Partner with Us.
Your Partnership Equips us to Serve.
For over 20 years like-minded educators have supported our vocation and comission . Thank you. You have enabled us to do so much. Continue reading to see what we have been empowered to accomplish in 2022 and our hopes for 2023.
Dear friend of Christian classical education,
Allow me to introduce you to the CiRCE headquarters. They’re nothing special physically, but there’s a lot to love inside. As you approach the glass door, the first thing you’ll see is a statement of our calling boldly affixed: “cultivating wisdom and virtue”.
Every time I read it, I’m taken aback. It feels a little reckless – even presumptuous.
But I enter anyway, and I proceed down the hallway toward my office. Along the way, I see posters designed by Graeme Pitman for our regional and national conferences. They remind me that, at every conference, we have contemplated a theme like glory, nature, imitation, and even the great question: “What is man?”.
I listen in on CiRCE team meetings where staff discuss how to earn favor with God and man through our apprenticeship, online classes, and digital or press resources.
Dr. Matthew Bianco, our COO, earned his PhD by mastering Plato’s philosophy so he could participate in the Christian classical dream. Matt and I meet almost every week to ensure we (CiRCE) are keeping our seven commitments: the calling and commission that created us, the beliefs and principles that guide us, the loves we pursue, the virtues needed to reach them, and our plans to live them. Together we examine the four stewardships that govern our activities. When I meet with Matthew, I feel I’m meeting with a living embodiment of Plato’s dream of a philosopher king: a man with authority tempered by wisdom.
Brandon LeBlanc and Andrea Lipinski join us for Executive Team meetings, where I observe how faithfully and purposefully they lead their business units: Consulting (Andrea) and Integrated Resources (Brandon). They oversee the directors of our ever-growing program areas: Buck Holler in consulting, Katerina Kern in Press, Alec Bianco in Curriculum, Patty Bianco in Online Training, and Matthew Kern in Events.
When I enter my office, I review my tasks for the day and goals for the week. Sometimes I reflect on the too-rare times when I see you at conventions, conferences, and your schools. You contribute more to our growth in wisdom and virtue than data can measure – and often tell us that our God has used us to contribute to yours as well.
Sometimes I think about the sign on our glass door. Maybe we are a little reckless and presumptuous to claim that we are cultivating wisdom and virtue. Maybe.
But it’s still our calling and we still find that the God who called us is able to do more abundantly than we can ever ask or think.
And then I think about the age. Sometimes I feel the world must have reached some sort of limit. What abortion does to a baby is horrifying, but “at least” it is hidden from view. The mutilation of children is both horrifying and visible. It seems like, once again, the world is coming to an end.
We believe that it all comes back to the neglect of one thing: Christ the Logos. In response, we are committed to four principles, each a matter of life and death: logocentrism, Christian humanism, piety, and coherence.
Logocentrism is the belief that Christ the Logos makes everything cohere. As St. Paul put it: All things hold together in Christ. He holds together human nature, which He assumed and perfected, and human society, which He entered and transformed. This is Christian humanism. The loss of Logocentrism has led to the abolition of man.
The loss of humanism, in turn, has undermined the respect due to our fathers and to our children, long known as piety. Now we abort and mutilate our children and we expose the nakedness of our fathers, just as Ham did Noah’s.
Without piety, humanity, and logocentrism, minds and communities become incoherent. Children become guinea pigs and data points. Schools are dominated by methods, rather than virtue. The creation is a meaningless machine.
That is why at CiRCE we are devoted to pursuing the best and purest form of Christian classical education. We believe it is whole, healing, and uniquely Christ-centered. It is also difficult. But it is our calling.
I am frequently accused of being a purist. In one sense I accept the charge. I won’t settle for anything less than the fulness of Christian classical education.
Yet I accept reality in all its brokenness and death, adjusting to the time and place in which we live. But I won’t adapt my faith to the faith of the age or stop working toward education made coherent by commitment to Christ the Logos, man the image, and piety.
I won’t give up the calling that drives the CiRCE Institute: to cultivate wisdom and virtue by nourishing souls on the true, the good, and the beautiful so that, in Christ, the student is better able to know, glorify, and enjoy God.
