After mulling all of this over, I planned on posting right away - but thought better of it and sent it to a friend to read through for her thoughts. The articles and my thoughts raised some other points in her mind, and (with her indulgence) I'll include them here as they merit strong discussion. I certainly don't have the answers - but I wonder if many focused on property and investment growth would in the church would have these answers:
1) Trinity's position has the potential to allow them to do much good in the world - but also to corrupt the view of what is adequate and necessary. Right now, based on these articles and their own comments, they seem lost in the "worldly muck" of budgets, balance sheets, and investment portfolios.
2) The reference to "philanthropic grant spending" shows the church has lost sight of the meaning, beauty, and reward of Christian language and replaced it with Wall Street-speak.
3) One of the parishioners has referred to the new construction as symbolically wrong. Here, I'll directly quote my friend: "What does this say in action about our church? And also, very importantly, what does it symbolize? How do we teach the world through our actions that we are a church of a beautiful liturgy and gorgeous church buildings but that our life is not centered upon things but upon loving the poor, the outcast, and the downtrodden?" (Emphasis is my own.)
4) Again quoting, "How do we prioritize lifting up others? How do we DO it? How do we SHOW it to others?"
In my reaction to all of this, one area in which I failed was prayer - prayer for the rector and vestry that they will recognize the perception of what they have chosen to do. Prayer for those who were removed from the vestry, or chose to leave, rather than face this future that has been set for Trinity. Prayer for the congregation which, as I know from my own experience, can be torn apart by decisions such as these. But most importantly, prayer for those in the community - those whom the church may be supporting already, and those who may not receive support because of other financial obligations.
Yes, prayer for all of these - and prayer for discernment: discernment of who we are as a church right now; discernment of who we are as God's chosen; and discernment of how we put worldly considerations aside and choose God and what God would have us do.