We want to better serve the congregation, by providing current and correct information on a
timely basis.  We need your help to do this.

If you have information of importance to the congregation, or anything else you would like to see
in the newsletter, please email it to
newsEditor by December 22nd.
December 2010 Trinity Observer
                   From Reverend Jim Offrink:

                   December Greetings:

Some last thoughts for the year 2010 and last thoughts prior to your change of pastor.  It’
s been quite a journey… starting as a concept in February of 2006, to the closure of three
working congregations  becoming one new church in 2007.  Then, landing in a new place,
with a new building in 2008, the Trinity United congregation has become the emergent
“New” congregation in the Flint area.  

No one expected in February 2006 that the Westminster Presbyterian congregation would
vote to close July 2006.  The sale of their property purchased our current 10 acres on
Lennon.  No one expected that Community Presbyterian would close December of 2008.  
As our national and local economy has continued to suffer we look back at our lovely, but
expensive old buildings, and wonder in thanksgiving.  God seems to anticipate our true
needs even when we get caught up in the inconvenient opinions and details, and so here
we are!

Our congregation will now need to continue to transition into a totally new group that thinks
very differently than we have in the past.  Now is the time to know that monumental
changes in the Christian church are well upon us.  Anything and everything that was tried
and true and worked well in previous years will NOT work now. We’ll need to be growing
up a complete new congregation to replace the current older one.  This once in 500 year
change, equal the reformation itself, is not easy to explain or to understand but let me
simply say… “A God who could see the need to close five congregations and begin a
new one ‘out by the mall,’ is a God who can lead this congregation to new and greatly
successful ministry.”

Rev Annie and I believe that the pieces are in place to make it happen.  Now, and in the
future, the congregation’s openness to new leadership, continuance of the new features
already in place, and entrance into a near complete change of the way many of our
ministries presumably will be done, is the test of the vision and the Holy Spirit.  

Yes, I am following a leisurely route to continue my ministry with Interim Ministry at other
congregations.  I will technically be ‘retired but working.”  As Sally and I experiment with
her retirement from teaching, and my job description change, we will continue to keep
each of you in our thoughts and prayers.  During the bonding time with your new pastor
we will generally, not, be available to attend worship or to provide pastoral services.

Finally, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!  I invite all to come and participate in our
Christmas festivities, keep a look out for the new LED sign, (promised before Christmas),
and enjoy the coming years of new vision in Christ’s service!    

Jim Offrink

                                       A Special Thank You!

Thank you to the many meaningful  thoughts and prayers that folks have shared with us  
upon  the  death  of  my  mother, Dr. Bonnie J. Offrink.

Also a special Thank You to the Deacons who provided a lovely meal for our family and
friends and of the services of Rev. Annie R. Duncan and Rev. Donald Neuville.  My
mother's wishes were for  memorial gifts to go to Trinity United Presbyterian Church.

The service for Dr. Bonnie Offrink was held at  Trinity United on December 1, 2010, at

                                           Dr. Bonnie  J. Offrink

                                          “Joys of Christmas”

Come celebrate the “Joys of Christmas” on December 4th, here at Trinity, from 1:00-5:
00pm.  Activities will include “Children’s choir performance, crafts, cookie decorating, a
bake sale, story telling, a display of doll and train collections, a cake walk and a light
supper.  This will be open to everyone.  If you have a collection to display, let us know.  A
photographer will be available to take pictures of costumed families that are dressed for a
manger scene.

                                          Can You Help Out Our Budget?

For the month of December, finances  at Trinity United Presbyterian Church are  set,
because of the wonderful help member and friends of the church provided in November.  
Appreciation is extended to all of the generous help and love for the church. Without all
the help we would not be where we are with our Lord.
Pat Rice, Property

                               More Than a Wreath & Candles

As Christmas approaches, observe that the Advent wreath is a symbol of watchfulness
and  increasing joy.  Lighting its candles is a common practice on the four Sundays
leading  to Christmas

Our denomination uses purple candles on the first two Sundays, pink on the third, purple
again on the fourth Sunday and a large white candle on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

The wreath, the candles and the colors all have symbolic significance.  Here are just a few
of the many and various interpretations:

  • The circular green wreath symbolizes the everlasting love of God, having no
    beginning or end.  Green represents eternal life.

  • The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent.  One tradition says that each
    candle also represents one thousand years.  They total 4,000 years—the time from
    Adam and Eve until the birth of Christ.

  • Purple, in ancient times, was expensive and was considered the color of royalty and
    kings.  On Christmas, Christ is proclaimed King of Kings.  Purple also symbolizes
    humility and penitence.

  • The first purple candle signifies Hope.

  • The second purple candle stands for Peace.

  • The pink candle for the third Sunday symbolizes Joy and signifies the halfway point
    of Advent.        The Session offered commendations on the work .

  • The final purple candle if for Love.

  • The large white candle in the center is the Christ candle.  Its light symbolizes Christ
    the Savior—”the light of the world.

  • The beauty and brightness from the glow of all five candles is a reminder that Christ’s
    life was the light for all earth’s people—”The light shines in the darkness, and the
    darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5, NRSV).


                     There will be a Christmas Eve
                            Candle-light Service
                               With Communion
                                Starting at 7p.m.
                 Trinity United Presbyterian Church
                      Everyone is invited to attend
                    this last Communion of the year

                           Christmas Pageant

Trinity United Presbyterian Church will be held on December 19, 2010 during
our regular worship service at 10:30a.m.  Please come and see a play with the
children and adults of Trinity.

                        LECTIONARY READINGS

December 5, 2010
Isaiah 11:1-10                                           **Matthew 3:1-12

“A Shout From the Wilderness”
Rev. Annie R. Duncan

December 12, 2010
Isaiah 35:1-10                                             **James 5:7-10    

“More Than Enough”
Rev. James F. Offrink

December 19, 2010

The Christmas Program

December 26, 2010
Isaiah 63:7-9                                                       Psalm 148
Hebrew 2:10-18                                        Matthew  2:13-23       

“The Journey”
Rev. James F. Offrink
Rev. Annie R. Duncan
A multicultural
success story