Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
3745 Kimball Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38111
901 743 6421

The article is taken from THE TRACT, December 2019 issue



From the Desk of Rev. Tom Momberg





We do not think ourselves into a new way of living.

We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.

Without action and lifestyle decisions,

without concrete practices,

words are dangerous and largely illusory.”


~ Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas:

Daily Meditations for Advent



         The rector of our church took me, one of his Vestry members, to lunch to break the news to me. John, the curate, a young priest fresh out of seminary who had become my new best friend, was leaving to serve another church in a state far away. I was heartbroken.


         “I’ve just asked a new assisting priest to join me,” he said at the end of our meal, “and her name is Carol.” WHAT??!! I could barely swallow the dessert, let alone this news. It was just more bad news, I thought.


         We’re going to have a woman priest? I had never laid eyes on one, let alone experience a woman as a priest. Then, I met Carol.


         One day she asked me, “Have you ever thought about serving at the altar?” She knew I had been an acolyte as a boy. The rector knew, too, but had never asked me to serve in that way. I said yes, I had. And I’d like that.


         God’s infinite sense of humor, of course, was that I would later marry a woman who is a priest. But first, before any new way of living - before that marriage, before serving as a priest myself, before serving at the altar at Carol’s invitation - first, I had to live myself into a new way of thinking.


         This year at Holy Trinity, I think that’s what Advent is about. Advent is about preparing ourselves for Christmas with a new way of thinking. Advent is about action and lifestyle decisions, about concrete practices.


         Holy Trinity has been an Episcopal congregation in the Diocese of West Tennessee for more than a century. Changes in the life of this church have taken place since its founding. Chances are, there are more changes to come. The question is: Will we live ourselves into new ways of thinking? If so, how might God be inviting us to do that? Here are some possibilities:


         ~ St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, at the corner of Prescott and Kimball, has been offering ministry to the homeless through a program called Room in the Inn. They have invited us to join them. Regardless of what we may think about why some people have no home, how might God be inviting us, during this season of Advent, to join our Methodist sisters and brothers in this ministry of hospitality?


           ~ The Lynching Sites Project of Memphis, on whose board I serve as President, is launching a series called “courageous conversations.” Part of our mission is “to uncover the whole truth of racial terror and violence in Shelby County.” We are looking for safe places, especially churches, where these conversations can be hosted. Regardless of how uncomfortable these conversations may seem or become, how might God be inviting us, during this season of Advent, to be a courageous host congregation?


         ~ The Swahili congregation worshipping at Holy Trinity on Sunday afternoons under the leadership of the Rev. Peter Kuria has changed the time of their service to Noon. This means that, in between services, their congregation and ours will be able to share some fellowship at the Columns. Regardless of how different their worship may be from ours, how might God be inviting us, during this season of Advent, to explore new ways to live hospitably together?


        As we move into this Advent season, preparing the way of the Lord to come among us once more, may God give us grace, wisdom, and courage to live ourselves into new ways of thinking. In the new year, let us imagine Holy Trinity in this way: new birth, new life, new ways to think and to live!


In Christ,