September 26, 2017

                                                           

                                                                Pastor Geri Hamlen

Greetings and welcome to Trinity!  It is my pleasure to meet you here in the cyber-world of our website, and if I have not met you in person, I surely would like to.  Please except my invitation to you to join us for one of our upcoming worship services and get to know the Trinity family.  If you have any questions or would like to know more, please drop us an email through our contact field, or call the church office.  We look forward to meeting you!
 
 

 


Pastor’s Ponderings       September 2017           

The news is so much in the news right now.
Fake news.
Faulty journalism.
Biased reporting. Accusations and recriminations are flying over the air waves and the twitter-verse and through the virtual highways and by-ways.

Aren’t you glad that you are a disciple of Jesus in the midst of all this confusion? We already know that we can’t know the whole story on anything. We already know that God’s invisible grace and power is working in everything, all the time, whether we see it or not.

Paul said it so well…’for now we see in a mirror, dimly...’Cor. 13:12. We already know that more will be revealed, in God’s good time. Not on our ‘need to know’ basis. Think about it:

The disciples of Jesus didn’t know that Jesus was going to die on the cross, but they dedicated their lives and time to following him, learning from him, witnessing to his miracles, and being in community with other people who knew and loved him.

The disciples of Jesus didn’t know, when they saw Jesus dying on the cross, that there would be a joyful resurrection time, three days hence. No, they were frightened. They were grieving. They felt abandoned and alone. They even went into hiding so no one would know that they were still around.

But Easter dawn broke. The stone was rolled away. Christ is Alive!

The disciples of Jesus didn’t even know for sure how to react to the resurrection of Jesus but when the Holy Spirit came upon them, with tongues like flames and the sound of a rushing wind…they were invigorated. Challenged! Joyful… They didn’t know the hardships and the persecution and even martyrdom that would follow. But they knew that Jesus said: Be not afraid.

And they knew that God was in charge.

And they knew that all the destructive powers of this world—past, present, and future—would not succeed, because the victory of God in Jesus Christ is already complete. We just have all of these skirmishes and battles still to deal with as we wait for history to play out, in God’s good time. While we wait, we can pray for the rest of the world to catch up with God’s desire for peace on Earth, good will towards all people everywhere.

When the news from imperfect sources starts to bother me with confusion and even fear about what may or may not happen next…I remember God’s goodness, love, and mercy. Paul goes on in 1 Cor. 13:12 to say… ‘Now I know only in part; then I will know fully even as I have been fully known.’ God knows us fully. God knows the depth of the world’s need and heartache…fully and completely. Jesus died and rose again so that we can be filled full with hope, hope eternal…and live in faith and love, knowing that ‘…the greatest of these is love.’ There is nothing false about that!

May the love of God, the communion of the Holy Spirit, and the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always. In His name….   Pastor Geri

 

Pastor’s Ponderings…July/August, 2017

CLAIM THE FLAME! It’s all about allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to claim your life so that you have the strength and the courage to share God’s grace and your love for others…

Jesus loved us so much that he answered one last question from his disciples before ascending into Heaven, saying: “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” Acts 1:8. In this Trinity United Methodist community, we receive that Holy Spirit power through our baptisms and our participation in the life of the church.

For Pentecost Sunday (June 4) a crew of people created a Pentecost flame for ALL the people who participate in the life of the church through their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their joy, and their witness…you know who you are! Each flame has a name on it…the name of a living person who has a history with and a connection to Trinity UMC. All 548 of those flames were taped to the walls of the Sanctuary so that the gift of the Holy Spirit showed up…visibly and tangibly…in our place of worship.

The colors, the sense of flames moving on the walls has given us a great way to see just how many, many people are led by the Holy Spirit to worship, pray, and live as disciples of Jesus together here, with each and all of us. (Pictures are posted on the church website: www.imtrinity.org. It’s beautiful!)

Such a gift! On Father’s Day Sunday, the people in worship were invited to walk by all of the walls and choose particular flames to take home with them. We were encouraged to let the Holy Spirit move us as we each ‘Claim the Flame’ for particular names that draw our attention. That may be family members. Or people you’ve known for a long time. Or even people you’ve never met. That’s how the Holy Spirit works!

