Six Menaul School Upper School students will spend the next year reading and learning from the Bible and gaining tuition credit at the same time as part of the “A Year with the Bible” initiative.

Senior Cora C., junior Anistacia A, and sophomores Abigail G., Antonio B, LaNia D., and Elaina O.-C. will participate in the 365-day initiative alongside faculty sponsors Menaul Humanities Department Chair John Sitler and school chaplain Rev. Takako Terino. The A Year with the Bible initiative is sponsored and supported with a generous grant from the Presbyterian Church (USA).

During the Commissioning ceremony on Wednesday, May 19, Mr. Sitler expressed that the year-long journey was not something they would be doing alone.

“This is ‘we,’ this is not you,” he said. “Because Takako and I are a part of this. This is a discipline for us, too. We’re all in this together.”

Mr. John Sitler

With support from the Presbyterian Church (USA), “The Year of the Bible” projects encourages the students to commit voluntarily over and above the requirement set by Menaul School for religious study. In the program, students are generally assigned to read two chapters from the Old Testament and one chapter from the New Testament each day for an entire year.

The group will meet weekly for 45 minutes, allowing students to ask questions, share their insights, and learn the historical background and theological themes. They will also learn other characteristics of the writing of the Bible and learn different approaches to interpreting the Bible.

Rev. Terino & Mr. Sitler provided a Study Bible to each participant as well as a “holding cross,” a unique, one-of-a-kind hand-made cross fashioned from wood that one can hold comfortably in their hand. Before giving them to each participant, Rev. Terino said the crosses were blessed with prayer and oil.

During the ceremony, Rev. Terino said she and Mr. Sitler feel the program will be “really special” for participating students.

“No Menaul students in the years you’ve been here have done this,” she said. “Today, we wanted to acknowledge this great journey. And also, to show our commitment to each other to help each other along the way. The whole experience of walking through, living through the human saga of the Bible will make a difference.”

Rev. Takako Terino

Student Cora C. said she has read and studied the Bible but decided to participate in “The Year of the Bible” to gain more insight and understanding of its messages.

“I mostly wanted to do this for the experience and have that (Biblical) knowledge in the back of my head for the future,” she said. “But also, just for the literary aspects of it. I like a lot of TV shows and books that are based on the Bible, and this will help me to know kind of what they’re talking about.”

Antonio A. said he wants to be “more religiously active in life” and sees the program as a way to bring that more into his day-to-day life.

“I hope this will help me have a better relationship with God at the end of it,” he said. “I’m hoping to find out more about it (The Bible) because I’ve read some parts of it – the first ten chapters – and I’d like to learn more.

Participants who complete the program will be awarded $1000 in tuition credit, incrementally applied at the end of each quarter upon verification of their work by Rev. Terino and Mr. Sitler.

Note: Student Elaina O.-C. is not included in the Commissioning photo as she was unable to attend. 

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