In the Sanctuary at 8:30AM and 11AM -
a blended service of traditional and contemporary elements with communion

In the hall at 9:45AM
scripture, prayer, and creative response with communion

Worship each Sunday @ 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

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We have moved the service that was tentatively planned for this Friday July 13th to Friday, September 21st 7PM-8:30PM in commemoration of th...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Meditation on the Fig Tree and Bearing Fruit

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, February 28, 2016:

Luke 13:1-9

In this week's Gospel, we get the parable of the fig tree, that poor fig tree who still hasn't produced fruit even though it's been 3 years. This Gospel gives us a space to consider our view of God and our view of ourselves.

Which vision of God is the one in your head? We could see God as the man who says, "Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?" If we see God that way, and if we see ourselves as the fig tree, that's a scary proposition; we've got a few years to produce before God gives up on us.

A traditional approach to this parable might see God as the impatient one, and Jesus as the vinedresser who pleads the case for the poor little fig tree. I know that Trinitarian theology might lead us this direction, but I'm still uncomfortable with the idea of a God who gives up on humanity. Everything in Scripture--and the experiences of those who walked this path before us--shows us a God that pursues us, going so far as to take on human flesh and walk amongst us. This doesn't sound like a God that gives up after 3 years.

A modern (post-modern?) approach to this parable might be to see the man and the vinedresser as parts of the same personality. How often are you impatient with the parts of yourself that aren't changing quickly enough? Are you kind to yourself, like the vinedresser? Or does your inner voice threaten you with destruction if you don't change? I know that some of you are saying, "This sounds quite schizophrenic." To this comment, I would say, try to observe your own inner thoughts. I hope that you're always patient and kind, but I've been on a diet more than once, and I know how quickly the self-loathing voice comes forward.

This parable gives us a hopeful view of our spiritual lives, if we live with it a little longer. Many of us no longer interact with the earth in any way, which is a shame. I wonder how many aspects of this imagery we lose as we move from being a nation of farmers and gardeners to a nation of people trapped by pavement. We tend to think of plants as always growing, always producing. We forget that for any growth to take place, a period of fallowness is necessary.

Maybe you've felt yourself in a fallow place spiritually. Or worse, maybe you've felt yourself sliding backwards, a withering on the vine. Maybe you started Lent with a fire in your heart, and you've burned out early. Maybe you've spent years thinking about church development, wondering what the Pentecostals have that you don't. Maybe you haven't been good at transforming yourself into a peace-loving person.  Maybe you're more judgmental now than you were when you were your younger know-it-all self.

Look at that parable again. The fig tree doesn't just sit there while everyone gathers around, waiting for something to happen. The vine dresser gives it extra attention. The vine dresser digs around it to give the roots room to grow and gives it extra manure--ah, the magic of fertilizer!  We, too, can be the vinedresser to our spiritual lives. And we don't have to resort to heroic measures. We don't have to start off by running away to a religious commune. Just a little spiritual manure is all it takes.

You've got a wide variety of spiritual tools in your toolchest. Pick up your Bible. Read a little bit each day--to echo the words of Isaiah, train yourself to hunger after more than bread. Find some time to pray more. Find something that irritates you, and make that be your call to prayer; for example, every time I hear someone's thumping car stereo, I could see that as a tolling bell, calling me to pray.

If you can do nothing else, slow down and breathe three deep breaths. Do that at least once a day. Turn your anxieties over to God. When you're surfing the web, go to a site or a blog that makes you feel enriched as a Christian as opposed to all those sites that make you angry or anxious. Give some spare change to those people who stand in the medians of the roadways. Smile more--you are the light of the world, after all.

Time to start acting like it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Great Opportunity for Youth!!!!

Our Bishop recently sent a reminder which I now pass on to you. If there are any 11th or 12th graders to whom Bishop's School would be something that draws your interest, please contact me immediately.
Ever in Christ
Pastor Keith

From Bishop Schaefer:
For those of you who might not be aware, Bishop’s School is a time for intentional theological study and discussion for high school juniors and seniors. This event is not necessarily for youth who are discerning a call to ministry, although it could include those youth. Bishop’s School is for the youth who ask tough questions, who challenge what they hear, and are eager for theological discussion. I know we have many youth in our Synod who fit this description. 

This is an incredible opportunity for these young people, especially since our Synod is hosting and the event will take place at our camp, Luther Springs. Sue Mendenhall and I envisioned needing to struggle mightily to choose only 8 (the maximum each Synod can send) students to attend. As of this date, we have only 2 applications in hand and 2 more we have been told to expect. I am discouraged by this response, because I know we have more than 4 young people in this synod who would benefit from this opportunity. 

