Lutheran School

I’m thinking of sending Klara to the local Lutheran school for kindergarten next year. (Because it’s open. I need a real school with real teachers and students that is open every day.)

Do you think they will take us if we are Orthodox? How does this work? I have great respect for Lutherans. Plus, they aren’t going to be teaching any inclusion crap. Small classrooms. Student theater. Will they have us, though?

31 thoughts on “Lutheran School”

  1. “Do you think they will take us if we are Orthodox?”

    Of course they will, as long as you pay the tuition.

    My parents were nominal Presbyterians when I was a child, but they were nonetheless misguided enough to send me to a Catholic kindergarten run by ex-Nazi nuns, because it was the only kindergarten within walking distance of my house. (Kindergarten wasn’t legally mandated back then.)

    I’ve hated nuns all the long years since — but they did teach me how to write the alphabet, and when I entered first grade in public school the next year, I was one of the very few children who already knew how to write it.


    1. I’m sorry, I just have to brag, it’s out of my control, I apologize profusely.

      Klara has known how to write the alphabet since age 3. She’s an artist, so she perceives it as drawing.

      OK, I feel better now I’ve let it out.


      1. “I’m sorry, I just have to brag. I apologize profusely. Klara has known how to…”

        Chill out!I’ve know this about Klara for years, and I admire your desire and your successful effort to give her a head start on learning essential kills. My parents both worked all-day away from home at time-consuming jobs, and — along with the feeling of the 1940’s period that children would learn their various age-related skills at the appropriate age — had neither the time nor the inclination to try to speed up the natural process.

        As it happened, I and most of my little peers turned out to be smart enough, anyway. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If it is important to you that Klara be reinforced on Orthodox dogma, if they start asking what parish she was baptized in (or the Lutheran equivalent, idk), it might not be for you.


    1. ETA: If they don’t ask that stuff, they’ll probably take Klara as long as you can pay the fees. Just pay attention to what they teach in religion class. I don’t know the school but you might be shocked at how much “inclusion crap” even a religious school will teach. Even if you had gone to a religious school, I would not assume the experiences are similar.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “If it is important to you that Klara be reinforced on…”

      Nah, don’t worry about it!

      It amused my maternal grandfather (who was a Presbyterian minister with a doctor of divinity degree) when I’d stub my toe and do the sign of the cross with my hand over my chest, but he assumed that I’d outgrow it.


      1. “important to you that Klara be reinforced on Orthodox dogma… Nah, don’t worry”

        Both our girls went to Roman Catholic schools from kindergarten to the end of high school. There were some administrative issues from time to time but our experience overall was great as the schools did a good job of exposing students to the broad outlines of the Christian tradition. Nobody ever tried to get them to convert. When our quite shy eldest was marched along with the rest of her class to do First Confession in Grade 2 or 3, she blurted out with embarrassment to the priest – “my dad said I had to tell you that I was Orthodox” – he gently smiled, laughed and kindly replied “and is that a problem for you my dear child!”

        Lutherans are mostly traditional protestants and so share much in common, from a child’s point of view, with Orthodox belief. And, it’s my impression that most Lutherans wouldn’t be likely to try to make your daughter uncomfortable about her Orthodox tradition.

        From the 2011 Wittenberg Orthodox-Lutheran Common Statement:

        “We agree that the mission of God’s Church is to reveal the body of Christ, which is undivided, and proselytism undermines this task. We encourage the work of evangelization, in which the Gospel is freely offered to and freely accepted by those who have never heard it before. We oppose proselytism, which sows division within existing churches and is counterproductive to Christian unity. We respect the right of persons to make their own individual choices regarding religious practice.”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. There are a few different types of Lutherans, i.e. Lutheran “Synods.” Some Synods are pretty chill. Others might have issues with a kid who isn’t from their faith. But it will probably be OK.

    I went to a Catholic school, FWIW, and many of my classmates were non-Catholic.


  4. They will almost certainly not mind that you’re Orthodox. You will most likely find that they already have a variety of non-Lutheran kids there.

