Dear People of God in this Place,
If we trace the history of the people God from Genesis to the present, we find that the idea of place is central to the story.  Here are some of the biblical places around which the salvation story turns.
The garden of Eden
The Promised Land
Egypt
The Mountaintop
Jerusalem
The Temple
Calgary
Bethlehem
Nazareth
Sea of Galilee
The Road to Damascus
Synagogues
House churches
And the list goes on and on.
During this season of pandemic we have found our sense of place challenged.  Unable to gather in our usual place on Old Georgetown Rd, we meet and greet one another online or over the phone.  As Anita likes to point out, both physical gatherings and online gatherings are “real.”
They’re just different.
In this tragic season when it is so difficult to gather together physically, the church is redefining what ‘real’ life and worship is.  But whether we rub shoulders in the pew or look at one another in a small square on a screen, the Holy Spirit is active, creating sacred places where the people of God can gather.
Blessings,
Pr Kern

Dear Friends,
Join me again on Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm for Coming Together Again as the Body of Christ.  Last week we reviewed the progression that happens when trust is broken, whether in our family, our church, our nation, or our world (using the framework of Patrick Lencioni as our framework.)  
This Wednesday, July 22nd, we will explore the powerful, positive dynamics that come into play when trust is rebuilt.  I want to invite you to come to this session with your favorite, happy, church story!  What is the funniest or happiest moment you ever experienced in church-related events/activites?  We’re going to do a little learning through laughter.
I hope you’ll join me.  The Zoom link is below.
Blessings, 
Pr Kern

Gene Kern is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Coming Together Trinity
Time: Jul 22, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)    
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Dear People of God,

It’s funny, the things you remember sometimes.  The other day, out of the blue, I remembered something a nurse whispered in my ear once.

Just before leaving for a tent-camping trip in Yellowstone, I tore the meniscus in my knee (while spreading mulch in the flower bed.)  Surgery followed soon after our return and I was in and out of the surgery center in barely 3 hours.  I was still lingering in that twilight stage as the nurse wheeled me out to the car, but I have never forgotten what happened next.  As Jackie pulled the car up, the nurse leaned into my ear and said, “I want you to go home today and just take it easy, relax.  And tomorrow I want you to get up and walk! And keep walking and moving and doing your exercises because if you don’t you’ll be back here for another kind of surgery.”  How’s that for truth-telling?!

Most of us bear some kind of injury at some point in our lives – physical, emotional, or more likely, both.  When that happens, it’s important to take stock, and try to understand what has happened, and hopefully learn something from our suffering.  And then it’s important we resume our journey.  The path is made by walking.  Sometimes we skip and run.  Sometimes we walk more slowly.  And sometimes we stop, take stock, and then resume our journey, even if we walk with a sore knee for a while.
I took that nurse’s advice.  The first few days my gait was comical, much to the delight of our small children.  But I kept going.  And it got better.  

The path is made by walking.  The future is waiting. Shall we walk together?
Pr Kern

Dear Trinity Family,
Wednesday is the day your Tidings normally brings you a Musical Meditation from Angela S, Trinity musician.   Angela is a little under the weather today, but you can look and listen for her toward the end of the week.
In the meantime, I’m looking ahead to this coming Sunday’s gospel where we hear one of the most beloved of all of Jesus’ saying – Come to me, all you that are weary…..
Even though the days are beautiful and all around us in nature life is being renewed, the pandemic news is once again discouraging.  We are, all of us, weary.  I was speaking with Bishop Ortiz earlier this week and she talked about this.  The world has laid upon it something to pervasive there’s no hiding from it and it’s so microscopic none of us can see it.  The death, suffering, and anxiety are wearying.
But Jesus tells us we are not alone in our burdens and to the extent we take on his yoke of patience, suffering, and hope we will find ourselves restored.
We wear our masks, wash our hands, avoid crowds – and remember the promise of Jesus that he will help us through this time.
Blessings,
Pr Kern

Dear People of Trinity,
You have now received (or will receive very soon) notice of two congregation meetings, both of which are exceedingly important. (The letter was mailed on Friday, June 26.)
The first meeting will allow Trinity to update its constitution to allow for virtual meetings. The second meeting will be the annual meeting in which reports will be received, members elected to the Call Committee, and new Council members elected!  You have already heard me say what faithful, strong candidates are nominated.  And once the Call Committee is elected, the call process for a new pastor can move forward!
The world around us continues to unfold in confusing, stressful ways.  I appreciate everybody at Trinity who has worked hard to stay connected, be encouraging, and remember the future.  God is faithful.  Life will be good again.
Blessings,
Pr Kern

Dear Trinity Family,
Tomorrow evening the Council will receive congregation survey results, and then they will be sent on to you. I can’t say enough about the Team that has done all this work – Dick J, Leslie C, Julie N, Jim K, and Ross A. They have performed a great service for Trinity.  Remember your Council members in this process.  Without definitive national policy and so many local deviations, the burden on local leaders is greater than anytime I have seen in my lifetime.  It is not an easy time.
Kudos as well to the Social Ministry Team and the food drive last Saturday for the Living Faith food pantry – everyone who participated made it a great success.  
With these two ministry teams, we see the work of the congregation going on during this liminal time.  One group is focusing on what the future might look like; the other calling us to critical needs in the moment. Both are important. The building is closed, but the church is open.
Remember, David Kleiner’s Sunday morning Bible study at 9:30 each week (email bentleykleiner@veerizon.net for a Zoom invitation)  And if you want to weigh in on some of the weighty, difficult issues of the day, join me on Wednesday’s at 7:30 for Here We Stand…  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87067906900.
Lastly, you will find in this Tidings a link to the ELCA observance of the Emmanuel 9, on Wednesday. In a time such as this, it is important that we remember all of our history as the people and pray for forgiveness and reconciliation.
Blessings,
Pastor Kern


Emanuel Nine day of commemoration and repentance

CHICAGO (June 11, 2020) — June 17 marks the fifth anniversary of the shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., where nine people were killed during a Bible study.

