90 Days with TAP

Rachel Boisen, the Coordinator of TAP (Trinity's Afterschool Program) was hired as Coordinator three months ago. As a part of her 90 day review, Rachel shares with us, what these first 90 days have been like.  

"Truly, the success of TAP has so little to do with me and so much more to the commitment of my amazing tutors. Eighteen adults from the church and community come at least once a week, armed with reading lessons, patience, and positive attitudes to give my kids the one-on-one attention they so dearly need. I love to walk around TAP and hear explanations of the silent “e” rule and frustration with the “k” in “knew,” mixed with jovial conversation about crazy pet antics or a game of hangman. You are the people who make it happen, and I’m blessed to support you however I can!
Every day the TAP kids ask, “Do we have kid tutors today?” and I echo their enthusiasm!  The Trinity Middle School students do a fantastic job matching the energy of my students, telling jokes, and independently creating new activities to help master challenging skills.  I couldn’t be more impressed by their determined, creative efforts to serve the TAP children. 
Beyond TAP, my role at Trinity also includes coordinating Christmas House, our seasonal gift-sponsorship program.  In partnership with the Morgan Family YMCA and the Blue Vesper’s program at Immanuel Presbyterian, this past December we gave presents to 104 people! That includes five more families than we had initially planned!  Your generosity and commitment to this neighborhood absolutely astounds me!  I found the process stretching and challenging in ways I never imagined, but delivering the gifts and receiving a taste of the impact of this ministry left me excited to start again!
I suspect the next 90 days (and beyond!) will be filled with an equal measure of challenges, joys and growth. I look forward to meeting these experiences head on as I join you in serving the Bryant Neighborhood."

P.S.  Are you interested in joining the fun at TAP?  Talk to me! rachel@tpctacoma.org. 

Lent 2015

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 18th and continues until Easter morning, April 5th.  Lent is not simply a time to give up something you like.

Lent is not a ritual, it is time given to think seriously about who Jesus is for us, to renew our faith from the inside out,

says Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. Lent provides us with the opportunity to remember how God has been with us, examine how he is with us and to renew our anticipation of how he will be with us.  

During Lent, Trinity will provide a weekly, Lenten Prayer Meditation designed by Carol McLaughlin, our pastoral intern, to help us walk this Lenten journey of preparation on our way to the Cross. The invitation is to take 15 minutes 3 or 4 days a week to pray in particular ways. Some ways may seem familiar, some exciting, some stretching, but in all an invitation to more deeply prepare our hearts for the death and resurrection of Christ.

These Lenten Prayer Mediations will be posted on the website each week.  

Building Update

Trinity held it's Annual Meeting Sunday, February 8th during worship. During that time, Tim Herron presented the collaborative work of many on a vision and strategic direction for Trinity in regards to our calling and our physical building for the next ten years.  Here is a link to the audio of the presentation, and to the two handouts - strategic framework and timeline. Thanks to all who spent time discerning what Trinity is being to called to do in our community and how are building can be used in our calling. 

New Session Elders

At Trinity's Annual Meeting on February 8, 2015, Trinity elected four elders to the Session, the name of the servant leaders in Presbyterian churches. Let us introduce the new elders:

Paul Duke

Paul and Lisa, along with their two daughters, have attended Trinity for the past 16 years. Paul grew up in Texas but has found a home in Tacoma, and especially at Trinity.  Paul is currently attending school for counseling psychology, and is excited to come on the Trinity Session at such an important time in the church's history.

"I am very excited to be part of a team that will be thinking creatively about the vital aspects of community and worship. I am also excited to have the privilege to work alongside some great folks who are already so engaged in the leadership of the church through Trinity's Session." 


WR. erika .JPG

Erika Mariani 

Erika grew up in Spokane where her parents and siblings still reside. She came "over to the West side" to attend PLU where she graduated with a Biology degree and met and married Mark Mariani. While Mark attended medical school, Erika studied theology at Fuller and worked in Christian universities or churches for the next 8 years. In 2005, they came home to Tacoma, where they started attending Trinity. Their three children have all been born here.

"I have always loved the atmosphere at Trinity. I love the genuine expressions of community and worship I feel on Sunday mornings and I appreciate the commitment that our community has to one another in serving together whether that be in teaching Sunday School or repairing the ceiling on a Saturday night so we can worship on Sunday. I love that we are comfortable with the people who make up our body but that we also feel motivated and called to reach out to the community that surrounds our church."