    They may have a very generic statement of faith that you need to sign– these are deliberately made so broad that most protestants and Catholics can sign on without any problem– like: “Yes, I believe in God, hooray for Jesus and his teachings!”. But Orthodoxy is weird, and if there’s anything you are not sure about, have your priest read it. We ran into this a bit when shopping for a healthshare program: there were two or three whose faith statements were too Evangelical to pass muster. Orthodox have issues with substitutionary atonement… Evangelicals are all like “Jesus died to save us from our sins!” and Orthodox are like: “Well… um, sort of? Indirectly? I mean, actually Jesus died to STORM THE GATES OF HELL AND DESTROY DEATH!! BOOYAH!” I have actually known Orthodox parents who worked with their priest to subtly re-word a statement of faith into something they could sign, and the school they were joining was okay with that– it had simply never occurred to them that the wording might be a problem for any Christian denomination, because protestants mostly have never heard of Orthodox.

    I went to a Protestant school for a bunch of my school years, I’m Orthodox now, and IMO the main things you’d want to keep tabs on are religious instruction. In my experience, the elementary grades are not taught much in the way of theology. They largely focus on Bible stories. You can expect to see craft projects based on the seven days of creation, Noah’s ark, Joseph and the coat of many colors, Moses, etc. We had “chapel” once a week, where we’d all file into the church, sing some hymns, and listen to a brief kid-level sermon about a Gospel parable, a story in the Old Testament, or basic morality tales (Jim stole a pack of gum. He felt bad about it. Here’s how he made it right: tell the truth, kids!), then head back to our classrooms.

    Probably you have nothing to worry about theological-indoctrination-wise in Kindergarten. But it’s always a good idea to think about how you’re going to make sure that your kid knows what you believe as Orthodox. Nobody else is going to do it for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “But it’s always a good idea to think about how you’re going to make sure that your kid knows what you believe as Orthodox. Nobody else is going to do it for you.”

      What we believe as Orthodox – of course. But this can be identity-framing for children as well. It depends on how positively one presents it. In our case, it was made out to be a family tradition: their mom, their grandmother, and their great-grandmother had, like them, been Orthodox but had gone to Roman Catholic schools. We always spoke of the Pope positively, due honour as Bishop of Rome, but explained how the Orthodox view of religious authority was more diffuse. And, when little, we always made sure that when Pascha fell on a different date than western Easter, we would give our girls a few small Pascha candies to distribute to their school friends – win, win!

      Orthodox priests are a mixed bag and I’d be wary of asking advice on this kind of thing (or on filling in medical forms.) The Greek priest in our city refused to send his kids to Catholic school for doctrinal reasons – well, bully for him. Other priests from different jurisdictions encouraged it. IMHO God gave us common sense and discretion to navigate the world.


      1. Indeed. I do not come from an Orthodox background, so explaining it as a family tradition is a no-go in our house.

        But as a Sunday School teacher, I can assure you: half an hour, once a week, for part of the year, is totally inadequate to teach kids about Orthodoxy. Especially if you’re using a sleek GOA-approved curricula. Those books are useless. If you had purposely written a curricula to teach kids that religion is stupid, you could not do better. And… identity isn’t enough. Religious literacy is really, really important.

        I’m sure schools vary, but my Presbyterian school did a fantastic job teaching theology in the upper grades, and I’m grateful, even though I’m not a Calvinist in any way. Religious literacy has served me better in real life than 99% of the other things I learned in school. And I strongly suspect that because one of my parents is Catholic, and what I learned at home sometimes conflicted with, say, the Bob Jones history books… but in an atmosphere of healthy discussion… I learned a tremendous amount about good-natured disagreement.


        1. “explaining it as a family tradition is a no-go in our house”

          I wasn’t as clear as I might have been. All one needs do is ground children’s Orthodoxy in a narrative of ones unique family history in order for it to contribute to their personal identity-framing. From what you’ve written, your family history includes some emphasis on serious systematic religious education and considerable respect/toleration for other Christian traditions. This is how our family rolls, kids! We’re Orthodox and…

