The Paradoxical Genius of Our Episcopal Identity

A couple years ago with the help of a consultant All Saints’ conducted an image audit of our school.  Since the audit, we have attempted to articulate more clearly the core principles and the value proposition of our school.  

The reflection emanating from the above-mentioned audit has served to reinforce many things we already know about our school.  For example, a constitutive dimension and foundational element of All Saints’ Episcopal Day School is its Episcopal identity.  Even though that would appear obvious upon first glance, since that identity affirms the inclusion of people whose religious, spiritual, and cultural traditions are different than the Episcopal one, we have made an effort to express in concise terms what our Episcopal identity means at its heart.

I am happy to share with readers our current formulation of that identity:

The expression of the Episcopal identity at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School is quite explicit and intentional.  It is most obvious in the following dimensions of school life

  •  Chapel worship and daily prayer

While our desire is to include everyone present in each chapel service, we expect that each fully participates as a school community member at the level congruent with his or her own conscience and religious tradition.

  •  Religious instruction

In developmentally appropriate ways, our religion curriculum engages our students in learning about the Old and New Testaments, about the tradition and history of the Episcopal Church, other Christian denominations, and non-Christian religions and spiritual movements, and about developing a habit of reflection rooted in faith and intellect.

  •  Service

Students at every grade level, PreKindergarten-Eight, have regular opportunities to participate in service learning.  We coordinate these opportunities with our curriculum so that service is viewed as constitutive of a meaningful life for every person in keeping with our mission: to prepare our students to serve a world in need.

  •  Community ethos

This ethos is articulated in The All Saints’ Way and represents the ideal for which we are called to strive.  This element of school identity perhaps speaks best to the genius of our Episcopal identity.  A bedrock dimension of that identity is the call to be intentionally inclusive. 

So there is no doubt that we are an Episcopal school.  In that identity there is also no doubt that we welcome and honor people of all beliefs and backgrounds in our school community.  

The four bullet-point headings above are certainly not unique to All Saints’ Episcopal Day School.  In fact they are frequently referred to as the four pillars of Episcopal school life in many places.  These pillars are essential in helping us keeps our focus on our ideals, our raison d’etre, on what truly matters.

Until next time…

My best,

Leo