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A New Gratitude

In virtual chapels, Trinity students share messages of gratitude and support 
With the restrictions on large gatherings, Chapel has taken on a new format this school year. Trinity now begins each week with a video series of “Five Minute Chapels.” "These chapels have allowed Trinity to explore values essential to our community,” said Brian Griffen, Trinity’s school chaplain. “We have heard about justice, kindness, honor, service, stewardship, and gratitude." 

At Trinity's annual Gratitude Chapel on Monday, November 16, Griffen welcomed Rev. Moses Joshua, school chaplain at Good Shepherd Episcopal School. For nearly two decades, Griffen and Joshua have been coordinating chapel services together. "Reverend Joshua started teaching at St. Michael's around the same time that I started teaching at Trinity in 2004,” said Griffen. “He has so much joy and warmth in his heart; it's no surprise that he is a chapel favorite among our Titans.” 

Joshua confessed that at times he complains too much, but his daughter, a cancer survivor, reminds him often that he has much to be thankful for. He challenged the Trinity community with his words. "For every complaint that you make over the holiday season, immediately think of two things that you are grateful for," said Joshua. 

On Wednesday, November 18, Griffen and three students, Mary Carter ’23, Sabian Smith ’23 and Lainie Murray ’23, joined Good Shepherd Episcopal School for their virtual chapel service. Griffen shared a homily based on a reading from Luke 17, about how Jesus healed ten lepers in the story yet only one returned later to give thanks. "These men who were healed from leprosy would have had many boxes to check according to the Mosaic Law in order to return to their communities; they may have got caught up in being so busy that they forgot to return to Jesus to give thanks,” said Griffen. “The one leper who returned is a great reminder that we are never too busy to say thank you."

After the homily, Trinity students Carter, Smith and Murray offered advice, shared their gratitude for their own time at Good Shepherd, as well as what they are grateful for this holiday season.

"Be yourself,” said Carter. “I spent too much time thinking of what others thought of how I dressed or acted. Trinity has allowed me to be myself and I encourage everyone to give it a try." She also expressed gratitude towards her family’s support during the quarantine, "I was so annoying with wanting to break social distancing protocols and visit with my friends,” she said. “I now understand that they were doing their best to keep me safe."

Sabian Smith shared about how stressful the application process was when applying to upper schools; she was so grateful for how her teachers supported her throughout the process. "Mary, Lainie, and I found out that we were accepted to Trinity at the same time,” she said. “We were so happy that we cried tears of joy together."  She went on to share that despite times being difficult for students, she is thankful for her health and her family. 

Murray recalled her fond memory of traveling to Busch Gardens with her classmates and offered some helpful advice on overcoming procrastination. "There is no room for procrastinating at Trinity; I am glad that I had GSES teachers challenge me because I have been successful at Trinity by staying on top of my assignments," she said. This Thanksgiving she is grateful for her family and friends: "I recently lost my grandma and I struggled with grief. I was blessed to have the support of my family and friends to get me through the sadness." 

Throughout the pandemic, as ever, the Trinity community has relied on many of the principles listed in its Episcopal Identity — striving for grace and embracing all students — as virtual chapels like these have demonstrated. “We are thankful this holiday season for all of the 'in person' and 'virtual' gratitude that we generate as a community each and every day,” said Griffen. 
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