The National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) is pleased to announce the release of its Principles of Good Practice for School Ministry in Episcopal Schools, which the Governing Board approved at its January 2016 meeting. The document is the latest entry in NAES’ Principles of Good Practice series that, to date, has addressed such topics as Episcopal identity, parish school governance, leadership transitions, chapel and worship, the study of religion, and equity and justice in Episcopal schools.
The ministry of a school chaplain, in Episcopal schools, is both a time-honored one, as well as one that currently exists amidst a great deal of change. Given the increasingly fluid and complex religious landscape of our culture, chaplains now minister in a school community that is increasingly diverse: in most schools a variety of religions are represented as well as an increasing numbers of students, parents, and faculty who come to the school with no experience with any religious tradition.
Amidst these changes, an effective school chaplain can make an extraordinary difference in life of an Episcopal school. As pastor, priest, prophet, and teacher, the chaplain can serve as a binding, spiritual force, standing at the crossroads of faith and reason, individual and community, tradition and change.
NAES offers these principles to highlight the potential for school chaplaincy—based on its experience of seeing good chaplains at work—as well as to serve as a resource for a school in these and a variety of other contexts:
- As a tool for evaluation of the position of chaplain.
- As a vehicle through which schools can review their Episcopal identities.
- As an aid in formulating a position description for a chaplain as well as in the search for a new chaplain.
The publication of these principles comes after a lengthy process of discussion, consultation, and revision. Particular thanks go to the advisory group members who assisted in the formation of this publication: the Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff, Bishop Suffragan of Virginia; the Rev. Kristin N. Barberia, Chaplain, St. Matthew’s Parish School, Pacific Palisades, CA; the Rev. Michael C. Kuhn, D.Min., Assistant Head of School and Chaplain, St. Martin’s Episcopal School, Metairie, LA; the Rev. Jeffrey C. Lewis, Chaplain, St. George’s School, Middletown, RI; and the Rev. Faye Somers, Lower School Chaplain, Saint Andrew’s School, Boca Raton, FL.
Pamphlets will be available for purchase in the spring at www.episcopalschools.org/shop-naes