?

A lot! Research indicates that the strongest predictor of religiosity in adolescents is the faith of their parents. So if you can choose to only do one thing, modeling a faithful life is the most important. Ideally, balance modeling your faith and cultivating intentional faith practices with your children.

How can you model your faith? We've got some ideas!

  • Parental Religiosity: Intrinsic Value Regard
    • Recently, researchers have begun to investigate religiosity internalization. They found that the more children perceive that their parents internalize their faith, the greater likelihood that children will also have an internalized faith. So, if children sense that you aren't just "going through the motions," but that your faith really impacts your day to day life, they are more likely to adopt a faith that impacts their everyday life
  • Conversations
    • Engage in regular conversations about faith, where both the parent and child have opportunities to express their opinions and ask questions. This dyadic dimension is an important piece of the conversation, particularly as children reach upper elementary school. 
  • Shared practices/rituals
    • Regular practices that fit well into your every day life - and are not forced - are another good example. This can be simple practices, like prayer before bed or meals, a special blessings to say to each other on your way out the door, praying when an ambulance goes by, volunteering as a family, and more! Check out question #5 for more ideas and resources.
  • Religious Mentors
    • As your children get older, having other adult religious mentors in an important part of spiritual grown. Be intentional about surrounding your children with other adults who will connect with them this way.

2. How do we connect church on Sunday with the rest of the week? How do we keep spiritual conversations open?

  • Worship Together
    • Worshiping together can be valuable in so many ways. It gives you a shared experience, something you can talk about. It is a great opportunity for your kids to see your how much your faith means to you.
  • Have special Sunday rituals
    • For my family growing up, it was donuts after church. Have a special meal each Sunday, or a picnic at a favorite park. Setting aside intentional family time after church on Sunday mornings can provide the impetus for conversations and connections about your Sunday morning experience. Some days it could turn into deep conversations, and other days it might just be good family fun with no conversation about the Sunday morning experience at church...and that is okay. Both are important!
  • Conversation
    • Do you ever ask your child “How was Sunday school?” and get a one word response like “fine”. I love this list of questions to ask your child after school...use this as a guide to begin conversation either after church or after school during the week.
  • Prioritize your time
    • One of my colleagues thinks the greatest issue hurting the faith of our children and youth today is busyness. As children get older, it is difficult to avoid getting sucked into a highly scheduled family routine based around kids activities. While sports, music lessons, scouts, and other extra curricular activities are valuable, be sure to evaluate what they are replacing. Those things linked to spiritual well-being for children -- time out in nature, family rituals (like shared meals), relationships with adult mentors, free play, family sabbath, volunteering -- are often pushed aside due to the looming list of possible activities for your children. Be intentional and proactive when making choices of how your family will spend their time.

3. How do we teach age-appropriate faith when we, as the parents, are in such a different place? How can we separate our belief from fact, in explaining matters of faith with kids?

I think it might help to reframe your responsibility from that of teacher to that of guide or, in the words of Robert Coles, “fellow pilgrims.” Using a schooling-paradigm to understand the faith development can hinder our ability to recognize the depth of children’s experiences of faith.

  • Do more listening than talking. Invite children to share their perspectives. You can say, "I understand it this way, but I am curious how you understand it." 
  • Recognize and be mindful of the ways your children impact your faith. You are learning as much as they are.

4. How should we deal with resistance around prayer, coming to church, etc?

This can be a difficult one, but I think pushing your children into something they are resisting can be harmful to their faith in the long run. I always start by evaluating your child and the underlying cause for resistance:

  • Coming to church: Why don't they want to come? Bored? Not challenged? Would rather play video games? Does not have friends or other adult connections?
    • Bored: Would they like to be involved in leadership? Is there something your child loves to do that they could incorporate into Sunday mornings?
    • Relationships: Is there a way to be more intentional about helping your child build relationships? A playdate with other kids in the church? Invite an older adult couple to your home for dinner?
  • Resistance to prayer or other practices:
    • Don't force it. If it is part of a family ritual, give the child some    ownership about how you do you. Maybe invite him or her to explore different ways of praying. If they still resist, respect their right to not participate. Say something like "It is really important to us to take time out of our day to connect with God. We are still going to do it, but you are welcome to not participate."

