Faith formation is an
integral part of education
Our Spiritual Emphasis Day focused on heart, mind, and spirit.
“Our spiritual, mental, physical, and relational health are all related,” said keynote speaker Kate Friesen, master of divinity graduate from Sioux Falls Seminary and 2007 Freeman Academy alum. “Today we gave students tools to address each area because they are essential for developing a whole, healthy person.”
After worshiping with the high school praise band, grades 7-12 took personality tests designed to identify their spiritual temperament. Afterward, students discussed each temperament, for example Caregivers and Contemplatives, and how they connect best with God. Afternoon breakout sessions focused on spiritual gifts and relationships.
Grades 1-6 were led by Administrative Assistant Jill Hofer who is studying for a degree in pastoral care. “They we eager to learn and we had fun making ‘I am’ jars which helped them learn that we are all unique, special, and made just how God meant to make us.”
Study Hall in the Chapel. Language Arts in the Arboretum. Math in the Dining Hall. To accommodate social distancing in bigger spaces, uncommon classrooms are part of the new normal at Freeman Academy.
While Monday and Friday chapels have seen some changes – including moving to Pioneer Hall to accommodate increased spacing – the Chapel Committee is aiming to mix in creative ideas for worship and reflection.
One of the first chapels of the year started in Pioneer Hall but moved outside. Students and staff took time to pray over campus during the fall Prayer Walk. “It’s a good opportunity to pray for the people and activities on our campus, and to just have a few minutes for quiet, fresh air, and reflection,” said Chapel Committee Chair and Assistant Head of School, Brad Anderson. Since then, the Chapel Committee has introduced Spiritual Life Groups as a way to begin cultivating spiritual habits and closer relationships among students.
In Pioneer, elementary students space apart on the basketball floor, while older students have assigned seats in the bleachers. In years past, the high school praise band began worship services. Now music videos often take the place of live music and singing. This week a short time lapse video of nature gave students time to focus on God’s creation.
“We’ll have a variety of music opportunities, not only video, but solo and small group performances,” Anderson said. “It’s difficult not being able to sing together as a school, but we’re deliberate about making time for musical worship and meditation, and we look forward to singing together one day again.”
Social distancing hasn’t changed everything. Area pastors, missionaries, and others share devotions from a safe distance and the fourth through sixth grade students continue to take prayer requests. This year requests for school to stay in session and for people with COVID-19 are common.
Friday mornings at 7:30 a.m. is early but a simple breakfast and peer devotions helps students start their days off well.
20-year Faith Legacy Driven by Teens
How often does anything last 20 years? Let alone a ministry organized and led only by students. Since Freeman Academy students first organized a Bible study group in the late 1990s, the leadership baton has been faithfully passed down teen to teen. Alumni students, Luke Allison and Jessica Qiao Sun led the legacy during their senior year.
“Our hope was to help students have a better understanding of God’s relationship with us and to reflect that in our lives,” Allison said.
While Freeman Academy students have Bible classes every day, this study provides an opportunity to process their faith with just peers.
“It was encouraging when friends share their faith,” Sun said. “It maked me want to trust God more.”
Sun and Allison had tailored the study to student needs and ended each session with requests and a closing prayer.