Nalani Linder  

The wife of Mark and the mother of two teenagers, Nalani works full time at the United Way of Pierce County managing their Early Learning investments and community initiatives and has the occasional odd job teaching or facilitating large-scale change efforts. Nalani shares her thoughts of serving on Session:

"I'm hoping my professional background and previous work with the Building Steering Committee will be helpful on Session as Trinity moves into its own large-scale change regarding the restore/remodel of our church building. I expect that I'll gain a great deal of wisdom and appreciation for fellow Session members, as well as an opportunity to deepen my faith in this new season of my life.

I love the genuine relationship and concern for each other that is fostered every Sunday at Trinity and played out in dozens of ways throughout the week.  I love the multiples ways Trinity expresses its faith through service, love and relationship with Bryant neighborhood's children and families. I love that we don't pretend to know all the answers, but are willing to live into the questions, together." 


Tom Llewellyn 

Born in Tacoma, Tom lives less than a mile from Trinity and finds it hard to imagine going anywhere else."

"I know there are probably lots of great churches out there, but this one just fits me and my family so well. It's got some grit to it. It has this practical, servant approach to the gospel that is indisputable. And it has a bunch of people here that I kind of love."

During the days, Tom works as a Creative Director at Russell Investments. He has been married to his "amazing wife, Deb, for about a million years." They have four children (Tom is pictured with his two daughters). When he's not at work, Tom writes books, plays bass, coaches soccer, and makes posters.  

"I hope to give some thoughts to Trinity's connection to creative expression. How do we connect to each other, to our community, and to God through our creative gifts?"

What, exactly, do men do on a Men's Retreat?

We play Ultimate Frisbee until our legs are like jelly. 


We go into Poulsbo to a brewery if we feel like it. 

Oh yeah, we also got deep and stuff . . . Jesus' time in the desert taught us about abundance over scarcity, mercy as opposed to sacrifice, and equality over domination. 


I enjoyed the opportunity to engage the head and the heart to think about what transformation looks like in my own life-particularly as many of us embark on new chapters of life with jobs, family, kids, etc.

The 2015 Trinity's Men Retreat is over. The men are back and we wonder, "What exactly happens at a Men's Retreat? What do they do?"  Some men have come forwarded to let us know EXACTLY what goes on:  

We eat as much junk food as we want.

We kill off people in countless games of Mafia and don't even feel bad about it!

We are challenged to create feats of bridge civil engineering. 





I was reminded that I am not as young as I was but neither am I as old as I feared. 




We play ping pong with 12 people at a time. 



The time to catch up with new friends and old always makes for a special weekend. 


In the end, we were left with the message of what it would mean if we could begin seeing our lives as Christian men through a different lens.

The Beauty of Being Uncomfortable . . .

What a gift it was to have Mending Wings lead our worship on Sunday, January 18th.

With over fifteen youth and adults who drummed, danced in full Native regalia, performed drama and taught us to "Dance our Prayers," our worship was full. Corey Greaves, the founder of Mending Wings, shared his heart with us. Our partners in Conversations Around Race were also invited to join us in worship that Sunday.







Reflecting on our time together, Pastor Matt Robbins-Ghormley said,

"I think it’s important that once in a while, we as a congregation are reminded that the way we usually worship isn’t the only way to express worship to Christ.. .



Pastor Matt continued, 

"Having the opportunity to experience other expressions of Christ’s body, in the cup of a culture maybe very different than our own, often can help us to recognize how culture-bound our own worship practices are. We are then stretched to have a wider lens for what worship is and can be. So thanks to Corey Greaves and the young people from Mending Wings for leading us - and for all of you taking the risk to join in the dance!"  


Reading Scripture in Community

 Heidi Armstrong, Archie Blakely and Sarah Nyland, armed with coffee, are ready to get started.

Heidi Armstrong, Archie Blakely and Sarah Nyland, armed with coffee, are ready to get started.

When you think of Bible reading, most people think of themselves as being curled up in a chair in their home quietly reading. And that is an important way to read the Bible.  But there is another way of Bible reading that many have found to be very useful and exhilerating and that's reading the Bible in community. At Trinity we have two different groups who meet each week to read the Bible community and then together discuss what they have said.  Led by Heidi Armstrong, a Women's group meets each Tuesday morning at 9:30 am in the 2&3 year old classroom at the church while another group, also led by Heidi, meets on Sunday mornings before worship, at 8:50 AM in the Learning Center (in the basement of the church).  Both groups examine the passage relevant to the upcoming Sunday sermon.

