From the Wardens

With Spring just around the corner, we want to acknowledge new growth and rebirth in several aspects of our life at Trinity Church in Upperville. Thanks to several parishioners who have taken the laboring oar, our Sunday school program for the Lenten season is up and running. The parents and teachers who have participated in this revitalization, with the eager support of our Interim Rector Ed Miller, are a cause for rejoicing. Our Christian education program for youth is being resurrected as well. We are grateful for the support of all participants in this critical part of life at Trinity, especially Melanie Hitchen, Lisa White, and Sheila Harrell.

As you are keenly aware, our 60th Annual Hunt Country Stable Tour is a mere two months away. Kat Gemmer’s team has lined up eleven farms for the Tour. It is always a fun event for our visitors but also it is the lifeblood of our growing Outreach to the community. We urge everyone to volunteer your time and treasure to ensure the Stable Tour is a magnificent success.

Under the chairmanship of Matt Blunt, the Discernment Committee formed by the Vestry to identify a permanent Rector has begun its work. We will apprise you of this work as the committee moves forward. Soon, parishioners will have an important opportunity to help the Discernment Committee develop a profile of our Christian community by responding to a thoughtful and confidential survey. We would very much like to see 100% participation.

Through the efforts of the Committee, Trinity will ‘put its best foot forward’ in attracting Rector candidates. Our website, our internal communications, our management systems, and our financial profile are among the ways we communicate the vitality of the Church. We are happy to report that the Church has made important strides recently in these respects, again with Ed’s support and direction.

The Church’s internet security is being upgraded. Staff’s aging desktops, printers, and the Rector’s laptop are being replaced or upgraded. Once the new devices arrive and are set up, we will deploy Office365 across all staff devices. Campus internet signal strength, speed, and security are being addressed. We are turning our attention to improving our database and hope to organize it in ways that better serve our missions. Over the coming year, everyone should experience better communications and outreach capabilities. With God’s help, these initiatives will be in place by the end of Spring.

As many of you know, our database and our member guide need to be unified and updated. Our Junior Warden appeals to everyone to help correct the problem. If you, a group, or a committee you are involved in has member lists with contact information, please send that information to Di, our Parish Administrator and please use “Member List” as the subject line of your email.

All the systems currently being improved will ensure that we can carry out our Christian mis-sion and our ministries effectively. Christian Education, The Stable Tour, Outreach, and innumerable other ministries depend on this infrastructure, and we depend on you, the faithful members of Trinity Church.

Jim Hoecker, Sr. Warden
Sandy Diday, Jr. Warden

Kairos Cookie Ministry

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It was traditional in many societies to clear our cupboards of foods made with butter, eggs and fat that would be given up during the Lenten season. However, may we offer an alternative suggestion, use those ingredients to make cookies. We don’t need them until April 7th but they can be made ahead of time and frozen.

Please make each cookie with prayer. These cookies help open hearts to repentance and forgiveness and an awareness of God’s vast love.

Bake any recipe you would like, but please keep in mind that if we are to take each and every cookie into the institution, we need to follow certain guidelines.

This means that specific ingredients cannot be used. When baking, please remember:

  • NO raisins or other dried fruit or coconut

  • NO toppings such as sugar, decorations or icing

  • NO candy such as M&Ms

  • NO nuts

  • YES to chocolate and butterscotch chips

  • COOL COOKIES completely before placing them in 1 quart zip lock bags

Cookies should be approximately 2 to 2 1/2 inches in size.

12 cookies per quart size ziplock bag
Please indicate the type of cookie on each bag
We need 100 dozen cookies so feel free to start baking now and put them in your freezer.

Questions? Please call Cheri Martin @ 540-837-1774

All cookies need to be here by Sunday, April 7th.

Hunt Country Stable Tour Updates


Mark your Calendars!

This year, 2019, marks the 60th Anniversary of our treasured annual tradition - the Trinity Episcopal Church Hunt Country Stable Tour. It will be held on Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, May 25th and May 26th from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

As always, all proceeds go directly to the Outreach program here at Trinity, supporting various missions including S.O.M.E., Helping Haitian Angels, and Piedmont Child Care Center, to name a few.

This is an amazing congregation-wide event, with everyone in the parish participating. So mark your calendars and when the signup sheets go up in Cox Hall, pick out your favorite farm and spend a wonderful day visiting with guests and teaching them about the farm and Trinity Church. If you want to be part of this momentous event call Kat Gemmer at 540-338-7130 or email

Join our celebration with your early commitment to support this historic Memorial Day tradition.

