I was asked this week to give my Impact Story for Trinity and I thought, huh, that’s interesting, because I’m not a member. I’m a staff person. Then I was reminded that our Intern gave her impact story. I said OK. Alright, I can follow along and so I decided to write an open letter to Grace Lindvall as she prepares to come and I think it works.

Dear Grace,

First of all I want to join with the many congregation members who have not had the chance to meet you in person and are so looking forward to welcoming you to Trinity for your first Sunday on July 12. It’s coming up quickly.

Be prepared to be amazed during our worship services. Processing into the church after great chatter and community building with the ushers who “ush”. That’s my verb here. If you are an usher you are a noun but what you do is “ush”. The youth acolytes who may or not be awake at this particular time of the morning that’s always fun. What the congregation doesn’t know is what happens before worship will not hurt them but you will be let in on some pretty amazing last minute secrets.

The most crucial piece back in the narthex is whether the lighter will light the acolyte candles and everyone engages in community prayer that the light will come and the darkness shall not put it out. Next you will have the opportunity to walk the long green mile either to the Pulpit side or the Lectern side. Now Grace try not to weave. No one has said that or mentioned to me that I weave as I sing and follow behind the acolytes and walk with the other minister. I don’t think anyone would mention this as criticism but rather as fun.

Grace you have probably heard that worship is most important for Trinity on its three legged stool – Worship, Study and Serve. Worship has and continues to be strong. I remember the first time I came to Trinity, in disguise, to worship and I sat in the back with the Bennett’s. They turned to me after the service and asked if I might be new in town and I said yes and since they enjoyed my singing boldly, not sinning boldly, but singing boldly during the worship service, I was invited to return to worship and consider joining the choir.

I have visited many churches Grace and this is one of simply a small handful that spoke to me as a single woman, sitting in the back, inviting me to come to church again. WOW! No husband. No children. Single woman come back to church. When I was called to Trinity six years and eight months ago I was welcomed from all points and parts of the organized church. Trinity is a welcoming community and made me feel right at home so early in my time here.

It was the folks on the outside, the non-members of Trinity who came to me with their rather odd questions. You see I have a history of being the first person and the first female to be ordained in the Charlotte Presbytery. Conversations would go like this: What are you doing these days DC? Oh, I am serving as a Temporary Associate Supply for Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. Smiles from me. Confused looks from the ones asking the questions. Trinity, huh, and without fail I would hear them ask questions like, are they alright over there, is everything OK? I looked at them puzzled, sure we’re great. There’s vision and direction. What are you talking about? They would explain the history of Trinity that they had heard somehow out in the world. Well Grace, this history, this story that lives on with some people out in the world has not been the body of faith I have found within these walls. I have found a diverse group of people like no other church I’ve served. Willing to ask the tough faith questions one to another but within a community of respect for each member.

Trinity is a church waiting for your leadership in the area of mission and outreach. I cannot imagine a more willing group ready to be led in mission and outreach experiences. Now here is a little secret. All point bulletin: asking for help with different jobs will not be with one or two responses. You will need to discover the secret of relationship. . . . relationship. . . . relationship. Because that’s what Trinity taught me during my time here. Spend time with these marvelous people. Get to know them as individuals. Get to know their gifts and let them into your life and you will be home Grace Lindvall. You will be home. Home in the South. Be ready. Tea is sweet. Ask three times, don’t stop with one. Yes ma’am and no ma’am go a long way.

All the best,