The 4th “C”

By Judy Ness

At Genesis Classical Academy, we speak often about “the 3 C’s” – Christ, Character, and Classical education. These three elements are the pillars upon which the school is built, and are the lens through which every challenge or opportunity is viewed, and every decision is made.

Lately, however, I have been thinking about another “C” – one that is rarely named, but never-the-less is an essential part of Genesis Classical Academy.

That  4th C is Community.

A sense of community – of belonging – is essential to our individual and societal well-being. One definition of community is “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Sharing in community helps us to realize that we are not traveling life’s journey alone. Joys are multiplied, and sorrows are divided when we share them with others in our “tribe”.

St. Paul uses the image of a body as a description of the community we call church, and teaches, If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 NIV

The early church shared community in a radical way. In Acts Chapter 2 we learn, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47 NIV

A caring and supportive community is not unique to Genesis Classical Academy. This sense of belonging and willingness to help others is something embedded in the DNA of our rural Midwestern consciousness. Benefit fundraisers for those who are facing health concerns, or county-wide events such as the Relay for Life or Hospice tree lighting ceremonies are common. When a natural disaster strikes it seems that everyone pitches in to help. For the most part, we understand that “we are our brother’s keeper.”  

As a young child, I experienced the power of community in helping my family through a difficult time.  My father was farming and had a fledgling business he was trying to get off the ground. He also had five young children, and a 30-year-old wife who was dying of breast cancer. One crisp fall day, I looked outside to see a half-dozen combines, tractors, and plows methodically moving through our fields. In one day, our neighbors brought in the crop and tilled the land. More than 50 years later, that memory still puts a lump in my throat. Our neighbors’ generous actions taught me more that day about community than any eloquent words ever could.

At Genesis, because our first and most important “C” is Christ, we have the ability and the responsibility to encourage and support one another in faith, and with prayer.

This gift of community is manifest in many concrete ways at Genesis Classical Academy:

  • It is children, parents and grandparents pitching in to move furniture, clean, paint, and tend to the grounds at the school.
  • It is families coming together to walk in summer parades and share information about GCA.
  • It is parents studying, discussing, and sharing ideas about parenting challenges and solutions.
  • It is teachers, administrators, and staff who go above and beyond the requirements of their job – and certainly beyond what the school is able to pay them – because they genuinely care about the students.
  • It is generous donors – many of whom do not even have students in the school – who year after year support the financial needs of GCA to help assure that no child is turned away for financial reasons.
  • It is families giving their time, talent, and treasure to help with fundraisers like the Christmas bake sale and Spring Fling.
  • It is the entire community coming together for the Veteran’s Day program or Christmas concert, and beaming with pride in our students. It is attending the speech meet and clapping as loudly for the student who overcomes his or her stage fright to deliver a barely-audible recitation, as for the student who delivers his or her speech flawlessly.

When you enroll your child at Genesis Classical Academy, you are invited to become part of the community. This is not “drive-through education”, where you drop your children off at the school door and pick them up at the end of the day. There are many ways you can choose to be involved that are in line with your family situation and your unique talents and interests.

In essence, sharing in community is about joining with other like-minded people to build something greater than ourselves. For the Genesis Classical Academy community, that mission is “to offer children an education that gives them a solid academic and spiritual foundation that prepares them for leadership, citizenship and family.”

Being part of the Genesis community is becoming part of the family.

Want to experience the Genesis community for yourself? Join us at Spring Fling on April 6th at the Winnebago school gymnasium from 5 – 10 pm.  Call the school at 507-893-3600 to arrange a tour. Or come to the Spring Concert on May 9th. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, or interested community member, we invite you to see if the Genesis community is right for you. Welcome!

Judy Ness is a business owner, former teacher, and a passionate supporter of Genesis Classical Academy in Winnebago, Minnesota. She and her husband James have 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren. They count among their blessings the wonderful education that their grandchildren are receiving at Genesis.