Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas for All People

By Brian Lee, Trinity Member and Lay Leader

One of my father’s first memories of Christmas was a fire truck. In the mid-1960s, my father’s family immigrated to the United States from China and settled in New York City’s Chinatown. The local police station had a program to give toys to immigrant kids in the neighborhood. My father fondly recalls receiving a fire truck from a police officer for his first ever Christmas. Although times were tough for my father’s family as they struggled to make a new life in the U.S., Christmas was always a time for joy and chance for him to be a kid.

Growing up, I was not raised in the church. However, we did have Christmas. At the nudging of some family friends, my parents bought an artificial Christmas tree and we celebrated Christmas. One of my father’s friends told him that Christmas was for everyone. Like all children, my siblings and I grew up being excited this time of year at the prospect of cookies and presents. As I became older and learned the Christmas story, it puzzled me. At the time, it was strange to think that God would take on human form. It was not until I was a college student that I fully understood the significance of the Incarnation.

I share my father’s story as well as mine because it shows the invitation that Advent and Christmas presents us. As Christians, we are invited to share with the world the joy we have found in Jesus and to invite everyone to celebrate with us whether they believe or not. Jesus’s arrival was not for any particular group of people, but for all people. We believe that God’s grace is always at work and is working in all people. During this holy time, please take this chance to invite the people around you to celebrate the birth of Christ– whether it’s attending an organ concert, sharing a plate of delicious cookies, or smiling.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Preparing the Manger of the Heart

By Rev. Lee Anderson-Harris, Minister of Care

I often speak of self-care during the holidays, and one of the ways in which we care for ourselves is to focus on our spiritual journey during Advent.  Rather than getting caught up in the chaos of the secular season, we can enjoy all the season has to offer while remaining anchored in love, joy, peace, and hope of the coming of Christ.  And yes, we are caring for our own souls this way, but we are also caring for the world around us as well when we do this! 
My husband, a fellow pastor, wrote and preached a sermon that speaks to the spiritual journey of Advent.  I was touched and inspired by his words, so I wanted to share them with you.  Below is his sermon.  Trust me, it’s worth the brief time it takes to read through it!

