Since May 2021, Trinity has been a Matthew 25 church of the PC(USA). Launched in 2019, Matthew 25 is an initiative of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the PC (USA). Grounded in a reading of Matthew 25:31-46, it calls on participating churches to focus on three areas: building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism, and eradicating systemic poverty. We work with Sustainable Housing & Equitable Development (SHED) on improving homes in University City. We hold meetings with other Matthew 25 churches in our Presbytery to learn more about the issues of poverty and racism. By exchanging ideas with other churches on their Matthew 25 journey, we hope to build a stronger church and community. For Trinity, Matthew 25 is about sharing and participating.
Matthew 25 is a church-wide effort, led by Trinity’s Mission and Ministry committee. It meets every month to act on Trinity’s guiding principles: “Celebrating diversity, working for justice, living with joy.” The Mission and Ministry committee comprises Mary Klingensmith, Steven Crumb, Liz Nelson, Rachel Presti, Kevin Harkins and Nigel Holloway.
How do we do this?
We support, encourage, assist, monitor and guide the work of Trinity’s affiliated community organizations. We also aim to expand the work of building our community in sustainable, useful ways. Our affiliated organizations are: the Winger Food Pantry; Pinwheels; Light for the Darkness; UKirk; More Light Presbyterians; Fair Shares.
The committee welcomes ideas on how we can make progress toward our goals. We are always looking to partner with other churches and organizations to further the aims of Trinity and to support our community. If you would like to discuss a partnership with us, please contact us at 314-725-3840 or here.
Winger Food Pantry
The Winger Food Pantry is the biggest organization we support, serving 465 clients with 1,128 family members since 1980. A team of volunteers collects and bags food in support of the open hours for the pantry, which occur every Wednesday afternoon; at that time, more volunteers register recipients, help them collect available food and clothing items and assists them to their cars or other transportation.
The Pantry, which is based at our church, is always looking for more volunteers, and the Mission and Ministry Committee is seeking ways to help with recruitment.
Part of the distributed food the food pantry receives is from Fair Shares, an organization that links local farmers to consumers in St Louis. We provide a distribution point for pick-up by Fair Shares members and, in return, Fair Shares donates food to the Pantry. The pandemic has boosted demand from households for local produce and Fair Shares distributes 85 shares a week at the Trinity hub, as of mid-May 2020, out of a total of 450.
Since Pinwheels was launched three years ago in St. Louis by Liz Nelson and Vicki Carmichael, it has provided a safe space for transgender and non-binary children & youth, aged between 5 and 18, to gather and make friends. Trinity's local mission funding has supported the program since inception, providing money for activity supplies and refreshments, as well as other forms of support. A number of Trinity members have volunteered with Pinwheels at the monthly meetings.
In 2019, there were eight volunteers, five from Trinity. Pinwheels had 28 new, family requests for information and 23 of them have joined as members. The kids have baked, learned self-defense, enjoyed a picnic, held conversations with trans* and non-binary adults, completed art projects and played board games. Invited speakers have addressed parents on insurance and on hormone treatment options.
COVID-19 has caused Pinwheels to move to online communication, using Zoom meetings. There was a highly successful virtual scavenger hunt and the St. Louis parent group was able to connect with the parent group in Chicago and attend their speaker meeting.
Light for the Darkness
Since the end of 2019, Trinity has been the partner church of Light for the Darkness, a New Worshipping Community supported by the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery (UKirk is also a NWC). The Ministry Leader of Light for the Darkness is Rev. Thirza Sayers who is committed to the pastoral care of persons with mental illness. She holds regular meetings at the St Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center and the Independence Center. In February 2020, Trinity helped edit a successful $50,000 grant application for LFD. In April, Trinity and Light for the Darkness formed a covenant to work for the spiritual growth of both. Trinity will provide a venue for meetings of members of Light for the Darkness once it is safe to do so, and LFD will, in turn, welcome to its meetings any of Trinity’s members living with mental illness.
Those struggling with mental health, and looking for community to join in exploring where God may be in the midst of their struggles, are welcome to join our Monday night group via Zoom at 7pm. Contact Thirza (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out more.
View one of their recordings, The Coming of the Holy Spirit, here
Steven Crumb has worked with Rev. Max Hill to forge deeper connections with UKirk, the presbytery’s campus ministry at Wash-U and SLU, which is housed at Trinity. Rev. Hill joined a Pinwheels gathering and Trinity has followed in UKirk’s footsteps to become a More Light Church. Once UKirk is able to resume their weekly gatherings, they will again seek volunteers to provide (and join!) their Sunday evening meals.
More Light Presbyterians
Trinity Session, with the full support of the Mission and Ministry Committee, voted to join the More Light Presbyterians group as a member church. The mission statement of More Light Presbyterians is “Following the risen Christ, and seeking to make the Church a true community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians is to work for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and in society.” Please see Trinity’s listing on the More Light website and explore all the ways that joining the MLP furthers our longstanding commitment to full inclusion in the body of Christ for all who profess faith in Jesus, regardless of human condition.
SHED (Sustainable Housing & Equitable Development)
Over the past decade, SHED (Sustainable Housing & Equitable Development) has worked with many local volunteer groups—including Trinity—to support the elderly and disabled in the maintenance of safe and comfortable homes by providing repairs and other services at no cost. On its website, SHED says it has worked with more than 2,100 volunteers and assisted 507 residents, “delivering help and hope to University City.”
In renewing our collaboration with SHED, Trinity is seizing an opportunity to begin making good on our engagement, as a newly minted Matthew 25 Church, to “eradicate systemic poverty.” Through actions such as this, more robust relationships with organizations like SHED, and organized advocacy targeting the root causes of systemic poverty, we can faithfully answer God’s call to care for the stranger.
Monday Quilters -- Roots in Community and Service
Monday Quilters has a long history as a church-based hand quilting group. University City churches have provided a home for several groups as the organization grew and waned over time. Throughout the group's history members found community in each other and in the host church and provided service to quilt top owners and to the home church. Monies derived from quilting have been donated to the home church for use in maintenance and missions as the church saw fit.
Trinity Presbyterian Church welcomed Monday Quilters to quilt in their dining room in October 2021. We're enjoying our time here and thank Trinity Presbyterian Church for their hospitality.
Hand quilting groups working around a large frame have been more popular in the past. In the early 1980s there were numerous churches with quilting groups (Trinity Presbyterian, Samuels United Church of Christ, Sutter Avenue Presbyterian, All Saints Catholic, and St. Rita’s Catholic), however currently this may be the only hand quilting group in our area.
The Monday Quilters meet from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in the dining room of Trinity. We'd welcome new members interested in joining us, stitchers who'd like to learn to hand quilt on a stationary frame, experienced or not. We look forward to meeting you.