Originally an Episcopalian institution, the School officially dissolved ties to become independent in 1987 and our current Chapels reflect this status in the variety of religious and culturally diverse texts explored, the music selected as accompaniment, and of course the messages faculty and student speakers share. When students graduate, they remember Chapel as one of the defining traditions of their time at the School.
Chapel services vary by division, each serving students in developmentally appropriate ways. They celebrate the Judeo-Christian values and beliefs that are foundational to our Western traditions, and serve as a quiet time in the life of the School offering faculty and students of all denominations the opportunity for communal worship and reflection.
In the Learning Village K – 4, our Chapel Buddies and the Birthday Prayer create cherished early memories for students. Chapel Buddy relationships pair Kindergartners with fourth grade students who serve as older mentors, and these relationships flourish year after year as each student grows. In the Learning Village Grades 5 – 8, a variety of themed Chapels punctuate the year, including the African Festival Chapel featuring fifth grade “mask essays,” and eighth grade students sharing “exhibitions” on meaningful life-changing events to close the year. Parents are always warmly welcome at our Learning Village Chapels.
In the Upper School, student speakers, especially seniors, courageously share personal recollections that allow the entire community to know and learn from them. Students also serve as readers, singers, and instrumental performers, and faculty and alumni often share messages as Chapel speakers as well. Some of the most anticipated Upper School Chapels of the year include fall and spring Outdoor Chapels, during which the community enjoys the natural beauty of the area followed by a picnic lunch.
In each division, Moving Up Chapel commemorates the closing of each year when students literally move to the seats of their next grade. For our eighth grade students, this is a powerful welcome to the Upper School and signal of their inclusion in this community.
Whether seen through the lens of tradition, community, spiritual growth, or cultural empathy, Chapel communicates the heart of School life. For more information on the School’s Chapel program, please contact Upper School faculty member and Director of Religious Life Bob Clark.