Monday, October 1, 2018

Thanksgiving Baskets Downtown
Registration for 2018
Saturday, October 13, 2018 9 am - 1 pm

Six registration locations:

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
425 Cleveland Ave SW Canton 44702

Stark Social Workers Network
1221 Harrisburg Rd NE, Canton 44705

J. Babe Stearn Community Center
2628 13th St SW, Canton 44710

St. Anthony/All Saints Catholic Church
1530 11th St SE, Canton 44707

God's Heartbeats to the City
1525 Shorb Ave NW, Canton 44703

St. Joseph's Catholic Church
322 3rd St SE, Massillon 44646

Late Registration - Saturday, October 20th (Two locations)
Stark Social Workers Network 9 am - 11 am
St. Paul's Episcopal Church 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

ONE REGISTRATION PER ADDRESS
*MUST BE PRESENT TO REGISTER*
NO PHONE OR ABSENTEE REGISTRATION

Bring Proof of current address and photo ID
Stark County residents only

Food Distribution: Saturday, November 17th
9 am - 3 pm at St. Paul's Episcopal Church


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Eulogy and Obituary for Loretta Wynn Doll


Eulogy for Loretta Doll
April 18, 2018
by Rev. John Partridge

In 1915 the world was different than the one in which we now live.  In December of that year, Frank Sinatra was born, President Woodrow Wilson married Edith Galt in Washington D.C., WWI raged in Europe, heavier than air aircraft were still largely experimental, Ernest Shackleton’s team attempting to cross Antarctica overland was stranded as their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the ice and sank, and into that world, Loretta Wynn was born in Canton, Ohio on December 3rd, 1915.
Loretta lived with her parents, John and Loretta, and eventually attended, and graduated from McKinley High School in 1934, and then met and married Glen Doll on May 27th, 1939. Before too long, Glen and Loretta welcomed Sally and Ted to their family as well and, in 1950 they moved from Canton to what was then a very rural Perry Township.  By 1955 they had joined Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church which would, in 1968, become the Trinity United Methodist Church.
Although they did a little camping and traveling in the early years, Loretta and Glen both liked staying at home and working the land, planting a garden, growing things, and then canning their produce.  They liked to design the landscaping for the two homes that Glen had built, and then, periodically, or perhaps continually, redesigning and reworking it to suit their tastes and their sense of style.  Maybe it was this sense of style that led Loretta into other adventures...

The full text can be found here: Eulogy and Obituary for Loretta Doll

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Different Spring To-Do List



I know that many of you will be reading this after Easter even though I am writing it in March.  But the arrival of Easter and spring often signify a flurry of activity.   Many of us are already making lists of things that need to be done outside in our flower beds, gardens and lawns as well as a host of things that we put off during cold weather.  If we have children, there are even more things being added to our schedules with the arrival of spring sports and other activities.  But in the midst of all this busy-ness, I hope that you will also take the time to put a few spiritual things on your to-do lists.  Spring and Easter are filled with images that remind us of God and of spiritual things.  And so, in the midst of our rush to get things done, I encourage you to take some time out to appreciate the gift that spring really is, to “be still” and listen to the heartbeat of God, and to notice the ways in which we are surrounded by the miraculous. 

What follows is far from being an all-inclusive list, but are just a few suggestions to get you started.

·        Sit.  That’s all.  Just sit.  Once it gets warm enough, find a place on your porch or in the back yard, pull up a lawn chair, and just sit.  Leave your phone in the house.  Feel the sun on your face.  Listen to the wind, the birds, the neighbors, squirrels, or whatever it is that’s going on.  Now remember the silence of the winter and give thanks.  You’re alive and all around you the world is emerging from death and the grave of winter.  Remember the resurrection of Jesus at Easter, and imagine what your new birth will be like.

·        Look for the signs.  Flowers, trees, and animals of all kinds have been buried in the earth, or been dormant, in hibernation, or have migrated for thousands of miles.  Now they are emerging from the earth, reawakening, and returning from far away.  Within the boundaries of your lawn you can find dozens of examples of rebirth and resurrection.  Give thanks for all of these little miracles.