Preparing the Manger of the Heart
As we observe the first Sunday in Advent, we might think about this time between now and Christmas as a journey.  As Christians we have the opportunity to begin on a journey of the heart to receive the light of Christ in the world…or we can get run over by the secular hype of consumerism and the holidays.  We have the choice to consciously move toward Christmas seeking a personal spiritual transformation.  Here is the GOOD NEWS: we have the ability to control our own holiday stress!
With the imagery of a journey in mind, we first need to determine our direction.  Directions are important; if we dive in without taking enough time to think about where we are going, we might get disoriented.  The Boy Scouts of America was a program that my dad valued as a youth.  In later years he greatly supported my own goals in becoming and Eagle Scout.  One of his stories that has stuck with me reminds of the value of having a grounding direction.  When he was a scout, a group of boys went on a campout in the hills where there were some old mine shafts. The boys went off to explore the mines.  The first tunnel they went in was a big cavern, but they soon discovered that the wall at the back of the cave ended about a foot below the ceiling, so the boys helped each other over this wall.  That then led them into the cave network. After an hour or so of exploring the network of tunnels, someone asked how they would find their way back out.  At this point they began to panic as each tunnel looked the same as the last, and with very little light they got disoriented.  There was one young scout who claimed he knew the way, yet the older boys had been paying little attention to him.  After finally getting their full attention, they asked how he knew where to go.  He said he knew that they had been walking past the wall they climbed over because on their way over, he had undone his neckerchief and placed it on top of the wall with a rock holding it down. 
Isn’t it interesting that the least experienced or likely among the group had not gotten so caught up in the excitement of the adventure that he forgot his grounding?
We Christians can dive in head first and put up all the lights, buy all the gifts, make it to all the parties, bake all the cookies, and so on…and become disoriented, missing the spirit and the potential spiritual growth in our own lives.  If it is our goal to experience something spiritual this season, we must seek actions to move us toward that direction.
A goal I held at one time in my life was to thru-hike the Colorado trail from Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango, a mere distance of 486 miles.  A hiker traversing the entire length of the trail will gain 89,000 feet in elevation. It takes most hikers 4-6 weeks to complete the journey, although a distance runner holds the record for completing the trail in 10 days, 19 hours and 5 minutes.  The biggest obstacle for through hikes is how to carry enough food for the journey.  Most hikers make preparations to mail food to post offices in small towns along the route so that they might pick up extra rations along the way.  With weight being a critical issue due to every ounce counting, some make it a practice to remove all of the labels from their clothing. Proper preparation means make-it-or- break-it on this journey. I know of two gentlemen in the state that tried to undertake this journey with only the equipment that would have been available in the 1860’s.  Though they undertook this journey in the summer months, they quickly found that leather-soled shoes and wool blankets, along with state forest fire-bans, made it impossible to keep warm and complete the journey.
Like this illustration, spiritual preparation for our journey might begin with a personal inventory, noting what things give you life, or draw you closer to God, while also noting what seems to drain life and add stress.  
Take note if adding extra commitments to the calendar makes you feel anxious.  For example, if there are friends who have waited all year to get together, would it be better to schedule a gathering after the holidays?  Allow yourself the grace to make boundaries and limit what you choose to do if you feel that you are becoming overcommitted.  There is actually scriptural evidence of this.  In the book of Luke it reads, “But the news about Jesus spread all the more, and great crowds came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses.  Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.”  If the Son of God allowed himself time to care for his spirit and         recharge, you certainly can too!!
If we have taken the time to discern where we are going, and we prepare ourselves, our next step is to begin the journey or to take action toward receiving Christ.  In fact, one of the things I like about the notion of journeying through Advent is that it implies motion, or action.  Advent is a season of waiting.  However, even if we just seem to be waiting for Christ’s birth, there is a difference between active waiting and passive waiting.  There are passages in Scripture that imply a sense of urgency about preparing ourselves for the coming kingdom. Personally, I don’t expect Jesus’ second coming to happen this Christmas but there is, nevertheless, a real truth to this urgency.
The first and practical reason why we should be urgent in preparing our hearts for Christ this Christmas is that with the other distractions of the season, it all passes too quickly.  I have always celebrated the 12 days of Christmas rather than just Christmas day.  This helps me continue to spend time focusing of the coming of Christ’s light into a dark world, and I don’t feel that all the buildup has suddenly vanished.
The second reason why we should be urgent in preparing our hearts to receive or renew Christ is because we live in a broken and hurting world that needs action from those who have experienced the light of Christ.  Our own personal spiritual relationships will become even more fulfilling when we take the love of Christ into the world.  In a letter to the United Methodist Church, released on November 22, 2016, Bishop Bruce R. Ough expressed such urgency in his call that we are to
“remember who we are” in this time of tension and anxiety and work to overcome hatred and discrimination….and “We, the bishops of The United Methodist Church, feel compelled to renew our commitment to work to become the beloved community of Christ. We, as a Council, desire to deal with the crucial issues of racism and the sacredness of every human being. Therefore, as the spiritual and administrative leaders of the church, we issue an urgent call to the whole people of God, lay and clergy: to speak the truth in love in public and private discourse, to act with compassion, and to work for peace with justice in the world…In order to transform the world, in faithfulness to Christ’s command, we must model respect and kindness and extinguish the fires of animosity. And thus, we call on all churches to engage in genuinely honest dialogue and respectful conversation, such that others who observe the action in our lives might declare, ‘See how they love each other!’”
As Christians this call to action is nothing new, and I know that many of you already strive to live lives that imitate Christ, but what the Bishop is expressing is that the world needs our love now…more as much as ever.
Where I see the urgency during this time is that during this season, we have the chance to touch lives, which might be closer than at other times to receiving the love of Christ, because there are many outside the church who are hoping to receive something meaningful. 
In this season of Good will, there is the potential for glimpses of the Kingdom of God.  Here’s what I would like to propose in making our hearts mangers to receive Christ: That we visualize the Kingdom. Not just talk about it in the sense like “Oh wouldn’t that be nice.”  But strive to invasion it as a reality.
U.S. freestyle Olympic skier Emily Cook says that prior to beginning her run, she visuals not just how she would like to perform, but all of her body’s senses, from the cheering of the crowd and ringing of bells, to the buzz of lights and the feeling of the muscles.  This mental visualization then flows right into the action of the run itself.  This is where I offer the final advice for preparing the manger of your heart…visualize finding, receiving, and personally knowing Christ this Advent, and then let that visualization become a real action.
I’ll leave you with one final image.  My Dad was never one to serve the homeless, or get involved in Christian action that could be uncomfortable.  This was not to say that he wasn’t a great man of faith, but he served his faith through being on the Trustees or working spiritual retreats like the walk to Emmaus…places where he felt good to be in Christian action.  Three years ago the church he attended hosted homeless individuals over the week of Christmas, and on the night of the Christmas Eve services the homeless were housed on cots in the halls of the church.  As can happen when there are things outside our comfort zones, there were some that commented that this was not appealing to those coming to enjoy the worship service.  Yet of all people, my Dad really got into helping these people.  He even helped an intoxicated man pass out onto a cot.  On Christmas Day as he told me about this experience I could tell just what an impact it had made on him.  He got it; he experienced Christ in a very real way.  He found the spirit of Christ…not in a worship service or a book study…but in helping a man who hadn’t showered and was reeking of Jim Beam into a safe, warm place for the night.

