Our 2011 History ended with these words: For Trinity, 2012 is full of promise. We await the future faithfully and with the hope of expectant followers who have seen what God can do!”
Expectant! When I think about that word, I think, “Company’s comin’!” I remember, as a young girl, waiting expectantly at the living room window of my family’s home for one of our grandmothers to arrive. It really didn’t matter which grandmother! Special, special company was coming!
We’ve all had those moments. Putting out the good towels or making up the guest bed with special linens. It isn’t about trying to impress or fooling the special visitor into thinking we always lived with such fancy things around us. It was about LOVING that special person so much that we wanted to give them our very, very best.
Before this history continues, we must take a moment to remember a special person, Trinity’s previous Historian, Ginnie Decker. Ginnie passed the privilege of writing this history to me in 2011 while she struggled with cancer. We sat together at her dining room table over coffee and danish one Saturday morning so she could show me all the files, photographs and notes she had compiled. Boxes of photographs and old documents covered the place where I’m sure she and her husband, Rodger, once ate their dinners. Her love for God and for this church were compelling and her dedication to recording His and our history was strong. Ginnie died in 2012, leaving a void that we now fill with fond memories of her laughter, her beautiful singing voice and her expectation of each of us to do what is right. She would have enjoyed this year of expectant awaiting and making ready for the person God would call to be our very, very special family member come to stay for a long and meaningful “visit!”
Trinity began the year with gratitude for its past and hope for its future. Following a vibrant and meaningful Christmas season, the Trinity family and its physical plant were much like quieted turbines, powering up now for the work and worship to come. Whrrrrrr…… Brownie Troop 609 and Girl Scout Troop 1441 continued their meetings in Trinity’s Fellowship Hall. Trinity Presbyterian Schools, Inc. reminded us to “link” our Harris Teeter VIC cards to the schools who would receive portions of monies spent at our local store!
In February of 2012, the Nominating Committee given the task of selecting members to the Pastor Nominating Committee, eagerly began its work! Trinity members were asked to prayerfully consider their place in the process of finding and calling our new pastor. After all, company’s coming! Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper was a great success, reminding us of our bounty and preparing us for setting it aside so that we might more intimately worship our God.
Our children were at the heart of worship and of the search for Trinity’s new pastor. Some had family members on the Pastor Nominating Committee and made sacrifices of time with them as the PNC met nearly every Tuesday night during 2012. There were smiles and smiles and lots of questions as they, the youngest of Trinity, prepared for company. Children love for company to come! There was talk among them and with them about who it would be. Would it be a man or a woman? Would the new pastor have children? Would he be fun? Would she play with them? Joy abounded because of expectation!
To have expectation, you must know that something is possible either because you have experienced it or someone has taught you about it. Or, you might have expectant thoughts and emotions because you HOPE!
Jodee Bert, Jackie Lankford, Bill Robertson, Stacey Bowman, Denise Cummings, Shannon Hamilton, Sarah Stout, Joann Orndoff, Jacob Glenn, Shelly and Janie Sutton, Sandra Barber, Shaunna Tobin, Barbara and more taught Trinity’s young ones each Sunday morning (in Sunday School, Children’s Church, Nursery and Time With Young Disciples) about a God of hope and encouraged them through learning about God to live expectantly, knowing that He will provide and that we ARE loved.
Also in February, our property committee members, always hard at work behind the scenes, partnered with Tom Hudson to restore the parking lot to a beautiful, black matte asphalt luster! Tom donated his time and services to this effort. This was the cherry on top of what had been accomplished just a month before thanks to anonymous donors who made it possible for the entrance to the parking lot to be widened and marked with reflector posts! Preparing for company. Making ready. Energized by the hope of what God has in store!
On March 4th, the slate of names proposed by the Nominating Committee was voted on by the congregation to form our PNC. Dan Hamilton, Stacey Bowman, Marcia Glenn, Jenny Boone, Carl Orndoff, Danny English and Janie Sutton would be this intentional group of 7 who would work throughout 2012 to follow the path laid before them, all the while prayerfully considering when company was coming and who he or she would be.
By this time, Trinity had been blessed with a varied pulpit supply. Reverends Howard Whitehurst, Laura Lupton and Jim Bumgardner; Pastor Drag Kimrey and Jeremy Wilhelmi brought diversity and, still, consistency to Trinity’s pulpit!
Neither March winds nor April showers to come would get in the way of the Saturday of Service Crew who included Barbara Barnas, Sarah Stout, Mike Bethea, Jacob Glenn, Tyler Dennis, Denise Cummings, Allen Johnson, the Hamilton crew, Bert Crew, Bowman crew and others. These outdoor lovers and hard workers came, armed with rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows and more each month to help keep Trinity looking good. Company may be coming, but there’s a lot to do to keep a place ship shape until then!
