Episcopal Identity at St. Andrew’s
We live our Episcopal identity through five habits of heart and mind:
We believe that God calls us to love. And because we view each of our students as a child of God, we care about them not merely as students who need to pass their courses and get on with life, but as complex human beings whose minds, bodies and spirits need to be nurtured and supported because they are God’s hope for a future generation. The love we practice as an Episcopal school reveals itself in sacrifice, patience, truth telling and, to quote St. Paul, a willingness to build one another up and to bear one another's burdens. It is a love that both sets expectations and practices forgiveness, each in equal measure. In a phrase, we care deeply for each other. As an Episcopal school, we place love at the center of our life together.
Each week we come together for chapel. The purpose of chapel is to balance the hectic pace of school life with a weekly rhythm that includes pause, prayer, and reflection on those things and those relationships that matter most in life. Chapel is about making time each week to thank God for what we have, to hold up in prayer each other's needs and concerns, to sing in joy and celebration for the blessings of this life, and to share stories of meaning and purpose. Perhaps most importantly and most counter-culturally, chapel is where we regularly remember to be mindful of the presence of something larger than ourselves. For these reasons our chaplains and our connection to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington are essential parts of our school’s identity.
We strive to be a welcoming place. Just as love of neighbor is one cornerstone of Episcopal identity, hospitality to the stranger is another. Episcopal schools are intentionally diverse. Our school welcomes the perspectives of other faiths and knows that we are better for their presence. We invite all who attend and work in our school both to seek clarity about their own deepest beliefs and to honor their convictions, whatever they may be, more fully and faithfully in their own lives. We believe that authentic interfaith conversation is most fruitful when each of us is clear about, and true to, who we are. Our Anglican tradition is a beautiful and rich one that we are eager and committed to share. In sharing it we strive mightily to be as graceful and inclusive as we can to make room for all in our community.
Service is at the heart our Episcopal identity. We serve with deep conviction that we find our true identity as God's people precisely when we abandon our self-centered agendas to encounter and serve the other. In serving the other we learn that both the server and the served are transformed in unexpected and wonderful ways. Indeed, we learn that in serving the other we more often than not meet God. This is why service learning is at the center of our curriculum. Through service, our students discover that they can change the world and that their service and those they serve change them for the better as well.
We value both faith and reason, and we cherish the life of the mind. Ours is a faith that seeks understanding. We are eager to question and to explore the most fundamental questions in life. This is why the academic study of religion is integral to our curriculum. As an independent Episcopal school, we enjoy the freedom and exercise the responsibility to engage our students in talking openly about God and the good life. We welcome seekers, doubters, skeptics, and atheists. We trust that if we build our community on open, honest, inquisitive, careful and respectful questioning, the truth will emerge. Our aim is to equip students’ minds with the skill and their hearts with the desire to find meaning, to claim their own spiritual identities, and to articulate their convictions with a balance of clarity, generosity, and humility.
We love. We worship. We welcome. We serve. We question.
These five habits of heart and mind are at the core of who we are as an Episcopal school.
Approved by the St. Andrew’s Board of Trustees on December 15, 2014