In 2022, Esperanza Academy’s new chaplain Rev. Jacqueline (Jack) Clark, attended the Biennial Conference thanks to a EUSA grant for that purpose. Pastor Jack credits the conference workshops, networking, and mentoring as helping her revitalize Esperanza’s chapel program.
It’s a common experience for urban, tuition-free schools to attract families for whom the school’s Episcopal identity is not a top priority. It, therefore, can be challenging to create a space where all students feel comfortable, included, and accepted.
Pastor Jack has partnered with our middle school girls to build an environment where every student is free to explore their own beliefs, interact with biblical lessons, and experience the power of prayer. She has guided them to better understand what spirituality is and how it can be an active source of support.
She has invited the girls to be active participants in the service. They help select the music, and they have multiple opportunities to express what is on their minds and in their hearts. A typical service includes open sharing in a small group, an activity such as pair & share activities, journaling or creating a skit, and the opportunity to voice their personal prayer requests or what they are grateful for.
The experience and wisdom of her conference peers have helped her develop a very successful approach that makes the traditional chapel service accessible and relatable for all students.
Next year, Pastor Jack plans to give students and staff opportunities to develop their own talk to share at a chapel service. She is also forming a Chapel Leadership Team of students to help plan the weekly services.