 Deb Saxon and Rick Armstrong attend the Sunday morning ""Reading Scripture in Community" group

Deb Saxon and Rick Armstrong attend the Sunday morning ""Reading Scripture in Community" group

Deb Saxon (pictured to the right), a participant in the Sunday morning group, reflects on her experience: "I absolutely love reading scripture with my faith community. Based on my limited biblical skills, I do not get much out of reading by myself. I enjoy reading the text, discussing and then re-reading. Each time we read it together I learn something new. It is a privilege to come together and hear what others have to say. Each week I come away inspired!"  

Want to be inspired too?  The format is casual, discussion-based and you can "drop in" and try it out without making a commitment. So go boldly this new year into one of these groups and see the difference it can make to read the scripture in community.  

 Emily Coates, Suzi Entwistle, Laura Grenwald and Mindy Nash take a pause from Reading Scripture in Community" on a Tuesday morning.

Emily Coates, Suzi Entwistle, Laura Grenwald and Mindy Nash take a pause from Reading Scripture in Community" on a Tuesday morning.

Here are the times and places each group meets:

"Women Reading Scripture in Community," Tuesday mornings at 9:30 am in the 2&3 year old classroom

"Reading Scriputre in Community" Sunday mornings at 8:50 am in the Learning Center at church

New Pastoral Intern: Carol McLaughlin

We are delighted to announce that our own Carol McLaughlin will be serving as pastoral intern at Trinity from January 12 - June 5, 2015 as a means to explore her own call into ministry. Carol will be working 12 hours a week at Trinity on projects such as creating a Lenten Devotional to distribute to the church, leading a Sunday morning study group, assisting with a New Member class and preaching. These duties are in addition to her continued involvement at Tony's Kitchen. Carol will also experience visiting church members, attending Session meetings and working with those who come to the Front Door at Trinity House. Please welcome Carol to her new role at Trinity and pray for her during her internship.

Trinity Youth Attend UNITE! Retreat at Tall Timber Ranch

 2014 UNITE! Youth Winter Retreat with Presbyterian youth from all over the South Sound

2014 UNITE! Youth Winter Retreat with Presbyterian youth from all over the South Sound

  Trinity Youth at UNITE! 2014

Trinity Youth at UNITE! 2014

One of the most diverse groups of young Presbyterians gathered at the beautiful snowy Tall Timbers Ranch near Leavenworth on December 28 - 31 for Unite! 2014, a youth retreat sponsored by Seattle Presbytery. Groups from Seattle Community Church, Lake City Presbyterian Church, Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church, Redmond Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian of Snohomish and our group of eighteen from Trinity enjoyed their time at Unite!  Click here for a link to a video of the retreat.

Some of the things Trinity youth liked about UNITE! 2014 was:  

*  the speakers, especially Pat Thompson

*  meeting youth from other churches

* playing in the snow

*  the small group discussion groups

*  worship

*  And spending time with friends

*  good food

*  beautiful setting

                                      (just to name a few)!!!

  Playing in the Snow!

Playing in the Snow!

Advent Family Devotional

Back in 2014, Julia Corbett, our Children, Youth, and Families Director, wrote an Advent Family Devotional Booklet to be used each day in Advent. It was so popular that we have brought it back for your use this year as well.  Your family's nativity set is the focal point for the devotions.  To download a pdf of the booklet, press the button below.  

How to "Advent"

Most people think of baby Jesus in the manger when they think of Advent, but that is only half the story. Advent, which means "coming", isn't simply about remembering the first coming of Christ, the Incarnation in that small, backwater town of Bethlehem. Advent points us forward to the Coronation, when Christ returns in his full glory and the Reign of Christ is perfected among us.  

Somewhere in the canned Christmas music, the screaming advertisements, the gunfights over parking spaces (seriously, I was there and saw it), we forget . . . We forget that there is more to this life than what we may be experiencing. What I love about celebrating Advent is that it reminds me of what is true and what is real. I become as a child again . . . expectant . . . waiting with longing . . . utterly convinced of the magic of Christmas . . . the miracle of Christ. 

These are some of the ways that my family and I celebrate Advent - our season of magical, expectant waiting of the coming of Christ to our home.  

Advent Wreath  Each year, my family and I go outside hunting "greenery" which we use to make an Advent Wreath. We place our 3 blue candles, our 1 pink candle around the circle of the oasis ring and one large white pillar candle in the middle.  Each night after supper, we light the candle and have a short devotional.  We have even taken an "Advent Prayer" and put it to music ourselves and we sing it each night. My kids love it. I like to turn out the lights (so you can't see the dirty dishes) and enjoy a moment of quietness as one of the children lights the candle(s) and reads about preparing our hearts for the coming of the Christ.  Here's how to make an advent wreath.

