Senior Trip to Nicaragua
You can follow the senior trip at ems2019seniortrip.blogspot.com.
April's Administrator Update
An Anabaptist Understanding Of The Life, Death, & Resurrection Of Jesus
The Apostle Paul wrote that if Jesus Christ is not raised from the dead, we are of all men most miserable. The resurrection of Jesus, and His victory over sin and death, provides us the hope for salvation. And it is the foundation for all that we do here at EMS. As we approach Easter weekend, we do well to consider the meaning of it all. What does the life, death and resurrection of Jesus mean for us?
Protestant Reformers, led by Martin Luther and Catholics, led by St Anselm, emphasized the death of Jesus. They described an angry God that punished Jesus for our sins. And when we “believe this,” Jesus becomes our substitute, receives our punishment, and we go off “scot free.” Many Protestant songs, books, and preachers echo this understanding. For them the primary symbol of Christianity is the cross, which appears on their spires, stained glass windows, et al. By itself, this position however can miss the importance of Jesus’ life and teachings. And marginalize the resurrection power of Jesus, over sin. Consequently, true discipleship and the commitment to overcoming sin and radically living out the teachings of Jesus are too often in short supply in these Christian traditions. The Puritans led by the famous Protestant minister, Jonathan Edwards, had no problem torturing Quakers and killing American Indians. Current “Christian” divorce rates, military enlistment records, and swearing of oaths practices, bely a theology that de-emphasizes the life and teachings of Jesus, in favor of focusing exclusively on personal salvation by “faith alone” in the “finished work” of Jesus on the cross. Taken alone, this framework doesn’t compel a commitment to the life and teachings of Jesus.
In modern times, conservative Anabaptists have been influenced by this Protestant and Catholic theology. In contrast, historically, Anabaptists have not been content to focus solely on the death of Jesus. They emphasized the life and teachings of Jesus as equally important. Further, that Jesus’ work on the cross, more than just being the means of salvation, is the very method of salvation. In becoming his disciples, we commit to taking up our cross and laying down our lives just like Jesus did. And thus, as joint heirs, likewise receive the resurrection of the dead. This view of Jesus’ life and his work on the cross compels His followers to turn away from sin and follow in the footsteps of the Master. It concludes there is no Christianity, or resurrection, without discipleship. This Christianity is costly and not obtained simply by inviting “Jesus in your heart.” Instead it requires a careful counting of the cost, a commitment to the hard teachings, and sacrificial example, of Jesus.
Historically Anabaptists, have also focused on the great victory that Jesus accomplished through the resurrection. Though Satan thought he won by having the forces of evil (his kingdom’s of this world) crucify the real King, instead Jesus won a great victory over sin and death by being raised from the dead. No longer are we bound to Satan, instead we are empowered and raised in newness of life. We are freed from the grip of Satan and the law of sin and death. Sin no longer reigns in our mortal bodies. This understanding affirms the resurrection, like Paul taught, as the most important aspect of our faith. Interestingly, in the Anabaptist tradition we have not chosen to put crucifixes on steeples, in stained-glass windows, or around our necks. The cross alone is not the whole story.
At EMS we strive to remain faithful to the Anabaptist vision by remembering the life and teachings of Jesus as equally important as His death. Further, our desire is to emphasize the great victory Jesus won by laying down His life to the forces of evil, in order to to attain the resurrection of the dead. We are inspired to follow his example as our fore-runner. Pray that we could effectively teach our students about our awesome king, King Jesus.
Mr. Joshua Good
A Kingdom Hero - March's Administrator Update
The month of March, in the northern hemisphere, is often regarded as a bitter month. Winter is not quite past and spring has not quite arrived. The thrills and beauty of snow and ice have long since disappeared. But, tucked in the middle of the month of March, on the 17th, is a holiday, that is widely celebrated by Irish around the world, St. Patrick’s Day. This day is remembered as it is the day that the great Christian missionary, Patrick died. The real story of St. Patrick goes far beyond shamrocks and the color green.