I have received word from Region 9 that the application deadline has been extended to March 10There is a non-refundable registration fee of $450 per person to attend Bishops’ School. It is requested that payment of this fee be divided equally among the synod, the congregation, and the student, with each paying $150. This fee covers all housing and meals during the event. Transportation costs are not included. For those that are invited and accept the invitation to attend, the first installment will be due at the time of registration.

I strongly encourage you to consider whether there are young people in your congregation that would benefit from this opportunity, and if there are, that you lift them up for nomination, and invite them to apply. 

Peace be yours, 
Bishop Robert Schaefer


Time for Trinity Luthean's Annual Rummage and Bake Sale!
Saturday February 27th from 8AM until 2PM in Charter Hall.

Clothes, housewares, jewelry, books and more!

Baked goods still needed for donation.
And set up help still requested for Thursday and Friday morning.
If you want to help work the sale, please contact Earline LaCroix.

Thank you!

Wanted to share the thank you that Trinity Lutheran received from Sheikh Shafayat and his congregation. He is the Imam and Founder/Principal of Darul Uloom Institute in Pembroke Pines Florida and we visited their Friday service on Christmas Day bearing gifts - a card of prayerful support from Trinity's members and a peace lily.

"Dear Pastor Keith,
Thank you for visiting Darul Uloom on Christmas Day. It was indeed a pleasure to have you at our Friday prayer service. You visit was a reflection of the bond between our comm

unities. I hereby take the opportunity to express our deep appreciation for your charitable deed.
Thank you again for your wonderful and memorable gift.
Yours Sincerely,
Sheikh Shafayat"

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Meditation for Justice Sunday

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
Because time is short, I'm going to repost the thoughts I had for our Justice Sunday in September.

 Justice is different from charity.  Charity often fixes an immediate problem:  think of a food bank, for example, where a family gets several bags of food to tide them over.  Justice looks at the larger picture and ponders why we need food banks at all--where are the jobs that would allow people to earn enough to buy their own food?

Even if we aren't successful at creating change, God still calls on us to work for justice. 

Not to contribute to charity, although God mandates that too. But to work for justice.

In a book I cannot recommend highly enough, The Heart of Christianity, Marcus Borg explains the difference this way: "Charity means helping the victims. Justice asks, 'Why are there so many victims?' and then seeks to change the causes of victimization, that is, the way the system is structured. Justice is not about Caesar increasing his charitable giving or Pilate increasing his tithe. Justice is about social transformation. Taking the political vision of the Bible seriously means the practice of social transformation" (page 201).

He offers this comfort: "The world's need for systemic transformation is great, but it is important not to become passive or discouraged ('without heart') because the need is so great. None of us is called to be knowledgeable about all of it or capable of doing something about all of it " (page 204).

We are lucky to be part of a church that works for both justice and charity.  We are stronger in a group than we are alone.  Together we can help create a world where everyone has what they need.

We have been successful on many levels.  It's time to celebrate that success--and to continue the work.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

MISSION POSSIBLE Loose Change "Noisy Offering" To Begin Sunday

With Ash Wednesday now behind us, yet ever with us, our Lenten Opportunities at Trinity have begun!
One of those is our support of Luther Springs and its MISSION POSSIBLE Campaign for facility expansion. Ask any of the ladies who has attended the annual GodSpa spiritual retreat what a gift Luther Springs is. Ask Christian Spencer who has attended camp there as a child and last year served on the camp staff.  Ask Carl Berkey-Abbott who has served on the NovusWay board (the "parent" organization of which Luther Springs is a part).
http://missionpossiblecampaign.weebly.com/  for more information on he campaign.
Our offering towards this campaign begins this Sunday and continues throughout Lent with a special weekly "noisy" offering of change collected during our offering time in which your generous gift of change will be poured into a big jug. 
Thank you in advance for your support  of this precious facility of faith nurture!

Thank You from Bishop Schaefer

From Pastor Keith:

Opened our mail today and found a card from Bishop Schaefer, our Florida-Bahamas Synod Bishop for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA):

"Dear Pastor Keith and Friends of Trinity,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do one of the most enjoyable tasks that I have as bishop: expressing a word of gratitude and personal thanks for all the ways you participate in God's work and the ways you and your congregation are partners in ministry.

Specifically, thank you for not simply meeting, but exceeding your mission support covenant for 2015. You have my heartfelt appreciation and my sincere encouragement to let me or the staff of the Office of the Bishop know if we can assist you or further support your ministry in Pembroke Pines.

Together we are Church, for the sake of the world."

