RPCNA | Presbytery of the Alleghenies | Burtonsville (Maryland, USA)
- Organized: February 17, 1990
- Elders: Pastor Joel Wood, Tony Gazo, David Handermann, David Merkel, Vince Skwarek, & Brad Stewart
- Deacons: Andrew Ashleigh, Jon Baumann, & Tim Stewart
- Members: 91 Communicant, 49 Baptized
Located in suburban Maryland, Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church is less than half an hour’s drive from either Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore, or the nation’s capital in Washington, DC. Although residence in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia region is often transitory due to financial and political realities, the Lord continues to preserve and grow His church.
After renting a school facility for more than two decades, the congregation purchased a building in 2015, which has provided both new challenges and new opportunities for service and fellowship. The events of 2020 have altered life for many around the world, including the Trinity RPC congregation. Through continued worship of God and pursuit of additional avenues of ministry, the church rejoices in the providential care of our Lord.
Worship and Ministry
Morning worship at Trinity RPC regularly consists of over 100 members, with frequent guests coming to visit family or vacation in the surrounding region. Until this spring, the first Lord’s Day of each month included morning worship, followed by Sabbath school, fellowship lunch, and afternoon worship. Having been blessed with a large number of young children, the congregation made use of every available room for Christian education after the morning service concluded!
Pastor Joel Wood regularly greeted each member and visitor walking out the door after worship, and fellowship lunches included a variety of foods that often varied according to scheduled themes. For households spread across Maryland, multiple opportunities for teaching and conversation on Sunday provide ways to build and maintain the bonds of Christian fellowship.
Adapting to Recent Challenges
In response to the initial uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Trinity RPC began streaming the reading, singing, and preaching of God’s Word live on Sunday morning through YouTube.
After pausing in-person corporate worship from the end of March to the beginning of June, the congregation resumed meeting together outside on the church property. With steps as a natural platform and plenty of room to spread out across the lawn, the congregation continues to gather together for corporate worship. In the Lord’s remarkable providence, and with the help of a professional meteorologist in congregation, Trinity RPC has met together outside since June with only one Sunday involving rain that moved services indoors.
In place of monthly pot-luck meals, the congregation has shifted to bag/ packed lunches on a monthly basis, and the outdoor setting continues to provide the ability to fellowship for both young and old.
Living in Fellowship Together
At the beginning of the year, the Session had planned to begin new fellowship and study opportunities, using regional groups to foster community among members. Under the acronym LIFT, for Living In Fellowship Together, these regional groups incorporate past ideas for home-based gatherings, while also encouraging scheduling and content tailored to the needs of each group.
These groups are now beginning to meet together as the Session continues seeking to shepherd well in the midst of difficult days. As a congregation with some households living over an hour away from each other, LIFT groups are one key way to build up one another.
Trinity RPC has held weekly prayer meetings on Wednesday nights for many years, and continued to do so throughout this year. One unexpected blessing of moving to virtual meetings for a time was the ability of some additional members to participate who were otherwise unable to attend.
Working through The Providence of God
Absence of regular services at the building for several months provided an ideal time for Ruling Elder Brad Stewart to leverage his skills for the renovation of the auditorium, restrooms, offices, and flooring in the building. Other members also participated in the work, and made additional improvements to the surrounding grounds.
God’s providence throughout this year has provided many reminders of His sovereignty in all things. His grace has remained sufficient for His church. This year has brought changes to both times and places for corporate worship and individual fellowship, but through it all, the Lord continues to show His faithfulness to the saints gathering together in Burtonsville, Maryland.
Special thanks to the Session of Trinity RPC for compiling this information for the RP Church family around the world. If you want to see your congregation featured here, get in touch through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you!