Birth of a Lutheran School

Birth of a Lutheran School

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book O! The Joy! written by Deanna Hindenach, principal at Trinity, Paw Paw.

Trinity adds a Kindergarten

From the very beginning of Trinity Lutheran Preschool in 1985, parents would approach us with the idea of adding a Kindergarten to our educational format. During the first seven years we were still growing, adding staff and classes, and our entire focus was on improving our early childhood program and facilities.

In the spring of 1991, a group of preschool families again approached us with the idea of adding a Kindergarten program. Inspired by their persistence to continue their children’s Christ-centered education, the idea was brought to the congregation for a vote. On a Sunday in May, 1992, based on the success of Trinity’s preschool program in the community, the congregation voted to hire a teacher and add a Kindergarten class. On Monday, [we] put up balloons and a banner saying, “To God be the glory … Kindergarten in September!” across the front of the preschool building. Parents were ecstatic.

With a giant leap of faith, Trinity started down the path of creating a Lutheran Elementary School. The next step was to market the Kindergarten program, hire a teacher, create a curriculum, and furnish a classroom with equipment and educational supplies. Parents were very supportive and immediately asked for enrollment forms. By the end of June, we had enrolled 18 students and still had not hired a teacher or equipped a room. We looked to God for help and direction.

We had a limited budget, and to add to our concerns, the Superintendent of Lutheran Schools for the Michigan District recommended that we wait a year before opening the new program. We thanked him for his input, but decided that, with the support of the church and community, we would go forward with the goal of opening the new Kindergarten in September, three months away.

An Unexpected Door Opens

The challenge of finding the funds to hire a teacher and equip a room loomed in front of us. We all agreed that, if God wanted this new Kindergarten program to become a reality, He would open doors and it would happen. Then one day, He did just that …. He opened doors—doors we never even knew existed.

In the middle of June, as I was working in my office, the phone rang. The call was from a lady who belonged to Zion Lutheran Church in Kalamazoo, one of our sister congregations. She told me that, several years before, she and other LCMS Lutherans had formed a group devoted to developing a Lutheran school in the area. Over the years they had collected money and decided they would give it to the first church in the circuit that started a school. She went on to say that this group of Lutherans decided to present us with the money, because we were the first church in the Kalamazoo area to take the initiative to develop a Lutheran Elementary School.

Now I must admit, when she told me about this gift, I thought perhaps it was $200–$500, which would definitely help us. When she told me that they also had decided to give us the money in their checking account, I began to think maybe the amount of the gift was closer to $1,000. Then she told me the amount in their savings was $17,000, and they had accumulated $2,000 in their checking account. I was speechless. Here was the money we needed to hire a teacher and equip a Kindergarten program. God opened doors for us through people we never knew existed.

We hired Lisa Cellarius as a teacher and held a shower to equip the room. With God’s help we were able to dedicate our new program and open the doors to our first Kindergarten program to the community by September.

We heard God’s voice, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.” (…) Just as our congregation answered God’s call to begin a Christ-centered preschool in 1985, we continue to answer Jesus’ call to “go and make disciples….” The mission is the same.

Photo (c) tatyana_tomsickova/iStock

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