Good morning. I am Kathleen Schneider and it is my privilege to share my thoughts with you about this entity called Trinity.
My faith journey began here at Trinity Presbyterian Church on a beautiful Sunday morning in June of 1985. My family and I had just moved to Charlotte and my husband and I made a conscious decision to find a church home. We came to Trinity following a road aptly named Providence, arriving on the first Sunday seminary intern Steve Goyer ever preached a sermon. We were welcomed from a hot, sunny morning into a cool, breathtakingly beautiful sanctuary by warm, life-affirming people.
Steve’s sermon was clear and brief – my husband was grateful – and he suggested we accept the invitation to the after-service coffee. We entered the parlor and moments later Mary Louise Stewart approached us at high speed – smiling her big smile – both hands outstretched, asking “Who are you?”
This dynamo of a woman forever after claimed to have given birth to both Bob and me.
She soon learned of our 5 year old ready for Kindergarten daughter Lauren and our 2 year old ready for preschool son Ian. She disappeared, quickly found Claude Sanford, then Superintendent of Trinity’s Weekday School, and hustled him back to meet us. Claude provided us with all the details we needed and the next day, Ian was assigned the final place in the two year old class. Providence Road indeed.
It took me years to realize the importance of my having come to Trinity. I was without a church home for a long time. I now realize I was without a faith journey of my own for even longer, having grown up in a family filled with the religious tension of a Protestant mother and a Catholic father. It is here at Trinity – through countless study groups, profound messages from our pulpit, the teachings of Montreat and Gilchrist speakers, and the open, honest, questioning spirit of fellow Trinity members that my religious education has been exponentially enhanced.
I am grateful beyond words for the spirit and purpose which created this community of faith called Trinity.
I am especially grateful to all those who have gone before – for their vision and faith in this mission church built “way out Providence Road.” I – we – are all the beneficiaries of their commitment and discipleship. And, personally, my gratitude goes to all those who have laughed and cried and listened and learned with me over these thirty plus years – thank you, to all of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I stand before you today, looking forward with great anticipation to what is to come for Trinity. I am grateful for the renewed energy and purpose and mission we are experiencing. I am grateful for the leadership of Steve and Grace as they chart our way forward. I am grateful for the vision reflected in the prophetic words of our theme during this season of Stewardship.
Our Future. Our Faith. Our Time.
And I believe with my entire being these words memorialized and framed outside Dr. Patrick’s study all those years ago. Words of the affirmation of the presence of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – here at Trinity.
I close with those words – with that sentiment:
“Console thyself – thou wouldst not be seeking me, if I hadst not already found thee.”
Amen and amen.