The Episcopal experience is framed by the understanding that spiritual growth is an essential part of human growth. We strive to be a community which grows in its awareness of God’s unconditional and fathomless love for all of creation as we aspire to share that same love with one another.

The Episcopal Tradition

In keeping with the tradition of the Episcopal Church, we require our students to think critically, accepting that knowledge of the world and knowledge of God are eternally intertwined. Our commitment to the Episcopal tradition also shapes us as a community of welcome and inclusion as inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. We welcome students of all faiths and traditions. Episcopal encourages faith exploration through visits from guest speakers and faith leaders from the outside community, in addition to all-encompassing academic courses. All are encouraged to seek clarity about their beliefs and to live more fully and faithfully within them. All members of the Episcopal community are expected to uphold and respect the dignity of every human being. Approximately 67% of students at ESJ identify themselves as of a faith other than Episcopalian.

Bible

The Episcopal experience is framed by the understanding that spiritual growth is an essential part of human growth. We strive to be a community which grows in its awareness of God’s unconditional and fathomless love for all of creation as we aspire to share that same love with one another.

Episcopal is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES). NAES defines an Episcopal school as the following, all of which ESJ strives daily to embody:

Episcopal schools are known for educational excellence. As embodiments of the Christian faith, they serve God in Christ in all persons, regardless of origin, background, ability, or religion and “strive for justice and peace among all people and [to] respect the dignity of every human being.” This intentional pluralism is also a distinguishing hallmark of Episcopal schools.
In addition, Episcopal schools:

  • Come together for regular chapel and worship services that are creative, age-appropriate, inclusive, and grounded in the traditions of the Episcopal Church.
  • Value and emphasize a community life in which the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of all are supported and nurtured.
  • Engage in a study of religion that is academically substantive, age-appropriate, and fosters dialogue with other faith traditions.
  • Integrate the ideals and concepts of equity, justice, and a just society throughout the life of the school. Community service is an integral part of the life of the school.

Chapel

Episcopal’s weekly Chapel services anchor the school week in worship and reflection and empower students to live more authentically in their deepening relationship with God.

Middle School and Upper School Chapel services are guided by the Book of Common Prayer, which is the worship resource for the Episcopal Church. Chapel attendance is required and all are encouraged to participate as fully as their religious traditions allow.

Chapel often includes guests, including students, for the homily, as well as the Chapel band, performances by fine arts students, vestry performances, and special chapels dedicated to events taking place in our everyday world.

Spiritual Growth

Opportunities for spiritual growth extend in to the classroom through our comprehensive theology curriculum, which includes the study of scripture, theological exploration and ethical living. Students may also choose to participate in a number of Bible studies and devotional groups offered throughout the school week.

In the classroom, Upper School students explore world religions as well as how faith ties into current events, literature, and the arts. Interdisciplinary courses incorporating theological studies include an English 12 Theology/Tolkien Seminar. An approved independent study also allows students the opportunity to explore faith within the context of their academic interests. Semester-long Bible courses use the Bible text and classical literature, helping students to develop a healthy faith perspective, upheld by consistent critical thinking and a clear understanding. The courses examine application of the principles of the faith to the circumstances of contemporary life.

In Middle School students will study Holy Scripture from Old and New Testaments to achieve basic familiarity with the Bible, basic understanding of foundational concepts and stories and application of biblical concepts to their lives. Students deepen their understanding of the various ways that Biblical material can help them form their spiritual lives. Middle School Bible study lays the foundation for the Upper School theology courses.