·        Smell. Seriously. Take a moment. Snow doesn’t smell like much, but now your yard and your neighborhood smell different.  Pause for a moment.  Take a deep breath.  Smell the fragrance of spring flowers, the aroma of dirt, earth, and grasses that are warmed by the sun.  They are alive and growing.  Even the more unpleasant smells are new.  Rejoice in all the new-ness around you and give thanks that you can smell, that you have life, and health, and can appreciate these gifts.

·        Touch. Lean down and look at the spring flowers, the buds on the trees, or even the tender shoots of grass.  They are so small, so fragile, and so tender that anything but the slightest touch might damage them.  And yet they survived the winter, and they’ve pushed their way through the soil or forced open the tips of a woody branch to emerge into your world.  Rejoice that you are there to see it but also consider how God has made something so small, so tender, so fragile, and yet at the same time, so determined, so tough, so persistent, and so resilient.  Remember that the same God made you.  Toughness, resilience, persistence, tenderness, love, and compassion all live within you.  Give thanks for the gifts God has given to you and the ways that he has brought you through your wintery trials.

·        Your turn.  Consider.  Contemplate.  Be still.  Listen.  In what other ways will God reveal himself to you?








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Monday, March 19, 2018

How "Local" is Mission?


How “Local” is Mission?

Recently, I have heard folk from Trinity discussing the need for our church to focus on, and to encourage the support of, more local missions.  My impression was that the speakers meant to say that we might be focusing too intently on missions that weren’t local and that local missions were more important.   To be fair, one of those speakers was deliberate in saying that other missions were important, but the implication was that our focus might have shifted too far in another direction.  I admit that my impression of that conversation was probably shaped by other churches where I have served, because I’ve heard that opinion expressed in other places before.  My first reaction was to dismiss that idea as wrong, but as I thought about it, I decided that I ought to look in our church budget and see where our dollars were really going and next I decided that I should probably write about it because if a few people are talking about it, the odds are good that a lot of people are thinking about it.

Before I get into the details of what I found, I want to remember why it is that we do missions.  First, in Matthew 28:18, as Jesus said goodbye to his disciples before he ascended into heaven he gave us what is now called the Great Commission saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” And in Luke’s version of this story, found in Acts 1:8, Jesus says, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Our calling, as the followers of Jesus is not just to stay in Jerusalem, but to go share the gospel throughout the entire world.  With that in mind, I know that caring for those people nearest to us has to have some priority because if we don’t do it, who will?  But, at the same time, the good we can do in other places for a small amount of money, is also vitally important.  And so with that in mind, I looked at our January finance report to see where Trinity spent its time and money and divided those places into the same kind of categories that Jesus used.  Instead of using Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and all the earth, I translated that into local, Ohio, National, and International.

While some of the ministries we support were a little difficult to neatly put in one of these categories, and without asking what mission the UMW supported, I counted 22 local missions, 2 Ohio missions, 7 National missions, and 4 International missions.  Local missions were things like Perry Helping Perry, Neighbor Helping Neighbor, the Homeless Outreach Team, the SAM Center, Canton Calvary Mission, RAHAB ministries, Aunt Suzie’s Cancer Wellness, Guidestone, and our own Trinity youth.  Ohio missions were things like Flat Rock Homes in Cleveland, and the Kairos prison ministry.  I classified things like Disaster relief through UMCOR, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Red Bird Mission, including our mission trip to The Joy Center, as National missions.  And finally, there were four International missions such as Zoe ministries, Farmer to Farmer, Heifer International, and Africa University.  Financially, the breakdown of these categories was, Local $10,727, Ohio $100, National $7,739, and International $1300.  It was interesting to note that as far as I can tell, all of the missions in the International category were given by our young people from your generous giving to the noisy offering.

Ultimately, I think that we are finding a good balance in these categories but if you have any concerns I invite you to share them with me, or Jan Gash and our missions team.  In total, the generous people of Trinity gave nearly $20,000 to these missions and that is both incredible and commendable.  The people of Trinity have good and generous hearts, and it shows.  At the same time, even this generous level of giving adds up to less than 10 percent of our budget, so maybe we do have something to think about.





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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Leaders Lead from the Front




General George Patton demanded much from those under his command, but he never asked them to do anything that he wasn’t willing to do himself.  During the heat of battle, General Patton demanded that his troops only sleep once every two or three days, but he did that himself.  Being his driver was known to be a dangerous assignment, because George Patton was often so close to the battle that he got shot at and lost at least one Jeep to shell fire.  General George Patton led from the front and intended for his officers and men to follow his example.