Around 1500 years ago, when he was only sixteen years old, and just a young Christian from Great Britain, he was captured by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in, what was then, the wilds of Ireland. At that time, Ireland was an entirely pagan community controlled by druids (pagan witches of sorts). He remained faithful to Jesus Christ. After six years of slave labor in this pagan culture, he was given a vision that he should run away from his owner and that God would provide for him a ship back to his homeland, once he arrived at the Irish shore. Sure enough, after traveling 200 miles on foot and reaching the coast, a ship captain agreed to give him free passage back to Great Britain. The captain and his crew suffered numerous perils along the way home, but through the witness of the now young man, nearly the entire crew became followers of Jesus.
After being joyfully reunited with his family, Patrick continued to study the Bible and dedicate himself to serving Jesus. He was also ordained as a priest. And though Patrick was kidnapped and was badly mistreated by the Irish he never grew bitter towards them. In fact, a few years later, God sent Patrick another vision. In Patrick’s own words, he described the vision like this, “I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.’ "
Responding to the call God had placed on his life, Patrick left his homeland for Ireland again, this time on his own choosing, to minister to the pagan Irish who had enslaved him. Patrick spent the rest of his life working among and serving the Irish people as a witness to Jesus Christ. God blest his ministry and Patrick baptized thousands of Irish. Through spiritual warfare he drove out the demonic forces and the spiritual oppression of the druids. And because of this, metaphorically, he is said to have driven out the “snakes” in Ireland (there has never been any real snakes in Ireland). By the time of his death, Patrick was well loved across Ireland. His work in building the Kingdom of God in Ireland, remains an inspiration.
Here at EMS I am challenged by what God can do in the life of even a young person. And when reflecting on the life of Patrick, I ask myself, are our sixteen year old students sufficiently prepared to remain faithful if thrust into a pagan culture, unsupported by their home culture? Would I even be ready for that? I also am challenged by the love that Patrick had for the very people who had mistreated and abused him. Our vision is to raise up a generation of followers of Jesus who will be similarly committed to building the Kingdom of God. Let’s dare to ask ourselves, “What would our society look like if we all embraced the example of Patrick?”
Mr. Joshua Good
2019 Ministry Arts Team Tour
EMS Ministry Arts Team is leaving on their 2019 Tour Friday, February 8 through Monday, February 11. Programs are planned for Mountain View Nursing Home (Aroda, VA), Dayspring Community Church (Salley, SC), Believers Mennonite Fellowship (Petersburg, WV), and Cornerstone Mennonite Church (Ephrata, PA). You can follow the tour at ems-mat.blogspot.com
2019 Bible Quizzing Season
The 2019 Bible Quizzing Season is underway! You can follow Ephrata Mennonite School's season on MACSA Bible Quizzing Website - https://gobiblequiz.com/. Most events will have live results that post throughout the quiz days.
Reflection For Growth - February's Administrator Update
Margaret Wheatley, an expert in organizational behavior and systems thinking writes, “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” At EMS, a critical part of our commitment to lifelong learning and continuous improvement involves allocating specific time for thoughtful reflection on our work. Because it is the halfway point of the school year, during the month January, all of our teams at school systematically reflect on our progress.
We take time to carefully review student learning data across the grades. This data includes standardized DiBELs assessments, PSAT/SAT data, as well as school produced assessments. We ask ourselves the questions, “Are our students reading well? Are there additional ways individual students need to be supported? Are there specific students that need to have their learning extended?” We then plan school based specific interventions and extensions for individual students. We also reach out to parents to provide you with simple methods for effectively practicing with your student at home. We care deeply that each child learns to read and write well. And that no one “falls through the cracks.” We also carefully review cumulative accreditation goals for student learning. Is our current progress sufficient to ensure we reach our long term goals?
This year we are studying how to be effective in classroom management and what an effective lesson plan entails. Over the first half of the year we have used the Danielson Framework of teaching practice to capture data on how effective we are being in the classroom. Using a Google Form, we aggregate this data, and review it on our teacher teams. We then assess where we are with regard to meeting our professional development goals. And based on our conclusions, we make modifications to our annual staff development plan. While we celebrate progress, we also identify areas for continued growth.