/s/ Bishop Bob Schaefer

Love Letters to God

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, February 14, 2016:

2 Samuel 22:  1-15

Tradition tells us that David wrote many of the Psalms, but modern scholars don't all agree on which ones, or even that David wrote them at all.  In this passage, we see why King David has come to be associated with so many of the Psalms.

One of the common themes of the Psalms is that of rescue from the wicked, from one's individual enemies, and from society's collective enemies.  We see that fierce image of God here, and that fierceness winds its way through the Psalms.  We see God in terms of battle imagery, which makes sense, since David is thanking God for help in battle.

The God in this passage is an angry God, one whom we wouldn't want to be against us.  This God takes all the elements of the universe and works a victory.  This is a God who comes down to be with us, to battle beside us.

It's a very different version of God than the one we see in Jesus.  What a different incarnation story!

We get a sense of that difference in Mary's song of praise to God that we find in Luke 1:  46-55.  Mary also sings of a God who does battle, but it's a different kind of battle.  Mary sings of a God who raises up the lowly.  God unleashes fierceness on the world, but with a very different goal.

In both of these passages, we see God's commitment to the people who are committed to God.  It's a mutual relationship.  It's a loving relationship.

It is interesting to read these passages in the context of Valentine's Day, which is fast upon us.  Look at our secular culture and what messages we get about what true love looks like.  At its worst, the message is one of consumerism:  we know we are loved by the lusciousness of the box of chocolates, by the rareness of the flowers in the bouquet, by the size of the precious stones.

God offers us a different love.  And as we offer our love letters to God, what would we say?

Tuesday, February 09, 2016


1. READ AND REFLECT on a portion of each week’s text daily throughout Lent.
• By writing in a notebook/journal
• By posting online at www.lentensermononthemount.blogspot.com (email Pastor Keith at tlcppines@gmail.com before posting so you can be added as an contributor which is needed for you to post)
• By taking and posting on the www.lentensermononthemount.blogspot.com BLOG photos inspired by your readings
• By drawing, coloring, or creating other art which you can scan or photograph and share on the www.lentensermononthemount.blogspot.com BLOG
• By allowing the readings to inspire poetical reflections which you can share in your journal or on the www.lentensermononthemount.blogspot.com BLOG
• There will be a voluntary opportunity at the Maundy Thursday noon and/or 7:30PM service to share some highlights from your journal and/or BLOG posts about your Lenten Reflection

WEEK ONE FEB 10th – FEB 14th

WEEK TWO FEB 15th – FEB 21st
Matthew 5:13-30

WEEK THREE FEB 22nd – FEB 28th
Matthew 5:31-48


Matthew 6:22-34




Saturday March 12th from 9AM – Noon join us either indoors or out as we spruce up the gardens for Easter, mow and edge, and work on quilts for Lutheran World Relief. No experience necessary – lunch will be provided. We will continue our quilting on Sunday March 13th after services and throughout the 9:45AM Worship together service.

B. Lenten coin folders - A 40 d
ay daily discipline of growing generosity

C. Change for Change: Strengthening our Lutheran Outdoor Ministries
A loose change offering will take place each Sunday throughout Lent to support the capital campaign to strengthen our Lutheran Outdoor Ministries here in the Southeast U.S. Trinity has been blessed through these facilities in a number of ways including Godspa, Create in Me and summer camps to name a few.

D. Let’s Can Hunger!
Trinity’s Food Pantry provided groceries to 221 families, seniors & homeless persons last year. Such generosity depends upon the generosity of others to provide the food that is given out. For the 40 days of Lent consider the discipline of collecting a can/box of food from the needs list each day then bringing it Trinity on Sundays. Pantry Wish List: jelly, ravioli, tuna, pasta, cereal /oatmeal, chunky soups, condensed soups and mashed potatoes
E. Participate in the Lenten Reflection on the Sermon on the Mount Project

F. Sign up on your worship slip or email Pastor Keith to receive the weekly prayer list and commit to praying for those included on it each day throughout Lent.

G. Try a new ministry experience!
• Talk with Sam Newton about making Prayer Shawls
• Talk with Dan Vega DaniyCaco Vega about volunteering with the Food Pantry
• Talk with Pastor Keith about volunteering in the Memorial Butterfly Garden
• Talk with Kristin Berkey-Abbott about making quilts for Lutheran World Relief
• Join the choir as it rehearses for the Easter Cantata  (contact Barbara Gilson) or join the hand chimes (contact Piper Spencer) as it rehearses for Lent and Easter
• Be a part of the Care and Concern Team. Contact Bev Grant, Lisa Montalchi, and Dora Gresely as they visit and pray with shut-ins, those hospitalized or offer rides for those who need one for appointments and the like.
• Volunteer to help the Yard Team mow and take care of minor maintenance in and around the Trinity property contact Ron McCoy or John Walker.
• Talk with Janean Becker Baumal or Lisa Montalchi about getting involved in Trinity's Justice Ministry.
• Check out Trinity’s Women of the ELCA group for weekly Bible Study or their monthly meeting (Earline LaCroix)

