Faith Opportunities 2016

new_members_class_wide_t_nvBELONGING:  New/Prospective Membership Class

Church membership offers gracious opportunities to grow in God’s grace and to share the wondrous journey of the Christian faith.  Beginning in February, this bi-monthly class will be offered every third Sunday, following the 10:30 a.m. worship service.  A sign-up sheet will be available in the church office.  Contact Rev. Norman (847-621-9160 or [email protected]) for more information.

Confirmation_Color.preview2016 CONFIRMATION

Are you an 8th-12th grade student ready to grow deeper in your Christian faith?  Confirmation is the time when you are invited to make the personal decision to confirm the vows of your baptism.  Students join together to explore who Christ is, what it means to know Jesus through a life-long relationship, along with how we serve Christ’s ministry as United Methodists.  Confirmation is not simply a “rite of passage” or “tradition to be followed.”   Instead, it is meant to be another step – a crucial step – in pursuing the rest of one’s life in personal relationship with Christ Jesus.

Students need to have been baptized to be confirmed.  If they have not been baptized there will be an information meeting before the Confirmation Kick-Off for parents and students; a special confirmation baptism ceremony will be scheduled.

Our planning for this special event in the life of the church is underway and will continue with a soon-to-be scheduled Information Session.  The 2016-17 Confirmation registration will open in April 2016.  Join us on the upcoming Confirmation Journey!  Questions?  Watch for more information, or contact Jacki Bogolia or Rev. Colleen M. Norman.


I am grateful for those who have expressed an interest in participating in this special
ministry.  Through the use of Congregational Care Ministers, led by the Pastor, great pastoral care will be provided.  Congregational Care Ministers will be members of the congregation, who serve with the Pastor, to provide pastoral care.  Congregational Care Ministers make hospital visits, telephone persons in need of contact, meet one-on-one with persons in need of a listening ear, as well as prayer and encouragement.  CCMs will also offer support to grieving families.  If you feel called to explore or become a Congregational Care Minister at Trinity UMC, mp, please use the sign-up sheet, located in the church office.  Contact Rev. Colleen M. Norman with any questions.

I need to get back to preparing this weekend’s sermon.  But please know how excited I am about all of the upcoming events and possibilities here at our church!  See you in worship!

Pastor Colleen

Embrasing God’s Vision

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of My family, you did it to Me.”
(Matthew 25:45)

doveI have long loved a story told, now more than 500 years ago, by Francis of Assisi about “the first day of the rest of his life” – about the day when his heart and vision were transformed by the Spirit of Christ.  Francis spoke of being a nominal Christian, one who knew about Christ, but to whom the Spirit of Christ as actually a stranger.  On the most important day of his life, when forced to interact with a leper, the touch resulted in the instant healing of the leper and in an instant change within Francis’ heart and spirit.  And from that day forward, Francis of Assisi felt called to seek out and discover the Christ in everyone…no matter how broken or “insignificant” they appeared to be.

I was reminded of this wondrous telling while pondering the rollercoaster-like journey of the 2015 year and anticipating the year to come.  I have long been in the habit of seeking God’s peace and joy and needed vision when confronted with any new beginning. Both as an individual Christian and as a pastor in Christ’s Family – as one called to love and lead, I have learned the irreplaceable value of always seeking my Lord’s provision.  As the 2016 threshold drew closer, I gratefully engaged in the privilege of prayerfully seeking God’s vision and grace.  Seeking the Lord’s vision and grace is a habit and privilege which our Savior heartily condones!

As the Holy Spirit leads us forward in the ministry of Trinity UMC, mp, an upcoming blessing will be the celebration of Commitment Sunday, on January 10th.  As a faith community known for striving to grow in God’s grace and to offer Christ’s caring and compassion to persons and families in need, we will celebrate the promised commitment of our 2016 Lay Leadership Team, during our 10:30 a.m. worship service.  We will also receive your completed 2016 financial Commitment Cards during this special service.  We pray you will join us as we worship the Lord with our commitment to His ongoing ministry!  And don’t forget to invite/bring someone to church with you.

As we embrace God’s vision of newness and growth for the future, please choose to be a faithful steward of God’s graciousness in and for your life.  As we move forward into this new year, we will continue to make certain and specific appeals for your involvement in the ministry of your church; please choose to faithfully give of your time, talents, finances, and other bestowed resources…to be God’s blessing within and through this place.  Pray for and be kind to those on our 2016 Leadership Team.  Pray for and support the ministry of this church.  And join me in rejoicing in and embracing God’s vision, as it continues to unfold.  May it be so for you and for me.  Amen!

Rev. Colleen M. Norman

What Are You Waiting For?

“Take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.
Reach out and experience the breadth!  Test its length!  Plumb the depths!
Rise to the heights!  Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”

Ephesians 3:18-19, MSG

Waiting-For-ChristmasThe Christmas season is almost fully upon us – a time that reminds us to be thankful for every blessing, and a time pregnant with promise.  But as we await Christmas 2015, what are we truly waiting for?  In truth, if we are confused about the real meaning and promises of Christmas, we are likely to miss the full blessings of this wondrous time of year.  As we are moving through the 2015 Advent season and to the threshold of the 2015 Christmas season, then into the new year of 2016, what are you waiting for?