5. What are some good ways to be intentional in family faith formation? What are the best rituals and systems?

The best rituals and systems are ones you will be able to do! Evaluate your family’s time and schedules. When are you all together? What do to love to do as a family? When do you kids seem more open to conversation?

For ideas, check out a new book by Traci Smith, Faithful Families.

6. How much information should we give to kids on complicated topics? How do we talk to kids about things we are not sure about?

Be honest. Dyadic conversation, when kids and parents share and learn from each other, is best. You don’t have to have the right answer! How you engage in the conversation is most important.

Some things to say:

  • Great question. I'm not really sure. I wonder how we might find an answer to that together.
  • This is the way I see it or what I believe. Others believe something different. What do you think?

7. How should I address questions about death? How do I field questions about death and heaven with a 4 year old?

The literature suggests that being open and honest about death is most important. Here are a few articles that have some good information:

  • How to Talk to Kids About Death, from the Child Development Institute
    • This article has helpful information about talking about death based on children’s age. There is a brief section about religion that cautions against saying, “This person is with God” because children might be worried they will be snatched away by God. I think discussing God and heaven is a crucial piece to talking about death. Preferably, it is something that you talk to your children about regularly, not just when someone has died. Young children enjoy dreaming of what heaven might be like.
  • Dealing with Death, from the Fred Rogers Company
    • Who doesn't love Fred Rogers? This is a valuable article and video modeling sensitive and honest approaches to talking about death with children.
  • The Jesus Comfort Quilt, from Beyond the Blue
    • This organization has good resources for helping children through grief. It includes coloring pages, things to think about, and is a helpful Christian perspective for helping grieving children.

Other Resources for Nurturing a Child's Faith

Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents

Faithful Families

Real Kids, Real Faith by Karen Marie Yust

Children’s Books:

Anything by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, for example God's Paintbrush

Desmond Tutu’s Children of God Storybook Bible

Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus

The Bible for Children by Murray Watts

Shine On: A Story Bible

The Jesus Storybook Bible

Julia's Takeaways from Heather's Presentation

  1. Even the youngest children experience God in their own way.

  2. These religious experiences are oftentimes spontaneous/unorchestrated, and are tied to the feeling of transcendence/being one with nature, and the people who love them and are close to them.
  3. Our culture offers fewer and fewer business free/media free "empty spaces" necessary for a healthy identity and faith formation.
  4. Both AUTONOMY and a sense of RELATEDNESS are important factors in faith formation: needs need to be surrounded by/loved/known by faithful adults who also value their choices and opinions.
  5. Authoritarian parenting and perceived conditional regard (thinking that you are loved conditionally) hurt faith formation.
  6. Formative faith development needs to happen INSIDE OUT instead of OUTSIDE IN. We need to know our children, see what makes them come alive, and support those experiences.
  7. We need to be open and listen for our children sharing their experiences of transcendence and communion with God, and to their thoughts and ideas about God without being overly didactic or cutting them off.
  8. Even as we try to find the best ways to facilitate faith formation in our children, we have hope and freedom from anxiety in the knowledge that God is seeking to connect with our children through, alongside, and in spite of our efforts.

30 Hour Famine 2017

Dear Trinity family,

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Thank you so much for your prayers and support as our youth participated in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine this past weekend! 

We prayed, we played, we volunteered at the Rescue Mission and St.Leo's Food Connection.

We learned that, according to UNICEF, in 2016, the number of Syrian refugee children officially reached a staggering 1 MILLION! In fact, in the 6 years of war, Syrian children suffered the worst in this past year. That is why, this year, Trinity's youth focused their 30 Hour Famine fundraising efforts on helping refugees. Every $40 donation made to World Vision helps feed one refugee child for a month. If you have not gotten a chance to contribute to this worthy cause and to help us reach our $3000 fundraising goal, we invite you to follow this link and share in our work. 

