Our Episcopal Identity

What is a School in the Episcopal Tradition like?

  • An Episcopal School is comprehensive and inclusive.

    The Episcopal Church encourages respect for the other person’s beliefs. An Episcopal School will not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, or national origin, and actively seeks faculty and students of diverse backgrounds and traditions in the belief that they bring something to be valued and respected, and because we seek to be broadly inclusive of the community we serve. An Episcopal School will look for the values that unite people rather than those that divide, and not allow factionalism to undermine the life of the whole.

     

    The unity of an Episcopal School is based on rite and tradition rather than doctrine. In an Episcopal School there will likely be no single dogma to which we all subscribe, no list of rules that define who we must be as a community. An Episcopal School points to its own rites and traditions without getting stuck in them, recognizing that these embody the common values of school community. While its worship and rituals may derive from The Book of Common Prayer, every member of the community is invited to join in celebrating the life of the community.  There is a sacramental principle which we hold dear: God makes sacred the things of this world as they are offered to God in worship. Students and staff should have the opportunity to experience the best of Episcopal worship if they are to understand the heart of the Church’s teaching.

  • An Episcopal School values reason as a way to true understanding.

    In the Episcopal tradition, learning is important not to find the right answers to be used as weapons against the beliefs of others or “unbelievers,” but in order to arrive at God’s truth. We believe that the truth will make us free and that God has given us the freedom to seek truth without fearing where it may lead. This suggests that our understanding of truth may grow and change, that God welcomes questions, and that we may subject all our ideas and beliefs to our critical faculties.

     

    Clearly, then, an Episcopal education is not indoctrination, not about enforcing an unquestioning acceptance of a pre-ordained set of doctrines. An Episcopal education begins from the premise that we (teachers, parents, students, administrators, staff) are all a community of learners and explorers and that we all need to continue to learn and to grow. It encourages us all to pursue questions wherever they lead, to use our critical thinking skills, and to value the learning and thought we have inherited from the past. It also, —and here we part company with secular education—refuses to allow students to separate religion and spirituality from the rest of the curriculum, since the Episcopal (Anglican) perspective is that reason and learning are ultimately intended to serve our exploration of the deepest issues of humankind.

  • An Episcopal school has a concern for the well-being of society.

    The Episcopal Church began its life in this country as an established church and has had a rich history of community involvement.  This reminds us that an Episcopal School should make a concern for society a part of its program. The School will help students to understand that they do not exist apart from society, that society’s issues are their issues, and that they are called to respond to the needs of others. Students will be encouraged not just to share what they have with others, but to understand the issues and complexities of society and to consider what their individual and corporate responsibilities are and to take action.

  • An Episcopal School is founded on love.

    This is not a peculiarly Episcopal idea but so fundamental to the Christian view that it can be overlooked. Love for students, parents and teachers, for their value as children of God, for their unique gifts, must undergird everything we do. We must act out of love, teach love, model love, and love one another in our community above all else, or all else will be meaningless.   Modeling this love for one another will build community within our School and demonstrate to those outside ESK, that we live what we believe.

     

    (taken from recent publications of the National Association of Episcopal Schools)