H. Take up Bishop Schaefer’s challenge to help combat World Hunger.

Dear fellow disciples of Jesus,
The discipline of Lent calls the baptized to self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love. Each year, as a synod, we have been lifting up one priority of the Campaign for the ELCA. This campaign is our moment as a church to look toward the future and boldly respond to God's grace. The focus of the campaign this year is hunger and poverty.
As part of your Lenten discipline, I invite you and every member and congregation of the Florida-Bahamas Synod to take part in 40 Days of Giving to support ELCA World Hunger. Ours is a comprehensive approach in 60 countries including the United States to solve challenges that perpetuate hunger and poverty. Throughout the season of Lent, congregations across the ELCA will join together to raise $2 million to benefit the ministries of ELCA World Hunger. This support will enable crucial work to get underway and help us kick-start our year of emphasis. The offerings at all my Lenten Visits as well as an offering at the Synod Assembly will support this priority. There is still time to get involved and find resources for your congregation at the ELCA website. Together we are church for the sake of the world. Together let's make a difference this Lent.
Peace be yours,
Rev. Robert Schaefer
Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod

Bishop Schaefer's Lenten Visitation

Bishop Schaefer’s Lenten Visit  2016

Bishop Robert Schaefer, Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, invites everyone to the annual Bishop’s Lenten Visitation for a time of conversation and worship on Saturday February 20th at St. Stephen Lutheran Church 2500 NE 14th Street Causeway Pompano Beach, FL 33062-8222 from 9:45AM until 12:45AM

All are welcome  - clergy and lay alike! Events begin with a light breakfast and brief program before the Chrism Liturgy is celebrated.



  • This year we are offering two opportunities for Service of Holy Communion with the Imposition of Ashes at Noon and 7:30PM
  • Especially during the season of Lent, Individual Confession and Forgiveness is available with Pastor Keith by appointment. Individual confession has been a part of the Lutheran faith tradition since the days of Martin Luther. The confession made by a penitent is protected from disclosure. The pastor is obligated to respect at all times the confidential nature of a confession. The Rite of Individual Confession includes the reading of Psalms, the confessing of sins, pastoral conversation, prayer, and the declaration of forgiveness. For those who desire it, it can be a powerful opportunity to experience God’s grace. For an appointment  please contact Pastor Keith by phone or text at (954) 668-6077 (his personal cell) or by email at tlcppines@gmail.com
  • We will celebrate the ending of the season of Epiphany and preparation for the coming season of Lent with Beignets and Coffee (or tea) prior to the 7:30PM Ash Wednesday service. Beignets will be available from 6:30PM until 7:15PM in Charter Hall when we will process over to the sanctuary for the Ash Wednesday service.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

David's Great Mistake

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, Feb. 7, 2015:

2 Samuel 11

This Sunday, we cover a difficult story for many of us, the story of David and Bathsheba.  It shows David in a horrible light, and it's not just modern feminists who see it this way.  David's actions to claim a woman who belonged to another man and to deceive the husband of that woman and then to have him killed--these actions displease God.

My most painful memory about this story revolves back to a teacher in my Presbyterian elementary school who told us that the message of the story was that women have to be careful because we can't know the effect of our beauty on boys--and therefore, it's our responsibility as females to keep ourselves covered.

As an older student, I realized that Bathsheba wasn't flaunting herself--no, she was trying to take a private bath and David spied on her--and then, worse. 

As a woman, I've wondered what Bathsheba felt, a woman in a patriarchal society with absolutely no say so in her destiny.  In many ways, her best bet is to do what the king wants--and frankly, in many societies today, that's still the case.  Let's be clear:  she really has no choice.  And yet, her whole life is upended with her pregnancy.  It's clear from the text that David doesn't intend to marry her, as he sends her home.  It's only with the pregnancy that he cannot hide his action.

If the story hasn't horrified us yet, the rest of the saga should make us shudder.  And then we return to the king--this is the mighty King David?  How can he behave in this beastly way?

That's the message that weaves its way throughout both the Old and New Testament--God can use any human, no matter how badly that human may behave.

David's actions change forever the way that I will see him.  Because of his actions towards Bathsheba and Uriah, her husband, I will never see him as noble again.  He's not quite as worthy in my eyes.

Luckily, God does not share my view.  Luckily for us all.