It is our pleasure to introduce you to the 2022-2023 Spiritual Formation Team! This team of faculty is spending the year pressing into creative ways of engaging students in growing in their relationship with God – in and out of our weekly Chapel gatherings. They come with a variety of years of experience, areas of expertise, and several different church communities and backgrounds, but share a common heart for helping young people meet a changing world with the unchanging hope of Christ.
This fall, our team has been planning Chapel programming that centers on the telling of sacred stories – recounting times from Scripture and from our own lives where God has found us, healed us, saved us, strengthened us, and held us. As we began the year at Convocation on Tuesday, September 6 we were led through a communal practice of sharing and receiving stories, acknowledging that there is a time for us to seek the Lord and a time to delight in being sought after by Him. Inspired by Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, each person shared a story from their own lives that illustrated an instance of God working in or through them in unexpected and sometimes paradoxical ways… because there is a time for everything.
Join us in praying for the Spiritual Formation Team and the work they will do in the LCA Community this year, and find the stories they shared with our community during Convocation below:
LCA Math Faculty (9 years)
Church: Bethel Presbyterian Church
A Time to Unify, A Time to Diversify
After living in a town for 9 years and being in that school system all that time, we moved right before I started high school. Parents wanted me to be in a smaller environment and they were able to buy our first house, so we kinda had to. I already had a hard time making new friends being the introvert that I am, so to have to start over with friendships was not what I wanted.
Where will I find these friends or more accurately, who will find me, I thought. Being a Brazilian who was raised in the US, I was kinda caught in the middle of a cultural balance. Brazilians at the school would call me gringo and inside I felt I wasn’t truly American (especially since I wasn’t a permanent resident at the time). But you know what, that was all in my head. I did make some great friendships with the Brazilian students and was able to help a few of them in class as one or two were new to the country. And I ended up making friends with most of my class of 130 students.
But there is one friend that will always come to mind from time to time. I won’t tell you her name, and no, she was like a sister to me. We didn’t share anything in common and I truly mean nothing. She always said I dressed too preppy and dared me to wear unbranded clothing for a week and I dared her to wear brighter colors for a week as she loved wearing dark colors. It was never about changing the other but stretching the other’s perspective on life. Out of all my friends, she was the one I was the closest to, the one I had nothing in common with.
LCA Theatre Director & Arts Division Head (15 years)
Church: Antioch Community Church, Waltham
A Time to Be Rejected, A Time to Never Quit
When I was in grad school for theatre, each year one play was chosen among all the playwrights to get a full production – directed by a professional director, with a full set and costumes, multiple performances in front of a paying audience. It was an honor that the other playwrights and myself really wanted for ourselves – as a sign that we had a future ahead of us. Because this is what we came to graduate school for – how could you learn about being a playwright unless a play you wrote was being rehearsed and performed? Year 1, I was a newbie and none of the first years were considered. So I was content rewriting my heart-wrenchingly tragic first play again and again. Year 2, after being told by everybody in the playwriting workshop to write something new rather than keep reworking the first heart-wrenchingly tragic play – YES, I WAS OFFENDED – I wrote a comedy for a change (inspired by Shakespeare’s As You Like It). I was deeply disappointed when neither my first nor my second play was chosen for production that second year. I watched with envy as one of my classmates had a wonderful experience with her play. (And she deserved it – it was a good play! But that sort of made it more painful for me because maybe I just wasn’t good enough to keep up.) My funny second play received, instead, a staged reading in a small theatre with 16 actors carrying scripts with a small audience of grad students. Though this at first was a disappointment, it was a pleasure to have people laugh at some of my favorite jokes. That actual experience of a live audience, even though it wasn’t a full production, inspired me to keep writing. I was invited to return to the program for a third year, and I started writing a new play. To my surprise and delight, my second play – the comedy – was recommended for that year’s production. I was pretty full of myself until the director of the program sat me down and said, your play has too many characters, and it’s just not feasible for us to produce it – we don’t have enough actors to fill all the roles. Right on the heels of that excitement, I was crushed again. Until he said a few days later, I hear you have just written another play. These conversations happened just after our workshop of actors had read the first draft of my third play. The program director said: Since you’re prolific, how about we do that one instead? And that’s what happened. I had a great director, great actors, a colorful set, and a laughing audience. Had I decided to stop creating simply because my first play and my second play were rejected, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see my third play produced. There’s a time to be rejected and there’s a time never to quit.
