When asked what attracted her most to Trinity, Associate Rector Carren Sheldon replied with two words: “shared ministry.” Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce, when expressing her astonishment at the number of lay-led programs being promoted at the welcome table, remarked in her sermon that Trinity is “… a parish that has a fire in [its] belly for God!”
It is hard to overstate the importance, the value, and the essential nature of shared ministry at Trinity. Much like a body needs oxygen, lungs, and a beating heart to survive, shared ministry is one of the “vital organs” of our parish life. According to our recent parish survey, almost 75% of the 275 respondents actively participate in at least one ministry, and nearly 40% are involved in two or more.
Shared ministry is based on the affirmation that God calls and empowers us for ministry by way of our baptismal covenant and through God-given gifts. Sharing these gifts to sustain our life at Trinity and beyond—into our families, the community, and the larger world helps in bringing God’s dream of love and justice into reality, as it also becomes a source of great joy, growth, and fulfillment for each of us.
The Parish Council.
Trinity’s Parish Council is the structure within which our Trinity programs and ministries are housed. It comprises six individual councils: Worship, Adult Formation, Justice and Outreach, Children and Youth, Hospitality, and Administration and Inclusion. Together, these councils represent more than fifty lay-led programs that serve Trinity parishioners, our local Santa Barbara community, and those in need around the world. Oversight of the councils is divided between the rector (Worship, Justice and Outreach, and Administration and Inclusion) and the associate rector (Adult Formation, Children and Youth, and Hospitality).
The council is supported by a staff person, the Coordinator of Shared Ministries. She recruits chairpersons for the six councils, who are approved by the Vestry and appointed at the Annual General Meeting. Each council chair serves a 3-year term, and participates with vestry members at two weekend leadership retreats each year.
Following are descriptions of each council and the various programs and activities that fall under its umbrella.