With deep gratitude, Julia

Meet the AmeriCorps: Laura

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This year, Trinity is delighted to host AmeriCorps Staff Laura Johnson. Originally from Montana, Laura comes to us from Pacific Lutheran University, where she received a BA in English Literature, with minors in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Religion.  Serving primarily with the Bobcat Learning Center at Jason Lee, Laura teachers Enrichment Classes, tutors students, and supports the AVID classes.

My time at Trinity thus far has been filled with many challenges and rewards. I have found wonderful opportunities for personal growth, building relationships, and learning about community outreach. But amongst the activities that my job entails, the greatest learning experience has simply been spending time getting to know our middle school students--especially during our Friday programming at Trinity.

After a week of programming at Jason lee, our Fridays at Trinity are a time for fun and relaxing activities--for both the students and staff. Whether we watch a movie, cook, or simply play games, there is always an abundance of laughter. A few weeks ago, I tried a new activity: leading the kids in making crepes.

French food and culture was a large part of my high school and college experience, and I was excited to share with the students in this small way. What I did not anticipate, however, was how engaged they would be. They took initiative in the cooking process in a way that I had not experienced with them before. Additionally, when I flipped a few crepes in the pan, they were impressed. And impressing a middle schooler is no small feat.

Beyond the lessons of adaptability, responsibility, and leadership that I am continuing to learn during my time here, I am also learning about the necessity (and joy) of spontaneity and surprises. Just as my students surprise and surpass my expectations, I can surprise them. Education is not and should not be a one way street. So in the next few months I’m looking forward to being surprised even more.

Rod Nash, director of Outreach at Trinity, sat in with Laura’s Enrichment Class early in her time here.

Earlier this fall, during just the second week of programming at the Bobcat Learning Center, I got to see Laura in action at the L.C.  I knew both students and staff were just getting their feet wet with the after-school program.  When I walked into the Library, I saw Laura standing in front of a group of 10-15 kids discussing their enrichment activity for the day.  I watched as she spoke to the group, calling on students at different times. I knew that Laura was teaching an enrichment that involved students in a role-playing strategy game, and I had not been sure how students would react to this enrichment.  To my surprise and pleasure, kids seemed 100% engaged and excited about what they were preparing to do.  It was also enlivening to see Laura begin to teach these students about an activity she has grown to love in her own life.  

Laura absolutely brings all of who she is to the Learning Center program, and our students are so lucky to have a leader like her to guide them along the way.  

-Rod Nash, Director of Outreach, Trinity Pres. Church

Lenten Devotional

Throughout this season of Lent, you are invited to join with the Trinity Community in a daily Lenten Devotional. These short passages are intended to prepare hearts, minds, and souls to receive the good news of the Resurrection on Easter. 

The full devotional is available to download here.

Use these links to access the devotional on a week-by-week basis.

Week 1 March 1 - March 4

Week 2 March 6 - March 11

Week 3 March 13 - March 18

Week 4 March 20 - March 25

Week 5 March 27 - April 1

Week 6 April 3 - April 8

Week 7 April 10 - April 16

Meet the AmeriCorps: Daniel

Daniel Akamine is an AmeriCorps member from Hawaii. Serving primarily with the Bobcat Learning Center at Jason Lee, Daniel teachers Enrichment Classes, tutors students, and supports the AVID classes. Daniel is a recent graduate of the University of Puget Sound, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Get to know Daniel more by reading of his time with Trinity so far.

I had never worked with middle school students before my AmeriCorps position at Trinity. My anxious assumption about these students stemmed from my own experiences as a 13 year old, when my friends and I enjoyed making our math and choir teacher cry. I assumed middle school students would be an intimidating and rambunctious group.

