‘Journey to a New Beginning’ Mural Dedication

36723880_656289528038133_202054954028892160_nAfter years of planning and hoping and dreaming, a big, colorful mural entitled “Journey to a New Beginning” is nearing completion on the exterior wall of Trinity facing the parking lot. By early July, all four panels will be mounted. To launch this addition to our community landscape, and in gratitude for the combined labor of many, many people, not one but TWO great celebrations are planned.

Our neighborhood’s annual Atwoodfest will take place on July 28th and 29th, so Trinity has planned events for each day. On Saturday, July 28th at 10:30 a.m. we will publicly dedicate the mural. The artist, Jenie Gao, will speak about how she incorporated interviews with members of Trinity to come up with the design, and reflect on some of the symbols embedded in it. Dane Arts Mural Arts, the organization that took the plans and made them a real piece of art will explain their process and how many different groups and individuals contributed to the effort. I will talk a little bit about how this mural project came to be in the first place, and how funding was made possible from the grant I received for my sabbatical.

Meanwhile, we will honor Trinity’s history, legacies, and ministries, past and present with the help of our companion organizations. All groups that use our building are invited to set up booths where they can talk about the work they do and recruit members and volunteers. There will also be a recording booth where people can share their own stories of a “Journey to a New Beginning.” We intend to preserve these recordings and make them available for others to hear by scanning a QR code we’ll embed into the mural on the wall and paste into brochures.

On Sunday, July 29th, immediately following worship (so, again around 10:30 a.m., depending on how longwinded the pastor is that morning), the congregation will have an  opportunity to bless the mural and dedicate it to God. Our special guest for this event will be the new Bishop Elect of the South Central Synod of Wisconsin, Rev. Viviane Thomas-Brietfeld. Worship will be one of our global services, and the band has agreed to stay on after the service is over and play while people mingle and examine the wall or record their stories. Food carts from the City of Madison will be parked in the area so you  can get a bit to eat before heading to Atwoodfest.

Please join us for one or both of these festive celebrations!


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Sermon: July 1, 2018

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Lamentations 3:22-33 
Psalm 30

2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Mark 5:21-43

Last week we heard a story from Mark’s Gospel about the disciples and Jesus in a boat heading “to the other side”—meaning Gentile territory—when a storm came up. It’s hard to know whether the disciples were more frightened by heading into the unknown or by the weather. (I’m very disappointed that the lectionary skips over the next part of Mark’s Gospel because it includes a really great story about Jesus casting demons into a herd of pigs, so I invite you to go home and read it.) Meanwhile, today’s reading picks up with Jesus and the disciples coming BACK to Galilee from “the other side.” Continue reading

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Keep Families Together

Speech by Pastor Susan Schneider of Trinity Lutheran Church

On June 30, 2018, the Dane Sanctuary Coalition sponsored a press conference protesting the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy of the Trump Administration. Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, Worker Justice Wisconsin, and End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin co-sponsored the press conference. Mario Garcia Sierra of Voces de la Frontera acted as MC. Speakers included Rev. Tina Lang of First United Methodist Church, Rev. Karen Armina of James Reeb Unitarian Congregation, Rev. Susan Schneider of Trinity Lutheran Church, Dr. Sadat Abiri,Becky Schigiel of Worker Justice Wisconsin, Dr. Erica Serlin – psychologist; Fabiola Hamdan,and Sister Maureen McDonnell.

These are Pastor Sue’s comments from the press conference.

Since I’m a Lutheran pastor, it seems right to begin with a quote from Martin Luther: “God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbors do.”

This is most certainly true.

Right now our neighbors need our voices, our tears, our anger, our votes, our advocacy. My core identity is that I am a beloved child of God, and I am convinced that everyone else is also a beloved child of God. That means each of you are beloved children of God. And it means all the kids and their parents who are fleeing danger to present themselves at our borders are beloved children of God. It means the guards and government employees who are enforcing inhumane laws at the behest of those who sit in halls of power are beloved children of God. And yes, it even means those who choose to remain oblivious to the catastrophic results of their brutal policies are beloved children of God.

Every single one of these beloved children is in peril right now—some from external forces threatening their lives. Some from dangerously risking the loss of their very humanity. I want to remind all precious children of God of another admonition from Dr. Luther: “Faith and love are always to be mistresses of the law, and to have all laws in their power. Since all laws aim at faith and love, none of them can be valid, or be a law, if it conflicts with faith and love. Where they conflict with faith and love they are to be done away with entirely.”

Well, my fellow children of God, we are face to face with a law that must be done away with entirely! We are face to face with a law that conflicts with faith and love. We must do away with this law and any law that inflicts suffering and hostility on families!

“The church is her true self only when she exists for humanity,” according to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor who encouraged German Christians resisting the 3rd Reich. Well, Church, it’s time to step up and be our true selves. It’s time for us to exist for humanity. Right now, humanity—in all its disparate expressions—is desperate. We are our brother’s keepers. We are our sister’s and our sibling’s keepers.

So we must lean into our true role, which Martin Luther King Jr. described as being the conscience of the state. We must join together in saying loudly, clearly, and ceaselessly: “What is happening to babies and their parents at our borders is cruel and malicious. It does not promote safety for anyone. It does not demonstrate the values of faith and love. What is happening is the result of an invalid law, and we will not rest until it is abolished.”

Let us never tire of reminding all people that they are beloved children of God, worthy of respect, dignity, and justice. And let us never tire of seeking good for all of God’s beloved children.


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Seasons Blog: July-August 2018

A dove. A rainbow. Flames. God has always spoken to people not only with words but with images. The early church used stained glass, sculpture, mosaics, and painting to teach their largely illiterate congregations Biblical stories and theological concepts. In an increasingly visual age (see the explosion of Instagram, Snapchat, and Netflix, for example), reclaiming this method of expressing theology is wise and faithful. Continue reading

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‘Seasons’ Newsletter: July – August 2018

The July-August edition of Trinity Seasons has been sent to our members and friends. You also can view or download a copy here: July & August 2018 Seasons Newsletter


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