My prayer for this season is to get past the glitz and glam and begin on a journey that prepares me to experience the love of Christ in a real way. Amen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Our Good Friend, Trinity

 - by Erick Scheminske, Trinity Finance Committee Chair, from his witness during November 6, 2016 worship

So, before today, the last time I stood near the front of this particular room and said anything anybody really wanted to hear, it was January 8, 2000, and the only two words anybody cared to hear from me then were “I” and “do.”  And I only had to talk to one person, not several hundred! 
Thinking about that day has got me thinking about a friend I’d like to introduce you to. My wife, Sharon, and I met this friend around the time of our wedding and we liked her pretty well at the time. But we really didn’t start to get to know her until a couple of years after that, when we accepted an invitation to celebrate Easter with her. We were so charmed, we decided to keep scheduling get-togethers with her. 
Almost immediately, she took us in as if we were family. She knew a lot of people, and introduced us to a few of them who have now become some of our most trusted friends. 
She’s been with us through some difficult times of loss, sickness, and sadness. But she’s also been present at some of the most joyous times of our lives – our wedding, the baptisms of our two children (Reagan and Parker), and so many other moments of growth and discovery. 
She has challenged us in so many ways. She’s asked us to be teachers, and she’s helped us learn how to do it effectively. She’s asked us to be leaders, and she’s given us the space to make mistakes as we’ve grown in that capacity. She’s asked us to think about God, and about Christ, and about mission in different ways than we did when we were younger. 
She’s a mighty forgiving friend. As happens with all friendships, sometimes we get too busy to reach out and touch base with her. In fact, over the years, we will sometimes go for long periods without visiting with her at all (this happens mostly during ski season). No matter what, though, every time we see her she greets us with the same warmth and compassion as the first day we met her. 
Over the last few years, our friend has had some health issues, and has undergone several surgeries. We tried to support her as best we could through those times, and we rejoiced with her last year as she seemed to come through the last of those surgeries somehow stronger, in spite of her advancing age. 
Then, in June, she tripped and fell, and injured the lower part of her body again. This has been a tough injury for her – she’s had a much harder time than normal getting around and welcoming her wide body of friends into her presence, and we’ve heard from some that she doesn’t seem quite as kind as she used to. 
Well, I’m happy to say that our friend is almost completely healed, and I can tell you with certainty that she’s back to her old self! In fact, she might be even better than her old self, and I’m excited to so see what she has in store for us next!
Our friend, Trinity, has been there for us for the entirety of our almost 17 years of marriage, and for the entirety of both of our children’s lives. She’s been a truly remarkable friend to our family, just as I’m sure she’s been a friend to each and every person in this room, even if you’re meeting her for the first time today. 
I am a better person because of my friendship with Trinity. And for that reason alone, I consider it a great, great privilege to share a little bit of my time and treasure with her. She’s a strong and thriving old woman, but she depends on all of us to keep her that way. 
So, as you contemplate making or renewing your commitment to our friend, Trinity, I hope you take some time to consider how she has made a difference your life, and how you can best make a difference in hers. 

