Pastor’s Corner April

Pastor’s Corner April

computer on table with note that says update

“‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death
and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and beside this all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had seen a vision of
angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’”
Luke 24:18b-24

Resurrection. Victory. Life. Love. In just days we will be celebrating Easter. It can’t come fast enough! We need the Easter message with it’s strength and triumph and hope!

I’m more than ready, aren’t you? The Easter message is at the heart of our faith and it is at the heart of our lives. What joy indeed! But Easter Sunday can’t come without Good Friday, that is to say there is no resurrection without crucifixion.

Far too many Christians go straight from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, trading Hosannas for Alleluias, palm branches for Easter lilies, and in the process overlooking the unpleasantness in between. But, dear friends, the power is in the story. To know the sublime joy of Easter we must acknowledge the harsh reality that is Holy Week.

Therefore I invite you to fully participate in this greatest story ever told, the story of what God has done for us.
See below the listing of our Holy Week services. Please be a part. Let us worship together and make this story the very center of our hearts and lives.

Easter blessings,

Pastor Larry

A Word from Pastor Hung Su

A Word from Pastor Hung Su

My heart was broken by the recent tragic violence that took six innocent lives in Atlanta, GA. There is no way to justify any forms of violence against people based on their colors and ethnicities. It is not only anti-cultural and anti-ethnic but also anti-human. Our baptismal vows remind us that we are called to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. We must stand together against racism and stop racial hate crimes.

Whenever I learn such tragic news, I think of my child, who amazes me from time to time. Not only do I care for her, but also I learn from her. One thing that I learn from her is her sense of innocence and non-biased perspectives. When I walk with my daughter at a park or in the neighborhood, she greets anyone who passes by. Her genuine greeting with a smile toward people makes them greet her back with a smile, although you cannot see her whole facial expressions because of a mask. Then, she would call someone that she encounters either a sister, a brother, an uncle, an aunt, or a friend. How she does interact with people reminds me of what Jesus said about children, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14) Her innocent view on people helps me understand what we are intended to be and how we are created for. We are God’s family, no matter who you are and where you come from.

Can we learn from our children and protect their non-bias racial perspectives? What do we teach the next generation? How could they inherit love, kindness, and compassion from us? We as human beings have a distorted perspective on human races with misogyny and hatred and experience the consequences of broken humanity. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed this dream, “…all of God’s children…will be able to join hands and sing…” His dream continues, and God invites us to join this dream to fulfill.

For such a time as this, we turn to the Lord, who has already claimed the victory from sins and death, offering us healing and hope. Our Lord guides and protects us when we wonder and struggle because God is always with us no matter what. Let us pray for and be mindful of all of the victims of hate crimes and racism. Let us stand together against racism. Let us pray that our children may live in a world where all people join hands without hatred and discrimination and sing together a song of love and justice. Let us love one another as the Lord has loved us.

Lord, our hearts are shattered when we experience broken humanity. We have failed your love and struggled with evil, hatred, racism, and violence. We pray for all of the victims of hate crimes and racism. Be with their families and friends in this time of hardship. As we turn to you and have faith in you who has died for us and shown how to love, let your perpetual love shine upon us and give us the strength to love one another and end racism. “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us. Melt us, mold us, fill us, use us. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us.” (Adapted from The UM Hymnal, No. 393) In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray.


-Pastor Hung Su Lim

Pastor’s Corner March

Pastor’s Corner March

computer on table with note that says update

“Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
maker of all things, judge of all people:
We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness,
we from time to time most grievously have committed,
by thought, word, and deed, against thy divine majesty.
We do earnestly repent,
and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings;
the remembrance of them is grievous unto us.
Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father,
forgive us all that is past;
and grant that we may ever hereafter
serve thee in newness of life,
to the honor and glory of thy name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

Those of us of a certain age will remember the prayer of confession in the old communion liturgy found in the 1968 Methodist Hymnal.  I grew up with that hymnal, that liturgy and that prayer.  (Actually it was written by Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer for his adaptation of the mass in his Book of Common Prayer during the reign of Elizabeth I, but I digress…)  It is a good prayer.  And I always think of it as we enter our season of Lent. 

Lent is a season of forty days (not counting Sundays which are considered “little Easters”) starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday.  Lent (from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, meaning “spring”) is a penitential season but it is also more than a penitential season.  It is also a season of preparation, of preparing to celebrate Easter.  It is penitential in that we all need to have a time to reflect on what we done wrong, either by what we have done or by what we have failed to do.  We need examination, confession, and repentance.  But repentance is an action verb.  It doesn’t just mean regret; it also means change.  We prepare by asking ourselves how to live better, how to live more fully, how to live more faithfully.  Hence, Lent has both negative (what are you giving up this year?) but also positive (what will you do this year?) aspects.  Lent has never been my favorite time of year, but it is arguably my most important time of year.  How about you?

I wish for you a holy Lent.

Pastor’s Corner February

Pastor’s Corner February

computer on table with note that says update

It occurred to me recently that some of you might feel that the church is constantly asking you for money. The reason for that is because the church actually is constantly asking you for money. Consider: Trinity just raised over $33,000 for United Methodist Family Services, and thank you Trinity Foundation for the $5000 matching grant. Now, in the Samson Project, we are asking for money for area Food Pantries. (Hey, we’re just asking you for money. My donation is a little more “personal”*). We have begun Arise, Shine our annual Stewardship Campaign – absolutely critical! And, of course, Ash Wednesday is February 17, with Lent comes our Lenten/Easter Mission Offering.

