Our Episcopal Identity: What Are the Principal Qualities That Distinquish a School as Episcopal?
This question, more than any other, is asked by parents and the general public. The answer is that Episcopal schools - such as Trinity School of Texas - are Christian communities whose missions integrate spiritual formation into all aspects of the educational experience. Episcopal schools are most distinctive when they are true to this mission and when they do so in the graceful and inclusive manner which has been the hallmark of the Anglican approach to education over the centuries.
As embodiments of the Christian faith, Episcopal schools are created to be communities that honor, celebrate, and worship God as the center of life. They are created to be models of God's love and grace. They are created to serve God in Christ in all persons, regardless of origin, background, ability, or religion. They are created to "strive for justice and peace among all people and [to] respect the dignity of every human being" [Book of Common Prayer]. These principles are the basis on which identity and vocation are to be defined in Episcopal schools.
Episcopal schools have been established, however, not solely as communities for Christians, like a parish church, but as ecumenical and diverse ministries of educational and human formation for people of all faiths and backgrounds. Episcopal schools are populated by a rich variety of diverse religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. In fact, the intentional pluralism of most Episcopal schools is a hallmark of their missions. A distinguishing characteristic of Trinity School of Texas is that we seek to integrate religious and spiritual formation into the overall curriculum and life of the school community. As an Episcopal school, TST is clear, yet graceful, about how we articulate and express our basic identity, especially in our religious curricula and traditions. We invite all who attend and work here - Episcopalians and non-Episcopalians, Christians and non-Christan people of no faith tradition - both to seek clarity about their own beliefs and religions and to honor those traditions more fully and faithfully in their own lives. Above all, TST and all Episcopal schools exist not merely to educate, but to demonstrate and proclaim the unique worth and beauty of all human beings as creations of a loving, empowering God.
In Practice, these principles and ideals are expressed through:
- School Worship that is creative, inclusive, and draws fully upon the liturgical resources of The Episcopal Church, and is a regular part of school life for all faculty and students.
- Community Life, in which reflection, prayer, and matters of the spirit are honored and cultivated and the physical, mental, and emotional health of all are supported and nurtured.
- Religious Formation and Study that is meaningful, academically substantive, and age-appropriate; and in teaching the Christian tradition, fosters dialogue with other faith traditions.
- Social Justice, which is the integration of the ideals and concepts of equity, justice, and a just society throughout the life of the school; the embracing and honoring of diversity; and the inclusion of community service and service-learning as an integral part of the school.
By weaving these principles into the very fabric of the school's overall life, Trinity School of Texas ensures that its mission is built upon the sure foundation of a Christian love that guides and challenges all who attend our school to build lives of genuine meaning, purpose, and service in the world they will inherit.