In April, Trinity celebrated the Season of Lent and it’s culmination at Easter, sharing in this meaningful time of dark reflection and subsequent joy with our sister church, Faith Presbyterian. Tuesday night Prayer Service continued under the leadership of Catherine Pinkston and with the fervent support of Peggy and Christian Anderson. Though numbers were small, prayers were strong and God heard. Many prayers were made for the one God would call to pastor Trinity.
The Technology Grant awarded to Trinity in 2011 was spent down a bit more to improve the audiovisual capabilities in Trinity’s sanctuary. Sean Moore, Music Director, Janie and Shelly Sutton and Dan Hamilton brought experience and expertise to the table and now Trinity has a dedicated computer and video camera as well as high speed internet capability inside the sanctuary. Sean Moore used the new camera to continue to record Trinity worship services and broadcast them via local cable access channel housed at St. Andrews University. A Shelly Sutton custom made cabinet was installed behind the pulpit to house all the sanctuary sound equipment. And, across the way, in the Fellowship Hall, custom made desks for the staff of Trinity Schools were installed by Dan Hamilton and Doug Bert.
In May, the Pastor Nominating Committee donated an original art piece (an antique finish cross caste in aluminum) created by now graduated St. Andrews University art student, Spencer Phillips. This cross replaced the wooden one built for the brick sign facing Blues Farm Road. The sign’s original wooden cross was repaired and hung indoors in the sanctuary atrium where at night it can be beautifully spotlighted for passers-by to see…including company!
By now, Reverend William Clark had joined the appreciated ranks of pulpit supply and his offer of fresh vegetables from his garden brought a whole new meaning to the words “pulpit supply!” It was Reverend Bumgardner, however, who faithfully tended the garden of Trinity each week, leading the Session as its Moderator during our time without a Pastor. He and his wife, Gay quickly became part of the Trinity family themselves.
School’s out, but not Vacation Bible School! In June, Trinity hosted VBS for more than 100 children, including children attending Trinity’s Schools. Under the leadership of Shannon Hamilton, children and adults alike went “Backstage with the Bible,” studying, singing music and doing mission work for Church Community Services by collecting lots and lots of canned goods.
Speaking of children, Connor, Sophie, Drew, Asher, Zoey, Cole, Caycee, Ariel, Kinsey, Elijah and Cameron were faithful followers of Jesus. They raised money for the mission work of Nita Hanson through God’s Hidden Treasures in Ukraine; helped in Sunday morning worship services by lighting candles and participating in Time for Young Disciples; worked on Saturday mornings during Saturday of Service time; helped clean up after luncheons; collected canned goods for Souper Bowl of Caring; attended Children’s Church; and more! With hearts full of joy, they asked, “When is our new Pastor coming? When?”
Also in June, Katie McRacken and Tyler Dennis graduated from high school and made their plans for college. Still other Trinity young people including Zack Brown, Paige McInnis, Carl Rosman and Kyle Bland were making their mark on the world. Zack as a member of our Armed Forces and the others as college students spread across North Carolina!
On June 30th, Clerk of Session, Carl Orndoff, one of Trinity’s young at heart, started his week as the Coastal Carolina Presbytery representative at the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) held in Pittsburgh, PA.
Reverends Elizabeth Forester and Martha McDowell, along with seminary student Eva Ruth, had blessed Trinity by now with their gifts as pulpit supply continued into and through the summer. Similarly, the women of Trinity shared their gifts throughout the year as Circle of Seekers and the Scotia Circle not only met to learn more about their faith, but ministered to the college students of Trinity by sending much anticipated care packages from home at holidays during the year!
A big change took place in July as our longtime Administrative Secretary, Sharon Molis, retired and moved to Greenville, SC. God was good and gave us our own Shannon Hamilton to be our new Secretary. Also in July, a great and well deserved honor for Trinity member and St. Andrews University Director of Logistics and Photography, Rooney Coffman, was announced. The Rooney L. Coffman Science Sustaining fund was created to continue support of the Science Program at the University modeled by Rooney for over four decades!
In August, Trinity summer camp focused on fun and fitness! Trinity continued its support of missionaries far from home: Cecile Villatoro, Nita Hanson and the Dan and Elizabeth Turk family. Close to home, Trinity supported the efforts of Habitat for Humanity as well as the Scotland Family Counseling Center.
By the end of summer, it had been just a couple of months shy of a year since Trinity had been without a pastor. Dan Hamilton and Catherine Pinkston, who had begun the year more tentatively as Sunday morning worship and prayer leaders, led gracefully and prayed with eloquence and passion. Combined with the experienced and prayerful leadership of Sean Moore, Sunday morning services were noticeably intimate, noticeably worshipful, noticeably special.