And thanks to all of you for your friendship.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

We Can Make a Difference - Tim Mueller

from Tim Mueller's witness during worship on October 16, 2016

I grew up here at Trinity. Our parents met here and us kids had the opportunity to grow up taking advantage of the children’s and youth programs. 

My wife Julie and I have attended Trinity together since 1985 and were blessed to have had our children Emma and Danny participate in many of the great programs offered by the Children’s and Youth Ministries. Emma continues to work here as the Youth Assistant.

When Pastor Mike asked me to talk during worship, he suggested I consider ‘Why do we give?’ For us, it is really more of a question of ‘How can we not give?’

First, I nurture my faith at Trinity and find this historic Sanctuary a place to connect and cherish the challenging discussions and fellowship in our Sunday School class. Mainly, I am here because of the people at Trinity. I am sincerely inspired by so many of the people here on our staff, lay leadership teams, service and mission groups, amazing Music and Arts Ministry and members who smile and greet each other and visitors with the same warm and welcoming spirit. I’m inspired by some of my closest and dearest friends who we know through our Sunday School class, 2x2s Growing in Faith Together.

I am inspired by the commute most of us make to get to Trinity every week. I’ve heard Trinity referred to as a ‘regional beacon’ and I celebrate this.
Over 83% of Trinity members live more than 3 miles from the church. I’m inspired because this takes commitment, and we are all here because we want to be. I believe God is present here and is working through all of us.

I continue to be inspired by some of our members who have been here since I can remember and have had a profound impact on my life. They walk the talk and demonstrate what it means to be a part of the church and support each other through their gifts, presence and active participation. Selfishly, getting my weekly hugs from Anita, Roberta, Joan, Willa, Nancy, Margaret, Liz and others recharges me and gets me ready for the coming week.

I am inspired by our Youth, who in my opinion have more wisdom and input to give than we generally give them credit for. Next Sunday, Oct 23rd is Youth Sunday, and I encourage everyone to attend as it is one of my favorites of the year. I am inspired by our Young Families and their children with bright smiles, enthusiasm and untethered questions. They are the future of our church. I am inspired by our Young Adults and was fortunate to have made some new friends last spring during the Trinity Runs Colfax event coordinated by Brian Lee. Although older, and certainly slower than most, if not all of them, they welcomed me to participate in the weekly devotions on Thursday evenings. It was a great experience.

The theme of our current campaign is We Can Make a Difference. I believe We Have Made a Difference, We Are Making a Difference and We Can Make a Difference. Our unique location and amazing congregation empowers us to continue to do so. Our financial support translates into staff and the many programs offered, along with the operations and maintenance of our historic and thriving church buildings. Julie and I will participate in Generosity Sunday on Nov. 13 and submit our estimate of giving commitment. We encourage you all to do the same.

God Bless and Thank You,

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

An Invitation to Insecurity

By Marilyn McEntyre

What if we actually believed the counterintuitive claim that spiritual teachers from Jesus on have insisted upon against all concrete evidence: You are safe in the arms of God
Our lives might look significantly different. They would certainly be more conspicuously countercultural. Imagine for a moment what it might be like not to live in the fear that keeps us clinging to our "sense of safety" a little too tightly. We would say what we meant. Kindly, one hopes, but clearly, without fear of reprisal.
We would give away money, things, time, much less guardedly.
We would make our decisions in a spirit of deep attention to the call of the moment, listening and moving with the invitation of the Spirit to act without second-guessing.
We would plan less. We would let things unfold.
We would behave as children do who know their parents' watchful eyes are on them—in the freedom of knowing someone will catch them if they fall.
If we realized, even now and then, how securely we are held in God's arms, if we could meditate on Jesus' words not to fear anything that destroys the body, we might occasionally look around and recognize in our worldly habitat a playground of possibilities.

Shared by Rev. Lee Anderson-Harris

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Way Forward Together

By Rev. Jasper Peters, Associate Pastor

I recently had an opportunity to hear Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, the new resident Bishop of the Mountain Sky area, present on the state of the church at a conference. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I'd only heard her speak in passing before. I found her to be charismatic, inspiring and challenging. (This is to say nothing of the fact that she is also an amateur magician. Literally. Imagine the possibilities!) I'm excited for our new Bishop, and for the things that will be possible with such a qualified and visionary leader. 

