Building on Faith
God's Love and We as God's Instrument
Outsiders marvel at Trinity's ability to get so much done, even though it is not a congregation of many hundreds of people or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Trinity's success has depended on making two things central to its beliefs and actions. First, members of Trinity have sought to do God's will through Christian stewardship and ministry to one another and to others. Second, the Trinity family has tried to carry out God's will as a prayerful, unified community. It has not always been easy nor has Trinity always accomplished what it set out to do. But however many or few resources have been available to Trinity, congregational budgets and priorities have always begun and ended with and through benevolence to others in need.
Every year since Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded, its congregation has taken seriously the challenge that "life is mission" and that although "to live is to risk, we nonetheless choose to be sent." A quick look at the history of social ministry at Trinity strikes us in two ways. First, the array of programs and ministry that Trinity has taken on is remarkable. The church's efforts have been wide ranging, from collection efforts to help those less fortunate, to sponsorship of needy families, and to participation in the social services structures of our synod and our community.
The second thing that strikes us is the perseverance of the congregation to do God's will. It is our legacy from the early Christian church that doing God's will comes with the territory, often without support or recognition from others around us. Perseverance has indeed shown itself as the core tenet of this church in the last several years. The congregation rallied around the notion of building a new sanctuary or, to put it in context, completing the earlier vision of the congregation, believing that Trinity could establish and maintain a church to carry out its mission of ministry. Financial constraints precluded our brothers and sisters in Christ from completing their full vision.
It is their legacy we fulfilled in recent years by completing our beautiful sanctuary and the renovations of the existing structure. This bond with the congregations of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s--both in terms of their social ministry and their commitment to making a house for God from which we worship and act in God's name--makes this church called Trinity Lutheran one in which past and future are connected through the thread that all churches require for relevance and sustenance: Christ's teachings and promise. Pastor Robert Moore, Trinity's interim pastor in the late 1980s, summed it up by saying that Trinity exemplified an 'all things are possible' approach throughout its many years. Perhaps St. Mark is Trinity's patron saint, as it was Mark who saw the possibilities we are have open to us.
What our Half Century and the Next Millennium Bring
In his Pastor's Report for 1995, Pastor Berner noted that "Making Christ Known is the mission of the Church!" He stated further that:
Christ has been made known to us through the Word and the Sacraments in other congregations and now at Trinity. Everything we do should be done with the goal of being more effective in this missionary...Pastor Hartzell and his wife made Christ known door to door in the Garrett Park/Kensington/North Bethesda area and then with the charter members Trinity reached out to the whole community to make Christ known to their friends and neighbors. We may well ask what the future brings. On one level, we simply do not know; it is God's will. Yet Pastor Berner's central thought in his message to us in that annual report does tell us how we as individuals, as members of Trinity, as Christians should live and what our purpose is in whatever world our future brings. He concluded, "the goal of our ministry, our membership, our building, and our faith is still the same: to make Christ known in every way possible."
Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19