So much went on to maintain and improve Trinity’s physical plant. Much like making the guest room bed or sprucing up the bath, it all gets done for the sake of the church. But, in 2012, there was a gleam in every eye as routine and sometimes unexpected tasks were taken care of. Company’s coming! Curtis Hales, Dug Dison, John Murray, Rick Tobin, Bill Robertson, Dan Hamilton, John Murray, Jr. and Jerry Riggins were a formidable, and yet unsung and quiet force of property warriors against whom electrical outlets, clogged pipes, broken like fixtures, fire ants, overgrown shrubs and much more stood no chance!
Some of these same men, recognizing that breaking bread together is a strong way to share God’s love, fellowshipped over eggs and sausage cooked by John Murray, Aubrey McDonald, Curtis Hales, Dug Dison and Danny English at Men’s Breakfast each month. And, thanks to the energy and creativity of Barbara Barnas and Barbara Cluck, we all enjoyed a delicious bounty at our many fellowship luncheons. A favorite of these luncheons this year found us once again sharing the gift of food and fellowship with special company, students from St. Andrews College Choir and, on another Sunday, Camp Monroe Counselors!
Trinity helped feed others too, reaching out and not just in. During 2012, at least 199 boxes of grits or potatoes, 310 cans of fruit, 400 cans of veges, 225 cans of tuna, 250 boxes of pasta, 175 jars of peanut butter and jelly, 200 bags of rice, 153 cans of beef stew, 186 boxes of mac and cheese not to mention 200 cans of assorted foods (potluck) and 170 paper products were donated to CCS under the gentle (did I say gentle?) coaxing of Patsy Smith!
In September, it was back to school for many. For Trinity Schools, it was a busy and business as usual all through the year! Home to about 150 children, Trinity Schools flourished thanks to staff and volunteers alike. Judy Stebbins, Bill Robertson, John and Dot Murray, Jim and Jean McBryde and others faithfully and quietly delivered milk to Trinity Schools thanks to the creativity of Frances Frye, long time Trinity member and Trinity Schools Board member. The rest of the Board, President Dan Hamilton, Doug Bert, Susan English, Catherine Pinkston, Bill Robertson and Shaunna Tobin, worked diligently to make sure that Trinity Schools provided professional, Christian care to its many students. After five years of service, Dan Hamilton stepped down as president at the end of 2012, prompting the School Board and Session to approve naming the Trinity playground after him.
Recognizing that learning is not just for children, Trinity’s Adult Disciples Class continued to meet each Sunday morning, using The Present Word, a curriculum published in part by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
October was full of fun and outreach! A successful Trunk or Treat brought many families out for fellowship and colorful costuming! Trinity hosted the American Red Cross bloodmobile for an equally successful event. By this time, a well-oiled usher machine (to coin a phrase) had gifted the church with ten months of Sunday mornings, quietly dedicating itself to the humble, and yet important, task of being an usher in worship. Many thanks to Preston Swiney, Jim Lankford, Mike Ashley and more! Reverend Martha McDowell asked us in October, “When?” in her sermon title. Trinity’s ushers served humbly in preparation for the answer to that question. “When is our company coming? Who will it be?”
On November 4th, Trinity’s own Rodger Decker, Commissioned Lay Pastor, spoke of “Rainbows” in his sermon, of the covenant of God with mankind and His promise to provide and to love. The people of Trinity showed their faith and their gratitude for God’s provision during this Stewardship Season and Trinity’s financial health saw a renewed vigor. Stewardship Committee Chair, Allen Johnson, reported at our 2012 Homecoming (which doubled as Stewardship Sunday) that we would begin 2013 on solid footing and would look forward to opportunities for growth. Just a day before, Trinity Punkin Chuck III was just such an opportunity. We reached out to our community, raising about $1,000 for Church Community Services, and we embraced each other in the joy of Christian fellowship. Jim Rosman’s BBQ and Jerry Riggins’ hamburgers made the event just that much more tasty! Plenty to go around….even for company!
December was a wonderful month! Advent, music, decorating the sanctuary, Christmas Cheer, Caroling and Operation Christmas Child were just a few of the many worshipful and God-filled celebrations of the month. The Chancel Choir shined under the leadership of Sean Moore. Veteran members Archie McCrimmon, Kay Alexander, Charlie and Madora Mullins, Dennis Sharpe and Beverly Palmer (among others), were blessed by the fresh voice of St. Andrews University student and choral member, Emma Lowry in 2012.
Perhaps most exciting about December (although not everyone would know until later!!) was that the PNC was visiting with prospective pastors as they and the potential candidates prayerfully considered who God was leading them to!
This history intentionally includes the names of most of Trinity’s members and regular attendees. This was intentional because it took many hands to do God’s work in 2012. Some would say that it always takes many hands. That’s true. But, it was never more true for Trinity than in its time in search of a new pastor. And, although, not everyone is mentioned here, it is, without doubt, a certainty that EVERYONE had a part in this marvelous journey. Thanks be to God for His marvelous provision along the way. For, He is providing to us….and to who’s coming….company!
Janie Pinkston Sutton