Thank you for following me and engaging with life at Trinity via this Troll Tracking blog!
Over this past academic year, I trust you’ve come to know me and the College a bit more.
I just looked back at the posts of this year, and although they tell an incomplete history, I was struck with the range of experiences: guests from China, the national volleyball tournament, community service, and so much more.
But the 2013-14 academic year has now concluded with graduation—including the graduation of one of our daughters, Jessica.
Steve, Barb and Jess Timmermans at Commencement
I’m concluding, too, as I’ve been nominated to be the next executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. I’m facing my departure with mixed feelings—so incredibly grateful to the Trinity community and to God for blessing us so. I’m a bit sad to say goodbye, but Trinity will continue to flourish under interim president Dr. Liz Rudenga, our great provost!
So, this is the last post; thank you for tracking with me, and together we’ll stay committed to Trinity Christian College!
Dr. Elizabeth Rudenga and Dr. Steve Timmermans
It has been a long winter, so it was a joy to be out on a spring Saturday with warming temperatures and bright sunshine as we kicked off the spring season of our third year of participating in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Challenge. (President as in president of the U.S.A., not President of Trinity!)
For three years, we have been working on preparing the way for the installation of the Cal-Sag Trail, a thirty-mile walking/biking trail that will cut through Trinity’s Schaaf Athletics Complex and stretch for miles in either direction.
Working with local groups, such as Bridges, Arab Spring for Syria, and the local chapter of the Muslim American Society, has been a significant learning experience for all.
And in just two months, the trail’s official construction begins!
A number of us gathered for a time of song, scripture, and prayer on Friday as more than 30 Trinity students left for a spring break service project in Kentucky.
Fitting for us to have a sending service, for these students represent Trinity Christian College in their words and deeds of service, and thus they go on behalf of all of us.
Most striking to me was one of the prayers offered whereby a student asked God to help them understand those they sought to serve—to understand their strengths, their community, their desires.
With this kind of perspective, I’m certain that both dimensions of the term service-learning will be realized—not just service, but true learning on the part of our Trinity students.
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!