St. George's Chapel is the heart of the Hilltop
From the time of St. George’s founding, faith and the search for meaning have played significant roles in the life of the school and its students. While the school is an independent school in its operations and funding, early in its history St. George’s aligned itself with the Episcopal Church, an affiliation that continues to this day.
Students attend required chapel twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, and there are additional, optional services held at other points during the week. On Tuesday, at “Short Chapel,” the service features student speakers from the sixth form, a hymn and prayers. The Thursday service is a full worship service and follows the Episcopal liturgy of Morning Prayer.
Recognizing the diverse faith backgrounds of the school community and the world, the Chapel program operates in keeping with the Episcopal tradition of inclusiveness, and students of all religious faiths are embraced at Chapel. The Chapel program and the Religious Studies curriculum are designed to support students in their lives of faith and their pursuit of truth, whatever their religious backgrounds, and to develop their knowledge of different religious traditions. Students who wish to attend services off campus in their own religious traditions are allowed and encouraged to do so.
The diploma requirements in Theology and Religious Studies depend on the year in which a student enrolls at St. George’s. For students arriving in the ninth grade, the requirement is three trimesters of religious studies. Students enrolling as tenth-graders are required to take two trimesters of religious studies, while those coming in the eleventh grade take one trimester. Available courses include the study of Christianity (Old and New Testament) as well as courses examining the other major religions of the world, religious themes in literature and ethics.
Considered a landmark of English Gothic Revival architecture, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Chapel was designed by Ralph Adams Cram, and includes the work of famed artisans and sculptors. Beyond the beauty of its spaces, there are many beloved school traditions connected to the Chapel. For more than a century, the school has gathered in December to celebrate at the Christmas Festival and since the consecration of the Chapel, the headmaster has traditionally recited the School Prayer at each chapel service.
Almighty God, the Fountain of all Wisdom, without Whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, we beseech Thee to bless the members of this school with Thy perpetual presence and prosper them in their work. Keep their hearts free from sin. May they be truthful and reverent in their speech, earnest and faithful in their studies, kind and considerate in their dealings with each other and always ready to help the unprotected and helpless. Bless, we beseech Thee, the teachers of this school and impress upon them a due sense of the responsibilities of their charge. We pray that from these walls young men and women may go forth, generation after generation, well equipped for the battle of life and ready to contend bravely for God and the truth. And this we ask in the name of Him who died for our salvation, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.