This is also a repeated theme in the writings of the Apostle Paul.  Paul often says things like “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1), and “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” (Philippians 3:17).  But Paul also expected the members of the church to live their lives the same way saying, “And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” (1 Thessalonians 1:7)  Our calling is not only to hear about Jesus, and read about Jesus, but, as much as possible, to live like Jesus so that others can learn from our example.

While this applies to every believer, I believe that it is especially true for those in leadership.  Just as it was in the time of the Apostles, people today still look to their leaders to model what it means to be a follower.  This is why many people are so disappointed when our heroes fall, or when our elected representatives and other government officials act in ways that we think are inappropriate.  As a pastor, I find this to be especially challenging.  

While I try to be a good example of how to lead a Christian life, I know that I often fall short.  But, at the same time, because I know that others are watching, I often try to lead from the front.  While I can’t come to every event, I try to pass out food at Perry Helping Perry, bag potatoes with the Society of St. Andrew, help where I can with the Homeless Outreach Team (H.O.T.) and participate in other ministries of the church.  This is also why I go on mission trips to Kentucky and Liberia.  I realize that some of the things that I am doing may be new to you.  But I hope that when you see me doing something new, you might ask yourself if maybe God might be calling you to do something new as well.

I’m obviously not perfect, but I am trying to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and I hope you are too.  But as we follow Jesus together, please remember that just as the believers in Macedonia and Achaia were watching the example of the Thessalonians, your friends, family, and coworkers are watching your example too.  Your life may be the only Jesus that they ever see.

Will you be leading from the front?



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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Important Preparations

Advent isn’t about being warm, or having the house well stocked, or even about feeling festive on Christmas morning.
As we enter December, we are also entering the season of Advent.  Advent, much like the season of Lent before Easter, is meant to be a season of preparation.
But what does that mean?
Honestly, an easy way to think about it is the same way we think about preparing for many other things during this time of the year.  We know that winter is coming, and with it our usual mix of snow, ice, and cold weather.  And so, in preparation, many of us have spent time digging our winter coats, hats, mittens, scarves, and other things from the backs of closets.  We’ve stocked up on salt for the driveway and made sure that our snow shovels and snow blowers are ready to go.  Similarly, we have begun preparing our homes for Christmas by pulling our decorations out of the garage, attic, basement, crawlspace, or wherever else we’ve stored them since last year.  And we’re making plans to bake cookies, make candy, bake pies, and whatever else needs done to make us feel “ready” for the arrival of Christmas day.
Some of us, and I am one of them, need this time.  It is sometimes hard for me to feel festive at Christmas.  I drift more easily toward “humbug” than to “Ho ho ho.”  And so to prepare, I deliberately try to listen to Christmas music, and watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and other classic Christmas specials that we grew up with, along with various Hallmark Christmas movies on television.
But Advent isn’t about being warm, or having the house well stocked, or even about feeling festive on Christmas morning.
Advent is about our heart condition.
Advent asks us to think about whether or not our hearts are ready to receive the Christ child at Christmas.  Advent asks us if we are ready to accept the greatest gift that God has ever offered to us.  And so, for four weeks, we are offered this season of preparation.  This is a time for us to consider the condition of our hearts.  To read, and to listen to the stories of scripture, to fellowship and sing with others and, just as we are preparing our homes, to prepare our hearts so that we will be truly “ready” for Christmas and the arrival of God’s greatest gift to humanity.
So consider this an invitation to the season of Advent.  Come with us on a journey together.  Let us spend time worshipping together, singing together, and studying together.  I invite you to be a part of something bigger than yourself.  Perhaps to pick up an Advent devotional and have a few moments of daily quiet time alone with God.
You wouldn’t dream of being snowed in this winter without coats and hats, shovels and salt, and a pantry full of food (with a few cookies and fudge).
You want to be prepared.
The Savior of the world is coming.  God’s greatest gift.
Please take the time to prepare your heart as well.
Blessings,
Pastor John

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

What “Mission” Looks Like

I know that Charge Conference seasons is upon us, and I know that the Nominating Committee has started to meet and will begin, by the time you read this, to think about and ask people to consider their role at Trinity Church for next year.  But before we get too far down that road, I want to take some time to talk about our trip to The Joy Center.  I’ve written before about why we go on these trips and we’ve made lists of what we did, but I want to have a slightly different conversation this time.  While I will talk about what we did, I want to talk more about people than about projects.

