Category Archives: Education

African American Read-In

Sign Up Now for the African American Read-In!

Help us celebrate the Thirtieth National African American Read-In, Sunday, February 2020, immediately following the 9:00 A.M. service. Here at Trinity, this will be our eighteenth year to participate. Choose any short piece of literature or an excerpt from a longer text written by an African American author. Select from any genre that is of interest to you: poetry, fiction (novels, short stories, and other narratives), non-fiction (including speeches, biography, autobiography, history, and others). Those of you who have read previously, please read again, and this year, why not invite a relative, friend, classmate, colleague, or a member of another church to join you. The Read-In is open to the community. Anthologies of African American literature will be available in the library in the undercroft, and a book will be available for children. Also, search online and in your school and town libraries. Individual readings may extend to but not exceed 5 minutes. Drama and other groups are invited to read for a maximum of 10 minutes.

Email any questions and the author and title of your reading(s) to Eleanor Q. Tignor (


Every year in the month of February, Trinity on the Green has hosted the African American Read-In.  Participants select books, poems, speeches or any writings authored by African Americans, and read the works after the 9:00 service on Sunday.

Established by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English and sponsored by the Black Caucus and the National Council of Teachers of English, the African American Read-In began as a project for schools and colleges and then spread to the community, including churches. But this initiative for the celebration of African American history and culture did not just happen.

As many older adults know, it is linked to the observance of what had been called Negro History Month. But something preceded that; in 1926, one week in February was designated Negro History Week, by a man named Carter G. Woodson. A Negro historian, who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1912, Dr. Woodson was the son of a slave, born in Virginia, who began high school at age 20, and studied at Berea College, the University of Chicago, the Sorbonne, and then Harvard. In 1915 he founded the Association for the Study of Negro History and Life to train Negro historians and to collect, preserve, and publish documents on African American life and individuals. In support of this work and to educate all people regarding the vast contributions made by Negroes, he founded several journals.

Why did Dr. Woodson choose February? Frederick Douglass, slave turned free man and abolitionist, was thought to have been born on February 14th and the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, signer of the Emancipation Proclamation, is February 12th. While Dr. Woodson died in 1950, Negro History Week celebrations continued. By the time our country celebrated its bicentennial, the year 1976, the federal government had decided to turn Negro History Week into Black History Month, which continues to be celebrated in schools and churches, and by many community and artistic groups. We, at Trinity, are part, therefore, of an historic national observance.

As has become our tradition on the Sunday of the African American Read-In—thanks to Walden Moore, Trinity’s Director of Music—the mood is set for the Read-In with the singing of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” at the end of each of our services.  The writing of the song and its emerging place in Negro history are of special interest.  Johnson, then a recent graduate of Atlanta University, had returned to his hometown of Atlanta to become principal of Stanton School. “There, in February 1900, he wrote ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’ for a school commemoration of Lincoln’s birthday. Set to music by his brother, Rosamond, the song resonated throughout black America, achieving within Johnson’s lifetime the unofficial title of the ‘Negro National Anthem'” (Gates and McKay 792). Now well known as the “Negro National Anthem” and placed in many American hymnals, it brings together the themes of liberty for African Americans, faith in God, and allegiance to country: “Shadowed beneath thy hand/May we forever stand,/True to our God,/True to our native land” (lines 30-33).  Listening to the writings of a number of African American authors, you will hear these themes and many others which have become a part of the literature.

The program is coordinated at Trinity by Eleanor Q. Tignor, who each year invites Trinity members and friends to choose a text to read aloud.


Trinity in the Community: Environmental Spirituality

October 2, 2016

In this Sunday’s Gospel, plants are metaphors to express the growth potential of faith: “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17) Of course the increase of faith is about our faith in God, but mustard seeds, mulberry trees, and the sea are somehow part of the world of faith. In fact, we could ask ourselves, what our faith, our life, even our urbanized lifestyle, would be without the plants, trees, animals, water… The awareness of the crucial place of nature and ecology in our lives continues to grow. Environmental Spirituality aims at creating a deepened awareness of the importance of our climate, our natural context, our human biotope.