My expectations proved somewhat true. On my first day, I got into a argument with a student because they wanted to leave school early even though they were signed up for our after school programming. The interaction left me feeling like a failure, and I wondered if I was cut out to work with middle school students. As time went on, I continued to have similar interactions with students, but instead of failures, they were lessons. I realized these interactions could be a shout for attention; when students opened up to me about their personal lives, much of how they acted in school reflected the daily struggles they faced. I eventually learned that teaching middle school students is like a balancing act. You need to provide them with structure and rigidity, while simultaneously gives them slack and a nurturing environment.

I am continuously educating myself on how to better my approach my students facing difficult situations. This job keeps me on my feet and humble because not everyday is a good day for the students and I, but even the bad days are a catalyst as I continue to develop my communication and teaching style. The wisdom is in the work.

Rod Nash, Director of Outreach here at Trinity, recently observed Daniel while he worked at the Learning Center.

At the Learning Center we combine daily homework and study sessions with various enrichment activities for our Jason Lee students.  Last week I had the pleasure of watching Daniel Akamine lead his cooking enrichment activity.  15 or so students filled up the staff room at Jason Lee Middle School while Daniel worked with them to prepare tacos for their enrichment that day.  It was exciting to see Daniel’s skill and ability to work with all different types of students while guiding them toward a common goal of … well … tacos.  A worthy goal, to be sure!!   I could not be more proud of Daniel’s work with all our Learning Center students this year, and I know they are incredibly lucky to have him to work with each day after school.     

Thank you, Daniel, for being a part of the team!

Your support of the Trinity Outreach Programs, including the upcoming Outreach Auction, help us keep the incredible AmeriCorps staff on hand. We invite you to support this program and others, by registering for the Outreach Auction today!

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Meet the AmeriCorps: Hayley

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This year, Trinity is grateful to host Hayley Uliana as a second-year AmeriCorps member. Serving primarily with TAP, Hayley also oversees the Bryant Late Start program at Trinity, and serves in the AVID classes at Jason Lee with her AmeriCorps peers. Hayley comes to us from Hawaii, by way of Azusa Pacific University, where she received a BA in Philosophy, with a minor in English. Read on to hear about her time with Trinity so far.

“Having a year under my belt with the TAP program has been a wonderful thing. I have learned more than I could ever have thought to from teachers, coworkers, supervisors, and the kiddos themselves. I am humbled to assist in classrooms at Jason Lee and Bryant Montessori, seeing the teachers go through lesson plans and interact with students so smoothly, facing each challenge with quick wit, compassion, adaptability, and tact. No one is perfect, but even in their mistakes I see these teachers offering grace to themselves and being willing to admit when they are wrong.

“Our students at TAP give me the chance to practice the values I witness; compassion, humility and adaptability. I’m glad they have patience with me too; they either have the grace of a saint or the memory of a goldfish because Lord knows I make mistakes I don’t expect to recover from. But the kiddos are there the next day; smiles beaming and mouths running on about how they were the fastest runner during kickball. There are so many things I have learned and even more that I still will learn while working here at TAP. I am grateful the past year and a half of opportunities; from playing pranks on Roderic with my partner in crime, Rachel, to reading an entire lesson with a student in our best Liza Minnelli impressions.“

From TAP Coordinator, Rachel Boisen:

“I have had the pleasure of working with Hayley for nearly 1.5 years, and could draft an encyclopedia of her merits. But, instead of that worthy venture, let me tell you one of the greatest differences she has made at TAP these last six months.

“By far, the greatest struggle TAP faced last year was finding sufficient volunteers to tutor with our students. Our program is structured with the intent that three days a week, each student benefits from one-on-one literacy tutoring. Last year, we couldn't manage it. Overzealous student recruitment, and the necessary departure of several faithful volunteers left us with an unfortunate imbalance in our programming. The remaining team bore the burden well, but we clearly were not operating under optimal conditions.

“When 2016-2017 program planning began, Hayley took up the cause. In the short weeks between beginning her second Service Year and the start of TAP, she recruited enough volunteers to meet our program needs and even expand to include additional children. As time has progressed, she continues to spearhead tutor recruitment and training to ensure our students receive the support they need.”