We also review organizational initiatives to assess how they are working. For example, here at the halfway point, our teachers carefully reviewed our new block programming schedule. There was strong agreement that the initiative has been working well. Students also articulated a preference for the new structure and the structure it gives them to focus on their work more intentionally. We also noted, however, that we want to continue to work to bring dynamic instructional practices to the blocks. And to continue to refine our curriculum maps and pacing calendars to insure students are receiving the highest quality education.
Our passion for reflection and continuous growth is anchored in our commitment to Academic Excellence. And that value itself is based in our belief that we should do everything “as unto the Lord.” The Kingdom of God is built when His citizens use their talents and skills to be a “city on a hill” that cannot be hid. Lastly, our encouragement would be for all of us in our personal lives to also pause and reflect on our progress. Are our families and church communities making the progress we would desire? Are new initiatives meeting our objectives? Are there new initiatives or interventions that should be implemented? May God guide us as we seek to build His Kingdom on earth as it also is in heaven.
Mr. Joshua Good
2019 Book Week - "A Blizzard of Books"
Today starts the 2019 Book Week for elementary grades! The theme this year is "A Blizzard of Books." Mystery Readers (typically teachers or parents) will come in throughout the week for the students to enjoy hearing stories read to them. Also, classes will have DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time for students to have time to read on their own. Each class sets a goal for books to read this week. You will find their goal by each classroom door and then students will get to hang snowballs for each book they read. There will be a reward if make their goal! If you stop by school, make sure to check out the snowy decor!
A Few New Year Contemplations - January's Administrator Update
Regarding the new year, Lord Alfred Tennyson, a famous British poet, once wrote, “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering it will be happier…” As we arrive on the cusp of a new year, the opportunities of a new year beckons us. Our writers and poets capture the freshness of new possibilities. It is tempting at times to think that the newness of another year completely erases what has happened in the past. And some, in popular psychology, teach that only future matters because “what’s done is done.”
However, there are others, perhaps with a touch of melancholy, that realize the future experience of living and being inescapably includes the past. Famously, Ernest Hemingway once noted “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” While he wasn’t a Christian, he seized on the truth that for us, as people who are created with a living soul in the image of God, the events of the past are literally a portion of our personal identity. And thus, impact our lives in the present and future. In that sense, as Hemingay notes, the past isn’t even past.
Therefore as we enter the new year at EMS our desire is to, as a community, embrace the grace of God for the new year. To embrace the wholeness and healing that he brings to our entire lives, the past and the future. We pray for strength to celebrate in the past what is worth celebrating, and to let God heal from the past what needs to be healed. The hope of the new year comes from His mercies that are made new and His ongoing work in our lives.
At the close of this calendar year, I also want to briefly say a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for all that you have done to support EMS. It would take pages and pages of writing to try and capture all the volunteer work completed by so many of you that makes EMS possible. It really is nothing short of amazing to see Kingdom Citizens work together to accomplish something so wonderful. And the myriad of gifts and prayers offered on behalf of the EMS staff over the past weeks are humbling.
Also, I deeply appreciate of all of our staff members, the experienced veterans that I rely on to lead the instructional work, the new staff who bring fresh ideas, and the front office staff for all their organizational skills (which are not my forte). And lastly I am thankful for all of our wonderful students who bring the energy and capacity to learn every day. If it were not for them we wouldn’t be a school.
Please continue to pray for us that God would give us wisdom in the midst of our imperfections. That God would give us humility to acknowledge and learn from our mistakes. That we would be more conformed into the image of His son Jesus Christ. And that God would establish his Kingdom here at EMS in a mighty way that gives him glory and honor among the nations.
As we close out the year, we are grateful for all that God had done and all that he is going to do. We long for a more complete wholeness and unity with the Spirit. We pray for the year of our Lord, 2019. “May His Kingdom may His will be done on earth as it also is in heaven.”
