Why Chapel Why Now
Why Chapel Why Now
Imagine a place – on both campuses – where students can wonder, reflect, contemplate, be mindful, reflective and contemplative, find joy and inner peace along with a collective exuberance. Imagine that place, during this pandemic that is nearing two years, and how valuable it is to our students. Imagine it at Trinity.
This is the Chapel. Starting slowly on the Lower Campus at once a week and moving to four times a week on the Upper Campus, Chapel provides a place of care, shelter, and community. Can you imagine the value of such an individual and collective experience during the unpredictable time in which we live?
Over the past few months, I’ve been watching Chapel especially closely. Knowing our students are consciously (or unconsciously) absorbing the world around them, I asked myself how the Chapel experience might center them. How it might be a place of calm. How it might add some predictability to their lives.
What happens in Chapel, might you ask? Let me give some recent examples:
- Yesterday, Pal Thinnappen, IT Director, discussed with the students his recent trip to India, where he saw his family for the first time in a couple of years, visited the temple, reunited with old friends, and attended a wedding.
- This month, Chaplains Cathy and Ben continued the conversation on the Lower Campus about Dr. Martin Luther King with reading the book We Shall Overcome by Bryan Collier.
- This month, our preschool students traced outlines of their bodies and filled it with color and depictions of what made them happy. And understood they are all individuals and each one of them is special in their own way.
- In December students on both campuses prepared for the Christmas holiday by singing holiday songs.
- Near Veterans Day in October, our Grade 5 students provided moving tributes to the life stories of their family members who served our country.
- In November, students in Grade 4 demonstrated their passion for music by playing the harp, violin, and piano to the joy of their peers.
- In November, families on both campuses gave presentations on Diwali and the importance of the holiday to their family – and extended the work to the classrooms.
- In October, led by Brenda Cano, Spanish Teacher, students participated in Day of the Dead and honored loved ones in their lives who have passed away.
- In October, students participated in a three-part Chapel series on the plight of the Afghan refugees including a simulation on food insecurity and a community collection of bedding.
- In September, parents Zoomed in from their place of work, from tech to hospitals to stay at home parents, and talked to kids about labor and the benefit of labor – for Labor Day.
- Every Wednesday, Kim Thacker, Religious Studies Teacher and Chapel Coordinator, directs an Upper Campus classroom skit focussing on values from our Episcopal tradition.
- At almost every Upper Campus Chapel, we celebrate student birthdays where a student is presented a book and story from Heather Maxwell, Librarian and the entire Upper Campus celebrates alongside. Accompanied by our parent musicians, Kate Voorhies and Matthew Burt (who are mainstays during the Chapel).
This may look like a tidy list. But it’s much more than that. On both campuses, Chapel is a place where we care for each other, listen to each other, find connectedness to the world, and think beyond ourselves. We locate and refine our voice. We find the value of community. We count for ourselves and we count on others.
I’ve always said Chapel at Trinity is not about one Chapel, or two Chapels, but rather the cumulative experience of years of Chapel from Preschool through Grade 5. It’s the students’ understanding that the school places such an emphasis on community – and what we value – that time is set aside intentionally for a purpose that becomes embedded in our students. It can be once a week on the Lower Campus or four times a week on the Upper Campus, but the impact can be profound and last a lifetime.
What a better time than now, right?