Worship lies at the heart of St. George’s Episcopal School. It forms the center of our spiritual and religious growth, and having the entire school gather for chapel at the start of each day shapes our very identity, mission, and ministry. All students, faculty, staff, and administration are required to participate.
While the Episcopal Church’s central act of worship is the Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion, St. George’s School, with its ecumenical congregation, celebrates this sacrament only on special occasions and only for students in grades three through eight. Daily chapel services, while not necessarily derived directly from the Book of Common Prayer, use its traditional structure and prayers. Worship consists of prayers, songs, and a homily or chapel talk, and we strive to create worship that is both meaningful and interesting for students. Students are offered the opportunity to take leadership roles by serving as readers, prayer leaders, musicians, and acolytes.
In the 8th grade, students begin a series of writing “Chapel Talks”, and while it is a good oratory practice, it also gives students a chance to speak with confidence about their passions, and it allows students to get to know one another on a deeper level. Students work closely with a faculty member while writing a Chapel Talk.
At it’s core, Chapel Talks develop interpersonal communication skills, the ability to grow personally through reflection and writing, and the ability to gather together in worship to know each other more fully.
Other Chapel Opportunities
One day a week, students meet by division for a more age-specific chapel time. These chapels also involve prayers and songs, but instead of a homily, students are given the opportunity to explore the theme or passage for the month in a more hands-on way, with the goal of finding concrete ways to apply Biblical teachings in everyday life. On Fridays, we conclude the school week together by sharing in our special “Celebration Chapel,” where a variety of student accomplishment is recognized, where birthdays are celebrated, and where our mission and ministry as an Episcopal school is joyously expressed. Parents are invited to attend any chapel services with their children, although participation in the Friday chapels is especially appropriate.
In so many significant ways there is nothing more important in the life of St. George’s Episcopal School than its worship. Chapel is not just another extra-curricular activity, but it is the most important event in the daily life of the school.
SGES School Hymn
Father, we do all adore thee, Worship, praise and seek thy will. Father, lead us ever only To that place we cherish still. Evermore to praise Thy Name And evermore to love Thy will.
To learn, to serve, to live for Thee only, Thy precious Name our light, our life. Our youth is ere before Thee, Father, Our minds are fresh, our spirits bright. Our hearts are bound to serve Thee only, Our work in Thee more joy than strife. Father, keep us holy in Thee. Father, guide us in our lives.
Words by Susan Bartholomew