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Christian Life

In each of Trinity's Upper School classes, students are encouraged to learn about God's world and our place in it. They discover and develop their God-given gifts as they study, participate in athletic and cocurricular activities, and serve others in Christ's name.

Our Christian Life program challenges each student to consider the claims of Christ, come to know him as Savior and Lord, and grow in his or her relationship with him. Through morning Cornerstone devotions, weekly worship, prayer, conversation with faculty members, and fellowship groups (either through school, church, or parachurch groups), we strive to share and grow in God's love.

The Rev. Ellen VanTongeren serves as our Dean of Christian Life, overseeing Cornerstone devotional assignments, facilitating and supplementing the work of the Student Worship Planning Team, providing support for students and staff who lead small groups, and serving as a resource for the entire Upper School community.

Praying and Worshipping Together

Cornerstone
Three days each week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) the entire Upper School gathers for Cornerstone, a 10-minute time which includes a student-or faculty-led devotional followed by prayer and announcements. Devotionals regularly include a Scripture text, song, or testimony.

Advisory Devotions
Every Tuesday and Thursday the day begins with ten-minute devotionals by advisory group.

Worship
Each Thursday morning the Upper School gathers for a 45-minute worship service. The worship times are planned by a student group faciliated by the Coordinator of Spiritual Life. Worship includes singing, times of prayer, silence, and Scripture reading. Student musicians are coordinated and led by Janet Ray and Marty Stam.

Worship speakers and panelists include students and teachers from the Trinity community as well as local pastors and Christian leaders. To aid them in their planning, the worship planning team holds 2–3 retreats per year.

Worship is designed to be a time of dialogue between God and us, in which all present are invited to listen and speak to God. In worship we celebrate the character of God, take time to silently confess our sin, reflect on the way we have seen God work among us, share what we have learned about God, lift up to him the needs of our community and our world and discover how we may grow to be like Christ.

Small Groups
Students are encouraged to take part in small groups through local churches or parachurch organizations. Each year faculty members and students have the opportunity to lead or participate in small groups at Trinity if they choose. Some students lead groups for younger students as part of their senior Capstone project.

Required Theology Classes

Humanities Classes
The Humanities Program integrates the study of Scripture into students’ explorations of Ancient Civilizations (grade 9), Western Studies from Medieval to Modern Times (grade 10), and American Studies (grade 11). No prior knowledge of Scripture is expected. The study of Scripture enriches and deepens students' understanding both of the Humanities topics and also of Scripture itself.

Theology Studies I
The goal of this one-semester course is to help students read and live the Scriptures more faithfully and knowledgeably. At least three things are necessary in order to meet this goal: to understand one’s self and one’s world; to understand the Scriptures themselves; and to understand some of the ways Scripture has been read and lived in the past. Knowledge of these three things is bound up together, and the course is defined by the boundaries of this triangle: self, Scripture, and the church. The nature and history of Scripture are the introductory topics; students also explore basic guidelines for sound reading of God’s Word. With this background, figures from the church, past and present, help to broaden students' perspective of what Scripture is, how it should be read, and how it should be lived.

In the engagement of “self,” the scope of the course is the entire world of the modern teenager. Any issue that concerns or any entity that influences any teenager in this class—and beyond—is relevant. Indeed, whatever informs contemporary culture, from science to pluralism, may be addressed. As students engage with Scripture, the scope includes all 66 books of the Bible, seen through the interpretive lens of the student and the historical figures studied.

Theology Studies II
Theology Studies II is the second one-semester course in theology required of all Trinity graduates. This course explores what it means to have a Christian view of the world. Students examine the Big Questions all human beings ask about the world we live in; the kinds of answers that different religions and philosophies (including especially a post-modern worldview) have proposed; and the distinctive questions and answers the Christian gospel poses and proposes. This course has a strong element of what is often called apologetics: Understanding why we believe and addressing honestly the most difficult questions any Christian must face. One of the goals of this course is to prepare students for a thoughtful, faithful, and benevolent engagement with the secular academic culture, which they are likely to encounter in their college years.