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Friday Night Lights

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Every Friday during Lent, beginning on March 8, the church will be lit from dusk until 9pm to welcome and invite passersby to end their week with reflection and prayer..

Parishioners have noticed that Trinity receives visitors when the Church is lit in the evening and we want to encourage those in our community as well as commuters from surrounding areas to stop by and experience our sacred space.

Ash Wednesday

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019 marks the beginning of Lent, a season of reflection and introspection in preparation for Holy Week and Easter.

Lent begins with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday we will have 2 services, one at noon and one at 7:00 PM. We encourage everyone to participate.

The services will include both the Holy Eucharist and the imposition of ashes. During the imposition of ashes, the interim rector will take ashes (from the burning of the previous year’s Palm Sunday palms) and will make the mark of the cross on each congregant’s forehead. The imposition of ashes is a reminder of our mortality, and our total reliance on God.

“For dust you are, and to dust you shall return” - Genesis 3:19

Shrove Tuesday & Sacramental Burnings

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Tuesday, March 5

Come one, come all, for our annual Shrove Tuesday celebration. The men of the church will be cooking us a pancake dinner. The dinner will run from 5:30-7:30 PM. This is a free dinner. All are welcome! (Decorations and set-up by the Parish Life Committee)

Sacramental Burnings
In conjunction with the Pancake Supper, we will perform the sacramental burnings in the courtyard circle. Parishioners are invited to bring their palms to be part of the palm burning activity. The Altar Guild has identified some very worn purificators that will also be decommissioned, burned and buried. If you would like to witness these ceremonies, please be in the courtyard at 6 pm.

Important Message From the Wardens

We are pleased to tell you that the following parishioners have graciously agreed to serve on the Discernment Committee that will seek a new Shepherd on our behalf: Matt Blunt (Chair), Jonathan Catherwood, Alix Coolidge, Ellen Hall, Ashley Hambrick, Margaret Moore, and Laurie Volk. The Vestry has worked prayerfully to choose these dedicated people for this faithful and fateful task. We are asking a great deal from our fellow parishioners and now we ask for your trust and prayerful support for the process they are undertaking.

Please keep in mind that, as the committee seeks to discern the Lord’s will for Trinity and its leadership, we should each open our hearts to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Although the search process is necessarily confidential, we will do our best to keep the congregation apprised of what is occurring.

Of course, everyone has a role. The discernment process will begin with challenging questions that our Members will be called upon to answer. What is the history and tradition of Trinity Episcopal Church, Upperville, VA? How is it situated demographically, geographically, and historically? Who have we been? Who are we now? And, importantly, who is God calling us to be next? All of our likes and dislikes, hopes and concerns, as well as our thoughts, feelings, and opinions are relevant.

Based on our mutual conviction that the Church exists for the glory of God, we ask for your prayers, trust, and enthusiastic support for the discernment committee’s labors.

“A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Luke 6:37-38


Jim Hoecker, Senior Warden
Sanford Diday, Junior Warden

Stable Tour Updates!

Another reminder that we all need to keep in the back of our minds that the 60th Annual Hunt Country Stable Tour will be held the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. May 25 and May 26, 2019, 10:00am to 5:00pm both days. The committee is meeting monthly and we would love your input and ideas. This is an amazing congregation-wide event, with everyone in the parish participating.

The entire proceeds from the Stable Tour are given away as our Outreach budget, so it’s such any important part of the life of this parish. So mark your calendars and when the signup sheets go up in Cox Hall, pick out your favorite farm and spend a wonderful day visiting with guests and teaching them about the farm and Trinity Church.

If you want to be part of this momentous event call Kat Gemmer at 540-338-7130 or email

Stewardship Updates

Dear Fellow Parishioner,

In Matthew 6:21, Jesus said “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

When was the last time you made a major investment, but never managed it? Built a beautiful house, but didn’t maintain it? Purchased a wonderful car, but never changed its oil? Acquired a fine piano, but never tuned it?

Of course we pay attention to these things. Who wouldn’t? Who shouldn’t? We do this because we see these items as our possessions, as the fruits of our labors. As something we worked, saved and sacrificed for. But are they really just “ours”?