Yet, my excitement is put in check because I realize that not everyone shares my excitement. There are some who grieve the election of Bishop Oliveto, not because she is not intellectually, spiritually or practically unqualified for the position, but because of her sexual orientation. When I was listening to her speak, the gender of her spouse was far from my mind, but I know this is not the case for all of us. So, how do we move forward? Should I flaunt my excitement in the faces of all those who are grieving? Should I pretend that nothing has changed at all, forcing my head into the cool, dark sand where I can peacefully ignore the world around me? Though many may choose to do these things, I feel I would be remiss to do so as a follower of Jesus. Here are a few things, however, I think we can consider as we choose a response to our new Bishop. 


Jesus didn't offer his followers a special secret handshake. There is no salute taught to each of us when we become a part of the church. In fact, there are shockingly few ways to recognize other believers. The one thing scripture emphasizes (John 13:35) as a mark of Christ's presence in our lives is by our love. Do we love each other? Do we love those who aren't one of "us?" Are our lives marked by our ability to love and care for one another? If so, then there is a good change that we know Jesus well. 


In fact, there is another way of discerning Christians. In Matthew 7, Jesus talks about judging people (long story short, don't...), trusting God to provide and identifying false prophets. Here is the wisdom scripture gives us when measuring the fitness of a prophet: "By their fruit you will recognize them...a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." (Matthew 7:15-18)

So what then are we to do with a new bishop? One way of engaging scripture to guide our steps would be to ask whether she exhibits the marks of being a loving person and whether she has produced good fruit. Those who know her best, who have worked with her at Glide Memorial UMC and in other settings have resoundingly said yes!

If this is not enough for you, then let us remember that one of the distinguishing marks of a Methodist historically has been our big-tent style of coming together. In a denomination that contains both Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush, perhaps agreeing on every aspect of our faith and policy is not something we can expect. Rather, is it possible for us to bear with one another in love, whether we are celebrating, mourning or simply confused? Can we find a way of creating space to discern a future and a way forward together? This is my prayer for us all. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Sacred Presence Within Ourselves

By Cami Twilling, Director of Contemplative Spirituality

In his book, The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings, John Philip Newell writes, “It was on Iona years ago that I first became aware of the need to reclaim some of the features of ancient Christianity in the Celtic world as lost treasure for today. Part of that treasure is the much-cherished image of John the Evangelist, also known as John the Beloved, leaning against Jesus at the Last Supper. Celtic tradition holds that by doing this he heard the heartbeat of God. He became a symbol of the practice of listening—listening deep within ourselves, within one another, and within the body of the earth for the beat of the Sacred Presence.” 

It is when we begin to hear and see the Sacred Presence within ourselves, one another and the earth, we will begin to treat all of creation with reverence. In this reverence and sacredness, healing can begin to take place, wholeness and well-being will unfold. It is true that there is brokenness in our world, yet at the very heart of all creation is the heart of God. We are not separate from God, we are of God. The light of God is within all of creation.

There are many opportunities to explore the teachings of John Philip Newell and the earth honoring Celtic spirituality. Below are ways for you to connect.

School for Celtic Consciousness has both an annual retreat and Quarterly Gathering. The annual retreat blends sessions led by Newell introducing themes of Celtic teachers, his own reflections, contemplative spiritual practices, small group sharing, whole group sharing and time for rest and reflection. The 2017 School for Celtic Consciousness will be held at the Shambhala Mountain Center April 4-5, 2017.

There are also Quarterly Gatherings in which we come together as a community. We share in prayer, scripture reading and chants as we listen for wisdom, seek strength and practice silence. We continue in community by gathering for light refreshments and conversation following the service. Our next Quarterly Gathering will be Friday, November 18 from 7-9pm at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. All are welcome for this evening of prayer and shared community.

Our Pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland, is another opportunity to deeply engage in Celtic Spirituality. ‘Each day on Iona begins and ends with the rhythm of prayer and meditation together, either at the Abbey or elsewhere on the island. In the mornings John Philip Newell teaches on themes related to the sacredness of the earth, interfaith relationship, and commitment to practices of contemplation and action as the basis for transformation in our lives and world. The afternoons are given to hiking, conversation, and rest, and the early evenings to further reflection and embodiment practices of chant and meditative movement. On Wednesday we walk the seven-mile island pilgrimage route together to pray for the journey of our lives and world. The Columba Hotel’s organic gardens, eco-friendly policies and welcoming staff are an important part of our community life together.’ You are invited to join us on pilgrimage in the fall of 2017. Registration information is available on Trinity’s website.

