Trinity has a football team!

Father David Epps's picture

In the early part of 1994, Regina Garrett and Vicki Smith made an appointment and came to my office. At the time, I was the pastor of Trinity Fellowship, an Assemblies of God congregation in Sharpsburg. They proposed that we begin a Christian school at Trinity and they were willing to do the leg work necessary to try to make it happen.

It wasn’t a good time for such a venture. Only two years earlier, we had struggled mightily with finances. We were now out of the woods but the memory of those tight and difficult days was still fresh. A school would require a great deal of energy ... and money. Still, I caught their enthusiasm and took the matter to the Official Board.

Understandably, there was concern and skepticism — especially at that particular time. There was a fear that a school would drain the church’s resources and become the main focus of ministry. But they were men of faith and they caught the vision, too.

Modest plans were made. The school would begin in the fall with classes for kindergarten through grade 3. The plan was to stop adding grades when grade 5 came on line two years later. It was felt that the public schools could offer arts, languages, and sports better than we could.

For once, I kept my mouth shut. Privately, I thought that, if we did this, we should go all the way — preschool through 12th grade with a full sports program, including a varsity football team. But that dream seemed silly and impossible and the venture was risky enough without adding unreasonable expectations.

In the fall, we opened with 17 students and a core of committed teachers who were paid the pauper’s salary of $8,000 per year. It was the best we could do at the time.

Regina Garrett became the school’s first administrator, a school board was formed, and the endeavor took its first, shaky steps. In 1995, a fourth grade was added, and, in 1996, a fifth grade. At the beginning of the 1996 school year, I announced my resignation as pastor after 13-plus years and entered a new area of ministry.

The school continued to grow and to prosper. Every year, the programs improved and the student body increased. Arts were added, languages and music, too. Drama was introduced and several sports teams were formed. A school building was built, then another.

This summer, I visited Trinity Christian School to donate several books to the library. While there, the headmaster, Dean Demos, said, “I want to show you something.”

He unrolled several large sheets of paper, and I saw the plans for a new school building in the works. Then I saw something unusual on the paper. I looked very closely, sucked in my breath, and shouted, “That’s a football stadium!” And, indeed it was.

This fall, the Trinity Christian High School Lions, took to the field to begin their first varsity football season. Clad in purple and gold uniforms, the team played its home games on the field of East Coweta Middle School.

On the field were young men — and a young woman — playing in the historic first season, including Trinity’s first seniors. The team went 5-2 going into the final regular game of the season. Homecoming was scheduled against a strong team from Marietta, Cumberland Academy.

One of my sons, and a grandson, and I attended the game, slipping in quietly to try to find a seat in the packed grandstands. The Trinity band played fight songs, the cheerleaders led the crowd in cheering on the home team. The first Homecoming Court and Homecoming Queen made their debut at halftime.

For me, it was like seeing someone you knew as an infant who was now all grown up. Though I had little to do with it, the dream had become a reality. Counting the pre-school, Trinity now has nearly 700 students.

The Lions scored 74 points in the season’s final game but lost to the Cumberland Academy Patriots by a score of 80-74 in the most offensive-laden game I have ever seen. A season of 5-3 and headed for the playoffs. An excellent tradition of winning has begun.

Somewhere in that crowd were at least some of the original 17 students. I wouldn’t have recognized them — they would be seniors now.

What a dream! What an adventure! What an accomplishment! All because two mothers had an idea for a new school in 1994. And now, Trinity has a football team!

[Bishop David Epps serves as a bishop to Georgia and Tennessee. He is also the founding pastor of Christ the King Church, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277, between Peachtree City and Newnan. Services are held Sundays at 8 and 10 a.m. Bishop Epps is also the mission pastor of Christ the King Church in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at Persons interested in Trinity Christian School may log on to]

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