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“Father, Forgive”

As you prepare your hearts and minds for our Thanksgiving worship this coming Sunday, November 24th, please read and reflect upon Luke 23:33-43.

It may seem a bit odd to preach on the meaning and the power of Jesus’ crucifixion the Sunday before all of the Thanksgiving festivities. Upon further reflection, though, what could we be more thankful for than God’s gracious act of self-giving love in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

I’ve been hearing the term “crisis” with greater frequency these days.

–Our world is in crisis.

–Nations are in crisis.

–Churches and schools are in crisis,

–Individuals, marriages, and families are in crisis.

How is a crisis defined? What constitutes a crisis?

Consider this definition:

The noun crisis comes from the Latinized form of the Greek word krisis, meaning “turning point in a disease.” At such a moment, the person with the disease could get better or worse: it’s a critical moment. The etymology of the term “crisis” shares a relationship with the term “Christ.”

Life is about choices. If we find ourselves in a crisis, we can choose to embrace the power of the crisis or the power of Christ. I choose to embrace Christ and hold on to his everlasting promises.

The only crisis which has ever existed is the corruption of the human heart. On the cross, Jesus took our disease of sin upon himself, thus offering us the opportunity to be forgiven, loved, and free.

If you ever visit England, be sure to spend time in the city of Coventry, northwest of London.

During WWII, The Coventry Blitz (blitz: from the German word Blitzkrieg meaning “lightning war” struck the beautiful city with relentless force. The city was bombed many times by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). The most devastating of these attacks occurred on the evening of 14 November 1940 and continued into the morning of 15 November.

Christians of Coventry took two  charred embers and made the form of a cross with the inscription “Father Forgive.”

While serving a previous church, I would join in a duet with one of our choristers who has a lovely soprano voice. We sang “Give Thanks” every Thanksgiving Sunday. The hymn, written by Henry Smith in 1978 is based on Luke 1:49–53.

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”
Give thanks
We give thanks to You

This Thanksgiving as you feast with family and friends at your table, give thanks to the Holy One for giving us Jesus Christ.

Rev. Jim

Wellness Tips We Can Learn From a Dog

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone you love is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you (advisedly/carefully).

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout — run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

One of my deepest beliefs is that God gives us dogs (and other domestic pets) to teach us things that God wants for us to know and practice.

The Holidays are quickly approaching. While they can be joyful occasions, they can also be stressful. Love one another as Christ (and your pet) loves you.

Daily prayer: “Dear God, please help me to be just half the person my dog thinks I am.”

In Christian Love,

Rev. Jim

Discover the Many Life-Calming Devices at Trinity!

I saw this sign while making a hospital visit and thought it was funny. I’ve always called these speed bumps!
Join us at Trinity UMC. We have many life-calming devices ahead!
— inspiring traditional and contemporary worship
— Sunday School for all ages
–musical opportunities for all ages
–ministry and mission opportunities for everyone
–THE WELL weekly on Wednesday nights at 5:30 p.m. (Community meal and classes)
–Fun annual events (Pumkin Patch, VBS, Breakfast with Santa/Easter Bunny, and more)!

Vivaldi’s Gloria-Coming Fall 2019

In 2019, the Music Ministry at Trinity will perform the entire masterwork of Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi.  The Chancel Choir has already started learning some of the music.  They sang one piece this past Sunday at the 11am service and I am so proud of them!  Take a listen!

To Clap or Not to Clap

To Clap or Not to Clap

Before you ponder whether you agree with clapping in church or not, let me preface by saying I didn’t grow up going to church and I have no preconceived notions of whether clapping in a worship service is acceptable or not.  Personally, I love that Trinity is a “clappy” church.  As a church family, we are open, appreciative, supportive people who truly view our church as a family unit.  We clap to thank a guest musician for playing, we clap to recognize Marcin and his amazing talent, we clap to praise God, we clap to celebrate, we clap to make a joyful noise ourselves, we clap because the Holy Spirit just  can’t be contained.

I wanted to shed light on how I choose music for the flow of the worship service.  As a worship planner, I actually look at the scripture, sermon, and big picture of the whole service.  Part of my job is to make the flow of the service seamless in emotional content, style, and overall mood. Or at least, that is how I view my job.  There are times, when I pick an upbeat, high energy, joyful anthem to energize all of the congregation, including the choir and worship leaders.  And on the other side of the coin, there are pieces I pick to be reflective, thought-provoking, and calm.  Not to say, those characteristics always must go together, but I’m generalizing to make a point.  Because of the mood presented, you may not feel the need to applaud or you may feel the need to jump up out of your pew.  It is entirely up to you; clapping is not expected every time.  However, I love our “clappy” church, so clap when you want and if you feel like sitting in silence after the choral anthem and letting the mood wash over you, that is okay too.  The Holy Spirit flows over us in unexpected ways, and I want each one of us to be open to it.

Top Ten Reasons to Join Choir


  1. You can wear whatever you like to church because choir robes cover everything.


  1. You get to be first to communion.


  1. Choir is an instant family full of wonderful people.


  1. You may meet your new best friend(s).


  1. You have a reserved seat for the service every time.


  1. It’s a backstage pass to all music events.


  1. The view of the sanctuary and congregation from the choir loft is priceless.


  1. It’s an opportunity to serve the Lord while having fun.


  1. It’s a great way to make a joyful noise.


  1. The three F’s: Food, Fun, and Fellowship. Enough Said!

My Grandmother’s Poem

My Grandmother’s Poem

On Friday June 29th, my family laid to rest the remains of my grandmother along with the ashes of my aunt and two uncles (all on my mother’s side).  My grandmother wrote poetry in her younger years and requested this one be read at her memorial service.  After I sang “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” which was unbeknownst to me a fitting introduction, my mother read this poem by my grandmother Darleen Kelly:


Don’t cry for me – don’t grieve for me

This time of mourning is for those left behind

Feel the sorrow you must feel – because you miss me

Shed the tears that must be shed – to relieve the pain

Then lift yourself from the darkness of despair

Look up toward the light, look up toward me

I now know the secret people spend their lives searching for

The world beyond has miraculously been revealed to me

I have left sorrow and pain behind

They have been replaced with eternal joy

Rejoice with me

Cherubs’ Choir Performance

How cute are these kids!  Our Cherubs’ Choir was adorable this past Sunday singing “This Little Light of Mine”.  A big thank you to Amanda Bova for volunteering her time to direct these little ones.

Participating in Music Is Good For You!

Sometimes its hard to put into words how much music means to us and how it feels to be a part of it.  Here is the amazing composer John Rutter putting into words the importance of choir, which could truly be applied to all musical ensembles.  A musical group is bigger than the individual parts.  Our Chancel Choir, our Refuel Praise Team, our Trinity Ringers, our Youth Praise Band, our Children’s Chimes, our Children’s Choir, and our Cherubs’ Choir all experience this phenomenon.

Thank You Musicians!

Thank you to everyone that contributed to the music of Holy Week! Trinity is blessed to have you give your talents and time so freely to lead worship, fill hearts with the Holy Spirit, and bring the meaning of Holy Week to life. Personally, as the Music Minister, I could not have done it without you. I cannot thank you enough, but you know me, I am going to try anyway.

A huge shout out to Vinny Thomas, Amanda Bova, Children’s Choir and Cherub’s Choir, Margette Reid, Rosie Alexander, Sue Jenkins, Marlene Meernik, Gail Bowers, Marcin Parys, Sid Shamshoian, the Chancel Choir, the Youth Praise Band, the Refuel Praise Band, and the brass quartet.

What an amazing group!