Happy 2017!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

After a slow start to the new year and an exciting Clemson win (no hard feelings all you elephants), we are back to our regularly scheduled programming on Monday nights.

For the first two weeks ( Jan. 16 and 23) we will be doing some New Year, New You brainstorming. Except it’s New Year, New/Better Meeting Society/Church. Come ready to discuss who we want be, what we want to do, and who we want to help in 2017 and ready to do some long range planning. New comers are always welcome – fresh perspective and ideas are always so helpful! 

“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people puck grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” 

So what kinda fruit do we want to give? My vote is blackberries or peaches – especially if we can give them in cobbler form 🙂

The Meeting Society Holiday Schedule

The Holidays are upon us! Please consider joining Trinity UMC and The Meeting Society at some of our upcoming events!
Fri. Nov. 18 – Sanctuary Cleaning Day 10am-1pm Come help if you are able.
Sun. Nov. 20 – Third Sunday THANKSGIVING Dinner Y’all don’t want to miss this! Come to the fellowship hall after worship for a delicious Thanksgiving meal with the whole congregation.
Mon. Nov. 21 @ 6pm – Hanging of the Greens We’re decorating the Sanctuary! It was a BLAST last year, and I know this year will be just as fun.  The UMW will be providing a meal for all who help decorate!
Mon. Nov. 28 @ 6:30pm – TMS Advent Study Start
Sat. Dec. 3 – Third Annual Thankmus @ 6 pm – ??? at the Adams The Meeting Society’s Annual Holiday Party.
Sun. Dec 4 @ 6:30pm – Charge Conference  Officers of the church are expected to be there (Admin Council members which also include Committee Chairs)
NOTE:  The Meeting Society is our highlighted ministry for this meeting.
Mon. Dec. 5 @ 6:30pm- TMS Advent Study
Tues. Dec 6 @ 7:00pm – A Christmas Carol by storyteller Tim Lowry.  Invite your  neighbors, co-workers, and friends!
Mon. Dec. 12 @ 6:30pm – TMS Advent Study 
Wed. Dec. 14 @ 5pm – Christmas Caroling on the Portico
Mon. Dec. 19 @ 6:30pm – TMS Advent Study
Sat. Dec. 24 Christmas Eve Service


He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love mercy,

and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

What does it mean to “do justice?” What does it mean to “love mercy?”

This week we discussed justice, mercy, and forgiveness – primarily in the context of crime and punishment in America. We had a really fruitful conversation, and even managed to avoid high-school-English-class flashbacks to the book Crime and Punishment (alternate title: That Really Long Russian Book I Totally Did Not Get, to the Supreme Disappointment of Mr. Favino).

First off, we discussed a recent podcast with Bryan Stevenson, a well-known Death Row defense attorney and leader of the Equal Justice Initiative. In the podcast, Stevenson told numerous compelling stories, including that of Walter McMillen, a man falsely accused of murder who was exonerated years after. In his short career, Stevenson has gotten over 100 people off of Death Row. We discussed our feelings on the death penalty amongst the group, with many of us expressing conflicting opinions: on the one hand, none of us can relate to victims and victims’ families who have been subjected to terrible crimes. It hard to say what we would or would not feel. On the other hand, we brought up the issue of the (hopefully) rare occurrence of a false conviction, such as McMillen’s. Moreover, is not God’s forgiveness and saving grace accessible to all? Who are we to say who deserves it and who does not?

We also discussed racial disparities in our prison system – African-American men are disproportionately imprisoned in America, and our imprisonment rates in the US are the highest in the world. Racism is easy to spot when it is person-to-person, less so when it is caused by institutions and systems and government policies. Nevertheless, it is important we try to empathize – one person in the group told a story of how their views on the Black Lives Matter movement changed when they realized the point of it is to say black lives are equal, and deserved to be treated equally.

Building on that, we then moved to the story of Billy Moore, a convicted murderer who found God on Death Row. After his conversion, he wrote a letter to the family of the man he killed and apologized. To his surprise, they wrote back, saying that they forgave him and were praying for him. After years of struggle, Moore finally found the peace in his heart to forgive himself and move on. In 1991, years after his conversion, he was released from prison and now he travels around ministering to those in prison. Everywhere he goes, he asks this question: “can you forgive like they forgave me?”

Link to Bryan Stevenson podcast: http://thisiscriminal.com/episode-45-just-mercy-6-17-2016/

Link to USA / international prison statistics: http://www.prisonpolicy.org/global/2016.html

Link to Billy Moore story: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/forgiven/nW6tj/

Prayer requests:

  • Jensine: niece Claire and her eye procedure; brother-in-law Earl is deployed and taking military tests; mother Jill recovering from ACL surgery; peaceful election
  • Jay: grandmother Susan having physical and mental ailments
  • Taylor: younger brother got some playing time in football!