Rest for the Weary

What has you weary?  Do you feel helpless in a world that is full of darkness?  Are you troubled by a difficult relationship?   Is your precious little one colicky and keeping you up at all hours of the night?  Do you find your employer demanding deadlines that seem next to impossible?  Is illness threatening a close loved one?  Are you lonely, far from what is familiar, feeling like you do not fit in?   Are you responsible for a rebellious son or daughter who continues to break your heart regardless of what you say or do?  You are weary with little hope of a change in sight.  How do you find rest in the midst of difficulty? Dear one, do not despair!

Ovid, an ancient poet and scholar of rhetoric, once said, “What is without periods of rest will not endure.” The concept of rest in the midst of trouble may seem oxymoronic, impossibly ideal, and perhaps even fantastical to the one going through the fire; certainly, as Proverbs reminds us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” However, God’s Word not only describes the reality of the human condition, but God grants His children the promise of rest, strength and hope. How are we able to claim these gifts when difficulty is perpetual and fatigue of mind, body and spirit prevails? To begin, we must accept our design and trust our Creator.  He has made us for worship.  Giving our souls opportunity to reflect on the hope of the cross, to offer our tithes, and to join in the great chorus of praise, refreshes the heart and enables the child of God to be transported to the throne of his Father where solace is waiting. God commands that we enter a Sabbath rest; He desires His children to find calm in the midst of the storm.

In Ephesians six, God reminds us to prepare for struggles with armor that provides victory in the battle of life.  In a fallen world, hardship is expected, but with the Word of God, the child of God is able to stand firm in the strength of the Holy Spirit, walk through the difficulty with transformative grace and peace, and find encouragement and renewal through prayer and fellowship.  God calls us to persevere in difficulties, but He promises to be in our midst, and He challenges His people to bear one another’s burdens.  A Swedish proverb points to what is often missing in the trials of life:  “A joy shared is a double joy.  A burden shared is half a burden.”  Stoicism and isolation rob the people of God the opportunity to fulfill part of its calling, to love.

Recognizing what our limits of time, talent, and treasure are is also necessary for survival during seasons of suffering.  There are occasions we must limit the extra projects we care for regardless of how admirable they may be in order to protect the necessaries. There is a metaphor of rocks and sand that pictures the process of prioritizing.  A jar of rocks may appear full until we slowly pour sand over it, only to find the sand filling in all the crevices.  In life, certain circumstances may be out of our control and require much of our time; however, many of us fill our jars full of noble deeds, robbing what matters the most to us.  When our lives are faced with difficulty, it is especially critical that we have a clear sense of what rocks should be in the jar and what is just sand. Do your efforts reflect what is dearest to you?  In Luke ten, Jesus points out the need for wisdom in determining how we spend our days. How often we miss what is best!

In Lamentations we read, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.  His mercies they never come to end.”  In your hardship, you are not alone.  You are loved with an everlasting love.  Your Father cares for you.  Enter the rest He has for you!

 

DSC_7354Suzanya DeAngelo has been involved in classical education for over fifteen years. In her first year as a science teacher at Covenant, Mrs. DeAngelo seeks to help students discover a love for God and the world he created.

Covenant 7th Grader Wins With Grace, Humilty

This year, Covenant 7th Grader Cole Wager entered the Little League World Series books by helping his Red Land team win the 2015 American Championship. Colehas attended Covenant Christian Academy since first grade and his parents credit his school for creating a balanced, grounded view of successes, big and small.

“Covenant provides a community that allows students to be individuals,” said Cole’s mother, Colleen Wagner. “Everyone respects and appreciates the Christ-given gifts of their peers—there’s no pressure to be something you aren’t.”

Update: Covenant Accreditation Report

We’re pleased to report a much anticipated package we recently received in the mail: our certificate of accreditation! This represents the culmination of over three years of diligent and impressive work by many, many people at our school. We can all walk a little taller now as we know we have successfully passed this thorough examination.

If you were not able to attend our accreditation report findings last March then I urge you to click on the image below to listen a to dramatic reading of the visiting team’s accreditation report. This report was written by a team of professional educators who made a careful and comprehensive examination of our school.
You will be encouraged and inspired by their report.

