At the entrance of the Senior Circle, the Saint James Chapel stands as a sign of the School’s commitment to holistic education. We gather as a community each morning, regardless of our diverse religious commitments, to remind ourselves, as Fr. Dunnan often says, that we are not alone. Education is not just about acquiring information, but about becoming the kind of men and women of virtue who can, in the words of the School’s mission statement, be “leaders for good in the world.”
As an institution steeped in the high church, sacramental tradition of the Oxford Movement, the Chapel represents, for many of our students (and staff) an oddity: We worship with “smells and bells,” with challenging choral music, and with the expectation and hope of congregational participation. This is a strange new language for many in our community, but one that many grow to appreciate, even if they remain firmly rooted in their own religious (or even non-religious) convictions.
The Chapel is, after all, a place consecrated for worship in the Episcopal Church. We do not hide that identity or try to flatten it into something more generic. I have found, in fact, that the more confident we are in this tradition, the more free we can be to welcome all people without anxiety. My hope is that all students will find at Saint James a place for both comfort and challenge — the encouragement to deepen roots and understanding, as well as the possibility to question and learn something new.