family groups bring community in a challenging time

WMC Family Group photoFamily Group meeting photoMen's Family Group photo

trinity students continue to build community in a covid-19 friendly way with family groups this semester. family groups are working in place of the traditional chapel experience but keep the goal of a christ-centered community in focus while adjusting to covid-19 regulations. students meet once a week with the group of their choice at the designated chapel time, 11 a.m., on monday, wednesday, or friday. 

these groups are led by beloved coaches and student-led groups. some groups have socially distanced games and facilitated discussion while others gather around as a coach or leader delivers a powerful message. 

“it’s nice to have it–it’s almost more personalized,” senior ian ryan said. “it’s nice to have some time to reflect and relax a little bit.”

head coach of the women’s soccer team, patrick gilliam, leads a devotional each week for his team, but it is open to anyone who wants to join. the men’s basketball team alternates between its three coaches each week.

the women’s ministry council (wmc) is a student-led group on campus that is leading 40 women through lisa terkeurst’s book, “it’s not supposed to be this way.” the group opens each meeting with fun games like charades, jackbox, or other online options. 

when the weather was warm they met outside, picnic-style, and shared recent disappointments with one another as they leaned into god’s wisdom and sovereignty. the cold weather has ushered in a zoom version of the meetings but the games and bonding continue. 

emerging leaders is another group on campus that leads family groups. freshman alli chally meets with her small group and her two leaders, sophomores mark dewall and grace farone. 

“i think it’s a good way to find community and to have a group of people to grow in your faith with,” chally said. “they offer a lot of support and prayer so we can share things we’re struggling with and i know that they’re going to have my back.”

many students echoed the special opportunity that family groups bring; the small group setting allows students to be more vulnerable with their leaders and peers.

“i like the aspect of going to the family group because i’m with the same people all the time and it allows you to be more vulnerable,” senior brandon lawani said. “but i also miss chapel because i got to see everybody.”

family groups are the small scale version of chapel and community building. with all of the changes brought on by covid-19, family groups have managed to encourage students in a difficult time through a safe and close-knit community.