Learning

Community Building: Weekly Chapel

Not Your Ordinary Chapel

Music fills the air on Friday mornings, taking a cue from the theme of the chapel presentation.

The Chime
We settle into our seats and quiet down with the chime. The sound vibrations may come from a bell, a tuning fork, or a Tibetan singing bowl. They are a signal to prepare our bodies, our minds, and our spirits for a time of reflection in community.

The Candle
Cultures and religions all over the world use candles as a reminder that the time that we’re spending together is different and special.

Opening Sentences & School Prayer
St. Paul’s cultivates a strong sense of purpose. We remind ourselves every week that we are here to learn, so that we can go out and change the world. Our opening sentences and school prayer come from the Judeo-Christian traditions. There are endless ways to pray. In chapel, we sing this prayer every week because it’s fun! It gives us a chance to sing and clap, and get ready to introduce our guest performance.

Opening Sentences
You are the light of the world.
A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp to put it under a bushel basket,
But on a lampstand where it gives light to the whole household.
In this same way, let the light shine for you
so that others may see the work that you do
And give glory to God.
Amen
- The Book of Matthew

School Prayer
For the good in us which calls us to a better life, we give thanks.
For the strength to improve the world with our hearts and hands, we give praise.
For the peace in us which calls us to work for peace, we are grateful.
For all these things we give thanks to the creator of all life and all nature, Amen.
- The Union Prayer Book

Class Presentation
Each class presents a chapel topic during the school year. Students become the teachers in observation of subjects like the farm workers’ movement, the Ohlone, civil rights, Lunar New Year, Hanukkah, Dia de los Muertos, Diwali, Christmas Pageant, gratitude, and mindfulness.

Music
We hope that everyone will join us in singing whenever possible because full participation supports the class that’s leading chapel…and it makes the celebration more fun for everyone. We sing all kinds of music, chants, songs with hand motions, songs from the world’s religious traditions.

We love suggestions for songs that deliver a good message and that everyone can sing together. The Chapel Band is open to all musicians, so if you have a musical talent that you’d like to share with us just let your music teacher know, and we’ll have you join us.

Chapel Talk
We devote time for our school chaplain or the Rector of St. Paul’s to deliver a message about our weekly theme.

Announcements

Monthly Birthday Prayer

Final Blessing/Parting Poem
Seventh graders will share their poetry from time to time.

At the end of chapel, the Chapel Band will play music to get us ready to learn. We can sing along as we leave chapel, or even groove our way out of chapel!

Planning a Visit
You’re invited to join in our celebration! All are welcome. Please contact Simrita Dhanjal in our Admissions Office to arrange your visit (sdhanjal@spes.org).
 






Tashlich Chapel: A group of St. Paul’s parents began the Tashlich celebration about two decades ago as a way to honor their children’s bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah rites of passage. Seventh grade classes have taken up the Chapel performance and ritual ever since. Tashlich means “casting off” in Hebrew. The act of throwing away past regrets thereby ushering in the hope for new beginnings seems an apt ritual to mark the new school year. Seventh grade students jump in with strengths in singing or leading students in casting away pebbles in Lake Merritt. Others describe the Days of Awe in Hebrew or translate to English. These brave students are the first class to lead Chapel this year, taking that risk in participating at their own levels of comfort and fearlessness.


    • Meditation Chapel

      The meditation chapel was experiential. We engaged in grounding practices that help us find our center, sitting quietly with our breath, and gentle movement with Ms. Michahelles, volunteer kindergartners, and the eighth grade yoga class. Mr. Lloyd played music on the sitar. We practiced sending love to ourselves and each other.

St. Paul's Episcopal School
116 Montecito Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
510.285.9600