“All of our students are progressing admirably through the program, making impressive gains that would not have been possible without the individualized tutoring Hayley's recruitment allows for. It continues to be a privilege to have her on the team, filling important gaps and assisting in creating a more sustainable program.’

Thank you Hayley for being a part of the team! You support of the Trinity Outreach Programs, including the upcoming Outreach Auction, help us keep the incredible AmeriCorps staff on hand. We invite you to support this program and others, by registering for the Outreach Auction today!

The Men's Retreat - in his words

A great time to build deeper relationships with other men from Trinity.
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While the stereotype of the American male is a taciturn beast who grunts occasionally when prodded, the men of Trinity break that mold. In describing their annual weekend retreat away, Trinity's men are voluble and sound almost giddy with a bit of joy thrown in. And they've already planned next year's Men's Retreat: January 19 - 21, 2018. These guys are serious about getting away together.

Listen to them describe their retreat . . . in their words

Great time to let go of the daily grind and just have some good old fashioned fun while allowing space to make deeper connections with other guys.

"Each year the Men's Retreat seems to get better and better, probably because guys just know each other better and we build on the past years' momentum.  I'm really grateful for all the men who make it a priority to be there, and as someone said last year, the Retreat really makes Sunday mornings (and our whole church) feel totally different.  Thanks to everyone who helped make this one happen!"

“There isn’t a better group of 38 guys around to share a weekend with! Great time to get to know and be known.

What do I like best about the Men's Retreat? Let me give you a list: 

1. Fellowship gained from laughter, open and playful competition, becoming more closely united.  

2. Spiritual growth as co-equals in spiritual fellowship with each other and Jesus' inter mediating our unity.

3. The accumulative affect from the efforts of each leader's guided focus. Members of our small groups being able to reveal ever increasing parts of our personal stories. ...I came home off a personal "mountaintop" experience.

Trinity Youth at Peace

Less than a week after we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., Trinity youth visited our neighbors at Peace Lutheran Church. Here, they had the opportunity to learn more about the unfolding story of the Hilltop neighborhood, and the differences that churches like Peace and Trinity have made in bringing life to the vision of a thriving neighborhood, where "All Lives are Precious."

Trinity Teens participated in worship, met with Peace youth directory, Brendan Nelson, and heard about the ways racism, lack of affordable housing, and lack of access to healthy food and quality education are affecting the lives of real people, and what youth in the church can do about it.

Thank you, Peace Lutheran and Brendan, for hosting our Trinity Youth as we continue to pursue reconciliation in the Hilltop together.

Thanks to Dorothy, a beloved intern!

If you've been around TAP or Tony's Kitchen over the last few months, then you probably met Dorothy!

Dorothy has been serving an internship program at Trinity's Afterschool program as a part of her studies at Tacoma Community College's, Human Services program. Between her knack for wrangling kids, and a commitment to serving our community with dignity, she was an important part of the team. Even though her internship requirements are completed for TCC, Dorothy has fallen in love with these programs this fall, and will continue to serve on the Tony's Kitchen team in the new year.

Thank you Dorothy for all your hard work, and thank you TCC for sending her our way!

HERE: Prayer Vigil

Last month, Trinity hosted a 24 hour Prayer Vigil, lifting up our church, our ministry, and the HERE Campaign in a full day of prayer.

This time gave our community an opportunity to engage in expressive prayer through different mediums like art, sparkle jars, and images for reflection. While the experience was unfamiliar to many participants, Dustin Haferbecker and his boys found the time to meaningful. Said Dustin,

I went with my older boys (8 and 6), and wasn’t sure how they would do. Before I knew it, an hour had gone by and we were all engaged. On our way out, the host asked the boys how it was, and my oldest responded, “an emotional experience”. As we pulled out of the parking lot my 6 year old asked if we could do it again soon. When we got home, they ran into the house before me and said to Jenny that it was “awesome,” and that she would have loved it. It was creative, well planned, and beautifully put together. It felt sacred, and it was.