This Sunday, October 2, Julia Johnson will introduce this concept of Environmental Spirituality, announcing  a Bible Study and related movie series. She will speak during the 9am service, at the 10am Sunday Forum and during the 11am service.

On a related note, from the office of our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Water Is a Gift: Respect It, Protect It

The planned 1,172 mile Dakota Access Pipeline could transport up to 500,000 barrels of oil per day in dangerous proximity to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their precious water supply: the Missouri River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved construction of the pipeline along this route, and the Standing Rock Sioux argue that the Corps failed to complete a full environmental assessment of the project before commencing construction. In April 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux initiated a protest effort to protect their water rights and the sacred burial ground that the pipeline would traverse, and they later sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to properly consult their tribe.

As the court case awaits resolution, the protests continue. Last weekend, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry traveled to North Dakota to stand with “protectors” at the Sacred Stone Camp, and he invites us to join him in solidarity with the Sioux through advocating to policymakers for responsible water stewardship and the indigenous rights of the Standing Rock Sioux.
You can stand with Presiding Bishop Curry and the Standing Rock Sioux by contacting your members of Congress and urging a complete environmental assessment of the pipeline that includes potential impacts of the project on the tribal reservation and honors obligations expressed in the treaty with the Standing Rock Tribe.

Take action, click here and urge your members of Congress to address this critical matter of eco-justice today!

Camp Winni

Some Trinity parishioners attend the Northern New England School of Religious Education
Winni Week. Affectionately known as “Camp Winni” or “Winni”, it is an “interfaith camp with Protestant roots, at Geneva Point Center on lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.  Many people go there religiously each year for a week long religious, Christian educational, and musical experience.

Education - Camp Winni-lake-1

This place on the lake is a favorite spot for morning prayer, which is lay-led.

Education - Camp Winni - Jim_preaching_to_the_masses_-adj6

There is a chaplain assigned for the week who does the evening watch as well.

Education - Camp Winni Inn

The Inn at Camp Winni


Sunday School

We welcome all children from Infancy through high school; everyone has a place here at Trinity.

Children of preschool age through grade six are engaged in our Godly Play Program.

Teens in grade 7 to 8 are enrolled in our Upper Room discussion and formation group.

Our Nursery, for infants through age three, is stocked with toys and books and comfy furniture. The Nursery is run by our experienced childcare staff every Sunday morning, as well as during many special events. Parents are welcome to stay with their children and listen to the service on the speaker located in the Nursery.

Who We Are

Education - rainforestTrinity’s Church School is made up of children from all over the greater New Haven area, coming from as far as Madison, Trumbull, Cheshire – and every town in between.

We gather each week to worship with our families, spend time learning about our faith, and sharing the Holy Eucharist as a community. And during the year there are many opportunities for youngsters to get involved in cultural and educational activities at Trinity.

We are a vibrant educational program that offers weekly child care, church school for preteens, teen discussion groups, and a summer program (see details in side column).  In addition, we offer special events such as the annual Christmas pageant and Easter Egg hunt – not to mention the ever popular blessing of the animals.

“The Godly Play program is offered between the two services, from 10:10-11:00 a.m.”

Middle and high school youth meet with an experienced facilitator each Sunday, and are offered the opportunity to discuss a different topic each week, based on the lectionary material or on a subject of their choosing. Youth ages 14 & up are encouraged to be a part of Trinity’s Youth Group, which meets Sunday afternoons in the Church.

How We Teach: Godly Play

“Godly Play brings the children ‘in touch’ with the stories of the Bible: they can see and feel and work with the stories of Jesus and the Bible.”

Trinity Episcopal Church successfully uses Godly Play, a curriculum developed by the reverend Jerome Berryman, an Episcopal priest, to nurture and guide children as they experience God in their lives.

