Canterbury School Prayer
Take into your hands, O Lord, Canterbury School and bless each member of it. Make it a place after your own heart. Enlighten by your Holy Spirit those who teach and those who learn. Forgive us for the things that we have done wrong and help us to treat others as we want to be treated. Help us to grow in grace and become who you have created us to be. Give us a true desire to learn, to love, to serve, and to live, so that we may grow to serve others the world over, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
"What does it mean to be an Episcopal School?" This is one of the most popular questions asked about Canterbury School. At Canterbury, we believe we live our Episcopal identity in five ways. (Click on the image at the right to hear our students give the essence of Canterbury in our school prayer.)
We love. 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. As an Episcopal school, we place love at the center of our life together.
We worship. Three times a week, we come together for chapel. The purpose of chapel is not to make Episcopalians out of everyone; rather, our conviction is that each member of our community will grow spiritually if we balance the 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. Our chaplain, faculty, and students all share leadership roles in chapel services. Perhaps most importantly and most counter-culturally, chapel is where we regularly remember to be mindful of the presence of something greater than ourselves.
We welcome. Just as love of neighbor is one cornerstone of Episcopal identity, hospitality is another. Episcopal schools are intentionally diverse, and we strive to be a welcoming and accepting place for families of all religious faiths and traditions. Far from feeling threatened by those from other faiths, we welcome their perspectives and know 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. Having said that, our desire to be welcoming and inclusive does not mean that we abandon or shy away from our Episcopal identity. We believe that authentic interfaith conversation is most fruitful when each of us is clear about, and true to, who we are.
We serve. Service is at the heart of the Christian life and is another hallmark of Episcopal identity. We serve not out of some altruistic attitude of noblesse oblige, but from a deeper place: we serve out of a 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. This is why service-learning is one of the pillars of our curriculum. Through service, our students discover not only that they can change the world, but that their service and those they serve change them for the better as well.
We question. We cherish the life of the mind. We do not see faith and reason as opposed to one another. Ours is a faith that seeks understanding. We are eager to question and to explore the most fundamental questions in life. 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 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.