Any true reform in education has to begin with the teachers. Thus, we have prioritized equipping teachers and parents, making the teacher apprenticeship our first priority. Our leadership team bears witness to its value: all being graduates. Making the Apprenticeship first was certainly an unconventional approach, but we took the long view. The Apprenticeship is a foundation for what CiRCE plans, the runway. There is a great deal left to do.
So, with your help, we’re preparing to lift off.
If you had not supported our admittedly unusual approach, there would be no CiRCE Institute. We’re deeply grateful, both to you and to God.
Last year I told you we had launched an initiative to hire directors for the Consulting and Curriculum program areas. By God’s grace through your support, we filled those two director roles, and more: we were also able to add directors for the CiRCE Press, Conferences & Events, and Online Training!
Adding program area directors to our ongoing work has enabled us to:
- Expand our 7-4-7 consulting offerings, both online and on-site: leadership coaching; building a Christian classical school or home; teacher development; and more!”
- Revise and expand The Lost Tools of Writing.
- Print new books from familiar names like David and Scot Hicks and Joshua Gibbs, as well as a volume of Arthurian tales. I will soon complete two offerings as well: a guide to the Christian classical curriculum and a guide to assessment.
- Expand in-person and virtual conferences, including events for classical educators around the globe and homeschool-specific offerings.
- Add online class offerings for students and online training for teachers.
- Our Latin Apprenticeship graduated its first 4 Latinists.
- Renew our flagship podcast, Quiddity, and launch Overdue Classics.
- Make the FORMA Journal FREE to subscribers, quadrupling its readership.
On a very personal note, you enabled the CiRCE Press to surprise me with Liber Amicorum, a treasure trove of contemplations on education from my friends across the Christian classical renewal.
We are excited by the way our new directors work together when their roles overlap. For example, the curriculum, press, and apprenticeship program areas have initiated a combined project to develop language resources, Latin first and available soon!
Directors are negotiating international partnerships to make The Lost Tools of Writing and our books available in more languages and in more English-speaking countries.
If the pebbles in the Mississippi River were thanks, there would be too few to pay my debt of gratitude.
Any contribution you can make will help our ministries, but I’d like to mention a few things that are high priorities for which you may wish to earmark funds.
First, we continue to urgently search for a facility suited to hospitality, research, and teaching, not to mention housing the daily work of our staff! A better location has eluded us. Pray for us as we strive to trust in God’s timing and provision.
Second, we want to expand our scholarship offerings, especially for the apprenticeship. Participation in the apprenticeship opens possibilities that would not exist otherwise. A contribution to an apprenticeship scholarship is truly an investment.
Third, as I mentioned, FORMA is now free, as is our podcast network. If you have not subscribed to FORMA, please do. If you would like to contribute to FORMA or the CiRCE Podcast Network, please earmark a contribution to that end.
And finally, we have been searching for an affordable way to provide benefits, health care, and competitive wages to our hard-working staff.
Because you have shared in our calling, we are better able to keep our commitments and reap a shared harvest. In the past year, you contributed over $66,000. Thank you! Look at all the things you made possible in 2022!
Will you continue your support for 2023? You can do so in several ways, none greater than the first:
- Pray! We want and need to grow in wisdom and virtue.
- Provide a one-time gift of any amount
- Join our monthly giving program
- Become a CiRCE Patron with a donation of $1,000 or more
- Call, email, or smoke signal to give even more as a Legacy Donor.You can donate at the form at the top of the page.If you prefer, you can mail a check to 81 McCachern Blvd SE, Concord NC 28025.
We pledge to continue to draw from what David Hicks called “springs to deep for taint”, and to share the living water of Christ the Logos.
In the CiRCE office, we return repeatedly to our commitments and beliefs, knowing they might cost us “seats” and that they sometimes make it harder to pay the bills. But we’ve seen what Christian classical education can do. It’s worth it. After all, it’s what we’re called to. Thank you for being a part of us
May the Lord remember you in His kingdom,