Nativity Advent Calendar.  When my oldest child was 2 years old, I purchased a Nativity Advent Calendar that you use from year to year.  It's magnetic and by the time you open each of the doors, you have created the nativity scene.  It is a family tradition that the baby Jesus is ALWAYS in the 24th slot.  My children, who are now 12 and 10 still keep track of "who had baby Jesus last year."  We do it first thing in the morning, which helps us all get out of bed. Here's some beautiful wooden and magnetic Nativity Advent Calendars, but pricey. You can find them cheaper. 

Advent Family Readings/Devotions.  We have slowly collected our own "Advent & Christmas" library. These special books are packed away with the Advent & Christmas decorations and only come out for Advent.  Some are Advent devotional stories, like the Christmas Rose, others are simply beautiful stories of giving, like Christmas Day in the Morning, or family favorites like Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree.  The importance is that it gathers us together again, as a family to anticipate and remember.  Oftentimes you can find great Advent devotionals.  Julia Corbett has written a Trinity Family Advent Devotional which is available in the entryway at Trinity.  Her devotional uses a nativity set as the focal point of the Advent devotions with questions to contemplate each night.    

Gradual Christmas Decorations.  I'm a "Put the Tree up the Day after Thanksgiving" gal and I'm narried to an "Advent Nazi" who would prefer that the tree not be decorated until Christmas Eve.  Our compromise has been one in which we put up the tree, add lights and put up a few ornaments - but only blue ornaments (since that is the color of Advent at our church).  The tree looks a little empty.  There is  room for more.  And the more comes, the week before Christmas, when most, but not all, the blue comes down and we add all the decorations.  At this point, the tree looks like a lavish feast of ornaments.  But the star goes on top of the tree on Christmas Eve.  I'm happy, my husband is happy and my children think this is normal. 

Gradual Nativity Set.  The idea of the gradual addition of the figures of the Natvitiy set (or creche) works the same way as the tree decorations.  To begin with there is only the stable, the manger and the animals in the manger.  Then each week, more figurines are added - usually on Sunday, when we light another candle.  Baby Jesus doesn't show up until Christmas Eve.  And the Three Wise Men are wandering all over the house (literally, because they came from far away) and don't make it to the stable until January 6th, for the Feast of the Epiphany which ends the season of Christmas in the church calendar.  


Cynthia Stelle, Trinity's Church Administrator, reflects on celebrating Advent with her family. While raised a Southern Baptist with no exposure to Advent, she somehow became an Episcopalian - and is even married to an Episcopal priest!  Cynthia shares her appreciation for Advent and what a gift it is for her and her family.



Youth 2015 Servant Adventure

Seventeen Trinity teens and four leaders are embarking on a journey which will culminate in a week of ministry in Northern Idaho next June. The older youth will be joing teens from all over the country at Shoshone Base Camp where they will gather to learn about service as a way of life.  The youth will be serving the rural poor, as well as spending time in Bible study, relationship building, and outdoor activities. The younger youth will be staying at a camp on Lake Coeur d'Alene, where, as a part of their camp program, they will be working alongside children with disabilities.  

All this will happen June 21 - 26, 2015, but before that, there is still a lot of work to do!  The trip will cost the team about $400 per person, and the fundraising has already begun!  (That's where the Christmas wreaths come in!)

There are several things that the youth have decided to do in order to raise money for the trip. Here are some of them:  

1)  Christmas Wreath Sale (runs through Sunday Nov. 9th):  Support the team as you purchase locally grown, harvested, and handmade wreaths.  Contact Mindy Nash with questions (click here).  

2) Trinity's Talent Show & Dinner.  Skip cooking dinner and join Trinity community for dinner and entertainment on Friday, November 21st, 5;30 - 7:30.  Click to here to sign up!  Click here for more details.

3)  Monthly Babysitting Fundraisers.  Two responsible adults and a swarm of teens will monthly babysitting fundraisers at the church on Saturday nights as you do your shopping, chores or a date with your spouse.  Stay tuned for the dates of the upcoming offerings.

4)  Youth for Hire.  If you can use some help with yard work, organizing that garage, pet-sitting, dog-walking, or babysitting oru teens would love to help.  Money is to be paid directly to Trinity and will applied to the teen's fundraising account.  Minimum payment for the hired hands is $10/hr.  Any contributions over $8/hr are tax deductible.  Questions? Contact Julia Corbett here.

