Spiritual Life

Our campus has a vibrant spiritual life that we support in our Chapel.
Our students and faculty are an interfaith spiritual community that comes together for a time of reflection.

Pennington's focus on spiritual life is devoted to fostering character and morality in all our students, with an emphasis on the School's core values of honor, virtue, and humility.

A Methodist tradition

The Pennington School, established as the Methodist Episcopal Male Seminary in 1838, has a long tradition of spirituality. Over the years, our students and their religious beliefs have diversified and, in turn, the School's chapel services have also changed. Today, our students come from many faiths and traditions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Quakerism, and Buddhism.

Weekly Chapel services

Chapel at the Pennington School is a long and closely held tradition, beginning with the School’s founding. Early on, School leaders valued Chapel as an open and inclusive time of gathering for the whole community. The Chaplain is responsible for this weekly time to learn and reflect.


The purpose of Chapel is to:


·         Create opportunities for self-discovery, moral and ethical development, and exploration of the world’s religious traditions

·         Provide a dedicated time each week for personal reflection and community sharing

·         Serve as a time and place to hear from a variety of groups and individuals

As a community, all students and faculty attend Chapel, which is held in the local United Methodist Church. During this time, we hear messages of hope, challenge, inspiration, and reflection. Chapel speakers are chosen to reflect Pennington’s diversity, and may be drawn from the student body, faculty, or the wider Pennington family. Music is also an important part of the Chapel Program. In any given week we might hear the chorus sing or the jazz ensemble play a piece. At other times we are all invited to sing together. Music is carefully chosen to support the inclusive mission of the Chapel program. Our Director of Music is Mr. Bill Alford.

Many students present at Chapel throughout the year. Their messages and presentations may reflect the exciting experiences in which they have taken part. For example, participants in Pennington’s annual trips to Haiti and Kentucky share their thoughts about the time spent in service over spring break. Or, we may have the opportunity to hear what it is like to live in a family of elected officials, discussing campaigning and important political issues. Chapel is our opportunity to hear about many of the wonderful things our students accomplish and believe in.

Pennington faculty and administrators are also important contributors to our Chapel program. Teachers share meaningful stories from their lives, connecting with students in ways that are not possible within traditional classroom walls. Whether it’s a lesson on perseverance, a story about a long-lasting friendship, or a harrowing account of studying abroad, faculty chapels are a favorite feature of spiritual life at The Pennington School.

Guest speaker program

About once a month, an outside speaker is invited to present in Chapel as a guest of our community. Ms. Amelia Becker, chair of the Religion department, is responsible for the speaker program which includes the Crane Lecture Series. The speaker program is a dynamic feature of our Chapel program. It is designed to offer unique and valuable opportunities for students and faculty to experience powerful, engaging, and well-respected leaders from around the country and the world. In recent years, speakers have included Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Luke Powery, and Rabbi Niles Goldstein, just to name a few. 



Contact Information

Aaron Twitchell Chaplain atwitchell@pennington.org
Aaron Twitchell

Aaron Twitchell is a member of the residential faculty and lives in Becher Hall with his wife and two young daughters. Mr. Twitchell is a clinically trained, interfaith chaplain under the supervision of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The Mission of the Office of the Chaplain is to: create a safe space for spiritual exploration and renewal; provide spiritual and emotional support during times of crisis; and to serve as a confidant to members of our community.