Kindergarten’s Adventure in Cursive

Five years ago, Covenant made a curriculum change, replacing the teaching of manuscript handwriting in kindergarten with cursive handwriting. At the time, it seemed like a radical change. The national discussion had just begun questioning the value of cursive in a school’s curriculum, and now we would be asking the youngest students to master a subject that since the 1940’s had been tackled no earlier than second grade. Our research, however, showed us that this change would benefit our students, so we marched forward. Over the ensuing five years, I have seen some wonderful results.

The majority of our kindergartners have been excited to learn this method of handwriting that in their eyes, only adults use. It is not easy for them in the beginning, but they learn during the first few weeks other important lessons such as diligence, perseverance, and carefulness. When they begin to see progress they are reminded that faithful practice does indeed reap rewards. By the end of the school year, the students are not only writing cursive words but reading them as well. They also have the ability to “translate” printed words into cursive. Having these skills in their “tool boxes” in kindergarten helps to make the students’ handwriting more automatic in later grades, freeing up their working memory to concentrate on the ideas they wish to express in written assignments.

Kindergartners love their names so we use that innate love when teaching cursive. As we teach a letter, the students who have that letter in their name are then required to write it in cursive. An exciting day arrives when they begin to connect some of the letters, and even more thrilling is the day when they can write their entire first name in cursive. 

Some of the words used in Covenant’s curriculum guide to describe our goals for handwriting are beautiful, legible, consistent, habits of neatness and showing respect (to the reader). Starting the process of inculcating these traits as early as kindergarten is a step towards developing not only a student who writes well but a student who has developed these worthy attributes in all areas of life.

– MaryLynne Martin, Covenant Kindergarten Teacher

Lessons and Carols

Please join the Covenant Christian Academy community for a wonderful Celebration of Christmas.  Covenant will be hosting its annual Christmas Concert, Lessons and Carols, on Thursday, December 10, at 7:00pm.  Each year we enjoy a  large gathering of students, graduates, family, faculty, staff and friends (old and new) that come together to enjoy an evening of wonderful music.  The evening concludes with the Hallelujah Chorus sung by  young and old.  It’s an evening you won’t want to miss this Christmas season!  Invite your family and friends.

Visit this link to learn more about the tradition of Lessons and Carols and why you should join us!

Covenant Christmas Concert held in the Dunlap Center
Thursday December 10, 2015 at 7:00pm (doors open at 6:30)

Thornbury at Covenant: Engage the Culture

On the evening of November 6th the Covenant community was treated; to lovely food, heart-warming student presentations, our swinging community jazz trio, and an electric apologetic for Christian Classical Education by the president of The King’s College, Dr. Gregory Thornbury. That is correct. Only a few short days after meeting with our Upper-School during their lunch on Tuesday, and speaking to the Messiah College Honors community that night, he returned to Central PA on Friday to speak to a captivated audience at Covenant Christian Academy.

Seeing him is to see, in his own words, “Harry Potter… all grown up.” Yet it is not with a magic wand that he conjures a specter of educational solutions. It is instead by way of his charm and his wit that he resurrects the maxims of history alongside the commonplaces of pop-culture. Dr. Thornbury thereby accesses the hearts and minds of his listeners. He knows his audience.

With allusions to luminaries such as Lewis and Chesterton, Dr. Thornbury even went so far as to compare Covenant to Rivendell from Tolkien’s revered Lord of the Rings. “This is the last homely house east of the sea… west of the Misty Mountains.” If we weren’t at least already in his pocket, after hearing this we certainly were in his hand.

He continued about the wider-wilderland-business-world and international market-place in New York City as needing the Classically educated. “Where everybody else sees a problem that they don’t know how to get around, the person with a Classical Education is able to think around the problem… to see the big picture.” We who are versed in the Liberal Arts curriculum and its tendency to produce the most flexible of problem solvers were once again delighted. But instead of allowing us to become puffed up and self-righteous in our cause, Dr. Thornbury began to redirect the energy of his audience into a charge, a call.

“We’re going to have to have strong, intense communities that are committed to the historic Christian worldview if we are going to, not only persist, but thrive in this world of exile.” And in this exile, “…you have one of two ways you can go. You can either have an Eeyore worldview . . or we can get in there and compete and show the world that it is the followers of Jesus Christ who are best positioned to lift… like Yoda lifted that x-wing fighter out of the bog… our country is in that bog! …and it’s only those people with those unique resources and background that can lift our culture out of the bog.”

