CCE Corner – Taking God’s Word to Heart

November 2nd, 2023

Mrs. Tellinghuisen returns to the CCE Corner to share about last week’s chapel guests, her seminary program, and the importance of hiding God’s word in our hearts.

There’s a delicate balance to be found between the task of learning and the joy of learning. These two things are not mutually exclusive, but they don’t always overlap. Sometimes the learning process is hard and doesn’t leave us feeling joyful. We may, even in moments of frustration and impatience, have a sense of satisfaction that we are growing in knowledge (hopefully wisdom too). But we might not call that joy.

This is food for thought in a classical school that has high standards and lofty expectations. We ask a lot of our students. (Case in point, how many middle schoolers do you know who study Greek?) Each day at Trinitas is full, for our curriculum is full. And each day, a certain amount of work needs to happen. Facts must be taught. Concepts must be applied. Assessments must be given. There are learning tasks that must happen in a classroom. Of course, how that happens makes all the difference. The goal of teaching is transformation, but we all know that knowledge alone can’t transform hearts.

The challenge for a Christian classical school is even greater. We have Bible classes. We have Bible memorization assignments that, yes, are graded work. But even if we know that memorization is important and good for our kids (good for adults too), we may wonder—Is this assignment being presented as a joy as well as a task? Is it being received as a joy and not just a task?

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CCE Corner – Persistent Prayer, part II

September 28th, 2023

As mentioned in part I, the classical Christian tradition teaches us that friendship with God is humankind’s highest good and that cultivating this friendship requires a life of prayer. How then should we pray? Together and alone. Through the words of others and in our own. We have a God who created and sustains the universe and yet also hears each of our prayers. How blessed are we when in our solitude and without concern for the form of our words we offer our adoration and thanks, make our confessions, plead our requests, and express our emotions. We find our model for this intimate individual and spontaneous form of prayer in scripture. The Psalmists poured out their hearts to God. And we know from his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane that our Lord poured out his. But private prayers are not the only soil in which friendship with God grows.

In his book Prayer, George Buttrick draws attention to the act of praying together, saying that it “should be stressed in a generation which easily neglects and discredits public worship. For a man to argue, ‘I do not go to church: I pray alone,’ is no wiser than if he should say, ‘I have no use for symphonies: I believe only in solo music’” (35).* To this I would add that praying through the words of others might also need to be stressed in a generation which admires the “authentic” and disparages the rote.

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CCE Corner – Persistent Prayer, part I

September 14th, 2023

Like all of Jesus’ parables, his stories of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) and a person who repeatedly knocks on a friend’s door at midnight (Luke 11:5-13) contain a “hidden” meaning. I am reluctant, even with the help of commentaries, to try to interpret this deeper meaning about prayer and the relationship of asking, seeking, and knocking to receiving, finding, and opening. I have too many questions about prayer in general (and am also shy about the possibility of committing heresy): Do our prayers somehow change God’s mind? But isn’t God unchangeable and impassible? Do our prayers merely change us? Do they simply give us a better “perspective,” cultivate psychological equilibrium, build our character? Does the timing of our prayers matter for a God who is outside of time? (I once attended a philosophy colloquium on the topic: “Praying for Things to Have Happened.”) While I have a desire to know the answers to such questions and can appreciate the subtle debates, I know that mystery will continue to veil much of prayer. It is part of the Christian tradition, however, not to let mystery be an impediment to action. At some point, we may need to be satisfied with the classic Sunday school answer: “Jesus.” Jesus prayed. Jesus told his followers to pray. And, in these parables, the message close to the surface is that we are to do so persistently. 

In his classic book on prayer, Presbyterian minister George Buttrick writes that on the issue of prayer, “as always [Jesus’] deed and word are an indivisible flame” (35).* In less eloquent expression: Jesus “walked the walk.” Jesus prayed in solitude and with friends, he prayed in routine days and in crisis, he prayed at his baptism and in the desert, he left the crowds to pray and he prayed before choosing his disciples, he prayed on the Mount of Transfiguration and he prayed after the feeding of the five thousand, he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and he prayed on the cross, he prayed, “until prayer became the climate of his days. The saints said that ‘to work is to pray,’ and they believed profoundly that ‘to pray is to work.’ Jesus said in the language of deeds that ‘to live is to pray,’ and that to pray is to live’” (36). If Jesus prayed, shouldn’t that be good enough reason for us to do the same? 