John Philip Newell is a poet, peacemaker, and scholar. Formerly a warden of Iona Abbey, he is now Companion Theologian for the American Spirituality Centre of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch in the high desert of New Mexico. His PhD is from the University of Edinburgh and he is internationally acclaimed for his work in the field of Celtic spirituality, having authored over 15 books. John Philip is the co-founder of Heartbeat: A Journey Towards Earth’s Wellbeing, and a Church of Scotland minister. He has a passion for peace in the world and a fresh vision for harmony between the great spiritual traditions of humanity.

For more information visit

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Work of the People

Some odd 2,000 years ago, an interreligious and radically diverse group of social changers gathered together following the life and ministry of a Jewish reformer and planted the seeds for a theology that would eventually overturn the unjust social order of the Roman empire, one of the most powerful that has ever existed. Their gatherings came to be known in Greek as “Litourgia” which literally means “the work of the people.” Their time together was not always easy or natural. Every step of the way there was division, disagreement, judgement, and at times oppression and fighting. In the midst of these difficulties, however, was a foundational belief that by setting aside their individual identities and uniting as one body that openly shared their lives and experiences, they could create a reality that was much more pure and true than the reality that the empire had created for them. They were slave and free, Greek and Jewish, male and female, yet they were all united under the life and message of Jesus. This group would come to eventually be known as the Christians and the church that was born of their public service or “Liturgy” came to represent the continuing of Jesus’ mission on earth. The theology born of this movement advocated for unity in the face of division, love and compassion in the face of hate, understanding in the face of difference, and courage in the face of fear. 

Tonight at 6:00, as part of the new Wednesday Nite Live weekly experience, we are gathering to affirm the power of this practice and embrace the ways in which it can bless our community in this modern world that we live in. Times have certainly changed, but the challenge of finding love and unity in a world so full of division and strife remains. It is our faith that by gathering together in a worship setting that affirms unity in diversity, we can represent a reality that is pure and true in the face of a society that promotes separation and infighting. What we are doing is very ancient, yet embraces the reality of today. Tonight we are blessed with music from Kevin Garman, a reading by Ann Henderson, hymns led by Rev. Linda Marshall on the piano, and a message from 1 Corinthians by myself. Please come join us, open up your hearts with us as we gather together as one body to bear witness to the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. Let this Liturgy, this work of the people, create a new reality built on connection rather than separation. May we be of one heart, though we may not always be of one mind.  

In Christ,
Tom Owens
Pastoral Assistant

Tom will facilitate a weekly lay-led worship experience from 6:00–6:45 p.m. in the Sanctuary as part of Wednesday Nite Live. If you are interested in participating, contact Tom at

Friday, June 24, 2016

Trinity Marched in the Denver Pride Parade

Several Trinity members took part in the Pride Parade festivities last weekend alongside a large group from area United Methodist churches. Here are some reflections from those who were there:

"There was wonderful positive energy among the United Methodist Churches and the members who came to show support for the LGBT community. As we walked, we shouted responsively: 'We are United...' 'Methodist.' It felt good to hear positive responses from the people watching. What stood out most to me from inside the parade and from observing the people lining the route where flowing color and an atmosphere of celebration and pride." — Linda Sperber

"I witnessed a variety of ages, including many, many young parents with preschool children sitting on the curb. The crowds were heavy (3 to 5 persons deep) the entire route. As our church groups passed, many cheered and applauded. It was a priceless privilege to participate as a visible witness of inclusivity. Our churches communicated a genuine ministry of presence and acceptance to all persons, regardless of ethnicity or sexual preferences. We had approximately ten United Methodist churches represented with a total of about 125 participants." — Don Peterson