Citing Johann Herder’s famous definition of culture as “’the lifeblood of a people, the flow of moral energy that holds a society intact,” Dr. Thornbury notes the important resources available in the Christian tradition for the healing of our culture. “Where does that flow of moral energy come from? It comes from a deeply centered root system and a sense of transcendence: What is lasting? What is forever? What is good and beautiful and true? And every kid that goes through [Covenant] gets that, and we need those people on the team desperately.”

“The team,” Dr. Thornbury maintains, is the Church in educated cultural engagement with the world, a Church that has taken “…for granted the deliverables of the Judeo-Christian Worldview in our culture… Whether you’re talking about opposing infanticide, which was rampant in the ancient West, brutality… the gladiatorial games, gender equality, racial equality… all of these deliverables are rooted in the victories of the Church! And it is now our time to step into the breach and to close that gap and to help… a Post-Reality culture. What do you do in an amnesiac Post-Reality culture? You go back to the beginning and teach History: the long arch of Justice, Truth, Goodness and Beauty of the Christian Tradition. And that is happening within these walls.”

Dr. Thornbury with his winsome personality and savant-like access to truisms of Western Culture charged the community of Covenant and charged himself with the words of Paul in Ephesians 6, “Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might… and always keep on praying for all the saints, pray also for me in New York City that whenever I open my mouth– on the subway, on Broadway–words might be given to me that I might fearlessly proclaim the mystery of the Gospel for which we are all now ambassadors in chains. Pray that we might declare it fearlessly as we should.”

The darkness in this world will not always rule. To fear it and despair gives no credit to the promises God’s word holds for us. We are armed. Classical Christian Education embodies this promise. This school is built on that promise, remembering that “it’s a moral and ethical commitment to holiness that …will turn the tide in our time.” We are grateful to Dr. Thornbury for these reminders.

 

-David Kemper, Upper School Humanities Teacher

 

An Evening of Gratitude

We’re hosting an evening you won’t want to miss. Covenant Christian Academy will celebrate An Evening of Gratitude on Friday, November 6, 2015. The evening will begin at 6:30PM.

We are thrilled to have Dr. Gregory Thornbury, President of The King’s College in New York City, deliver our keynote address.  Dr. Thornbury is a winsome communicator with a keen grasp of the significance of our cultural moment. He has been described as “one of this generation’s most vibrant evangelical leaders,” or, if you prefer, “Jonathan Edwards with a guitar and a subscription to Rolling Stone.” To get to know Dr. Thornbury a little better, you can listen to his inaugural address to The King’s College.

An Evening of Gratitude will include participation from current students and graduates, showing how a Covenant education prepares our students for wherever their path may lead them.

Please join us in celebrating what God has accomplished and where He is leading.  You can reserve your tickets for An Evening of Gratitude here.

A Conversation With Covenant’s New Faculty

The Covenant family is thrilled to welcome 7 extraordinary men and women who are joining our faculty in 2015-16. They come to us with expertise in their fields, enthusiasm for classical education, and an unmistakable love for students flowing from deep personal commitments to Jesus Christ. They are passionate about their callings to teach and mentor our students.
Please join us for an evening of food and conversation as you (re-)discover what makes a Covenant education exceptional: our faculty. Students and parents are warmly invited to join us for this special occasion.

  • Dr. Flora Armetta – Upper School Humanities
  • Ms. Meagan Miller – Upper School Mathematics and Science
  • Mrs. Emily Dixon – Guidance Counselor
  • Mr. Luke Dixon – Campus Service Coordinator and Classical Educator Internship
  • Mr. Ed Suthers – Upper School Bible and Theology
  • Mrs. Suzanya DeAngelo – Grammar School Science and Upper School Science and Mathematics
  • Mrs. Joanne Link – Orchestra Director

We look forward to introducing you to the newest members of our team.

The Covenant Difference

Matthew and Melea Haflett share their family’s experience with Covenant. We ask them if a Christ-centered learning environment has really made a difference for their child? #discovercovenant

Covenant Presents: “Slugs and Bugs LIVE”

On September 11, 2015, Covenant Christian Academy is proud to welcome “Slug and Bugs LIVE”—a one-of-a-kind family event for parents and kids to experience together. Randall Goodgame leads the approximately 45-minute performance with live music, background musical tracks, and brightly colored animated videos that extend through most of the songs.