- What does "Episcopal" mean?
- What does it mean to be an Episcopal school?
- How does EHS live its Episcopal identity?
What does “Episcopal” mean?
The word “Episcopal” means “governed by bishops.” The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It is Protestant, in that it is not subject to papal authority or Roman Catholic doctrine yet understands itself to be descended from the Early Church, with its bishops in Apostolic Succession to St. Peter.
What does it mean to be an Episcopal School?
Institutional Connection to the Episcopal Church:
Episcopal High School is an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Founded in 1983 by the sixth Bishop of Texas, the Right Reverend Maurice M. Benitez, the current and ninth Bishop of Texas, the Right Reverent C. Andrew Doyle serves as the Chair of our Board of Trustees.
Membership in the National Association of Episcopal Schools Organization:
The NAES connects us with other Episcopal Schools, chaplains, and Heads of School, sharing similar concerns and a common mission to be models of God’s love and grace to the families we serve, and integrating a spiritual dimension into the educational experience.
In our Daily Life as a School:
While approximately 20% of our students are Episcopalians, a variety of religious backgrounds are represented in our student body, faculty, and staff. In our approach to daily Chapel services and in the way we treat each other and go about our life as a school, we are comfortable in our shoes as a Christian school, reflecting God’s love and serving a multi-faith community with respect, appreciation, and genuine care.
How does EHS live its Episcopal Identity?
Ingrained in our Mission:
As stated in our school mission statement, Episcopal High School is “an inclusive and joyful Christian community,” striving daily to prepare our students for “meaningful lives in service to others.” In our interactions with each other, in the ways we teach, learn, celebrate achievements, handle struggles, grieve losses, seek meaning, understand today, and prepare for tomorrow, we care about matters of faith and connectedness to God and to our neighbor. We are a community that understands that each person has a need for God’s grace and forgiveness and benefits from the unimaginable gift of God’s particular love.
Respect and Dignity:
The Episcopal Baptismal Covenant asks us:
- Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
- Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
The response we make in the service to each of these questions is, “I will, with God’s help.”
With God’s help, we remember to love those who hurt us. With God’s help, we know that none of us is better than another. With God’s help, we embrace Christ’s words to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” With God’s help, we are peacemakers, seekers of righteousness, and upholders of justice. With God’s help, we treat each other with respect, dignity, compassion, honor, value, and love. With God’s help, we learn to live meaningful lives in service to others.
The diversity of the Episcopal High School community is expressed through a variety of races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations… athletic abilities, creative interests, academic prowess… heights, hair lengths, pet ownerships, and personalities. Our diversity is beautiful in its variety, and we know we are all beloved children of God.
Spiritual Challenge and Support:
It is developmentally appropriate and educationally critical for students at the high school level to challenge what they know, and faith development during these years often sees a shift to a more mature understanding of God. Our children grow into adults, and the seasons of life can bring both turmoil and joy. As an Episcopal school, we share the high school journey with our students, offering challenge when appropriate, support as needed, and love always. Our hope is for our students to graduate from EHS with a strong foundation of faith so they will have that support as they venture forth to college and beyond.
Speaking of support… Another hallmark of Episcopal schools is the support offered to our students, families, and staff members. Whether someone needs help that is academic, emotional, medical, or spiritual, help is available. Please refer to the Pastoral Care information on our school website.
Daily Chapel is another way in which EHS lives out its Episcopal identity. We are a community that prays together. Daily Chapel helps us see our concerns through a different perspective and invites us to consider the things that are most important. It is frequently said that Chapel is the beating heart of our community. Additional information about our Chapel program may also be found on our school website
Inquiry and Learning:
As an Episcopal school, we are comfortable asking and valuing questions. We are in the education business, and we see God’s fingerprints all over the process of learning and growing. With excitement and curiosity, we study evolution and read Genesis, learn about World Wars and consider the ethics of waging war, look at pandemics from the perspectives of history, science, psychology, and faith, learn languages so we can understand each other better, and read literature that can be both beautiful and challenging. In the words of the Right Reverend Robert C. Wright, Bishop of Atlanta, in his address to the assembled group at the NAES Biennial Conference in November 2018:
The great opportunity that you and I have as part of God’s delivery system known as the Episcopal School is to minister to the whole child and the whole world: academic rigor for the head, compassion to enlarge the heart, and the work of our hands focused by service to neighbor near and far. That kind of school has a bright future, that kind of school is a smart investment, that kind of school makes God smile and God’s people rejoice.