View additional photos at

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

This World Is Not Ours

By Rev. Jasper Peters, Associate Pastor
Though we often believe otherwise, this world is not ours, but rather it belongs to God. We are invited to be good stewards of it, but even then, only for a moment. We inherit it from those who come before us, and we are required to prepare it for those who will come after us. This is true of the world and every structure within. Our beloved ecclesial body, the United Methodist Church, is in a precarious position. Some characterize it as a conflict between progressives and conservatives, while others view it as the choice between faithfulness to tradition versus faithfulness to Christian inclusivity. I would submit that this conversation is in many ways a conflict between our past and our future. The conversation about "human sexuality," or LGBTQ+ inclusion has dominated the conversation among United Methodists for 44 years. We are now being invited to determine what will be the context of our conversation going forward. 
The young people of our church made a statement at General Conference a few weeks ago. They invite us to remain connected, believing that our church has the ability to be vital, faithful, and inclusive in the days and years to come. I am inspired to hold this church together because I know it is not mine, at least not really. I am only trying to be a good steward for the fleeting moments during which I am invited to be faithful. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mission Moment - Trinity Runs Colfax

In the Old Testament, the prophet Habakkuk laments to the Lord and asks God to listen and to save his people. God answers Habakkuk by telling him that outsiders will be sent as an act of judgment. Upon hearing this, Habakkuk laments again. God responds to Habakkuk a second time and says:

“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith”

I’m telling you about Habakkuk because I think we may have, at some point, lamented to the Lord about the Sunday road races. In response, it seems that the races keep happening. This year seemed to be the appointed time for us to do something different. This year, the 11th annual Colfax Marathon was held on May 15th, on Pentecost Sunday, the 50th day of Easter. Rather than lament, we lived by our faith as Easter people and found a way to embrace this race, hence Trinity Runs Colfax

     12 runners of Team Trinity ran a total of 196.5 miles in 37.7 hours (average pace of 11’ 30” per mile). We had 4 runners in the full marathon, 6 runners in the half marathon, 1 runner in the 10-miler, and 1 runner in the 5k.
     As we ran our race, some of us said prayers for our homebound brothers and sisters. Many of you prayed for us and the thousands of runners running that day.
     To support the job training programs at Metro Caring and DenUM, I asked if you would be willing to pledge a penny for every mile we ran to give a small gift. Many of you responded. As a result, we have raised nearly $2500 for Metro Caring and DenUM.
     A small group gathered every Thursday evening at the home of BillieAnne and Jason Kennedy during the weeks of Easter to read the Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials devotion, have a discussion on what it means to be Easter people, and listen to Bruce Springsteen.
     Emma Mueller and Cami Twilling designed a Trinity Runs Colfax t-shirt. These shirts were worn by our Chancel Choir, Youth, children, and many of you on race day

When I was running in the marathon two weeks ago, I saw a vision on 17th and Broadway. From a block or two away, I saw a bright yellow beacon. As I approached this beacon, I saw a group of children, youth, and adults cheering marathoners with signs and encouraging words. I heard a choir singing and making a joyful noise. I saw a church blessing and being blessed by the community. I saw us.

As your Lay Leader, I hope we celebrate what we’ve done and to rest up. The 12th annual Colfax Marathon will be May 21st, 2017. I’m no Biblical scholar, but I heard that the number 12 is mentioned nearly 190 times in the Bible.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Caring for Our Overall Health

By Rev. Lee Anderson, Minister of Care

May is National Mental Health Month. It is important to draw attention to the various mental illnesses that exist and to the treatment of and stigma against mental illnesses in our country. But it is also important to remember that mental health is not just about mental illnesses and disorders.  Mental health is in the same category as physical health; we have a body and a brain, a mind and emotions, and how we take care of these parts of our being impacts our overall health. Additionally, physical and mental health is intertwined. For instance, the same stress we experience because of hectic schedules or worrying about the future creates an increase in the levels of cortisol in our bodies. Increased cortisol levels are linked to lower immune function, increased blood pressure and heart disease, and decreased memory function.

Mental health is also connected with spiritual health. Let’s look at stress here as well, something everyone experiences. A spiritually fit person might take time out of her busy schedule each day to be still and just sit in the presence of God. Or, his faith leads him away from dwelling on all the “what ifs” of the future because he knows God is with him no matter what. While stress can’t be avoided, there are ways to release stress and not let it take over. While exercise, diet, and sleep are all important in caring for our mental health, people of faith find that their spiritual practices (or lack thereof) have an impact as well.

