Like many, I’m looking ahead to the summer with a variety of emotions. Our soon-to-be graduates are finishing the work required for the semester while eagerly anticipating Commencement. They also anxiously await news about jobs or graduate school placement.
Graduation signals a time of exciting new challenges, while realizing that it is also a time of goodbyes to people who have come to mean so much over the years. Our faculty are thinking ahead to writing projects and research activities that they will step more fully into during the summer months, yet they are focused on a strong finish to all of the tasks they need to complete this semester—and particularly making the best use of the remaining classroom time and the grading process that stretches on ahead.
I, too, am anticipating many changes this summer, for the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) has nominated me to be their next Executive Director. This nomination awaits final approval at action at CRCNA’s annual Synod gathering in June. Anticipating approval, this means that I’ll be stepping into a challenging and significant role for a denomination of a quarter of a million members with churches across the U.S. and Canada and with ministries of word and deed around the globe. Stepping into that role means that I’ll conclude my 11 years as Trinity’s president in July. I am fully confident that Trinity’s Board of Trustees, campus leaders, faculty, staff, and students will continue to flourish in the weeks, months, and years ahead, for God has and will continue to bless Trinity!
But it’s not summer yet! It’s not even spring here in Chicago. So please stay tuned; I will continue to offer glimpses of Trinity by means of this blog and, in a few weeks, I will also be able to provide updates about the search the Board will undertake for Trinity’s next president.
Trinity’s Student Activities provides an awesome set of activities both on campus and off.
The off-campus opportunities often focus on a downtown Chicago event. Recently, Trinity students had an opportunity to attend the Chicago Auto Show. It just so happened that I went to the show the same evening with my sons, Getenet and Fekadu.
Frew Ippel, KwonNeung Kim, Fekadu, ChanNyung Lee, Getenet
The drumming group by the Toyota display was high energy, and the Chicago Fire professional soccer player at the Toyota corner, Hunter Jumper, saw our Trinity wear and immediately connected us to Trinity’s soccer program (a testament to the fun partnership we’ve had with the Fire)!
I hadn’t been to an auto show in years…clearly the entertainment factor has zoomed to new heights. In fact, the Jeep track brought us nearly to the rafters of McCormick Place, it seemed, and the acceleration/braking track for the Fiats was pretty amazing for an indoor track. Thankfully, such activities are limited to McCormick Place, keeping Trinity’s campus roads boring and safe!
There is no better place to be on a snowy winter Saturday than indoors, watching college hoops.
Recognizing that the future is our youth, Trinity student Jeff Jefferson took the time to explain the game to Men’s Basketball Coach Brandon Nicol’s two children on a recent Saturday afternoon.
Student Jeff Jefferson with Coach Nicol’s kids
The Trinity players on the court came out with a strong victory, demonstrating that a very youthful team with many freshmen presents an encouraging future as well. After a number of close games and overtime losses the last number of weeks, it was rewarding to see them victorious.
Each semester I’m privileged to offer a chapel talk.
At Wednesday’s chapel, I focused on a picture of hope found in Zechariah 8—especially the fourth verse which pictures old men and women, lining the streets, watching boys and girls at play. Admittedly, it’s a pleasing picture—sort of the way things ought to be.
But our cities struggle with crime, trafficking, and drugs; we live in a broken world. Fitting, though, that we began chapel with an old hymn, the first verse proclaiming “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
Appropriate, too, the last verse of the song focuses on Christ’s coming again: “when he shall come with trumpet sound.” So this picture, provided by Zechariah, that gave hope to an exiled people returning to Jerusalem, should fill us with hope as well—as people living between Christ’s first coming and his return.
What should we do in the meantime? Like apprentices, Trinity students are learning in the classroom and with internships and service-learning to join in the work of God’s kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Natasha Natewa, Ruby Gunderson, President Steve Timmermans, Zachary Flipse and Brandon Taylor enjoy fellowship time following chapel
We are back from a visit to the Land of Enchantment—as New Mexico is referred to in its state slogan.
I was blessed to lead a chapel at Rehoboth Christian High School and gave a shout-out to Trinity senior Jonathan Engbers who is student teaching there. The student teaching experience is an amazing way for college students to gain professional experience.
