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 servicesChapel 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. 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, and is carefully chosen to support the inclusive mission of the Chapel program.
Many students present at Chapel throughout the year. Their messages and presentations may reflect experiences in which they have taken part. 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. Faculty-led 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 Stephen Crane Lecture Series. Guest speakers is are dynamic feature of our Chapel program. The guest speaker program 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.
Office of the Chaplain
Aaron Twitchell is a member of the residential faculty. He 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 Chaplain's office is a safe space for spiritual exploration and renewal, and provides confidential spiritual and emotional support at any time it is needed.
The Reverend Aaron Twitchell