As we continue to move forward with our HERE Campaign, we invite you to continue the ministry of the Prayer Vigil by creating a Circle of Prayer around our space. When you arrive at Trinity and when you leave, you are invited to walk around the building and ask God to bless the church and the vision of the HERE Campaign.

"Dear People of Faith..." Recap

On the evening of Tuesday, October 27th, Trinity was honored to welcome Dr. Jen Harvey, professor of religion at Drake University, for a workshop entitled, "Dear People of Faith ... Now What?"  The workshop was coordinated in partnership between Trinity, Pacific Lutheran University, Bethany Presbyterian, First United Methodist and Tacoma College Ministry, and focused on issues of racial justice, reconciliation and reparation in the United States.  

 

A group of 80-90 attendees from the Tacoma/Seattle area gathered to hear Dr. Harvey’s thoughts on what it means for 21st century Christians to not only seek racial reconciliation in our current national climate, but to change that paradigm by considering the work that is required in true reconciliation - something that Dr. Harvey suggests is seldom considered in this conversation.  

 

We are grateful for the many attendees who took time out of their schedules to engage in this critical conversation and to taking seriously Dr. Harvey’s charge that we, the Church, have real work to do in the area of racial repair on our way to true reconciliation.

 

Dr. Harvey’s teaching, writing and public speaking focus on encounters of religion and ethics with race, gender, spirituality, justice and other social issues. She is also an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA and author of Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation and Whiteness and Morality: Pursuing Racial Justice through Reparations and Sovereignty.

 

Congratulations to the Learning Center!

The Raikes Foundation of Seattle recognizes youth programming effort as among best in Pierce County.

A Seattle foundation has honored Trinity Presbyterian Church's middle school Learning Center program with an award for Trinity's ongoing commitment to youth program quality. Members of Trinity Presbyterian's staff were presented the 2016 Youth Program Quality Initiative Pinnacle Award at an event hosted by the Raikes Foundation on the evening of October 25th, at the Westin Hotel in Seattle.

The award, accompanied by a $500 gift, acknowledges that Trinity Presbyterian Church's middle school Learning Center program stands out among other youth development programs in Pierce County.

The award was presented by Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Program Officer, Holy Chea, and accepted on behalf of Trinity Presbyterian by Learning Center Coordinator, Jaquette Easterlin, and Trinity Director of Outreach, Rod Nash.

Chea said, "Trinity has been selected as this year's 2016 Raikes Foundation Pinnacle Award recipient by demonstrating high quality scores in 3 out of 4 domains the Pyramid of Program Quality over time. This past year, Trinity's program staff have worked hard to create opportunities for youth to lead and also prioritize time for youth to reflect and make choices during program. The Raikes Foundation Pinnacle awards are awarded to organizations that demonstrate a commitment to creating a culture that elevates quality and embeds quality practices for all of their youth programs. These organizations/programs also produce high quality scores and progress data over time, and involves staff at all levels into the continuous quality improvement process."

Learning Center Coordinator, Jaquette Easterlin, remarked, "This award is a reflection of our commitment not only to program quality, but to our youth, their families, and our community. We are engaging youth by providing them with opportunities to lead in our leadership class and the after-school program. Students become invested in day-to-day tasks through leadership opportunities. They are managing the Bobcat Learning Center Store, providing staff with student feedback to improve program, and planning our Family Nights. We are not done yet! This award is only a pit stop on our journey to even greater program quality."

"This is very much a shared award," said Director of Outreach, Rod Nash. "We absolutely could not do what we do at the Learning Center without the ongoing partnership of Peace Community Center and the Tacoma School District, specifically Jason Lee middle school. This award highlights what can truly be accomplished when a community comes together on behalf of its young people." 

Last year, over 200 students participated in Trinity Presbyterian Church's after-school programs.

The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation is committed to building a vibrant, compassionate and engaged Pierce County. They work with individuals, nonprofits, businesses and community partners to promote effective philanthropy and connect people who care with causes that matter.