Hey, what gives, you ask? Fair question (which is why I’m answering it before you ask it.).

Allow me to offer a few insights: Trinity is, and has historically been, an incredibly generous church. It’s who we are, a congregation of generous people and a church that gives generously to the community. We trust you to know what you want to do. Of course, our tithe, our support for all the ministries of the church, is our duty. It’s the offering of our first fruits to God. But after that our responses to various appeals is a matter of the spirit. No one can do and support everything, but let us all do and support something.

If we don’t ask, nothing happens.

In a phrase, follow your heart. Please faithfully support Trinity’s ministries in our Arise, Shine campaign. We are all called to do that. It makes everything else possible. But beyond that, listen for the Spirit. Follow your heart. Be generous, but don’t feel guilty or bad if you can’t support everything. I hope that like me you are proud to be part of a church that is constantly asking for money because we are constantly giving it away and doing so much good. The kids at UMFS, the women and children in Trinity’s apartment at CARITAS’ new shelter, the people with pantry-provided food on their table, families in Oak Grove/Bellemeade, or the people of Honduras may never get a chance to thank you, but then there is this,

“Then the king will say to those on his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

Matthew 25:34-36

Larry Lenow

*$10,000 I get as haircut
$20,000 Cut shorter with electric clippers.
$100,000. I shave the beard as well. (I dare you! – LL)

Pastor’s Corner January

Pastor’s Corner January

“See, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5

I understand that a new year is just a marking of time. It is arbitrary. It is a bit artificial. January 1 is simply twenty-four hours after December 31. Nevertheless I, like and you I suspect as well as the rest of the world, am eager to put 2020 behind us. What a year!

The pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. The political year displayed just how divided we are. There are many beloved who are still with us, but upon another shore. I also know that the pain and disruption is still with us, and will remain with us for a while.

Yet. Yet, even so. This is a new year and a year so full of promise and hope. I’m excited! But before 2020 is a memory we put behind us, a couple of observations: God is faithful. This is not news, we have always known it. But how powerfully it has been demonstrated, and continues to be demonstrated. Reality has surrounded and embodied words we have long used, God is our strength and shield. A very present help in times of trouble. Can anyone doubt it? Let’s give thanks to the God who continues to hold us up.

Trinity is faithful. I want to call this to your mind and in the same breath say, “Thank you.” Back in March when the pandemic swept among us and our world was turned upside down, I reminded you that the Great Commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. A second commandment is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. It is my prayer that years from now when some future church historian is writing our book, he/she will say every decision made put love for and safety of the community and the church family before all other considerations. Over the past nine months we have made some hard, agonizing decisions but I believe that they reflect who we are and what we value. In the midst of all this, our congregation has been profoundly faithful in supporting the church and even more in supporting our outreach into the community. You should feel justifiably proud.

Our commission is ever before us. 2021 promises to offer a return to a new normal. We are looking forward to coming back! But I firmly believe that the experiences of this years is causing many people to re-evaluate their lives. THEY NEED THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST! Our commission, our message, our work is more important now than ever. We may be looking forward to taking a sigh of relief but we cannot rest from our labors. God is sending us into the world. It is a new year. It is a new world.

But it is the eternal hope that we bear and proclaim. Welcome 2021!
May God bless us, every one.

Larry Lenow

Pastor’s Corner October

Pastor’s Corner October

The old adage says, “God gave us two ears and one mouth and there is a reason for that.”  That message is timely.  In our world there is a lot of shouting.  There is a lot of talking at each other but precious little talking to each other.  Or, to put it another way, if we continually pray for God to bring us together and to give us unity then we also must be willing to do our part, to do the hard work.  I believe that in these times that involves the willingness to listen and to learn.

A while back, I’m guessing a couple of years ago, I had the privilege of hearing the Rev. Benjamin Campbell at a UMW General Meeting here at Trinity.  He was speaking about his latest book, Richmond’s Unhealed History.  The unhealed history is the history of race dating colonial Virginia to modern Richmond.  I was, of course, familiar with Ben Campbell and his work through Richmond Hill and Micah but it was the first time I heard him in person.  I left with three “take-aways”, three impressions:  The first was how little I knew.  Coming into that presentation I literally “did not know what I did not know.”  The second was how gentle yet compelling Ben was in his presentation.  Race can be such a hot button topic, but his was a calming voice.  The third was that, despite the impressive attendance at that meeting, I wished he had a wider audience.

Hosting Ben Campbell as our 2020 Dillard Forum speaker, Oct. 11-13 is our contribution to the racial healing of Richmond.  Part history lesson, part hope for the future, I believe that we do our part with our willingness to listen and to learn.  If we truly do want to come together and be united then surely the first step to is try to understand our neighbor, even if we may not agree with our neighbor.  That’s how conversations begin.  In 2020 that is no small thing.  It’s easy.  All you have to do is go to the Church website, and log on for the livestream Dillard Forum (just like we do for worship).  Church, let’s do our part.


P.S.  I also would like say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in my “carding” for my 60th birthday.  I was truly overwhelmed with over a hundred cards.  I very much feel you love and support (although some of you have a wicked sense of humor!  I enjoyed it very much!). Thanks again and please know that the love is absolutely mutual.  -LL