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Trinity Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC
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This Thanksgiving holiday will be unlike any we have ever experienced, but it will still be an opportunity to give thanks for God’s many blessings, even if our gatherings will be downsized beyond our desire. But as the coronavirus pandemic enters its third and largest surge so far, let us give thanks for all those working hard on the front line to treat patients, flatten the curve, and to get a safe and effective vaccine to the market. Let us also give thanks for all in our food industry, from the farmers to the grocers, who are still getting healthy food to our tables. Please know that you will be in my prayers on Thursday as you gather with a smaller version of your usual extended family, and I urge you to contact those who are not present by telephone, Zoom, Skype, or your preferred technology.  

The day after Thanksgiving is the time we decorate our Christmas tree and house, which we plan to do this year too, even though this Christmas is likely to be unlike any we have experienced. Maybe the season of Advent will be especially meaningful this year. After all, it is the season of preparing for the arrival (advent) of the Messiah (the Christ) whom God had promised and for whom Israel had been waiting with great expectations for over 500 years.

Hope, long deferred, can easily wane, but Advent teaches us that God, in God’s own time, acts decisively to deliver his people from adversity. So, even though this pandemic has lasted at least twice as long as we expected last spring, and is likely to last another nine months or so, let us remember that the God who promised to deliver Israel and did, will also do the same for us.  Isaiah wrote that God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We need to trust that God is still in control even in the midst of this slow motion crisis and that with patience, faith, hope, and love, we will get through this together. Thanks be to God!

I certainly enjoyed seeing many of your faces on Zoom last Sunday and am grateful to Anne Liddicote and Laura Piazza for planning this virtual Thanksgiving gathering. It was great! I hope you will make a special effort to tune into our virtual worship service online during Advent. We will light Advent candles and hear scripture talk about waiting and watching for God’s great gift to the world. We will also be having some version of our Family Bell Service and our traditional candlelight communion service on Christmas Eve. I am also trying to figure how to create virtual Christmas caroling on Zoom.

So, let us enjoy our Thanksgiving meal this week and raise a glass to toast the grace and love of God that we experience every day through the presence of the risen Christ in our hearts, in our congregation, and in the world. And remember: this too shall pass eventually, and we will be able to laugh again, and sing, and dance, and run and play with all those we love – in the flesh. Now, that will be some great incarnation! Can I get an Amen to that? May God bless us everyone!

Your thankful pastor and friend,
David
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UPDATE!
 
Thank you, thank you, to all of you who donated so generously to bring Christmas smiles to children from Wilburn Elementary. You raised enough funds for each of the 20 children that Trinity pledged to help to receive an age-appropriate book and for their parents to have a $40 Walmart gift card so they will have the means to buy their child a gift. In addition, each child will receive a Christmas goodie bag. This project to support 80 children was initiated by the New Hope Road Alliance of faith communities, and we're so proud of Trinity's participation and generous response.

Because of your generosity, the goal has been exceeded - by what amount, we're not quite sure as of yet, since checks are still being processed. If you would like to send in money to support the families of Wilburn this Christmas, the additional funds will be used to buy $20 Food Lion gift cards for families that are food insecure. As before, simply write 'Wilburn' in your memo line, and Louise, our Receiving Treasurer, will make sure to note your gift. We'll keep you posted as to what the final total of giving ends up being. Thank you!!
Please know that Trinity's elders, deacons, and staff are praying for you, your loved ones, and your friends as we follow state guidelines to restrict the spread of Covid-19. If you should have a care concern or celebration you'd like to share, please email David or the church office

As we continue to pay the church's unchanging monthly obligations, we remain sincerely grateful for your giving. Louise Taff, our Receiving Treasurer, is checking the mail frequently each week, making the deposits for the church. If you have questions about your giving, please email Louise.

If you did not receive your estimate of giving card in the mail, would you let Virginia in the church office know? Tap here to email Virginia.

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Trinity's in-person activities are suspended through Sunday, January 25th. Session will meet on Monday, January 18th to determine if the suspension of activities should continue, based on health guidelines.
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