What We Need Is HERE House Parties

What you need is here. And what you need to know about Trinity’s Capital Campaign can be learned at one of the upcoming HERE House Parties. We invite you to join us at the HERE House Parties for refreshments, fellowship, and enrichment. This series of small gatherings will celebrate why we call Trinity home, while also providing an opportunity to learn more about our building’s future. Leaders in the congregation will present more information about the capital campaign, including our goals, anticipated challenges, and member involvement. A purposeful component of the HERE House Parties will also be to create a space for dialog, questions, and feedback. Attendees will come away with a better understanding of how the plans for our building fit into the church’s mission and ministry. No financial commitments will be asked for or received at these meetings.  

For a list of dates and times of HERE House Parties click here. To makereservations to a specific HERE House Party, click here or visit the HERE table in the Fellowship Hall of the church after the Sunday worship service.  HERE House parties will be offered from October 11th to November 6th. Don't delay!  Sign up today!

October at Trinity: Seeking the Shalom of the City

Transformational Presence Month 2016

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.  

This October we will be taking a month-long look at Jeremiah 29:4-7 and God's call to seek the peace (shalom) of the city. Each week a different preacher will share the good news of what this reality has meant in their lives.

Bryant Late Start at Trinity

Once again, Trinity is offering childcare for students in Kindergarten - Fifth Grade on the "Late Start Days" in the 2016-17 school year.  Late Start is every second Wednesday of the month during the acadmic year. 

Students can be dropped off at Trinity after 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 25 students. 

TO REGISTER

Contact hayley@tpctacoma.org or call 253-272-8819 to let us know you're coming!

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.

B2SN 2016

Backpacks, bicycles, and cotton candy. This was Back 2 School Night, 2016.

150 students attended B2SN on Sept. 6, 2016, receiving backpacks, school supplies, bicycles, and cotton candy in honor of the start of the school year.

Every person found themselves cheerfully greeted by Trinity's Iris Jackson at the front door, before a team of AmeriCorps volunteers with the Northwest Leadership Foundation distributed bags of carefully collected and sorted school supplies.

Next, families were invited to the parking lot for hot dogs, chips, and cotton candy. Additionally, a collection of community organizations had tables offering resources for our Hilltop Neighbors. The rainless skies allowed all our guests to enjoy each other's company in peace, while kids puttered around on their new bikes and tried on the new helmets. 

Pat's Closet was also open, offering it's usual fair of clothes, as well as a collection of school uniforms. And the volunteers at the Neighborhood Health Clinic provided 13 sports physicals and served three other patients throughout the evening.

This year's school supplies were made possible by our partners at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Puget Sound Christian Center, the Salvation Army, and generous contributions by the good people of Trinity. 

Additionally, we'd like to thank the various Community Organizations who offered resources to our neighbors: Community Healthcare, United Healthcare, Food Mania with WSUTacoma Housing Authority, and the Bryant PTO.

Finally, none of this would have been possible without our incredible team of volunteers. Special thanks goes to the fantastic School Supply Sorters: Stephanie and Lucia Ayer, Jaquette Easterlin, and the Trinity Youth; our Grill Masters: Paul Duke and Harlan Shoop; Sue Shoop for overseeing the rest of the food; Dre and Gabby Frank, who brought their cotton candy machine; the 15 AmeriCorps who comprise the Urban Leaders in Training with the Northwest Leadership Foundation; and the team of doctors, nurses, and front desk people with the Trinity Health Clinic.

Once again, Trinity is so grateful to all the phenomenal people who made this possible. We look forward to next year and the opportunity to continue these beautiful partnerships.

11 Weeks in the Hospital

Trinity's Director of Outreach, Rod Nash, spent most of Summer 2016 on leave, participating in a Clinical Pastoral Education internship at St. Joseph's Hospital. Here, Rod offers us a reflection of his experience.