I was able to talk to many Rehoboth students, and without exception, they would mention Rehoboth grads who are current Trinity students—Deirdra Bia, Brooke Hamilton, Natasha Natewa, Tyrell Natewa, Michael Ippel, Freyu Ippel, and Laural Hibbard.
As part of chapel, I taught the students a new song, “The Leaning Song,” which complemented my message based on the Proverbs 3 passage where we’re instructed to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
During this trip, I also made a presentation and then had lunch at a regional church meeting (Classis Red Mesa of the Christian Reformed Church). The care and interest of pastors in their college students was impressive.
Truly, school and church partnership is at work between the Rehoboth area and Trinity!
As winter already seems too long, too cold, and too snowy, I invite you to imagine what it would be like to be a Trinity student traveling during our two-week January Interim. Some of these Interim courses would be a grand alternative to a Chicago winter!
You can virtually experience these alternatives to watching the snow fall through the blogs and photos!
Students participating in Dr. Thomas R. Roose’s Costa Rica trip are witnessing some of the greatest biodiversity in the world. Highlights while exploring the rain forest, the Manuel Antonio coastal region, and volcanic regions include toucans and suspension bridges, poison dart frogs and zip lines, white-water rafting and iguanas, sloths and an active volcano, a dry forest and the Pacific Ocean.
Costa Rica Interim
Dr. Thomas R. Roose (left) with Trinity students in Costa Rica
Costa Rica Interim
As she has done for many years, Professor of Special Education Patti Powell, Ph.D., is leading a group of students to the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf in Montego Bay, Jamaica. This experience provides students immersion in both the deaf and Jamaican cultures as they provide service activities each morning and assist in classrooms each afternoon. They also are seeing a variety of Jamaican sights including Dunns River Falls and the Straw Market in Ocho Rios.
The sights and symbols of Christmas are all around us, as these days of celebration also give many of us opportunities to be renewed through time with family and friends, with good books and carols sung by choirs.
Books on my holiday reading list include Baking Cakes in Kigali and a handful by Tim Keller. The CDs I’ll be playing are those by the King’s College Choir and my all-time favorite, Carol, by The American Boychoir.
With a quiet and peaceful campus outside our window, I look forward to a joyful Christmas and new year and wish the same to all!
Every so often the various dimensions of my world converge into one joyous moment, and earlier this month, such a moment occurred.
Our son Getenet, a senior at Chicago Christian High School, applied to Trinity and committed to participation in the soccer program.
(l-r) Trinity Men’s Soccer Coach Jose Dominguez, Getenet Timmermans, Admissions Counselor Josh Sinnema
As you might expect, the son or daughter of a college president has a lot of pressure when making a college choice. While Getenet’s college search involved looking to the east and to the west, we were thrilled when it concluded with his selection of Trinity—and trust that a Reformed Christian education at Trinity prepares all students for a life of significance and service to our Lord.
As the end of the semester drew to a close, we had the additional excitement of two teams going to nationals: the Trinity women’s volleyball team to the NAIA national championships in Sioux City, Iowa, and the Trinity women’s soccer team to the NCCAA national championships in Kissimmee, Florida.
While neither team claimed the crown of tournament play, both demonstrated great skill and sportsmanship. We’re all proud of the two teams!
Incidentally, I had an opportunity to go briefly to one of the tournaments. In cold December, which place do you think I visited?
Iowa or Florida? (The picture gives the answer!)
Catching the volleyball game in Iowa
With the team
It was clear driving home from church on Sunday the 17th that the weather was anything but ordinary.
But what we witnessed in Palos Heights was nothing like that which others experienced a number of miles to the south of campus in Washington, Illinois. A tornado leveled homes as it carved its way through the town. Washington is home to a handful of Trinity students, including one student who was home that weekend with two Trinity friends. Thankfully, the family and the Trinity students were safe in the basement, but the house was destroyed.
The responses on campus are many.
One of the women’s basketball team members is from Washington, and although her home was spared, she is heading up a fund drive at Trinity in cooperation with a church there. A psychology class has sent cards and a donation to express encouragement and support. The student Service Outreach Corps and the Office of Community Service are in contact with organizations on the ground in Washington to learn of needs our students could address.
And our prayers—including a special prayer service on the 25th—continue.
In a world that groans under the destructive weight of tornadoes and typhoons, I’m grateful this Thanksgiving for a campus that responds with Christian love and action.