Godly Play is an interpretation of Montessori religious education that provides a special environment for children. They are guided through parables; sacred stories and sacred liturgy by two teachers who help them get ready, enter into and respond to the presentation. After hearing the lesson the children are encouraged to choose which materials they want to work with. The small manipulatives used in Godly Play offer a hands-on method that enhances a child’s interpretation and response to the lesson. Using a hands-on approach to manipulate the lesson materials helps a child to “get in touch with” and process what they have experienced.

A Godly Play lesson is designed to mirror what the adult congregation experiences during a typical church service. Children hear the word, respond to the word through their work, share a feast together and say good-bye to each other as they leave the space.

The Godly Play classroom environment functions as a place where children can be themselves as they learn how Christians live in community. It is a place that encourages each child to process their own experiences with God.

Trinity is proud to offer children this unique approach to Christian formation and is dedicated to fostering the spiritual growth of each child we serve.

The Upper Room

Our Upper Room curriculum is a teenage-oriented program that offers weekly themes related to the questions of faith and life teenagers seek to discuss. The youth prayer book “Call on Me” is a popular and shared resource from which participants select their favorite prayer of that Sunday.

Father of three children himself, David has also taught this age group for many years. His experience with middle-school aged children makes the participants feel comfortable to voice their questions and to engage in discussions that their faith life needs.

The class is held at 9 am in the Upper Room.

For more information please contact David Phelps.

Sunday School Registration

We offer the Godly Play Program for children in preschool to grade 6 and the Upper Room Program for children in grades 7 and 8. Sunday School Registration is available online.

Child Care in the Nursery

Slider - Sunday nursey keeptersTrinity offers safe child care for parents during most services.  The child care is in the undercroft right next to the other Sunday school rooms, each with a sliding door and a floor to wall vertical window, and happily staffed by trained volunteers.  It is stocked with toys and books to free up parents to attend services and special events, though parents are welcome to stay with their children.

Trinity Book Group

The Book Group meets 8 (or more) times a year for discussion and fellowship. The seven books selected in summer for the year include fiction, nonfiction, biography, and others.

Who are we? We are a random, self-selected gathering of avid readers and conversationalists, with no particular political, social or religious agenda.

All are welcome. Newcomers are especially welcome.

Since the early 1980s the Trinity Book Group has met regularly to talk about a wide variety of books. We meet at each other’s homes about once every six weeks, and read and discuss some seven books each year. In our busy lives, we don’t always get around to reading everything we have assigned to ourselves, but we sincerely try, and we inevitably have fun trying and have memorable discussions.

We are mostly parishioners of Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green in New Haven, Connecticut. Some of us are educators and librarians; others are lawyers, psychologists, social workers, architects, doctors, art historians and scientists …the list of professions is endless, but you definitely don’t have to be a professional to join our group – you only have to be especially interested in the good life of reading and talking – and, on occasion, of also sharing in good food and drink.

What kinds of books do we read? We read bestsellers (The Secret Life of Bees; The Poisonwood Bible; Cold Mountain); we read classics (Dinesen’s Out of Africa); we read detective novels and science fiction; we read biographies and histories; we read about the Bible (Elaine Pagels’ Beyond Belief); we read almost anything that we collectively find interesting.

How do we select the books we read each year? Once a year we meet as a group to propose and evaluate the next year’s selections. After an energetic hour or two of contemplation and debate, we vote on the next year’s list, and come up not only with a selection of books but also with a selection of meeting dates and book group hosts. It’s a somewhat unpredictable process, but we always manage to muddle through in good spirits. After all, what could be more – or less – serious than a book group’s selection of readings?

Nonetheless, each year we are further edified by our book group friends and colleagues. We will have read books that we neither knew about nor anticipated; we will have seen and learned more than we expected; we will have extended ourselves and enjoyed the experience.

All are welcome. Newcomers are especially welcome. Contact Jenny Briggs at 203-624-2488, email: Jenny Briggs, for information and directions.