To honor this day, the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution to establish June 17 as “Emanuel 9 Day of Repentance,” commemorating the martyrdom of the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, the Rev. Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Myra Thompson by Dylann Roof, who grew up in the ELCA. Pinckney and Simmons were graduates of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, one of the ELCA’s seven seminaries.

The ELCA resolution calls for the commemoration to be grounded in prayer, the development of litanies and worship around repentance from racism, and for deepening conversation with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church) on ways of reconciliation and repentance on the matters of racism and white supremacy. 

The ELCA Prayer Service for Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine will be available online at 12 p.m. Eastern time on June 17. Participants include ELCA leaders representing various leadership groups and ethnic-specific associations, and those who authored and organized the “Emanuel 9 Day of Repentance” resolution. Additionally, several ecumenical partners will participate, including the Rt. Rev. Adam J. Richardson Jr., senior bishop of the AME Church; Mr. Jim Winkler, general secretary and president of the National Council of Churches; and the Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, chair of the Conference of National Black Churches. The Rev. Herman Yoos, bishop of the South Carolina Synod, and the Rt. Rev. Samuel L. Green Sr., presiding bishop of the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church, will co-host the service. The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, will deliver the sermon.

The service will conclude with a call to action from three ELCA leaders, including the presiding bishop, Vice President William Horne and the Rev. Tracie Bartholomew, chair of the Conference of Bishops.

Dear Trinity Family,

In the New Testament there are two words for time.  Chronos and kairos.  Chronos is clock time – minutes, hours, days, weeks, years, etc.  Kairos is memorable time – moments where chronos seems not to matter.  The first time you fell in love.  The smell of your mother’s kitchen.  Anytime that time seems to stand still.
I think of the Black Lives Matter moment that is sweeping the world in recent days is surely a kairotic moment.  A time, whose time has come.  What made the injustice and violence done to George Floyd, the death at the tip of a string of unjust deaths, become the moment when people of all races, all nationalities take to the streets?  There are probably as many answers to that question as people on the planet, but my answer is, it is finally time for the sin of racism to come front and center in the lives of all of us.  I believe I see the Holy Spirit blowing and whirling around the globe.  May God make it so.
Meanwhile, we live also in a time of pandemic and we find ourselves bereft of any cohesive, science based response across our country.  There is not only anxiety about the virus, but about all the various responses to the virus that seem to be dividing the population.  It is not an easy time.
Which means the congregation survey that went out yesterday to the congregation is more important than ever. (Link is HERE.) Our team worked hard and thoughtfully on this instrument, please take a couple minutes to share your answers.
Stay connected.  Be encouraging.  Remember the future.  God is with us and all of creation.
Pastor Kern

Dear Trinity Family,
Our Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton has called for a Day of Mourning for those who have died from the coronavirus, as well the unrest around the world that has followed the death of George Floyd.
Please join me via Zoom, tomorrow evening, June 1, at 7:30 pm by using the link below, for a brief time of prayer, remembrance, and meditation.
And at the end of this email, please see invitation for my new series, Here We Stand, beginning on Wednesday, June 3rd.
Pastor Kern

A Time of Prayer for a Day of Mourning
Monday, June 1, 7:30 pm
Time: Jun 1, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Here We Stand – an invitation to conversation on the edge
Beginning Wednesday, June 3, 2020 7:30 pm
Gene Kern is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Time: Jun 3, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)       
Every week on Wed, until Jul 15, 2020.
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.
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Forty days after Easter, always a Thursday,  the festival of Ascension greets us.  Once a major festival of church life, the Day has become largely absent from our worship calendars.  But in this year of pandemic it seems like an appropriate, opportune time to gather (virtually) to celebrate and be spiritually fed by this day of promise, hope, and expectation.
Join the Trinity Family this Thursday at 8 pm (note the time) via zoom from the link below to remember the Ascension of our Lord.

Topic: Trinity Ascension Day Worship
Time: May 21, 2020 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Dear Trinity Family,
Do you remember Martin Luther’s catechetical question?  What does this mean?  He states an article of faith (a commandment, part of the Creed, etc.) and before he offers an explanation he asks, What does this mean?

As an interim pastor, I never work with congregation’s when things are “normal.”  When I enter a community I have to work quickly to try and understand the history, the connections, and the behaviors I see.  I often ask myself, What does this mean?  I look for patterns, influencers, the marginalized, and always with an eye toward what the Spirit might be doing in this place.

In these days of pandemic, I find myself asking the question a lot.  In a season when we might expect turmoil and disintegration, we see just the opposite.  The number of “clicks” we see for the weekly worship videos seems to be outpacing prior, actual worship attendance.  What does this mean?  Giving, so far, is strong.  What does this mean?  Participation in the Sunday adult forum is strong.  The Wednesday story class is equally strong.  What does this mean?  Staff creativity in generating content has blossomed.  What does this mean?  Members are checking in with other members on a regular basis on a wide variety of platforms.  What does this mean?

It seems to me that these things mean that God is lifting up the ministry of Trinity, offering reassurances that the pandemic will not undo the emerging next chapter of congregation life.  You might have noticed a theme I have adopted during this time: Stay connected, Be Encouraging, Remember the Future.  Lately it occurs to me this is exactly what God is doing in our midst.  Our God has stayed close to us, connected to us.  The Holy Spirit has infused our life together with encouragement and hope.  And God has not lost sight of the future that continues to unfold for Trinity, albeit through a time none of us expected.

What do you think?
Blessings,
Pr Kern