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Looking Ahead to Next Year

July 13th, 2023

A successful school year starts in the summer! Now is the time to work together on habits for mind, body, and soul. You might want to print a copy of our updated Healthy Habits and hang it on your fridge.

N.B. The 2023–2024 Academic and Vacation Calendar was sent last week. Please note the addition of Monday, April 8, to our Spring Break for those who wish to travel to view the total solar eclipse.

Summer Reading Club – Nourishing Narratives

July 13th, 2023

Join us for food for the soul! We plan to discuss Jennifer Holberg’s Nourishing Narratives: The Power of Story to Shape Our Faith. Please contact Mrs. Poortenga for more information. Some of you attended Professor Holberg’s wonderful talk in March, which was drawn primarily from two chapters of the book.

Note: The book will be released on Amazon on July 25. Baker Book House on East Paris currently has copies in stock. Call to reserve a copy. It is also available now on the IVPress website. Some new/like new copies can be found on eBay.

No Umbrella Needed . . .

July 13th, 2023

… when there’s a brainstorm! For all the dreamers, schemers, planners, and storytellers; the artisans, handicrafters, tinkerers, and designers; and of course the engineers, architects, cultivators, and curators: we invite you share your creations at Maker Faire 2023.

What is a Maker Faire? It is a showcase of both individual and group projects, featuring innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance, and craft.

How do I participate? Consider a skill you have or would like to have. Then, consider how you might grow that skill and ultimately showcase it in our Maker Faire next November.

Participation is free. Our Trinitas Maker Faire will feature student, alumni, and hopefully even parent exhibits, as well as hands on activities that invite students (and adults) to make something during the event.

If you would like to participate or have questions, please contact Mrs. Hultink.

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

July 13th, 2023

How do you pray? If every member of our wonderfully diverse ecumenical community could gather in a circle to talk about prayer—or even better, to pray together!—we would surely be blessed by the richness of those diverse traditions and forms of communion and conversation with our Lord. The apostle Paul told the Thessalonian community of believers to pray without ceasing. We can only conclude, then, that our very lives are offerings of prayer, from the moment we wake up and say, “Here I am, Lord, use me for your glory and service today,” to the moment we go to sleep and place those hours of rest (and sometimes, restlessness) in the hands of the One who never slumbers, but is always mindful of us.

Though July marks the end of our worship grant year, we continue to seek to learn, and hopefully, apply, what we have learned to deepen our expressions of faith as a body of believers, united in Christ. In our summer newsletters, we will share some of what we learned specifically about prayer.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Psalm 121:1–3

Welcome, Mrs. Stawicki!

July 13th, 2023

We are excited to announce that Ginnie Stawicki is joining the Trinitas staff as our primary first-grade teacher. Mrs. Stawicki has a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with honors from James Madison University. She is an experienced elementary educator, having previously taught for seven years in Northern Virginia where she taught second and fourth grade and specialized in curriculum development as well as helping English as a Second Language (ESL) students. Mrs. Stawicki joins our staff having previously served in various part-time roles, helping with office duties and providing pull-out support for math to our fourth-grade class. Outside of school, she has served in a volunteer role to supplement Children’s Ministry curriculum materials at her church. Mrs. Stawicki and Miss Mehari will be working closely as partners in collaborative and creative ways to continue to build the first- and second-grade learning community.

Welcome, New Families!

July 13th, 2023

New families should have received an email from the office last week with login information for the Trinitas website. While most of our website is accessible to the public, your family account will allow you to view classroom newsletters (Current Students menu). Please contact the office if you have questions or run into any difficulties logging in.

Welcome to Trinitas! We are so happy you have joined our school community.

Virtue Update

July 12th, 2023

Summer is a great time to use our Home Connection materials. We hope you’ll continue to talk about and practice the virtues of WORK, COURAGE, HONESTY, and HUMILITY together as a family.