Mr. Joshua Good
May His Kingdom Come - December's Administrator Update
May His Kingdom Come
As we enter the Christmas season, we are reminded that many years ago, a Child, Christ Jesus, was born. Because a great darkness covered the earth, this Child came into the world, as the Prince of Peace, to restore the rule and reign of God, and to build a kingdom that would last forever. As the prophet Isaiah foretold, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This Christ, literally King, brought the promise of a new Kingdom, one that wouldn’t be governed by violence, selfishness, and greed. He called us to humbly repent and follow Him. He showed us what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God. He challenged us in the Sermon on the Mount to follow Him and live as He lived. In the end, He took up His cross, and gave His life a ransom for our atonement. And in so doing, He conquered death and sin, achieving the resurrection of the dead, and founding the Kingdom of God on earth as it also is in heaven.
Here at EMS, our very first core value, Kingdom Citizenship, is anchored in a “Kingdom” understanding of the good news. This holiday season, instead of being sidetracked with gifts, sleighs, fat red men, or parties, we aspire, to more completely live out the principles of the new Kingdom. To more faithfully be disciples of Jesus Christ. To more completely lay down our lives and take up our cross, as Jesus did, and in so doing also “attain the resurrection of the dead.” And so we do celebrate the coming of Jesus and we pray for the manifestation of His Kingdom. We joyously proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God being brought to the earth by Jesus so many years ago.
As Isaiah also wrote, and we believe in faith, Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Mr. Joshua Good
Land under Contract! - November's Administrator Update
In Ephesians 3, the Apostle Paul wrote this prayer of praise, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” We echo that prayer and praise today. We are happy to announce that, as of Thursday, October 25th, 2018 the EMS School Board signed a contract to purchase, from First United Methodist Church, 28 acres of land, an ⅛ of a mile north of our present location. Praise the Lord!
Because of our continued growth, approximately 2 years ago, the board began re-exploring campus expansion plans. Though initially we had investigated the possibility of expanding at our current location, the challenges with this approach quickly became apparent. At one pivotal Board Retreat, in August of 2017, after a time of prayer, a pastoral advisor suggested taking three months to see if there is any other suitable land that God might make available for an EMS campus relocation. A tract of land that could adequately handle all the children, the parking needs, the Christmas programs, etc., that our community needs.
Today, miraculously, God answered those prayers. We are embracing the vision that this land will be the future home to EMS. We are praying we can build upon the foundation that has been laid (for nearly 75 years at 598 Stevens Rd) and that we can continue, for many more years, from a new location, the work of teaching and disciplining children in the way of Jesus. And in so doing, build the Kingdom of God on earth as it also is in heaven.
There remains a long road ahead of us as we look to design, build, and raise the funds for the project. And while the price tag associated with this project seems almost impossibly high at times, we know that “if God is for us who can be against us,” and that “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” And so we are rejoicing today in God’s abundant gifts.
Joshua Good, Administrator
First Student Newspaper of 2018-19 School Year
The first Ephrata Mennonite School SNP "Student Newspaper" of the 2018-19 school year is available! You can find the September 2018 Edition on the School's Student Information System "SIS" under documents or on the School website under the "About" section.
Ephrata Mennonite School Team Logo'd Gear Store
The Ephrata Mennonite School Team Store is officially open! Check out the website for clothing with the Ephrata "Legends" logo or the Ephrata Mennonite School logo.
Theme: What are the Anabaptist essentials? How is Anabaptism distinctly different from other Christian traditions?
Two years ago we discussed why a Christian education is important and last year we discussed the role of higher education and college with Dr. Kuruvilla, Dr. Zook and Mrs. Zook, Mr. and Mrs. Yoder. This year we want to consider more broadly the question of what Anabaptism is? How are we different than other Christian traditions? How can we create a compelling vision for what Anabaptism is for our students? Have we done this well? Join us for an interactive conversation between Mr. Joshua Good, School Administrator and Daniel Ziegler, EdD - Executive Director of Koronis Ministries. Dan previously was Administrator of Blue Ridge Mission in Haiti, President of Rosedale Bible College, and Executive Director at Spruce Lake Retreat.
