Dear St. Stephen’s Community,
Greetings! I am excited to serve this year as the Director of Spiritual Life at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.
In addition to abiding with and caring for students, faculty and parents, relating the needs of the school to the church, and tending to the spiritual life on campus, I am also called to lead our school community in prayer. Every Wednesday during the school year divisions will gather for weekly chapel. On occasion we come together as an entire student body to pray. Wednesday, August 24, at 8:30 a.m. will be the first of such occasions. This All-School Chapel will mark the beginning of the school year and give us an opportunity to give thanks and celebrate. We will also bless our faculty and staff during the service. Parents, as always, are invited and encouraged to join our students, faculty, and staff in prayer.
During the All-School Chapel, we will celebrate Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, is the primary reason Episcopalians gather for worship week in and week out. In prayer, we tell the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The bread and wine mark the presence of God among us. All children, faculty, and parents will be invited to partake in the Eucharist. Participation is strictly voluntary and in no way compulsory. We recognize and respect the fact that our students and families come from a variety of faith backgrounds, and would always encourage authenticity.
We invite you to speak as a family and decide how your son or daughter will choose to participate in Holy Eucharist. You are invited to either:
1) Come forward to receive Eucharist (indicate so by extending right hand over left) NOTE: It is appropriate to receive only the bread OR the wine, if you so choose.
2) Come forward and receive a blessing (indicate so by crossing arms over chest)
3) Remain quietly in seat
Please speak together as a family to decide on the level of participation for your student. You may also communicate this decision to your students’ teacher(s) if you would like.
Before All-School Chapel begins next week, I will take some time to reiterate our purpose for gathering, along with the ways that students are invited to participate.
Please feel free to email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (713.528.6665 ext. 216) with any questions that may come up during the discussion. Peace to you with the start of school.