Book Group Schedule and Selections 2019-2020

Sunday, August 25, 5 pm (Potluck: tapas & desserts)
Venue: Margie and Ed Pikaart
Book: Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Webber

Monday, September 30, 7 pm
Venue: Carolyn Gould
Book: Half Earth by Edward O. Wilson

Monday, December 2, 7 pm
Venue: Deborah Desir
Book: Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Tuesday, January 21, 7 pm
Venue: Charlotte Rea
Book: My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Tuesday, March 3, 7 pm
Venue: Maria Brandriff
Book: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Tuesday, April 21, 7 pm
Venue: Peg Chambers and Helena Estes
Book: The Judge Hunter by Christopher Buckley

Sunday, June 7, 5 pm (Potluck: tapas & desserts)
Venue: Veronica Soell
Book: Educated by Tara Westover

Tuesday, June 23, 7 pm
Venue: Jenny Briggs
Book Browse (to select books for next year)

Reading Lists 2001-2019

Here is what the Trinity Book Group has read and discussed since 2001


The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman


Hillbilly Elegy by J D Vance
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles


Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud
A Violet Season by Kathy Czepiel
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander
Tourmaline by Derek Stroup
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
200 Years on the Green by Neil Olsen


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Journey from the Land of No by Roya Hakakian
The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
10% Happier by Dan Harris
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
The Unknown Terrorist by Richard Flanagan
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert


Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia Macneal
The Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk-Kidd
Citizens of London by Lynne Olson
The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin
Miss Buncle’s Book by D. D. Stevenson


The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
East is East by T.C. Boyle
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Down the Santa Fé Trail and into Mexico by Susan Shelby Magoffin
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny


Cleopatra by Stacey Schiff
The Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan
Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain


The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch
When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1860 to the Present by Gail Collins
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Deborah Dean
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman
The Sunday Philosophy Club, by Alexander McCall Smith


A Game of Character by Craig Robinson
The Last Station by Jay Parini
The Piano Teacher by Janice Y K Lee
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Thoreau Night, read one of his 3 books by Henry David Thoreau


Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt by Anne Rice
Suite Francaise by Irene Némirovsky
Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
Body and Soul by Frank Conroy
The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows


The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky
A Letter to America by David Boren
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis
The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali


The Naturalist by Edward O. Wilson
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers
A Year In the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippett
A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell


The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
Saturday by Ian McEwan
The Human Stain by Philip Roth


It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink,
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Leguin
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness by Karen Armstrong
The Kite-Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos Eire
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute


Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and Tears of the Giraffe, Alexander McCall Smith
Beyond Belief, Elaine Pagels
Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen
As I Sat on the Green, ed. Alice Mattison et al
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd


The Piano on the Left Bank, Thad Carhart
The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, Bernard Lewis
Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
Prague, Arthur Philip
The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
Mutant Message Down Under, Marlo Morgan


Firehouse, David Halberstam
Jim the Boy, Tony Earley
Lying Awake, Mark Salzman
The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
Death in Holy Orders, P. D. James
Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand
Quartet in Autumn, Barbara Pym


Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
The Gifts of the Jews, Thomas Cahill
A Month in the Country, J. L. Carr
My Garden Book, Jamaica Kincaid
Disgrace, J. M. Coetzee
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Plainsong, Kent Haruf


House Churches

Trinity’s two Monday night house churches are lay person groups. Largely self-governed, they meet weekly without a leader, much in the way the first century house churches met. Each week a group five to 12 people meet  to discuss the coming week’s scripture passages in each others homes, serving food and beverages, and sharing stories and prayers.  Some groups have met since 1991, and all welcome new members for an evening of talk, study, prayer and community.

Consult the event schedule or contact lists if you wish to join one of these groups.

Children in Services

The Men and Girls Choir at Trinity New HavenThere is a very strong trend dating from the introduction of the Boys Choir in the nineteenth century to involve children in the services, supplementing Sunday Schools and special events.

The Men and Boys Choir at Trinity New Haven

Children join the professional choirs of Men and Boys and Men and Girls, who sing at both the 9:00 and 11:00 services.