Thank you so much for supporting our youth as they prepare for their Servant Adventure

The Learning Center - An Update

Jaquette Easterlin, Trinity Learning Center Coordinator, writes about life in the Learning Center this school year:  "We are off to a wonderful start at the Learning Center, serving more than 50 middle-school students a day! This year's schedule includes an Enrichment section and Academic section within the program. Students have the opportunity to participate in knitting, drama, Slam Poetry, Drumline, and the Bobcat Club Leadership Council—just to name a few of their options."  Kyle Lee, our AmeriCorps member, is getting to know all the kids and says, "It's been a wonderful experience thus far.  I am amazed at how inquisitive the Jason Lee Students are, especially when it come to issues of race and privilege.  I look forward to getting to know them better as the year progresses."  

Jaquette and Kyle are still in need of volunteers and speakers for the Learning Center. Please consider coming one day to share your time and experiences with the students! The Learning Center will have their first evening program for the year on Friday, October 31st at 3:30pm.  If you are willing to prepare a covered dish for the students for that evening or come to Trinity and help them cook a meal, please contact Jaquette at jaquette@tpctacoma.org.  They are expecting approximately 10 - 15 kids.    

A Reflection on the Women's Fall Retreat

A Personal Reflection from Kate Ward. . . .  The Trinity Presbyterian Women's retreat was an incredible experience. Despite attending since 2011, this was my first retreat, but I am so glad I made a resolution to go this year. In this season of my life, I all too often feel too rushed and too busy. The weekend provided a chance to rest in fellowship with other women who listened, shared, and gave hugs, leaving me feeling encouraged and validated. One of the things I appreciated most about the retreat was the opportunity to take the time to get to know more women at Trinity. Together, with the wise guidance of Heidi Husted Armstrong, we delved into scripture, prayed, and worshiped God. Our focus and theme for the weekend was engaging with God's word and I know that many of us felt inspired by being able explore Jesus's teachings as a collective body where individuals had the opportunity to offer up their unique reflections and insight for the benefit of all. This set the foundation for us to be able to raw and authentically express joy, frustrations, tenderness, and mourning. Going deep meant being able to both wipe away each others tears and to throw our head backs and laugh together. The Sunday following the Women's Retreat really drove home for me just how meaningful the weekend was and the enduring impact it will have on my life because familiar faces are now also familiar stories, warm embraces, and continued words of encouragement.

Trinity Dreams

We all know we need to do something about our building. BUT what does the Trinity that will inhabit this building look like in 10 years?

This Fall at Trinity, the Session & Building Steering Team are involved in a Vision & Planning Process and we want to hear from you! 

SO, we’re inviting every person at Trinity to get involved in TWO ways:

1. Be a part of a Trinity Dreams Conversation 

A 90 minute conversation dreaming together with other Trinity folks about where God is leading us as a congregation. Click here for the Facilitator's Packet.

    If you’re already in a Trinity Community Group…

  Plan to get your group together between now and October 20th to have this important conversation.

    If you’ve expressed interest in a new Community Group….

  Then your first meeting together will be on this important topic.            

    There are also several “open” groups that will be held:

                 Sunday, October 19th at Noon    or    Monday, October 20th at 7pm

2. Write your Trinity Dreams

An invitation to submit a short narrative of an aspect of Trinity’s life (Worship, Children’s or Youth Ministry, Transformational Presence in the neighborhood, etc) as it exists in 2025! Full Instruction page is here. Send your submissions to: dreams@tpctacoma.org Your deadline is Monday, October 27th - MIDNIGHT!

Back 2 School Night Report

A huge Thank You to everyone who helped pull off Tuesday’s Trinity Back To School Night! Many of our neighbors who attend Bryant or Jason Lee received school supplies, backpacks, school physicals, clothing, a BBQ dinner, and a sense of community and hope extended from this congregation! Thanks to many of you who donated supplies, and a special thanks to Immanuel Presbyterian (who donated many supplies and backpacks), the Tacoma Urban League (who donated money for food), and to Walgreens (who provided free immunizations) for the partnership.

Who are we?

As school gets back into session and we begin our fall routines, we're going to take some time this September to think about who we are together. Starting September 7th, we'll be starting a sermon series looking at images of who we are at Trinity. 

2014-2015 Baptism & Dedication Dates

Because we have so many requests these days, and want to make sure we create good room in our worship for them, we are setting dates for infant baptisms and dedications. Hopefully, with your family you can look at these upcoming dates, and pick one that will work well for you, and you can be in touch. To schedule, please contact Cynthia in the office (cynthia@tpctacoma.org) or 253-272-8819.

Fall 2014 - September 21 - Baptism; October 26 - Dedication; November 16 - Baptism

Winter/Spring 2015 - January 11 - Baptism; January 25 - Dedication; April 12 - Baptism; May 24 - Baptism