(Note: I learned some more stuff about Trinity today and that is in bold)
As promised, I visited Trinity Anglican Mission last night. It was actually a really good day; I was able to spend the afternoon hanging out downtown before Trinity and Grace
So a little background on Trinity: They were originally a Vineyard church, but have always not been your traditional Vineyard church. Although they have always been Evangelical, they
- receive the Eucharist weekly instead of monthly or quarterly
- the pastor preaches from the Lectionary instead of topical preaching
- there are 3 or 4 Scripture readings throughout the service
- worship music is more on the lines of hymns
One blog says:
When the pastors at Trinity sat down and reflected on their characteristics, they realized they were more Anglican than they were Vineyard. Instead of “switching” from one affiliation to another, they are, in a sense, “coming home” or finding their natural fit with the Anglican Mission.
So I’ve looked at Trinity some over the past couple of weeks, waiting for when I could visit. They have two locations, the Westside and the Eastside. The Eastside was established a year or two ago in order to meet a need in the congregation. Each parish (site) has three services: two in the morning, and one in the evening. Trinity holds to a “three streams” approach to worship, as previously mentioned on this blog. They areEvangelical, Liturgical, and Charismatic. Perhaps it’s better if you just read about them here! Trinity is part of the Anglican Mission in the Americas. The AMIA was established in 2000 to start up Anglican church plants. Trinity has many different ministries, and finds themself constantly looking for ways to serve Atlanta.
I decided to go to the 6pm service because I wanted to visit two churches on the same day, and because I assumed the morning services would be packed. Plus, from what my friend had told me about his visit to Trinity, I was curious whether the 6pm service would be any different. For example, the Mission has three services in their downtown location: Lauds, Morningsong, and Evensong. Both Lauds and Evensong are very liturgical, adapting their service from the Book of Common Prayer, with the only difference being Lauds singing hymns while Evensong sings more contemporary music. Morningsong is their family-friendly, “general” service.
I got to Trinity about 10 minutes early, and there were plenty of parking spots left. I walked into a big hallway with many stations and rooms. (I was surprised there weren’t any greeters) To my left was the entrance of the sanctuary, a little bit to my right was a coffee station, and in front of me was a coffee table with what I assumed to be the bulletin. There was also a little lounge area. I headed to grab coffee so I wouldn’t have to do so at Grace (drinking coffee right before Grace is a super duper horrible idea). As I walked towards the sanctuary, I stopped to look at the wall, and the shelves of books. The wall had many pictures of congregants being baptized by immersion (which was kinda surprising, but it all made sense today. I mean, I assume that although Anglicans do baby baptisms, they acknowledge both pouring and immersion). The shelves of books was their little bookstore! There was a little box at the leftmost shelf with a slot to deposit cash or a check for your book. I only briefly looked over the books, with my attention turning to the row they devoted to N.T. Wright. You know you’re at an Anglican church when….
I walked into the sanctuary (there were still no greeters!) and decided to sit as back as possible just in case the service went too long and I had to leave in time for Grace. (Ben said it lasted about 1 hour and 20 minutes, but that was based off the morning service so ya never know) The sanctuary was relatively big, about the same size as my Chinese church back home. There were 6 clusters of chairs, 2 at the left, 2 at the middle, and 2 at the right. If I had to guess, I would say the ones at the left had about 50 seats each, and the rest had maybe 75-100? So it seems to be a big church.
The worship band consisted of the female worship leader playing guitar, a guy on piano, another guy on the guitar, and a guy on the harmonica. I was expecting the procession of the cross, again, to start out the service, but the worship leader just simply asked everyone to stand if able, and started with an opening prayer, then a Scripture reading from 2 Samuel 12. We then sang 3 songs (10,000 Reasons, [another hymn I didn’t know wow I have a streak], Be Thou My Vision). She then read Psalm 51 and we sang Create in Me a Clean Heart, followed by I Am Not the Same (another song from Grace???? Is this a sign?). Someone else then read a Gospel reading, John 6:34-44, and it was time for announcements.
By now, at least 20 more people had entered the sanctuary. I would say the room was at a third capacity.
Kris McDaniel, the lead pastor for the Westside, then brought the Word. He has been with Trinity for a long time, and was the one who slowly introduced Anglican elements into the church. He actually had two sermons. His first one (his “freebie”) was on David and Bethsheba, with that as the prelude behind Psalm 51. David has always been acknowledged as a man after God’s own heart, but he was not where he was supposed to be. He eventually had every reason to continue his charade, but instead repents. Kris told us that our past is not nearly as important as our futures, and God doesn’t give up on us nearly as quick as we to give up on ourselves.
His “real” sermon was on Ephesians 4:1-16; the church has been going through Ephesians for some time now. He actually followed the Lectionary. Wow. To “live a life worthy of the call” is a high call to live in unity. Paul tries to adjust their expectations northward on God, on why we need grace. (Grace????? Haha.)
Kris then divided the rest of his time on two statements: how grace comes, and why we need grace.
Grace is the empowering presence of God that propels you and makes for you to be who God wants you to be. Grace comes through association to Jesus because He gives us power to overcome what makes us captive
He then gave us reasons why we need grace, and the sign of a mature believer:
- Grace enables you to equip one another
- Grace enables you to build up God’s body
- Grace reminds us that our being equipped and built up naturally leads to increased unity among believers
- Grace opens up knowledge of the Son of God
- Grace leads us toward maturity (full stature) in Christ.
- The mature are able to discern right from wrong
- The mature are able to speak true in love
- The mature allow Jesus to lead
- The mature are kept together with other mature believers.
He ended by saying the consequences of grace in his life is that he now sins less, is more aware of his sin, and is more aware of his belovedness by Christ. Would that be true for me.
We then had confession of sin, forgiveness of sin, prayed the Lord’s Prayer, and passed the peace. You know you’re new to Anglicanism when you suck at passing the peace. Instead of turning around and saying “Peace to you”, you say “HI MY NAME IS VICTORIA”. Anyways….
The Eucharist was simple. Kris emphasized that no one was pressured to come up. We came up (in a much more structured manner), took a piece of that matzo bread, dipped it in the chalice, ate it, and went back to our seats. The Eucharist was also a time for members to put their offering upfront.
We closed with a Trinity song off Psalm 43 (Light and Truth), and then Kris spoke some final words but didn’t really give a benediction…
There were parts of Trinity that were more liturgical, and other parts that just seemed off. It was cool, though. Even before I came, I knew that I wasn’t expecting to come back, but Trinity makes so much more sense a day later after knowing its history.
And then I headed out to Grace. Oh. I left Trinity around 7:20, and made it to Grace within 10 minutes! Does Grace merit a post in itself?