Spiritual Growth and Development

It is Blue Ridge School’s assertion that thinking deeply about and defining one’s spiritual beliefs is essential to a balanced, fulfilling, happy and meaningful life.  Though we are no longer officially linked to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, we honor our historically close relationship to the Episcopal Church by affirming this Christian denomination as the common starting point for each student’s spiritual growth and development.  Our Anglican heritage allows us to honor the Christian tradition while respecting the many faiths represented within our community.  This closely links our Spiritual Life Program with our Character Education Program as they both emphasize ideals common to many faiths: The Golden Rule, integrity, respect, responsibility, moral courage, work ethic, a healthy lifestyle, wise stewardship of resources, and the concept of being one’s Brother’s Keeper.

The Blue Ridge School Episcopal priest is a full-time, on-campus employee who lives on the dorms.  She is involved in the daily lives of the students, serves on the student health committee and is an important barometer of student emotional and mental well-being.  She not only oversees the Chapel services on campus but also reaches out to churches in the greater Charlottesville area as a way to facilitate student attendance at synagogues, mosques, etc.  As she regularly encourages the boys and the adults to think about central life questions and current events (here on campus and around the world), she is an educator at heart. 

Students and faculty are expected to attend on-campus Chapel services each Tuesday and Thursday morning.  They have the opportunity to participate in the planning and/or leading of certain services under the guidance of the Chaplain.  Available roles include reader, acolyte, crucifer, sacristan, usher, musician and speaker.  Students and faculty also must attend one on-campus Monday night Chapel service three times over the course of the school year.  In addition, everyone is expected to attend our Convocation at the beginning of the school year, the Candlelight Service before the winter break as well as the Honors Service and Baccalaureate in May. 

Among the many goals of the Spiritual Life Program are that all Blue Ridge School community members will develop a deeper self-awareness of their spiritual beliefs and a respect for the spiritual beliefs of others.  Each community member will also point to at least one concrete action each year that is evidence of his/her spiritual growth and development, and pursuit of purpose.  In these ways, everyone on campus will show evidence of aspiring to a purpose in life that goes beyond self.

Purpose:

The Episcopal Church founded the original Blue Ridge School, establishing the School’s first mission. Though we are no longer officially linked to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, we honor our historically close relationship to the Episcopal Church by affirming this Christian denomination as the common starting point for each student’s spiritual development.

The Blue Ridge School curriculum strives to encompass academic, emotional, spiritual, physical, and character growth within each individual student. Adolescence is a time when young people explore and begin to internalize their spiritual beliefs. It is our stance that thinking deeply about and defining one’s spiritual beliefs is essential to a balanced, fulfilling, happy, and meaningful life.

Our Anglican heritage allows us to honor the Christian tradition while respecting the many faiths represented within our community. Likewise, we seek to create an environment in which students can explore, examine, and define their own beliefs while respecting those of others. To that end and within the context of our Episcopal traditions, the purpose of the spiritual life program is based on the following tenets:

  • Encourage the spiritual growth of all students; sustain faith.
  • Explain the practices and tenets of the Episcopal faith; this understanding will then be used as a common reference point for students’ development of individual spiritual beliefs and practices.
  • Facilitate dialogue and understanding among all members of our community.
  • Support the development of character of all students.
  • We believe, and expect the community to adhere to the belief that we all should aspire to a purpose in life that goes beyond self.

Our Spiritual Life Program provides a foundation for, and is closely linked to, our Character Education Program, emphasizing ideals common to many faiths:  The Golden Rule, integrity, respect, responsibility, moral courage, work ethic, a healthy lifestyle, wise stewardship of resources, and the concept of being one’s Brother’s Keeper.

"DRAMA, THE VIRGINIA OUTDOORS, TRACK, CROSS COUNTRY, THE CHURCH, THE LIBRARY, IT HAS ALL BEEN AWESOME TO BE INVOLVED IN AND I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN AT A BETTER HIGH SCHOOL."
– CHARLEY GARNER ’10