Abby VanderBrug

As a School Chaplain, my day-to-day tasks are nothing that I imagined them to be while I was being trained for the priesthood in seminary. Over the 5 years I’ve spent as a preschool or boarding school Chaplain, I’ve blessed hockey sticks, playgrounds, ski poles, and dorm rooms. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on tennis courts as a coach, chaperoned proms, and cheered countless teams on from the sidelines. I am often addressed by students as “Rev.”

In our Chapel program, I get to support faculty and students of all different faith backgrounds who have the courage to get up in front of their school and share what is holy and true to them. In the classroom, I get to introduce students to the subject of Theology and dig into big questions with some very bright young minds.

I still wear a clergy shirt and collar most days and one time a student, who was genuinely confused about my vocation, asked me if I just didn’t have other clothes. It was a funny moment for me, but I think it is representative of what chaplain life can be. Our student body is increasingly non-religious, and oftentimes I feel that I am called to a mission field and charged with the tasks of listening to the spirit and leading us toward the beauty of holiness.

The Rev. Abby VanderBrug is Chaplain and Theology Department Chair at Holderness School (Holderness, NH).