Hearing and Responding to God

Chapel is a time set apart from the hectic nature of daily school life that allows faculty and students to come together for a time of biblical teaching, religious contemplation, and corporate worship. Pastors, community leaders, faculty members, and fellow students are invited to address the community. The student chapel bands also lead the group in singing contemporary worship songs and traditional hymns.

Chapel Recaps

On January 18, the Chapel service was led by a faith-based addiction recovery and rehabilitation organization named Adult and Teen Challenge. S.P.A.R.K Project Group Leader Maggie Halvorsen ‘23 connected BTA to the organization. S.P.A.R.K., which stands for Substance Prevention, Awareness, Reconciliation, and Knowledge, is one of the student-led project groups of the Trinity Institute for Leadership and Social Justice. They believe that "As a group, we desire to not only identify specific substances, mainly drugs and alcohol, that cause both mental and physical damage but to also pursue the 'why?' and to seek growth, healing, and understanding despite the destructive nature of these substances." Other Project Group Leaders include Levi Corcoran ‘23 and Gaelyn Grant ‘23.

The Chapel itself featured both singing and worship from men that had gone through the Adult and Teen Challenge program. It also included powerful testimonies from men that recounted their experiences and how God touched them at their lowest, picked them up, and restored them. The testimonies were poignant and struck a chord with the students, as each testimony was felt with applause. We are thankful for the Adult and Teen Challenge and all they are doing to help men struggling with Addiction and Substance Abuse. Program and Church Services Coordinator Tony Carew finished the chapel by thanking the school for letting them come out and sharing more about the organization.

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In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,

‘Prepare the way for the Lord,

 make straight paths for him.’”

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased.”  - Matthew 3 1:1-17

On January 11, Headmaster Tim Belk led the first Chapel Service since the return from Christmas Break. Mr. Belk’s address was out of the totality of Matthew 3 and centered on why ‘Judgment’ matters. 

Mr. Belk began his address by conveying why Matthew 3 displayed this theme of judgment. He displayed how in Matthew 3:11-12 we see John the Baptist state, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But, after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Mr. Belk then stated, “Judgment can be one of the things that can be off-putting about the Bible. But in Matthew, we see loud and clear that we must address judgment and what it means. It is tempting to minimize the theme because it sounds so frightening. However, I want to suggest we see it as a gift, a gift that is extremely helpful….to live in freedom here and now.”

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Mrs. Kirstin Peltz, Boston Trinity Academy’s Director of Music, opened last week's "Lessons and Carols" Chapel with the Call to Worship and then led attendees in the singing of Dona Nobis Pacem, after which Headmaster Tim Belk gave a brief history of the Lessons and Carols service.

Former Chapel Review Writer and Business Office Associate, Valerie Ferrara wrote on the history of the Lessons and Carols Service last year in her Chapel Review, “The origins of the tradition of “Lessons and Carols” are attributed to Truro Cathedral in Cornwall, but later became associated with Kings College, Cambridge. Traditionally celebrated on or near Christmas Eve, it is also known as the "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols," a service of nine carols interspersed with scripture readings or lessons.”

The service last Wednesday included both Carols sung by the Congregation, the Madrigal choir, and the Chamber Ensemble. The Lessons, which came in the form of verses read aloud by students like Spiritual Life Prefect Andrew Peck ’23.

The “Lessons and Carols” service began with the carol of Once in Royal David’s City:

Once in royal David's city,
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.
Once in Royal David’s City
He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor and meek and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

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Last Wednesday was Junior Class Chapel! Multiple Junior students gave short messages on things they have been learning this year in Bible class and topics that intersected with their own faith.

The first student speaker was junior Elsa Tate. Elsa spoke on John 1:1-5 and the book of John and how it relates to the Trinity.

 In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, which was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. - John 1:1-5

She explained how the thought of the Trinity confuses her. How all things can be one and separate. She wrestled with that idea throughout Bible but found comfort in this fact, “Yes, I do not fully understand the trinity and the other questions we debated in class nor do I think I will ever fully understand them, but as a part of developing a relationship with God and growing in my faith, I believe that asking God questions is very important, though hard sometimes. This is something I do through prayer and meditation. Where it’s not just me talking, but also listening for God’s answers.”

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Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. - Revelations 20:1-4

Last Wednesday Chapel was led by the Dean of Middle School, Mr. Geoffrey Hicks. Mr. Hick’s spoke on the power of names, more specifically your given name. He began his address by asking the chapel attendees, “What is your name? What does it mean to make your name great? What does it mean to make a difference in the world? To make an impact in your community, church, or school.”

He answered his own set of rhetorical questions by stating, “Names have great symbolic value. They tell you who or what a person is about. They tell you where a person may come from. A name tells you what a person may think about their actions. All throughout the Bible, there is this issue of naming. Places are given names out of honor or from key events. In the Bible, there are good names and bad names. There are names of people we are to emulate and reject. We learn from both of these groups of people.”

Mr. Hick’s continued to eloquently magnify the importance of names, especially within the context of the Bible. He continued, “Even the angels and demons have names. The angel Gabriel brings Virgin Mary a message and gives her the name of the soon-to-be king, Jesus.”

He, then, shifted his talk back to the audience. He allowed the Chapel attendees to truly ponder what it is their name says about them by analyzing what others say their names are

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