Episcopal tradition reminds us that habits of prayer shape belief. As we come together weekly in chapel, intention is given to help surface the beliefs that are expressed through our prayer. In this way, we hope to make meaning out of our practices and rituals. For example, we stand during prayers because we are people of resurrection. We come forward to receive Communion out of the belief and we are also called to offer who we are to God during this holy encounter. We pray for the dead because we believe that any gathering of faith transcends space and time in the communion of saints. We sing hymns of praise in joyful response to God’s abundant provision for the world.
While our entire school community gathers to break bread together a few times a semester, we observe age-appropriate elements of Morning Prayer during our routine weekly chapels. This service includes a greeting and Collect of the Day, a song of praise, reading from the Psalter and Scripture, an interactive homily as a response to the reading, prayers of the people, a blessing, and dismissal. The Scripture mirrors what is engaged the previous Sunday at our church, and follows a 3-year cycle of appointed texts called the Revised Common Lectionary. We also observe periods of silence during the service as an invitation to breathe, look inward, and be still. Parents are always welcome to pray with us in chapel.
The bones of this ritual remain the same throughout the year, as we believe structured prayer connects us with tradition and fellow Episcopal schools, along with providing assurance, comfort and familiarity. In time, this prayerful rhythm lays the framework for the movement of the Spirit among us.
Of course, St. Stephen’s values the richness of diversity in all aspects – including religious affiliation. As such, we invite all students and faculty - Episcopalians and non-Episcopalians, Christians and non-Christians, people of no faith tradition—both to seek clarity about their own beliefs and religions and to honor those traditions more fully and faithfully in their own lives. This orientation aligns our Episcopal Identity with other schools in the National Association of Episcopal Schools.
We invite your prayers as we seek to be faithful.
- The Reverend Brandon Peete, Director of Spiritual Life