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Faith & Spiritual Life

In the Episcopal tradition, our faith, prayer, and practice shape and transform our lives. Gathering for daily prayer to celebrate and praise God is a core element of how we learn and grow in faith together as a community at St. John’s.

Daily Chapel

Each of our chapel services is designed to reach students at their age and developmental level. Chapel services are primarily lead by faculty, with the chaplain and other St. John’s clergy leading worship on Thursdays in the Historic Church. We use Scriptural stories as the foundation for our chapel week, drawing out insights about character and values, and especially lifting up experiences of God’s abiding presence in our lives.

If you have questions about chapel or any of the stories and topics we use in our year of worship, please email Chaplain Jenni Ovenstone Smith.

What does it mean to be an Episcopal School?

Episcopal schools are Christian educational communities whose missions integrate spiritual formation into all aspects of the educational experience. Episcopal schools are most distinctive when they are true to this mission and when they do so in the graceful and inclusive manner which is the hallmark of the Anglican approach to education over the centuries. Traditionally, Episcopal schools have offered some of the highest quality education in the U.S. while also providing components of faith formation and character development that distinguish students in these schools to be successful and lives lives of meaning and service.

Episcopal schools have been established, however, not solely as communities for Christians, like a parish church, but as ecumenical and diverse ministries of of educational and human formation for people of all faiths and backgrounds. Episcopal schools are populated by a rich variety of human beings, from increasingly diverse religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. In fact, the intentional pluralism of most of our Episcopal schools is a hallmark of their missions.

It is also a distinguishing characteristic that we seek to integrate religious and spiritual formation into the overall curriculum and life of our school community. We invite all who work in our schools— 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.

Above all, Episcopal schools exist not merely to educate, but to demonstrate and proclaim the unique worth and beauty of all human beings as creations of a loving, empowering God.

In practice, these principles are expressed through:

Chapel: We hold daily chapel for all students - creative and inclusive and drawing fully upon the liturgical resources of the Episcopal tradition.

Community Life: Reflection, prayer, and matters of the spirit are honored and cultivated along with the support and nurture of the physical, mental, and emotional health of all.

Religious Formation and Study: Meaningful, academically substantive, and age appropriate teaching in the Christian tradition that also fosters dialogue with other faith traditions.

Social Justice: The integration of the ideals and concepts of equity, justice, and a just society; the embracing and honoring of diversity; and the inclusion of community service and environmental stewardship as integral parts of the life of the school.

By weaving these principles into the very fabric of the school's overall life, Episcopal schools ensure that their missions are built on the sure foundation of Christian love that guides and challenges all who attend our schools to build lives of genuine meaning, purpose, and service in the world they will inherit.
 
St. John's Episcopal Church

St. John's Parish Day School enjoys a close and loving relationship with St. John's Episcopal Church. Through sharing facilities, staff, and community events, the common life of both institutions is fostered and flourishes. The church does not directly subsidize the school's operations, but we often state that what is good for the church benefits the school, and what is good for the school benefits the church. Many parish families have children attending the school, representing about 18-20% of the student body. Both St. John's Episcopal Church and St. John's Parish Day School are affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.