Those in worship that day were encouraged to take as many flames off the wall as they wanted and then to ‘Claim the Flame’ on behalf of the people named on their flames. Put them on your refrigerator in the kitchen. The dashboard of your car. The mirror in your bathroom. The wall of your cubicle at work. In your Bible…wherever you can see that person’s name and pray for them. It can be a simple prayer…Holy Spirit…Thank you for your power in the life of _______. May he/she feel your love and use your power… Amen.

This has been such a rich and rewarding experience that we decided to share with all of those who receive The Tower. You will see on page three a flame that has not yet been claimed. This is your chance to ‘Claim the Flame.’ This is your person to lift up in prayer…to wonder about, maybe even to contact if you are so moved. Know that you are being prayed for as well. We are all caring and sharing, claiming and naming each other through the Holy Spirit!

If your prayers inspire you to find out more about the people on your flames, please feel free to contact the following people who can give you information, including whatever we have in the church phone directory: Joyce Erickson at 774-9279, or Pastor Geri and Sally Verley at 774-2545.

You may be moved to send someone a card. Or call and invite them for coffee. That’s the Holy Spirit working in and through you and the others at Trinity as we support and encourage each other in our faithfulness to God.

Praise be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

Pastor Geri

 
Pastor’s Ponderings--May/June, 2017

What is effectiveness, and how do churches measure it for themselves? Great question. At a recent meeting of the ministerial association here in Dickinson County, I discovered that United Methodists share something in common with our Evangelical Covenant neighbors and friends. We both use ‘vitality’ as a measure of effectiveness. The dictionary defines vitality as ‘capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence.’[i]

Last fall, the Michigan Conference for United Methodist Churches invited Trinity to participate in a nine-month process called the Vital Church Initiative here in the Upper Peninsula. The process includes a reading list and nine different sessions with a consultant/facilitator who is helping us to understand the life-cycle of congregations and identify our current situation.
 
We are part of a cohort of Upper Peninsula United Methodist Churches[ii] who have been identified as churches with strong histories of faithfulness, blessed with gifts of ministry and enough energy to undertake a study of vitality and effectiveness. The intention is to use this initiative to support and encourage each other as we are seeking to identify God’s intention for our various congregations, and to name the forces that hold us back from achieving more vital and effective ministries.
 
Wow…big order, but what a great opportunity to take a look at the bigger picture of God’s movement in our church and community. What is our current reality and where do we see God moving us in the next seven to 10 years?
 
The first session in Marquette, at the end of March, challenged the Away Team to think long and hard about the Mission of The United Methodist Church. The Mission has been the same since 1968. It’s printed in our Book of Discipline and is the guiding principle for all UMC churches, Annual Conferences, and agencies of the Church: The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
 
The good news is…Trinity UMC does not have to create a mission—we already have this one, right in front of us.
 
The challenging news is…how are we doing with making disciples? What are we doing to share Jesus with others? Is there eagerness and vitality in our approach to inviting, witnessing, blessing people in the larger community with the Good News that God loves us all? That’s what we, as members of the VCI team, are called to ponder. What do you think?

One author says there are three things that we need to know in order to carry out our church’s unique mission in our location:  

1. Why do people need Christ? 
2. Why do people need the church?
3. Why do people need this particular church?[iii]

Great questions. Questions that deserve our prayers, our study, our conversation. You will be hearing more about VCI as time goes by. The seeds are being planted, one person at a time. Please pray for your church and the people on the teams. God’s peace to us all.

In the name of Jesus, Pastor Geri

VCI Away Team: Moira Cowling, Pastor Geri, Jack Noyce, Kristy Ryan, Bill Verrette

Home Team: Brian and Celeste Bancroft, Dawn Riutta, Nathan Ruble, Sally Verley, Bob Waldbillig

 i.Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.Copyright 2005, 1997,1991 by Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved.
ii Ishpeming Wesley UMC, Escanaba Central UMC, Hancock First UMC. 
iii Hamilton, Adam, Leading Beyond the Walls.