For more information about joining these life changing choirs, see Trinity’s Choir Academy.


There are acolyte programs at both the 9:00 and 11:00 services for boys, girls, young adults, and adults. Education - Vetran's day photo 10 2012



In addition, at the 9:00 “family service,” Children are invited to sit in the first few pews so they can see better, then come up to the front steps while a a member of the clergy gives a children’s homily.  The children also gather around the Communion Table as the priest consecrates the bread and the wine. This has made a huge difference in the way children view Trinity. They are engaged in the service that is going on around them.


Bible Study

The Eagle lectern at Trinity Church holds a bible on its outstretched wings. The eagle is the symbol of John the Apostle.  It is also that the Eagle was the birtd that flew highest in the sky and was therefore closest to heaven, and symbolized the carrying of the word of God to the four corners of the world.

Education - Bible study at House Chuch 2014Taking our daily life as the starting point for a Bible study can help us discover how the books of the Bible are bringing answers for us today. Questions from family life, politics, or business, they all have a place in our faith life.

Bible study at Trinity is offered in many forms.  There are clergy-led study groups  and laity led groups.  Some are targeted towards young adults, some meet in an early morning group, some are for the laity in general meeting after church, and there are also laity-led evening groups (house churches).

Education - Men's bible study group by Joe Dzeda 2014The Men’s Bible Study and Reflection group gathers at 7 AM Friday mornings in Trinity’s Upper Room. The hour-long spontaneous discussion surrounds the reading of the Gospel passage for the coming Sunday. Typically, 8 to 12 men attend each session, which opens and ends with prayers. Newcomers are welcome. No advance notice needed. Coffee, donuts and bagels available. Questions? email Joe Dzeda. Or call Joe at (203) 464-2015.
Education - Yound adults bible study group 2012



Each Fall, a Women’s Bible Study takes place on Thursdays 12 – 1PM in the parish hall (undercroft). The Rev. Ellen Tillotson leads the six-week Women’s Bible Study starting in October each year.

Education - Trip to Holy Land May 2014


A traveling form of Bible Study occurred in May of 2014 when Rector Luk de Volder led a group of Trinity parishioners to the Holy Land – with each person carrying a bible to compare the land with the Gospel.  It was a moving experience and and educational one as well

Consult the event schedule or contact lists if you wish to join one of these groups.


Special Events for Children

Some of the most popular services involve special events for children. Each December the children of the Church School stage a tableau-style Christmas Pageant. Lights, costumes, music and children all combine for a sweet, spiritual, and moving interpretation of the Nativity story.  Children narrate the story, and the congregation joins in singing beloved Christmas hymns.

Another popular service is the blessing Edcuation - Profile Blessing animalsof the animals. People bring their pets and farm animals to Trinity for a special service.  Usually held outdoors, in poor weather the entourage retreats indoors, ably handled by Trinity’s sextons.

Twice-annual Parish meetings provide an opportunity for Church School children to socialize while their parents meet and discuss church business. Lunch, entertainment and supervision are provided.

Slider - Children Easter egg hunt 2014

And of course the annual Easter Egg HuSlider - Squirrel Easter 2014nt brings out the best in dress as the children chase for eggs on the Green—along with squirrels, both on the Green and on Trinity’s northwest stained glass window.

Education - Close up of squirrel magnifiedOther special events for families to share are scheduled throughout the year. Watch for announcements in periodic editions of Still Small Voice and weekly eNews.

Adult Education

In addition to clergy led bible study and laity led house churches, Trinity often holds weekly adult education programs on various topics from 10.10 to 10.40 am (between the 9:00 and 11:00 am services) in the undercroft — known as the Sunday Forum.

Education - Adult Forum Luk explains Trinity's strategy photo5Trinity has over 16 living book authors among its members, and Lecturers are often drawn from the parishioners.  It also has access to  and the rich academic and professional community around New Haven, a city with 20 colleges in or nearby, as well as outside guest lecturers. It is no wonder that guest lecturers often express surprise at the audience size and the quality of our questions.