          Sunday School can be a positive identity-building thing (stuck on a theme here much?) for Orthodox kids and you certainly have my respect for volunteering your time! But the Orthodox are not sola scriptura Christians. Orthodoxy engages all the senses, and so by definition is far more than the catechesis of your jurisdiction’s approved weekly lessons. That’s why fairly regular attendance at the liturgy’s mysterious and hypnotic smells, bells, chants, and its yearly repetition of the cycle of services will always be the core of our faith.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Absolutely. As both a chanter and a Sunday school teacher, I find the whole topic deeply, deeply frustrating. Everything you could possibly teach in a Sunday school is radically eclipsed by… Orthros. Matins. Whatever your jurisdiction calls it. The service that precedes liturgy cycles through eight readings that tell the Gospel story, over and over and over again. Its hymns expound on the theme, and also contain a vast wealth of theology. The Synaxarion commemorates all our major saints, wondrous events, feasts… and through repetition we commit to heart the most important parts of Orthodoxy. It’s all there: a rich feast spread for the growing soul. Sunday school is mostly a superfluous waste of time that makes parents feel better. But there’s no need for it, if you just take your kids and go to Orthros. Every week. All year long. And vespers. And Paraklesis. And Soul Saturday. Funerals. Weddings. Baptisms. Holy Week. But most of all: Orthros. It’s the church’s schoolroom.

            But nobody goes to Orthros. And at churches like mine, half of it’s in Greek anyway, which is horrible. Not knocking Greek, it’s a beautiful language, and expresses theology in a very precise way that English can’t capture. But there are only two people in my church (scholars in their youth) who can understand Koine. And Orthros is the teaching service. How can you teach in a language none of the kids can understand?

            (stepping off soapbox)


            1. “How can you teach in a language none of the kids can understand?”

              There’s a word for it – phyletism – language barriers are there to keep certain people in and certain people out. As one Assistant Priest explained it to me, many in our local parish want to be Canadians for 6 days of the week but Arabs on Sundays.

              It’s really annoying to me but one can’t argue with the numbers – our parish is a Cathedral church and has huge, really huge numbers. They could easily run two very well attended liturgies on Sundays – one mainly in English and one mainly in Arabic – but they refuse because that would “divide” the parish — lol, says it all.

              “Sunday school is mostly a superfluous waste of time that makes parents feel better. But there’s no need for it…”

              We disagree. Young people are social animals who like to gather in their own age cohorts. It’s highly functional in building a sense of Orthodox community and belonging. Sunday school catechesis is the cherry on top.


              1. Eh, as someone who never got on with my same-age cohort, I just don’t see it. I believe you, but it’s a blind spot, and I don’t understand it.

                As for phyletism: they’re doing a great job! We have a tiny parish. The Greeks’ kids grow up, move away, and never come back. Non-Greeks show up pretty regularly, and we have a determined contingent of Slavs and Romanians, but they are all keenly aware that they are not part of the club… and so most don’t invest in the life of the parish. Permanent visitors. Meanwhile, the Greeks are getting old, and slowly dying off. They have successfully trained everyone else to believe that it’s the Greeks’ church, and everyone else is just a visitor, so I expect once we lose another half dozen, it’ll be time to lock the doors and list the property for sale.


              2. Yes, understood – phyletism works well until it doesn’t.

                “Permanent visitors” – yup, lived it, if your priest isn’t part of the solution in your parish, he’s a large part of the problem. As above, for me “Orthodox priests are a mixed bag…”

                In the USA, it is my impression that the Antiochians are the least tribal of the jurisdictions but that would vary by location of course.


              3. Your church is at the beginning stages of phyletism, where it works to preserve an immigrant subculture. Ours has reached end-stage phyletism, which is more like pancreatic cancer.

                I totally understand about Orthodox priests being a mixed bag. Point taken. I sincerely hope Clarissa has a decent priest 🙂

                Our last church, as well as the church where I was chrismated, was Antiochian. It’s true they are far, far less tribal. As a result, they have most of the converts, and also are not suffering the GOA’s dismal retention numbers. The OCA also has a decent reputation for not being so tribal. For better or worse, the Greek church is the only one in my area, so that’s where we go. I’m afraid I’ve painted an ugly portrait of them: we do, in fact, love our church, and our fellow parishioners. But it is kind of like loving an alcoholic who is dying of cirrhosis. Bitter and heartbreaking.


              4. “I’m afraid I’ve painted an ugly portrait of them: we do, in fact, love our church, and our fellow parishioners.”

                Nothing ugly about the truth when it’s said lovingly. I totally get it – thanks for sharing!

