August 25, 2019. It was the Sunday Trinity’s new scouting ministry was introduced to the congregation. That morning in worship the Scouts and Scouting leaders stood at the front of the congregation and we blessed them for this renewed ministry in the life of the church. The congregation applauded this next exciting chapter in the ministry of Trinity. Our District Superintendent, the Rev. Dr. Robin Dease, preached that morning as she was with us for this and another important and historic event.

The date stands out because it was the culmination of over a year’s worth of work for the Long Range Planning Committee (LRP). In that time, committee members met, planned and prayed. They interviewed principals from area high schools and college presidents, community elected leaders, persons from the neighborhoods around the church, as well as law enforcement leaders. All of this was done to give the committee a picture of life in Sumter-its needs and its blessings. Through these interviews as well as data gathered from the congregation, its history, and the present, the committee prayerfully worked on a vision statement that reflects our heritage and our call. In response to the data and observations they discerned five areas for the church to focus upon for the next five years.

When this was completed, Tyler Brown, chairperson of the Long Range Planning Committee and members of the committee held educational and conversational sessions in the chapel to explain the plan. During these sessions church members were encouraged to ask questions and to learn about the LRP process and the outcome which would become the missional vision for Trinity. Persons interested in volunteering in the areas of emphasis were encouraged to sign up. Next, the church council voted unanimously to approve and adopt the plan and referred it to a church conference. A church conference provides an opportunity for all professing members of the church to vote. On August 25, 2019, the church conference of Trinity UMC, in a meeting held after worship, voted unanimously to adopt the Long Range Plan.

Although COVID may have slowed down our LRP implementation, even now your church leaders are working on the next phases of the Long Range Plan, in the five areas specified, to include: communication, children and youth, hospitality and welcome, connection and fellowship, and mission partnerships. Committees that were formed out of the need to successfully live out the plan that was adopted are beginning to regroup and remind themselves of the mission and the action items to which they were tasked. A task force appointed by the Finance Committee is working with all areas of the church to put together a budget for 2021 that reflects the vision and mission provided in this plan. It is our goal going forward to have all that we do in discipleship, stewardship, education, evangelism, fellowship and all aspects of ministry at Trinity align with the vision that we have discerned is God’s purpose for our church for such a time as this.

Take a moment to remind yourself of and pray about how you will be a part of living out our Long Range Plan as we begin again to live into who we are called to be together as the Body of Christ at Trinity UMC in Sumter.

You can find a copy of the plan as it was adopted on August 25, 2019 on the new church website by following this link: