Ben Anthony

My faith was born in a classroom and nurtured in a parish. However, it was not until I became a school chaplain that my faith found its ideal vocational expression. My work as a priest has taken various forms, but none has been as gratifying as my work as a school chaplain.

At the various outposts I have taken up along the way I have worked to “bend” the church and school toward the other. As a parish priest, this meant returning to the theology classroom as a teaching assistant. It then meant becoming the Episcopal Chaplain to Emory University, a role in which I performed pastoral ministry in relation to the needs and pressures of being a student. At each of these stops questions of ecumenical identity were raised as a matter of liturgical practice. Developing public worship for school life underlined the need to distinguish between my idiosyncratic preferences and liturgy that was responsive to the community’s needs. 

School chaplaincy has given unity to my varied professional experiences and clarity to my sense of vocation. The work of a school chaplain is as eclectic as it is joyful. Structure and improvisation, pattern and novelty and in the middle of it all is the chaplain.

With a posture that is at once alert and detached the chaplain’s work is to hear and to see the individuals that comprise the community. And from this place of privilege the chaplain labors to create a space in which the school gathers to listen to one another so as to discover that all knowledge of the world and self is ultimately knowledge of God.

The. Rev. Dr. Ben Anthony is Head Chaplain at St. Andrew’s School (Boca Raton, FL).