In the liturgy prior to the 1979 Prayer Book, after the ushers collected our offerings, we often heard the following, as the Celebrant lifted the offering plates for all to see: “All things come of thee, O Lord” And we responded: “And of thine own have we given thee”

We still hear this from time to time, but if it were up to me, it would always be said, to remind us that what we give to the Church is a portion of what God has given to us, what God has made it possible for us to achieve, what God has allowed us to use as we see fit.

Stewardship involves the use our resources to make a positive difference – in our lives, of course, but also in the lives of our families and friends, in the lives of other communities of which we are a part and, yes, in life at Trinity Church. Stewardship viewed this way is an expression of our gratitude for God’s gifts. It is a way in which we help Trinity be a resource for the worshipers who enter its doors, the community in which it is located, the Diocese of which it is a part, and even beyond these parochial and geographical limits.

By the time you read this, your Vestry will have approved Trinity’s budget for 2019. It will have done this based on its faith in the generosity and stewardship of Trinity’s parishioners. It is confident that those qualities will allow Trinity to achieve its objectives for the year, including meeting unanticipated challenges, like a broken boiler or a leaking roof. If you haven’t yet submitted a pledge for 2019, it’s not too late to do so. Please call the office (540-592-3343) and a card will be sent to you.

If you are uncertain about this, take a moment to ask yourself – “where is your heart” when it comes to Trinity? Take a moment to pray for God’s guidance. You will not regret it.

Hurst Groves 2019 Stewardship Chair

From the Wardens

As you read this, it has been one month since The Rev. Ed Miller began his spiritual and administrative leadership. As we continue moving through this period of transition, our hope for the future of Trinity Church affords numerous opportunities to reflect on the things that are best about us as well as our relationship to God and our community.

As part of this reflection, The Vestry is assessing how our committees communicate with one another, Vestry, and staff. It is important that we place communication between one another at the fore of our shared labor of God’s work, especially during this time of transition. Doing so is a transparent learning experience that helps us stay in touch with one another, ourselves, and the needs of our church.

As new Wardens, we are gratified to learn about important ministries that are supported and joyfully guided by parishioners with a desire to do good. For example, we praise the efforts of numerous parishioners to revitalize children’s Christian Education. Additionally, our Outreach Committee is thoughtfully considering new ways of reaching out to the community and the region by working with other committees and churches to serve those in need and to help spread God’s message of love, grace, and acceptance. Importantly, we are also paying more attention to our digital environment by improving our physical and network security capabilities and communications. Finally, the endowment drive in honor of Rob and Janie Banse was an unparalleled success. Such initiatives are great signs that support the future of Trinity Episcopal Church, Upperville. We thank Mr. Miller for his leadership and inspiration in helping to shepherd these programs (and others) during the early weeks of the year.

On February 10, The Rev. Dr. Mary Thorpe will conduct services at Trinity in Ed Miller’s ab-sence. She will be inspiring. We know this because she has been instrumental in preparing Trinity to search for a new Rector, the process for which has barely begun. Finding a permanent Rector starts first by selecting a group of parishioners who will be charged with discerning God’s desire for Trinity; this group is called the “Discernment Committee”. In Mary’s words (she literally wrote the book on this), “this is not a hiring process; it is a process of discernment.” Another theologian says, “Christian discernment is not the same as decision making” in which we might consider goals and options, pros and cons, in a straightforward way. Discernment is about “listening and responding to that place where our deepest desires align with God’s desire.” It reveals “new priorities, directions, and gifts from God.” In other words, the Church will vest in some of our fellow parishioners something more prayerful than a conventional ‘search’ process. Mary’s writing on the subject encapsulates where Trinity finds itself at this time:

“The Diocese of Virginia takes seriously the challenges and joys inherent in transition. Whether the incumbent rector … is retiring or taking another call, this ‘in-between time’ can be an opportunity for accepting the loss of a beloved shepherd, for healing old wounds, for discovering how the church and its surrounding community has changed since the last call, and for imagining how God is calling the church to the Body of Christ now and in the future. There will be anxiety about this future, but, approached faithfully, there may also be great discovery and growth.”

We are delighted and challenged by the prospect of finding a permanent Rector, hopefully by the end of 2019. With your prayers and discerning support, this will be an exciting and fulfilling process. Its success will depend in no small measure on how all the members of Trinity support this effort with prayer and active church work.

