We are so happy to welcome each new and returning faculty, staff, and family back to our campus for the 2017-2018 school year. I am especially grateful to engage with our community in a new way as Interim Director of Spiritual Life. I am excited for the opportunity to get to know each student and faculty member through weekly chapels, All School chapels, and other encounters on campus throughout the year.

This year we will continue to deepen our understanding of the Episcopal identity that shapes our St. Stephen’s community, how it relates to our commitment to Montessori and International Middle Years education and principles, and how it shapes our shared core values on campus. Many of these values overlap and are held as beacons among us to point the way in helping us to build a richly diverse, peaceful, and healthy community that is inclusive of all.

At St. Stephen’s we value curiosity and are unafraid to question everything, even those things we hold most dear. We believe that curiosity, like our other values, not only forms us as a community, but also engages our imagination of who and what we can be as individuals, as a campus of life-long learners, and out in the world.

Encouraging curiosity is a value held in esteem in both the Church and School. We know that some are unfamiliar with the Episcopal Church, and with St. Stephen’s as a worshipping community. As a way of welcoming our new and returning faulty and families back to campus, St. Stephen’s parish is hosting Curiosity Sunday, on August 27 during the 10:30 a.m. service. Every member of St. Stephen’s is invited to join us on campus as we offer a back to school blessing and bless every teachers’ and students’ backpack, bag, or briefcase for the new school year. You are invited to come and see what St. Stephen’s has to offer for youth, children, and adults on Sunday mornings, and what service organizations we partner with to serve our greater Houston community.

Following Curiosity Sunday, we will gather in the Nave for our first All School chapel on Monday, August 28, at 8:30 a.m. Every parent, guardian, or adult in our community is invited to join us in song and prayer as we celebrate the new school year and all the learning, growth, and friendships that will develop this year. All School chapels are held monthly and are a wonderful time for our whole community to sing and pray together, but also to see each other in one space, gathered for a common purpose. We will share God’s peace with one another and celebrate Eucharist, or the Great Thanksgiving, in honor of the lively, strong, and wildly curious school community. We hope to see you there.

Ryan Hawthorne - Interim Spiritual Life Director