Our team was made up of representatives from two churches, Trinity and Sugarcreek United Methodist Church.   Because of the generosity of our people, and the people of Sugarcreek, we were able to accomplish a great deal.  Many of us worked on one large project, a bridge, which was even larger than The Joy Center originally estimated.  Originally, we expected to build a 23 foot footbridge, but when we arrived at the worksite and started measuring, we discovered that to stay above the water all the way across the creek, we would need a much longer bridge and the finished product, including the ramps at the end, was 43 feet long.  We also worked on a kitchen remodeling project, as well as many small projects around The Joy Center such as weeding, cleaning, reorganizing, and of course, delivering another trailer full of donated goods.

But again, that’s all about projects.  “Mission” is much more than that because a bridge, a kitchen, and these other things aren’t important by themselves.  The reason that these things are important is because of the people who need them and use them.  On our previous trips to Kentucky we met Paula who has been blind since birth.  Somewhere along the line, someone taught her to knit and Paula decided that this was the way that God had given her to be useful.  She knits constantly.  She knits prayer shawls and afghans, and over the years has knitted hundreds of prayer shawls which have been anointed, blessed, and given away as a tangible expression of God’s love to the people of their community, and to people around the world.  Last spring, the foot bridge that allowed Paula and Dennis to cross the creek and get their mail was washed away in a flood following some torrential rains.  While Paula is blind, her husband Dennis gets out of breath walking across his yard or around their tiny house.  Without a bridge, Dennis had two choices; climb down into the creek, cross the creek on a plank that he rescued from the ruins of his old bridge, climb back up the other side, get his mail, and then do it all over again to get home, or follow the driveway past his house and past two neighbors’ houses, to the next bridge, then walk up the road that same distance, and then go back the same way.  Our bridge means that not only can Dennis get his mail, but now Paula can use it to meet her ride to the Wednesday women’s Bible Study.  Holding tightly to Dennis on her first trip across the creek, ever, she was so excited and kept saying, “It’s so long!” 

We also spent a day putting up a ceiling and walls in a kitchen and dining room but again, it was the people that made that project important.  Sue has always been the caretaker of her family.  She takes in kids without parents, takes care of her siblings, in laws, and anyone else who needs help.  When her sister needed a place to stay, Sue invited her sister and her family to move in and Sue’s husband started dividing their house in two.  He built walls and started building a new kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, but just as he got started, he suddenly died.  That left Sue with half a house and about twenty unfinished projects that she didn’t have the skills to finish.  While we didn’t have the skills or the time to finish all of them, we made a dent and made her house just a little more livable.

Something else we don’t often talk about is what we do when we aren’t working.  While a team is working, someone is often taking a break.  Depending on age, or ability, or the availability of tools and materials, someone is often resting, or waiting.  At one point while two of us ran into town (between the driving and the shopping we were gone for two or three hours) most of the team had nothing to do.  But during those times, we sit with the people, and their families, neighbors, friends, or whoever stops by, and we talk.  We talk about our lives, about their lives, we tell stories, we tell jokes, and sometimes, when it’s appropriate, we talk about church and about Jesus.

So you see, while our trips are built around projects, they aren’t really about projects… they’re about people.  Since many of the people we talked to (and even more who watched from a distance) don’t go to church, our projects were just a door that allowed us to have a conversation.  Our projects, even at The Joy Center, were a way for us to show the people of Big Creek and Clay County, Kentucky that they aren’t forgotten, that people care about them and love them, and most importantly, that Jesus loves them and has not forgotten them.

At the Joy Center, all those smaller projects reminded the staff, the volunteers, and everyone at the Big Creek Church that they aren't forgotten and Jesus and his church still love them.  Thanks to the generosity of Goldie Bolitho and our Trinity quilters, the crafters at Big Creek Church will have enough supplies to keep them busy for months to come and they’ve hidden away enough yarn to supply Paula’s knitting for most of the next year.

Although we often talk about money or about projects, in the end, mission is always about people.
Won’t you consider being a part of what we are doing here at Trinity Church?


No matter who you are, you can make a difference.