Jim Hoecker, Senior Warden
Sanford Diday, Junior Warden

Of Special Trinity Interest

It recently came to the Church’s attention that the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (Highway Marker Program) has authorized erection of a highway marker recognizing Mary Conover Mellon, who is interred in Trinity’s cemetery. That marker is being promoted by one of her descendants. It will be placed this Spring by VDOT in the “ vicinity” of the Church, to be determined. To ensure that the historical nature of Trinity itself is at least as prominently recognized, we have used this as an opportunity to request a separate marker to be erected along Route 50 by the state. We would ask for a location in front of the Church. The deadline for approving the final text is January 15 if we want it erected during the Stable Tour.

Although we are able to revise the proposed text of a sign before January 15 to reflect ideas from the congregation (there’s also a general 100-word limit), the language which is recommended (despite being 128 words) is currently as follows:

Trinity Episcopal Church

Founded in 1842 and rebuilt for the second time in the 1950s, the architecture of historic Trinity Church was adapted from churches found in the French and Swedish country sides with the guidance of noted philanthropist, avid horticulturist, and art collector Rachel Lambert Mellon (d.2014). Situated on a 35 acre tract, the Church features a rectory and a parish hall built around a central courtyard. Rich in Christian symbolism and reflecting the rural setting, the Church’s stained glass, iron work, and the wood and stone carvings were handmade by many of the master craftsmen who worked on the National Cathedral. Among those interred here are its principal benefactor, Paul Mellon, philanthropist and horse breeder, and his father former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon. Visitors are welcome.

Comments may be submitted to Jim Hoecker at
Those comments will be relayed to the DHR

Flower Guild Decorating

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On Sunday mornings we decorate the church with beautiful flowers, given to the glory of God.

Often families and/or individuals choose to donate the flowers in honor or memory of a loved one, or in celebration of an anniversary or a special day.

The cost is $135. Please contact Betsey in the church office (540.592.3343 or if you would like to donate flowers.

Currently the following dates are available in 2019:
February 3, 24
March 3
May 26
June 16, 23
July 7, 28
August 4, 11
September 15, 29
October 27
November 3, 24
December 15, 22

Stewardship Progress Report

According to Wikipedia, Stewardship is a theological belief that humans are responsible for the world and should take care of it. “In the Christian tradition stewardship refers to the way time, talents and material possessions or wealth are used or given for the service of God.” Each of us must determine how stewardship is best reflected in our own life.

At this time of the year, Trinity’s Vestry is focused on financial stewardship as we look ahead to managing the physical plant and employing the people that make Trinity “possible” for its parishioners and others who rely on or benefit from its presence in the community.

This does not mean that time and talent aren’t important for they provide the human context that dollars alone can lack. In future issues of Genesis I’ll give some examples of my own experience with non-financial stewardship as well as examples from other parishioners that I hope will provide a context and rationale for our current monetary focus.


In the meantime, If you haven’t submitted your pledge for 2019, please take a few minutes to do it today. You can fill it out online at by clicking on HERE, or fill out a pledge card located in the back of the church or in the church office. The more information we have the better we can budget for the future needs and ministries of Trinity.

Thank you
Hurst Groves

Endowment Fund Update

Trinity’s Endowment is Strengthened in Honor of our Rector, Rob Banse Trinity Church is deeply grateful for the recent infusion of funds into its Endowment Fund in the form of numerous contributions from members and friends of Trinity Church who have been inspired through the 11 years of dedicated service by our retiring Rector, Rob Banse, and his wife, Janie.

To honor the Banses, Trinity parishioners gave generously to strengthen the Church and ensure a bright future for the congregation as it prepares for new spiritual leadership.

As an indication of the esteem in which the Banses are held, over $75,000 has been donated to support the Church’s future. We express our thanks for all those generous and thoughtful contributions.

Henry Chapman, David Hartley, and the Banse Endowment Committee

Vestry Notes January 2018

Dear Parishioners and Friends –

We begin 2019 re-invigorated from a wonderful Advent and Christmas season. We bade farewell to our Rector, Rob Banse, who retired after over 11 years leading our beloved Trinity Church. Our “Good Goodbye” reception on November 30, masterfully organized by the Parish Life committee, gave the Church a chance to say “thank you” in meaningful and fun ways. Reverend Banse presided over a series of joyous services in December as the Church embraced the Christmas season and the bitter sweetness of his anticipated departure. Thank you, Rob – you take our gratitude and many blessings with you.

