Welcome to This New Life, a website devoted to biblical hope and radical grace. Thanks for stopping by. We’re Tim and Sonya Valentino. We live in Myerstown, PA, a small town halfway between Reading and Hershey. Both of us are into family, nature, hiking, music, art, history, museums, Christian ministry, theological education, and the Philadelphia Phillies. We’re also into coffee. The darker the better.
We’re on the journey of life with the Author of life. Let’s walk together and marvel at the scenery. As we go, let’s “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We’ve created This New Life as a resource to help with that endeavor. We also write to clarify our own thinking. And laugh at ourselves.
On this site we try to provide a balance of content creation and content curation. Creation refers to the materials we generate ourselves. Curation refers to the materials that other people publish and we repost. Our goal for This New Life is simply this: Creation + Curation = Inspiration + Formation. It’s a digital journal, of sorts, chronicling “our life in God’s light,” with others welcome to look in from time to time. Below are six more ways to get to know us.
Tim has an Italian last name, but that’s only because he’s adopted. Genetically, he’s just a general-issue white guy from somewhere in Western Europe. Only his taste buds are Italian. His personality tests always come back INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging), so he plays around a lot in the sandbox of his own mind. Back in the day, he was an NCAA Division 1 swimmer. Today he just floats and blows bubbles.
Sonya’s personality type is similar to Tim’s, except she’s an extrovert. She’s a natural leader, visionary, and entrepreneur who loves to encourage God’s people and mobilize them for ministry. A trained musician, she enjoys praising the Lord in song and leading believers in worship. She can still fit into her wedding dress from 1988 despite a lifelong addiction to French fries and other potatoey stuff. She loves dogs and hates mice.
We met in college and tied the knot one scorching summer day in West Virginia. If we had it to do over again, we would do so in a church with air conditioning. The best way to know who we are, how we’re doing, and what’s happening in our lives is to communicate with us directly.
Tim works as an Instructor of Biblical Studies and Applied Theology at Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, PA, and as a course instructor and/or online professor at various other universities and Christian institutes in the region. In addition to proffing, he also pastors Christ Community Church in Myerstown and serves as a camp and conference speaker by invitation.
Sonya is the Director of Community Relations at Evangelical Seminary, where she helps recruit students and cultivate donors. She also leads in the organization and support of various seminary events and student residencies. She is the former owner and operator of Grace Notes Music Academy, where she taught piano, voice, and brass music lessons. Today she directs the Music and Worship ministry in her church.
At best we’re flawed servants pointing to a flawless Savior, so we need as much grace as anyone else. Probably more. Despite our many shortcomings, God has used us over the years. Our calling is best summarized in the words of Acts 5:20, “Tell the people the full message of this new life.”
Tim received a high school diploma from Reading High School, Reading, PA in 1983 (salutatorian); a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV in 1988 (English); a Master of Divinity degree from Evangelical Seminary, Myerstown, PA in 1995 (summa cum laude); a Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY in 2009 (expository preaching); and a Doctor of Theology degree from Evangelical Seminary, Myerstown, PA in 2022 (biblical theology). Some of his academic papers and published articles will be uploaded soon to academia.edu. Others can be found on this site, and more will be uploaded over time.
Sonya received a high school diploma from Wheeling Park High School, Wheeling, WV in 1983 (with honors); a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV in 1987 (Music Education, magna cum laude); and a Master of Arts in Ministry degree from Evangelical Seminary, Myerstown, PA in 2017 (with distinction). We love to learn new things about God and the world he created.
The divine Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–has captured our hearts through the sacred Scriptures. Consequently, our aim is to be “boldly, broadly, and beautifully evangelical,” a phrase coined by Dr. Tony Blair, the President of Evangelical Seminary. We’re amazed by grace, centered on the gospel, thrilled by the covenant, fascinated by the law, grateful for the cross, overjoyed by the resurrection, inspired by the new creation, desperate for the Spirit, and thankful for the church when she portrays the heart of Jesus to broken people who need hope and healing.
Those who have helped shape our spiritual lives include C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Tim Keller, William Lane Craig, Haddon Robinson, Elizabeth Achtemeier, Alice Matthews, Janet Hagberg, Robert Guelich, Philip Yancey, Ron Sider, Dave Dorsey, Eugene Peterson, Dallas Willard, Keith and Lorena Moore, and the faculty at Evangelical Seminary. Like Jacob of old, we earnestly seek God’s blessing on our lives, but in the end, we can only limp to the finish line as fellow pilgrims on the journey. But we will finish (Phil 1:6).
Political convictions? Yes, we have them, but we’re not completely sold on either of the major political parties in the United States. In fact, neither party wants us nor claims us as their own, and we’re o.k. with that. It allows us to address the issues of the day from a non-partisan, worldview perspective. It also allows us to practice civil disobedience when our conscience demands it, as happens periodically throughout the Scriptures.
Sometimes we think the Republicans are right. Sometimes we think the Democrats are right. At all times we think King Jesus is right. In the end, we believe that politics, like humanity, is broken, so we pray for all the civil magistrates and governing officials as the Bible directs, even the ones we severely disagree with. Let’s aim higher and find another way to be friends.
We have two adult children, Andrew and Bethany, and a son-in-law, Micah, whom we regard as our own. Andrew holds a film and media arts degree from Temple University and worked for eight years as a videographer for WFMZ-Channel 69 in Allentown, PA. He now runs Andrew Valentino Media, which provides voiceover work, photography, videography, film editing, documentaries, and other related services. An Emmy-nominated photojournalist, Andrew enjoys film, anime, screenwriting, science fiction, apologetics, philosophy, and music. (Because Tim is adopted, Andrew was the first blood relative he ever met.)
Bethany holds a speech language pathology degree from Bloomsburg University and worked as for seven years as a psychiatric assistant at Pennsylvania Counseling Services in Lebanon, PA. She is now preparing to be a stay-at-home mom and administrative assistant for her parents’ ministries. Her interests include worship, dance, discipleship, and sharing her faith. Her husband, Micah, holds a psychology degree from Kutztown University, and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy degree from Evangelical Seminary. He currently works as a therapist at Salisbury Behavioral Health in Wyomissing, PA. His interests include music, worship, guitar, computers, woodworking, and car repair (thankfully).