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Meet the Trinity staff

Roger Berner, our pastor:

Pr. B. on pilgrimage

  • Read about his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
  • Contact him!
  • I grew up on the Great Plains. My family lived in the fifth largest metropolitan area in South Dakota – Watertown, with a population of 14,007. My home congregation had 3,500 members and there were six other Lutheran congregations in town. That is where The Way began for me.

    I was connected to the earth from my earliest days. We lived in “town”, but we had a huge garden – or was it a small farm? Every year my father ordered 1,000 tomato plants and 3,000 cabbage plants from Georgia. We also grew carrots, onions, cucumbers, squash, corn, beans, peas, beets, and potatoes. The entire garden was surrounded by hundreds of peonies.

    I enjoyed planting the corn and potatoes, because I did that with my father. He dug the hole and I threw in a few kernels of old, hard corn or some old smelly potatoes cut up with “eyes” sticking out. I did not enjoy weeding the garden, and many times the weeds won out toward the end of the summer – but the harvest was always delicious.

    When my father and I traveled through the countryside to go fishing or hunting, he quizzed me on what crop was growing in each field we passed. He would point to the right or left and I would say: corn, wheat, barley, flax, soy beans, rye or barley. The most difficult to distinguish were wheat and oats – they look so much alike. My favorite crop was flax because when it was in bloom it looked like a blue sea.

    There is no record in the Bible of Jesus gardening, but from his parables it is obvious that his parents taught him about gardening – mustard, grapes, mint, wheat, rue, barley, olives, and lilies. I learned the parables from Sunday School teachers and pastors in Watertown, professors at St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN) and Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN), and mentors in St. Paul, MN, Phoenix, AZ, Brooklyn, NY, and Pittsburgh, PA. — but I came to understand the parables of Jesus through what my parents taught me in the garden and in the kitchen. I would love to hear how The Way began for you!

Anita Smallin, our youth ministry director:

Anita Smallin

  • Contact her!
  • Before coming to Trinity, Anita served as a youth leader for congregations in Virginia, Maryland and Minnesota. She also served as Program Director at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp, in Fort Valley, VA. She earned an MA in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry from Luther Seminary, and holds degrees in Music and Religion (from Luther College, Decorah, IA), and in Outdoor Recreation and American Sign Language (from Northern Virginia Community College). On any given day, she can be found playing the guitar, singing really loud, or drinking way too much coffee. In addition to her ministry at Trinity, she serves on the ELCA Disability Ministries Team.

Luke Warner, our Connections Coordinator:

  • Contact him!
  • Luke’s role with Trinity is to help our community deepen our relationships with each other and with our neighbors; to celebrate existing connections and discover new connections. The word “Trinity” means that God is a Community, a Relationship of love flowing from one to another and back again, a Dance where each member moves in rhythm together. Trinity is not just the name for our congregation! Trinity is the shape of our community, the inspiration for how we worship, serve, and live together. The dynamic, surprising, and healing flow of love that unites the Triune God is the very same love that connects us to God and other people. As the Connections Coordinator, Luke hopes to help our congregation continue to grow in Trinitarian-ness, a community known for relationships of love. Luke would really love to meet you, hear your story, and explore together what we envision this community becoming!

    Christina and Luke have worked with with several churches and community health & development organizations in Seattle, Denver, the DC metro area, and internationally. Christina studied global health at George Washington University and focuses on designing, implementing, and evaluating community-led development projects. Luke studied theology and spiritual formation at Wesley Seminary, the Living School for Contemplation and Action, and Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary. If you haven’t seen them around for a little while, they are probably backpacking in the mountains.

Glen Frank, our music director and organist:

  • Contact him!
  • Prior to joining our staff, Glen served as one of two Ceremonial Organists at the Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, VA, where he performed for military funerals and memorial services at Arlington National Cemetery. He also served as Director of Music and Organist for the Fort Myer Military Catholic Community at the Memorial Chapel, Fort Myer. Glen is a graduate of the Wittenberg University School of Music in Springfield, OH, and the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. He has also studied organ, piano, improvisation, and church music at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule in Berlin, Germany. Prior to moving to Virginia, he was active as a church musician in the San Francisco Bay Area for thirty years.

Marilyn Converse, our handbell choir director:

  • Contact her!
  • Marilyn picked up her first bells in 1981, at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Pittsburgh, and has not wanted to put them down since. Four years later, she brought her love of bells to Trinity Lutheran and founded its handbell choir, which she continues to direct. She is a member of the Handbell Musicians of America (HMA), has served as the Maryland District Representative for HMA, and is currently serving on the Area 3 HMA Board.

Carol Bruno, our interim parish secretary:

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