1986 to 1996
Reflection and Resolution--A Foundation for the Future
Reflecting on Our Past and Planning for the Future
Early in its fourth decade, Trinity sought to build on its thirty years of history through reflection on the life and goals of the parish. A group of Trinity parishioners came together to consider the Church's strengths and what its goals as congregation should be. It is worth noting the many elements of Trinity that were lifted up for affirmation. They included:
Our worship life; leadership in the Lutheran Church Women; the commitment of the older established members; Trinity being there for personal stability and personal renewal; social ministry committee projects; the stewardship of members of the congregation in giving of time, talents, and money; good budget process; bell choirs and leaders; benevolent giving to the Synod; good Sunday School teachers and material; good participation in worship by children; our pastor; strong personal relationships in the parish; the care and concern of the Trinity family; love to eat; good council leaders and relationships; many volunteers; good location of building; care of building; beautiful sanctuary; and good coffee hour.
This time of assessment generated the Church's mission statement, the one we still use today. Statements of mission are intended to tell us what we do, why, and how. For nearly a decade, we have proclaimed:
Trinity, in obedience to the Word of God, proclaims the Good News of Jesus' love and salvation. Through worship, Christian education, and service, Trinity strives to be a congregation rooted in faith and love. Trinity seeks to strengthen the bonds of its own congregation so it may be able to reach out, serve, and witness with care and acceptance.
After eight years of service, the end of the 1980s saw the departure of Pastor Manrodt to accept a call from a church in Texas. Upon his departure, Pastor Manrodt recalled the many things that Trinity had done over the last eight years. He said, "few of these things can happen except for the partnership the pastor and the laity share in the Gospel."
After Pastor Manrodt's departure, for approximately a year and a half, Pastor Robert Moore served as Trinity's interim pastor. At the same time, the Church, through its call committee, reflected on its pastoral needs, in light of its mission and the financial and human resources at hand.
Resolution: Moving Forward Together to Realize Trinity's Vision
The early 1990s witnessed two significant changes. Trinity welcomed a new spiritual leader, Pastor Roger Berner, previously having served in Pittsburgh and Brooklyn. This year Pastor Berner celebrates his sixth year with us as our fourth pastor in 40 years.
It is not surprising that his leadership supported Trinity's facility planning efforts in the early 1990s to bring about Trinity's third building program: the financing and construction of a new sanctuary facing Old Georgetown Road. Groundbreaking took place on April 18, 1993 and the cornerstone laid on November 7, 1993. Dedicated on November 6, 1994, the sanctuary, new social hall (converted from the old sanctuary), kitchen, and modified class rooms have given Trinity its foundation for the future. And all this has occurred while Trinity increased benevolent work and giving during and after the construction.
A Snapshot of Trinity's Ministries in its Fourth Decade
Ask a member or visitor what is most remarkable about worship at Trinity, and he or she might quickly mention Trinity's gift of music: its pipe organ and organist, its bell choirs, its beautiful Lutheran liturgy, its adult choir, and (yes), its (adorable) children's choir.
Given another opportunity to remark, the same person might note the breadth of ministries that Trinity undertakes. A History of Social Ministry written in 1992 and Trinity's most recent annual report identified at least the following programs currently supported by the Church:
- Hunger Sunday
- National Lutheran Home for the Aged
- Appalachia Project
- Epiphany Service
- Trinity Help
- Luther Place/N Street Village
- Interfaith Clothing Center
- Interfaith Housing Coalition
- Grosvenor/Allegis/Mariner Care Center
- Gifts of Hope
- Coupon Project, Glenmont United Methodist Church
- Paper Products Sunday
- Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area
- Community Ministry of Montgomery County
- Bethesda Cares
- Community Family Life Services of Washington, DC
Interestingly enough, Trinity has chosen again (1996) to conduct a long range planning initiative to guide its future ministry, approximately ten years after the previous effort, which was also a decade after the one before it. Perhaps this intuitive cycle of reflection and renewal is one of Trinity's secrets of success.
Pastor Berner has remarked about the song that goes, "they will know we are Christians by our love,..." In fact, he continues, "we call it social ministry. The outpouring of Christian love through this church is tremendous. This work of love is the clearest witness to an unbelieving world that Christ is alive."