We now welcome The Reverend Edward O. Miller, former Rector of St. John’s Church in McLean Virginia, as our presiding Interim Rector. His message to the Parish is published above and reflects his inclusiveness, pastoral nature, and his experience leading worshippers through times of change and uncertainty. We share his commitment to continuing Trinity’s welcoming approach to all people and his desire to make the best possible use of the Church’s human and material resources. Rev. Miller will serve as Rector for about a year as we launch a search for a permanent successor to Rev. Banse. During that time, Trinity will remain vital in its activities, its services to parishioners and the larger community, and its work of bringing Christian care and values to people of all ages. Come meet Reverend Miller on Sunday, January 6th, his first in our pulpit. WELCOME, ED.

An additional transition has already occurred this past Autumn, as the Church selected a new Parish Administrator, Diane “Di” Demaree of Bealeton, Virginia. Di’s tenure began in a rush of activity but as the year closes we find her settling into the job of mastering Trini-ty’s many activities and supporting the Rector and Vestry. She is succeeding beyond expectations.

The new Vestry held its first Retreat on December 8 in order to allocate responsibilities for various Church ministries among its members and discuss its many tasks and objectives for 2019. Before Advent began, the Church held its traditional Christmas Auction, which was another great success in terms of both funds raised and fun. Thanks go to Louise Crane, Ellen Hall and a dedicated committee for a superb effort. We are already looking forward to next year.

The coming year will be an exciting time at Trinity. The Vestry will consult with Dr. Mary Thorpe of the Diocese of Virginia on January 7, regarding the process of discerning where the Holy Spirit will lead our search for a new Rector.

Looking ahead, this year’s Hunt Country Stable Tour will be our 60th. Planning has already begun and the Chair, Kat Gemmer, assures us that it will be another tremendous event for visitors and a chance for our parishioners to reach out to our many friends in Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., and beyond.

As Wardens and Vestry Members of Trinity, we extend our very best wishes for the Peace of the Lord in 2019. We urge you to join us in our joyful mission at a wonderful country church.

Wishing you the Blessings of a New Year,
Jim Hoecker, Sr. Warden & Sandy Diday, Jr. Warden

From the Interim Rector

Dear people of Trinity Church,

Greetings as Ginger and I look forward to meeting you at the beginning of 2019. I am honored to be joining you as Interim Rector. My discussions with members of the Vestry have been marked by a warm spirit of welcome and a desire to assure you that the vibrant ministry for which Trinity Church is known will be carried into the future.

During the years Rob Banse and I have overlapped in the Diocese of Virginia, I have appreciated his well-deserved reputation as a pastor, preacher, and leader. It is our good fortune to enter this season of transition secure in the foundation that you and Rob have developed and that we can rely on as we move forward. I have always preferred to build on strengths rather than dwell on weaknesses, and the abundance of strengths among you made the possibility of becoming your Interim Rector especially appealing. At the same time, the Vestry has asked me to share observations about changes that will enhance our mutual purpose to prepare for a new era with the next Rector.

Transitions sometimes seem like inconvenient interludes. The term Interim Rector refers to a temporary figure sitting in until a “permanent” Rector is called. I am uneasy with that distinction because transitions are constantly embedded in life and because the biblical story of God in human life is virtually always about transitions. The people of Israel made the transition from bondage to freedom and later several times from exile to restoration. Followers of Jesus made transitions from weakness to strength, from fear to hope, from anxiety to trust. We begin our time together on the Feast of the Epiphany when the magi discovered a journey to find the Christ child became a transition for a lifetime as “they returned home by a different way.” They travelled, as one person has put it, “from business as usual to business as never before.” With Rob Banse as Rector you have not succumbed to business as usual, and I hope this interim season will be an adventure to discover new ways God engages us in challenging times.

In the broader context of religious experience, transitions can be embraced because nothing in life is permanent except the promise of an active God to be in the midst of the lives of people in every generation. At the same time, transitions are not always easy. We sometimes share the temptation to be like the people who confronted Moses half-way to the land of milk and honey with a longing to return to the perceived security of the past in Egypt. To paraphrase Paul in writing to the Philippians, however, God has not brought us this far to leave us.

I look forward to being with you as together we find our identity as friends in Christ while trusting in the God “in whom we live and move and have our being.”

The Reverend Edward O. Miller, Jr.