                Our parish was recently blessed by the appointment of a new priest. My impression is that he is far more open to “outsiders” but there are serious political constraints that he has to respect in such a large parish that has grown in a certain direction for 25 years or more. At least for now, I like him and I’m happy with what I believe to be a positive step forward by our Bishop.


    2. Probably you have nothing to worry about theological-indoctrination-wise in Kindergarten.


      Give Us A Kid Till She’s 7 and We’ll Have Her For Life
      Some claim the maxim comes from St. Ignatius Loyola himself. Yet the idea later proclaimed by the Jesuits is very old – give us a child till he’s seven and we’ll have him for life.

      It works.

      Many years ago a young son of my ancestors was kidnapped during a Russian pogrom. His father and brother spent years searching – everywhere.

      They eventually found him – living as a teenage seminarian in Constantinople. He knew nothing of his family. He had no wish to know. He just wanted to become a Russian Orthodox priest…


        1. …and I’d be a devoted Presbyterian. What I found, actually, was that it’s very easy to be a Calvinist if you never really think about what Calvinists believe. But having got a very good education in it… I could not in good conscience join the church.


          1. If that’s how it works, I and my whole generation would be leninists. :-))

            Yes, yes, we are all exceptions to this rule. Except I seem to remember your parents kept you home from school or you started school at seven…so?

            Everyone thinks their kid is exceptional but it’ s a mistake to rely on your kid being an exception. What do the other members of your church with school age children say about this school?


            1. My sister was in daycare since the age of one and she’s no leninist either.

              On the other hand, who knows, I just talked to a friend. She’s an immigrant, very normal, deeply intelligent but her very smart kid is completely brainwashed at the local public school. A great kid but they ate her brain with a teaspoon so there was nothing left.

              So you are right, one never knows.

              If I knew anybody at the Lutheran school, of course I’d ask. But I don’t know anybody.


              1. // My sister was in daycare since the age of one and she’s no leninist either.

                Traditional religion is much harder to break away from than (discredited and left behind by all normal people) leninism.

                That’s why I would not ever put my children in a religious school, no matter how good it is.

                You believe in God and would be glad if Klara believed too, so it is different for you.


              2. Erm…. 🙂 Given that church attendance is plummeting while marxism/leninism has never been more in vogue, I think you are speaking more from personal prejudice than from any objective reality.

                If I announce at work tomorrow that I’m a leninist, that will give me quite a cachet. But if I announce I’m religious… Not so much. And it’s like this in all well-paying, prestigious professions.


              3. You must not have a lot of parents with school age children at your church. They might be able to give you pointers on the schools. :/

                Also, you could always ask your pal Rod what types of schools he sent his kids to and if he changed them when he converted from Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy.


              4. Gosh, if we had the kind of school around here like the one where Rod’s children go, I’d be a happy, happy person. It’s a brilliant school. They read Homer in the fifth grade, that kind of thing. I’m green with envy.

                The church is of no help because people mostly home-school, and it’s located 30 minutes away anyway in what my colleagues call “a hick town.” I don’t mind the working classes, obviously, but my kid isn’t used to being in a car for an hour each day, so that’s out.


  5. We have been talking to a bunch of private religious and non-religious schools in the past month. Our experience has uniformly been that all Christian schools are willing to take kids from other religions, so long as they are willing to sit through the usual religion classes. I’m sure they’ll take Klara too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. // her very smart kid is completely brainwashed at the local public school. A great kid but they ate her brain with a teaspoon so there was nothing left.

    In what fashion? Woke one or something else?

    If parents are recent immigrants (in their spirit even if they’ve immigrated years ago), children may be more influenced by and unquestionably accepting of new country’s social norms, or what they perceive as such.

    I immigrated in early teens and have been exceptionally sheltered by my mother and grandmother, so worried less than most children of immigrants imo. Yet I still had some kind of shock. F.e. decided with my grandmother that we won’t eat pork in Israel. And not because I started believing in God. I have always been an atheist.

    Did this daughter immigrate too or was she born in US?


  7. Another aspect is the difference between inborn intelligence and curiosity. May be, the daughter thinks what she learned at school is enough and suits her just fine in her current social circle, so does not want to know more.

    You have a mind of a researcher; many people don’t.

    Now I am curious what ‘ate her brain’ means… 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.