Here is a simple exercise to incorporate in your day-to-day activities, based on Philippians 4:6, which reads “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (NIV). This verse is often summarized by the phrase “Don’t worry about anything; pray about everything.” As you feel a worry arise, write it down on a piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in a container designated as your God container. God can contain much more than we can! As you place the worry in the container, close the lid and leave it there. The key is to leave it in God’s hands…and not continue to carry it with you.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

We're Here for Good

By Rev. Jasper Peters, Associate Pastor

In taking steps toward a healthier and more vibrant life, small, meaningful, intentional steps are necessary. At the end of January, our church completed a year-long process of discerning our future. This all-church event was equal parts beginning and end, finalizing the initial discernment, and hopefully launching us into a rich future.

We wanted to share the nuts and bolts of the Vision 2020 process. Here you can view our initial findings, including data, reading material and some early survey results. In this post, my hope is to sketch out the less tangible parts of how the work will proceed. This is, admittedly, more difficult to define. It can be even more difficult to measure. In some ways it is like a vaccine: it might be hard for the casual observer to see effects, but the long term effects on health can be seen and measured.

In January, Trinity Council and your Trinity Staff gathered to begin to put our visioning into practice. We produced a large number of recommended actions. Some of these were small, granular, and are simple to accomplish. Others are large in scale and will require months or years of work to bring to fruition. Large and small, simple and difficult, they were all listed and compiled to form a living document. This document is held and managed by Trinity Council. Through partnership with every area of ministry through our church, the document is and will continue to be a call to action for us, individually and collectively. At the first Council meeting after our Vision was laid out, the church began to work at ways of bringing these dreams to life.

As we go forward, you will probably not see every new initiative or project labeled as “Vision 2020.” As such, I realize that it is reasonable to wonder what was the result or effect of this project. In reality, much like that vaccine, or a regular dose of vitamins, the effect is not always visible, but is important nonetheless. My hope and sustained belief is that the result of Vision 2020 will be seen through the kind of ministry and programming decisions we make as we move forward. Our first, best example of this is the #TrinityRunsColfax2016 project, culminating on Sunday, May 15. Additionally, more new projects, ministry, and service opportunities are being developed and deployed nearly every week! This is an exciting time for our congregation, our city, and the Church as a whole.

Grace and Peace,


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Living with an Open Heart

By Rev. Lee Anderson, Minister of Care

With all the hard stuff going on in today’s world, it is easy to become hardened ourselves. To be in touch with our own pain, let alone someone else’s, seems a monumental task. It feels better to just block things out, distract ourselves, or avoid uncomfortable situations. But that only feels better for a while. You can’t escape suffering in life, you can only ignore it until it evolves into something bigger, such as physical illness, addiction, depression, and so on.

The truth is, this is an ages-old issue. There never has been a period of time where the world did not get people down. For those of us living in the present, it can seem this is the worst things have ever been. However, those living in decades, centuries, and millennia past experienced the same feelings and beliefs about their own time. The message of Jesus is as relevant today as it was during his lifetime. We need God; the world is too much for most of us without God.

To avoid becoming hardened and live fully in a world that troubles us is a Christian calling. It requires allowing our hearts to remain softened toward ourselves and other people. This belief is also shared by Buddhist (and other religious) thought. Here, Pema Chodron, Buddhist monk and teacher, writes about this process:

“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space. Your world seems less solid, more roomy and spacious. The burden lightens. In the beginning it might feel like sadness or a shaky feeling, accompanied by a lot of fear, but your willingness to feel the fear, to make fear your companion, is growing. You’re willing to get to know yourself at this deep level. After a while this same feeling begins to turn into a longing to be fully human and to live in your world without having to shut down and close off when certain things come along. It begins to turn into a longing to be there for your friends when they’re in trouble, to be of real help to this poor, aching planet. Curiously enough, along with this longing and this sadness and this tenderness, there’s an immense sense of well-being, unconditional well-being, which doesn’t have anything to do with pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad, hope or fear, disgrace or fame. It’s something that simply comes to you when you feel that you can keep your heart open.” 

Invite the living Christ into your heart as you work to keep it open. As Jesus touches our own wounds, we can be his presence in the world as we touch the wounds of others.