The Christmas season is an exciting time of year – a time which invites, encourages us to faithfully seek the Spirit’s guiding and settling balance in and for our lives.  We have been on an Advent journey, which will lead us to recalling and celebrating the promises proclaimed by the prophets, angels, wise men and shepherds, and Mary, the mother of our Savior and Lord.  The fulfillment of the promises of a coming Savior is what happened now more than two thousand years ago and happens now within the hearts of all who welcome Him.  We are enjoying the music of Christmas and the lighting of the Advent wreath.  A grand blessing we have already received is the renewed joy and hope of this wonderful season.

We are joyously anticipating the Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered newness to which our God is inviting and leading us!  During this 2015 year, this church has been blessed to accomplish a variety of responsibilities and needed tasks. And while we still have other projects needing to be completed, new ministries have already begun and others are being planned.  The coming new year promises to be a gracious and powerful unfolding of the Savior’s ongoing work and will within and through Trinity UMC, mp.

As we continue to strive to attend to building and property needs, along with the ministerial needs of the church, we are grateful for the generosity of those led to contribute to our Year-End Giving Campaign; to date, more than $6,000 has been given to help us finish this year strong!  Another vital way to give to the church during this special time of year is with a Christmas Gift; from Sunday, December 13  through December 24, Christmas Gift  envelopes will be available.  Since this special offering has traditionally served to help Trinity UMC, mp to, in part, meet our NIC Apportionment obligation, we ask for your generosity. We are thankful for the generosity of Trinity UMC, mp family members and friends!  Come, and be blessed by the joy of the season!

Pastor ColleenJoin us as we continue the ADVENT journey, as we rediscover the joy and promise of Christmas!

Pastor’s Bible Study Class to Begin in October

Pastor Colleen. . . begins next Sunday, Oct. 4th, at 9:15 a.m.  Bring your Bible and join us, as we begin the wondrous adventure of the book of Acts!  (This class will be facilitated by Rev. Colleen M. Norman and will convene in Trinity Hall.)

Real Rest

“Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble
and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

spiritual-restIt was mid-May when I received a first call from my District Superintendent, informing me of a probable pastoral re-appointment.  A few years ago, after almost twenty years of serving congregations – small, medium, and large – as pastor, I confessed that I’d never really taken the time necessary for real rest and renewal…for plain relaxation and fun.  And so, 2015 was to have been the year for taking that nice vacation I’d kept postponing for years; this was to have been the year for “exhaling”, for taking time to complete the long unfinished book manuscript now stored on a dusty thumb drive.  2015 was to be the year for deeper reflection and for allowing my soul to quietly bask and rejoice in my journey…in my ongoing journey with Jesus.   But an unexpected abundance of special local church and NIC events, of ecumenical cluster meetings and community organizations’ affairs, along with continuing visits and prayers on behalf of critically ill church Family members in hospice care, in addition to added efforts to resolve a most resilient city water bill issue all came together to ensure little-to-no time for even getting most things done.

It was mid-May when I received a first call about a probable pastoral re-appointment and as I examined my calendar – already filled with upcoming events through November – I simply couldn’t see how I’d possibly find either the time or energy needed for attending to every necessary task!  How could I hope to add bringing adequate closure to one longtime pastoral adventure, relocate office and parsonage, while also discerning how God would have me begin and go forth in what would be an utterly new place?  I quickly, resolutely sought the answer(s) I needed, until I finally chose to simply cease my struggling and “be still” in the presence of my Savior and best Friend.

As Jesus spoke to yet another gathered crowd, he refused to mince words when addressing the matter of the bone-deep weariness many of us so often feel in the course of our daily living.  Our culture isn’t geared toward rest.  And even in the church we find little wrong with cramming our Sundays with meetings and other sessions because of other weekday commitments.  The wonder of simple worship and rest on the Sabbath is blithely forfeited as we strive for accomplishing too much.  When Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” He wasn’t simply speaking about physical tiredness.  Jesus was speaking about the physical, mental and spiritual fatigue resulting from trying to “do the right thing to please God” – by struggling and striving as if attending to our varied tasks somehow earns us true salvation.  Our help, our real rest, our true salvation comes from trusting God’s promises, power and grace to make our way and take us from strength to strength!  Real rest isn’t a blessing we can earn, but must merely receive from the One who knows and cares and provides.

In these coming weeks, I’ll be sharing how the Spirit of the Lord is leading me as pastor of this faith community.  What I can now share is my desire to see a Prayer Ministry, a lay-driven Pastoral Care Ministry, and a Cancer Care Ministry developed and flourishing at TUMC; if you’re interested in any of these ministries, please contact me at [email protected]  Also, our Minister of Christian Education, Jacki Bogolia, will be encouraging your participation in the newest United Methodist Disciple Bible Study.  Additional information about this special opportunity will be provided as one of Sunday’s announcements.  You should also know that, as the 2015 Annual Church/Charge Conference – scheduled in the afternoon of Sunday, November 15th  — I’ll be in conversation with our current church leadership team members and with the other Nominations & Leadership Development team members in devising the “Church Leadership Team” nominees as we move into 2016.  Interested in serving as part of the church’s ministry in some way?  I invite you to be in touch with me!

Real rest?  Thankfully and by my God’s grace, I’m finding it!  May we keep one another and the ministry to which our Lord is calling us in our fervent prayers.

Peace & Grace,
Rev. Colleen M. Norman

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