Nate Grimley ’12
LCA Bible Faculty (4 years)
Church: HighRock Arlington
A Time to Accept, A Time to Decline
It was the beginning of my senior year at LCA. I knew where I wanted to go to college. Moody Bible Institute. Of the Bible Colleges in the country, it was considered by many to be the best. Not only that, but my youth pastor, whom I looked up to as a role model, graduated from there as well. Moody was the only school I wanted to apply to, but I couldn’t apply to just one school. What if I didn’t get in? So applied to Lancaster Bible College as a fall back. Then, one day, my letter from Moody came in the mail. My adrenaline was high and I opened the letter with excitement…Rejected. My dream school now was no longer a reality. So I attended my fallback, LBC, for my freshman year, and I did not enjoy my time there. I wasn’t included by most of the players on the soccer team I was on and ended up spending a lot of my free time alone. So, I applied to Moody again for my upcoming Sophomore year. But as I waited for that letter, something happened. I started accepting the invitations of people to hang out who were outside of my soccer team. Rather than spend the night alone, I spent it with strangers, who would soon become friends. Later on, I received another letter from Moody in the mail. I opened it up. Accepted! Wow, incredible. I could actually go to my dream school now. Yet, I realized in doing so, I would ultimately be leaving the new friends I made behind. I ended up rejecting the invitation to attend Moody to accept those new friendships which are now old friendships, consistently encouraging and comforting me, even to this day.
LCA Bible Faculty (5 years)
Church: Great Road Church, Acton
A Time to Feel Restless, A Time to Feel Peace
I’m so sorry Mrs. Prior, I can’t come into work on Saturday for my last shift. My coach won’t let me miss practice” I say.
She tells me it’s fine, but when I hang up, I chuck my flip phone to the floor and burst into sobs as the battery pops out and disappears under the seat. I am so stressed and angry and tired I don’t even know what I’m crying about at this moment.
I’m angry, and honestly a little bit embarrassed, because my coach called me out after practice for not being committed to the team as we head into playoffs.
I’m tired because I thought it would be a good idea to work a part time job, play a sport, perform in the school play, and study for my upcoming AP exams.
I’m sad because my grandma is in the hospital with cancer and it doesn’t look like she is going to live.
I am all of these things at once and I feel lost and desperate and restless.
Two months later I’m sitting in the window of a church in Germany listening to my friends play foosball. It is summer and the horrors of Junior year feel so far away and just like a distant memory.
I look back at my journal and read what I wrote four days before we left for this trip, “I’m really not that excited. I mean it will be fun. I feel lost. I need a purpose, I don’t have one and it makes me feel empty”
As I sit in the window I write, “It feels really good to only depend on God. I am able to be at peace no matter what.” Through my friends, a break from my normal life, and spending time with God again, I feel like I have a purpose and it makes me feel at peace. I don’t know exactly what that purpose will look like when I go back home for senior year. But in these moments when I feel connected to God, I don’t have to have all the answers and can still feel at peace.
I have had many times of restlessness since. And many times of peace. There is a time for both.
LCA Social Studies Faculty (2 years)
Church: Church of the Cross, Boston
A Time to Speak, A Time to Listen
Growing up, I was a really really loud kid. To be fair, I was the middle of eleven children and needed to be loud sometimes. If I wanted to watch a particular show, or have a second serving, or go on a trip, I needed to have the courage to make my desires and opinions known. I had to speak up.
Even though speaking up was often a good thing, I still had to learn to be quiet sometimes. I learned that constantly raising my hand during class (or metaphorically in life) actually contributed to silencing my peers and stifling the conversation. In college, one of my professors refused to call on me during class discussion after I kept raising my hand after every single one of his questions. I got so frustrated that I went to his office and asked him why he did not like me—because why else would he refuse to call on me in class? This professor had experience with students like me and was expecting me to initiate this conversation. While I was flustered and annoyed, he calmly explained to me that learning with others is about COURAGE and MODERATION. Some students need to have courage, learn to speak up in class, and face their fears while others need to moderate themselves for the good of the entire class. I did not like what my professor had to say but I listened because I wanted a good grade. To my surprise, I quickly noticed that when I stopped having my hand constantly raised above my head other students started contributing to the conversation. In all honesty, I learned more from that dialogue than if I had stubbornly kept raising my hand to answer all of my professor’s questions.
This summer I worked with a very ambitious young man who knew how important academics were and that he was a very capable class participant. When a question was posed he was the first one to raise his hand. While I enjoyed his contributions to the discussion, I quickly saw myself in him. He had courage and knew how to speak up but needed to practice moderation and listening. Because I had also struggled with moderation for so long, I was able to come alongside him and encourage him that there is a time to speak up but also a time to listen.