Canon Maria Tjeltveit
Church of the Mediator, Allentown
Then Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia.
…they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia.
Paul and Barnabas set off on the first missionary journey; set apart for this work by the Holy Spirit. In Acts 13, they traveled from Antioch, in Syria, to the island of Cyprus, and up into modern day Turkey. They traveled by boat, on a route perhaps not that different than what some Syrian refugees take today. But rather than fleeing for safety, Paul and Barnabas traveled almost 500 miles to proclaim the gospel. They were led by the Holy Spirit “to bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus” (Acts 13:32-33).
Although the doctrine of the Trinity is not spelled out in the Acts of the Apostles, the three persons of the Trinity are present in the way that the author describes the spread and proclamation of the gospel. In the 1800’s, as the gospel was carried into Schuylkill and Luzerne Counties, two churches named Trinity were founded.
Trinity Church, was the first church in Pottsville; the building consecrated in 1830 (called St. Luke’s, at the time). The church has a long history of rebuilding and renovating. It boasts, not one fine organ, but two! Trinity uses its beautiful worship space and organ to reach out into the community through free concerts, with renowned musicians. Other ways of reaching out include serving in a soup kitchen, a “Bring a Can to Church” program that makes it the largest donor to the Schuylkill Community Action food pantry, the Marion C. Price Trust Fund, which gives grants to help elderly people, and a Sunday School outreach that provides activity bags for area pediatric wards. As the Spirit led Paul and Barnabas, the Spirit is alive and flowing through the people of Trinity.
Trinity Church, West Pittston, had its first services in the church on Christmas Day, 1886, although it was not consecrated until 1902. Their mission statement is “Working and praying together to live and build Holy Community.” Trinity has embodied this connection to the wider community in their Feed-A-Friend food pantry, MUSICare Project of music and movement for parents and young children, and opening their building and property to outside groups. In response to the extensive flooding in the area in 2011, Trinity distributed food, water, cleaning supplies, and furniture to the hundreds of affected neighbors. This led to a partnership with Episcopal Relief and Development, the diocese, and local organizations to develop episcopalRELIEFnepa a mobile unit to provide ongoing disaster and community resiliency resources. Trinity seeks to let others know that they and the Episcopal Church will be a Shield in the Midst of Life’s Storms.
Do you know how your name and the name of your church were chosen?