School Life
Chapel and Spiritual Life

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Christian Hansen ’08 traces his academic and spiritual path back to Trinity
Students enjoyed an inspiring reflection from Trinity alumnus Christian Hansen in Chapel April 16. Now the chaplain at neighboring St. Michael’s Episcopal School, Hansen says he loves that his job allows him to combine his ministry of faith with a few of his other passions: teaching and coaching cross country and basketball, and playing music in chapel and church services.
Using Hebrews 12:1-3 as a jumping off point, Hansen said the passage’s description of being “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses [helps us to] run with perseverance the race that is set before us” reminded him of the tremendous support network of older students, faculty and alumni here at Trinity.
“They love this place and want you to love it too,” he said. “As a result, the culture and values of this school are passed down to each generation of students and faculty alike which is part of what I think makes Trinity so special -- when you are a Titan, you are part of a much larger family that loves you and cares about you.
As he continued to reflect on his own path of personal and professional discovery, Hansen homed in on two especially influential aspects of his Trinity experience: the Chapel programs and the Theory of Knowledge portion of the IB Diploma Program. “During our chapel services, we often heard from people of other faiths such as Judaism and Islam,” he recalled. “I gained a broader view of the world and my faith. I was pushed to do my best and to ask questions that dug deeper into what I actually believed and thought on a given subject.”
Recalling his first few days enrolled in a Theory of Knowledge class led by Trinity’s current Head of School Rob Short, Hansen recalled being initially confused by the course’s baseline contention that every system of beliefs is inherently flawed in some way. “I came to understand that it’s okay to doubt and question things people tell you and that it’s okay to disagree with others as long as you recognize that you could be wrong, too,” he said.
“These concepts and experiences flipped my faith on its head. I found that I became much more inquisitive and that my faith as a result became much more personal… I was taught how to ask the right questions so that I can understand where another person is coming from while also being able to better articulate what I know and what I believe.”
Each Monday the school gathers together with a guest speaker, faculty member or student speaker to engage with issues around spiritual life, societal participation and character development. Guest speakers from a broad range of spiritual traditions are invited to create opportunities for inter-faith education and dialog. Students, teachers and guests share their life experiences that may range from community service to mission travel to mindfulness.

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