For 11 weeks this summer, from early June to mid-August, I served as a Chaplain Intern at St. Joseph's Hospital here in Tacoma. I was part of a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) class alongside five other Chaplain Interns from all over the country. Together, with the guidance of our supervisor, we processed our collective and individual experiences serving as hospital chaplains. The 11 weeks were, as you might imagine, intense, challenging and tiring, as well as encouraging, eye-opening, and personally revealing about my own growing sense of pastoral identity.

I met daily with patients and their families. In those meetings I encountered people dealing with everything you can imagine - from emergencies to minor surgeries, to imminent death, and even death itself. I talked and prayed with people in those challenging places, and accompanying patients and families in their questions and their grief and their grasp for hope. I participated in more sacred spaces and conversations than I could possibly recall, and felt immensely privileged to be there for them.

The hospital is an especially vulnerable place. For many people, it is a place that brings up the greatest human fears; those of pain, loss, suffering, and death. Being a patient puts immense stress on individuals and their relationships. While I saw many people struggling mightily in the face of their fears, I also saw inspiring resilience, courage, and faith. This dynamic of vulnerability produced deep, rich conversations and connections with people throughout my entire summer experience.

One of my greatest takeaways from the summer was realizing the tendency that I have have to want to bring people out of the depth of whatever pain they may be facing. I deeply desire to give others hope and help them focus on the positive in their situation. However, in meeting with people day in and day out, I soon realized that what people need most in these situations is not someone who is going to try and make it all better (as if I could), but someone who is willing to accompany them in their darkness and to sit with them in the depth of their pain. Giving a voice to hope, especially the hope we have in Christ, is still vitally important, but I learned to allow the moments of verbally expressing that hope to come in their own time, usually after sitting with someone in their pain for a long while.

I'm very grateful to Trinity for allowing me the time off this summer to take part in this CPE experience, and and to the Olympia Presbytery for making it fiscally possible.

Meet the Staff: Iris Jackson

Iris Jackson has been part of the Trinity Community for almost 15 years. Recently, Tim Morton, a member of Trinity's Personnel Team, had a chance to sit down with Iris over breakfast.  Here is a excerpt of his thoughts from his time with Iris.

What a great way to start the morning - spending time with Iris Jackson over breakfast. I complimented Iris on her Cleveland Cavaliers Jean jacket, but she admitted that she wasn't a huge NBA fan, but does like LeBron James. Iris is a fun and jovial person. She has a great passion for people and their needs. 

Born in Philadelphia, Iris comes from a large family with nine brothers and sisters. Her family  moved often during her childhood because her dad was in the military. Iris lived both overseas, moving to various parts of the world, and all over the United States. Ultimately her family settled in Tacoma, and this has been “home” ever since Iris was sixteen years old.

Iris and her husband Barry have two grown children. The Jackson family have attended Shiloh Baptist Church, but Iris has been a part of both communities. Initially Iris worked with youth at the Boys & Girls Club. Then she served Trinity as the Nursery attendant, caring for all of Trinity's babies (no small task). Later she and her husband, Barry, worked as Trinity's custodians until they retired in 2014. 

One role that Iris has not given up, is her integral work on Thursday nights at Pat's Closet, Trinity's Clothing Bank ministry. Iris not only is the staff member in charge of the Clothing Bank on Thursday nights, but she has begun providing simple meals to those who come with their clothing needs.  

Concerning Trinity, Iris states, "I like the dynamics of the church" particularly, Iris is drawn to the youth.  Iris wants to be present to the youth, especially during the rough times of adolescence. Her own home has often been a haven for troubled youth in the neighborhood. Iris would love to see more people at Trinity join in the work on Thursdays and Fridays at Pat's Closet. 

We discussed many of Iris' ideas and dreams for ministry at Trinity. Iris believes that deeper integration between Trinity and the Bryant neighborhood is crucial for both to prosper. Perhaps as Trinity's desire for church renovation comes to fruition, Iris' dreams of an expanded ministry with and to the neighborhood will become a reality.