Dan Ziegler is an ideal-driven leader who has served for over two decades at the helm of a variety of mission-driven non-profits, including a small college, a youth camp, a humanitarian NGO, and two church-related multifaceted camp/conference centers in MN and PA. Dan has advanced degrees in Organizational Leadership, and Management, and extensive training and expertise in strategic planning, youth camping, higher education, and experiential outdoor education.
The evening will also feature the Ephrata Mennonite School bluegrass music group, and the Ephrata Mennonite School Ministry Arts Team.
DATE AND TIME
Thu, October 11, 2018
6:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT
Shady Maple Smorgasbord
129 Toddy Drive
East Earl, PA 17519
"Courage" - Word of the Year
This year as a school, we have selected “courage” as our word of the year. Our desire at EMS is raise up students that will be courageous followers of Jesus who fearlessly build His kingdom. Appropriately, we have selected a number of the Psalms to memorize and reflect on this year. We all know David as the hero in the story of David and Goliath and how David fearlessly faced the giant when the hosts of Israel were all afraid to fight. But from whence came David’s courage? David didn’t drum up a machismo American style bravery that then led him to heroism. Instead, his simple faith in the God of Israel gave him confidence to fight the giant. Conversely, the Israelite army, and King Saul, lacked faith in God, and therefore were afraid. At EMS this year, we are seeking to build our faith in God, and in so doing, be prepared to stand courageously, like David of old. The first psalm we are memorizing, (also our song of the year) states it this way: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?...Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1,3)
Mr. Joshua Good
Ephrata Mennonite School Re-Accreditation!
To the EMS Community,
As you saw on our text message, we are very happy to be announce that we have been unconditionally re-accredited. We are rightly proud I think, that we didn’t just “meet” the 12 accreditation standards, but in 8 out of 12 standards we were judged to be worthy of the highest rating, “exceeds the standards.” I wanted to take a minute to personally write and thank each of you for your work in this process.
Our work around re-accreditation began nearly 2 years ago, as we assembled an Accreditation Team of students, parents, teachers, school leaders, board members, and pastoral advisers. After a full scale review and rework of our vision, mission, and other core documents, we dug in to the heavy lifting around school improvement planning. In that work all of you have invested your time through responding to lengthy surveys, participating in school focus groups, and giving feedback on our improvement plan.
In particular, I want to thank the parent volunteers that participated in the many meetings of the Accreditation Team (Jay Martin, Steve Cassel, Keith Zimmerman, Lynn Zimmerman, and Michelle Stauffer). They did this, not for money or a career, but simply for the love of excellence and Christian education. Their commitment to building an Anabaptist school that is of the highest quality will reverberate down through the generations. And it personally inspires me, as the school leader, to live up to your vision and commitment.
I also want to thank our student Accreditation Team members (Dylan and Durrell Martin, Aleina Martin, and Dallas Good). Their contributions, from a student perspective, were insightful and appreciated. And they did an impressive job in the opening presentation (for the accreditation team who came to evaluate us). They also graciously volunteered their time in service of creating a school that brings glory and honor to God through excellence.
Additionally, I want to thank our teacher Accreditation Team members at EMS (Arlene Birt, Brieanna Heisey, Chris Brode, Alycia Weaver, Leanna Martin, Michelle Weaver, and David Schrock) who were instrumental in doing much of the “on the job” writing and “rubber meets the road” work. And a big thanks to our entire EMS staff. They have invested their very lives in Christian education. As a community we are very blessed to have them. And we value their dedication to professional excellence.
Last, and certainly not least, I want to thank all of you, the EMS staff and students that worked hard to make EMS the great school it is. We appreciate your support and patronage of EMS, which really, has made all of this possible.
I am so thankful that God brought me here to be a part of this community and work. We give him all the praise honor and glory. And we look forward to implementing our school improvement plan for the next seven years.
To God be the Glory,