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Episcopal Identity

Girl holding candle in chapel

Our commitment to the Episcopal Identity is steadfast. As stewards of our students’ intellectual curiosity, faith, and passion for discovery, we recognize that our students are God’s children, and ours to nurture. There is a sense of trust amongst the community that is rooted in the Episcopal tenets of inclusion and embracing those from different backgrounds.

At St. Mark's, our religious instruction provides an atmosphere of inquiry and learning for students in the Preschool 3s all the way through 8th grade. We select curriculum in our religion classes that is developmentally and age-appropriate for our students, as we seek to guide them along their spiritual journey with love and acceptance.

Our ordained chaplain enhances the richness of our Episcopal Identity and provided more opportunities to shepherd the faith of our children. Besides the liturgical participation of a full-time ordained priest in the life of the school’s weekly chapel services, the religious teaching is enriched by a seminary-trained instructor. The time spent in the religion classroom reflects the Episcopal educational identity of “scripture, tradition, and reason.”

A large part of celebrating the uniqueness of each child is recognizing the similarities and differences among us, and finding opportunities to understand the traditions of students with different religious backgrounds. We believe that exposure to different traditions and customs creates a special environment, where students are celebrated and known. We include awareness of different religions from an early age and encourage students and families of different faiths to share their own beliefs and holiday celebrations. In order for our students to be good global citizens, an awareness of, and respect for, other religions is a vital part of their education.

What Makes an Episcopal School Different?

Nearly 160,000 students are enrolled in Episcopal schools nationwide. According to the National Association of Episcopal Schools, “Episcopal schools are known for educational excellence. As embodiments of the Christian faith, they serve God in Christ in all persons, regardless of origin, background, ability, or religion and “strive for justice and peace among all people and [to] respect the dignity of every human being.” This intentional pluralism is also a distinguishing hallmark of Episcopal schools.

In addition, Episcopal schools:

  • Come together for regular chapel and worship services that are creative, age-appropriate, inclusive, and grounded in the traditions of the Episcopal Church.

  • Value and emphasize a community life in which the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of all are supported and nurtured.

  • Engage in a study of religion that is academically substantive, age-appropriate, and fosters dialogue with other faith traditions.

  • Integrate the ideals and concepts of equity, justice, and a just society throughout the life of the school. Community service is an integral part of the life of the school.”

What is Your Connection to St. Mark's Episcopal Church?

St. Mark's Episcopal School was created as an educational ministry of St. Mark's Episcopal Church. As the parish day school of the church, our buildings and grounds are owned by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Priority student admission consideration is given to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church members.


Do Students Attend a Religion Class?

Early childhood and elementary students have religion class once every six-day rotation throughout the year. We have adopted the Godly Play curriculum for our Pre-K through 2nd grade students. 

Our 3rd and 4th grade curriculum continues to utilize Godly Play, while adding in other materials, such as biblical videos and more targeted work with Bibles, maps, and other resources. 

Middle school students have religion for three days out of the six-day rotation for one trimester. The aim of the middle school religion program is to continue to improve students’ biblical literacy, while encouraging and giving them tools to put their faith in action in their lives.

Learn about the religion curriculum at St. Mark's.

What Does Religious Inclusion Look Like at St. Mark's?

As stewards of our students’ intellectual curiosity, faith, and passion for discovery, we recognize that our students are God’s children, and ours to nurture. A large part of celebrating the uniqueness of each child is recognizing the similarities and differences among us, and finding opportunities to understand the traditions of students with different religious backgrounds. Many families of St. Mark’s feel comfortable sharing their faith with the classmates of their child.

Prospective families who are researching St. Mark’s discover an environment where all faiths and traditions are welcomed, and a religion program that is informational rather than rooted in indoctrination.

How is the Chapel Program Structured?

The chapel program at St. Mark’s fosters a sense of belonging rooted in the Episcopal liturgical tradition. Each week students attend one of three age-appropriate chapel services. These services ground our community in our Christian faith and allow us to center ourselves on God. While strongly rooted in Judeo-Christian teaching, we also celebrate the diversity of our community. Students of all faiths are invited to participate in chapel in ways that are appropriate to their religion.

These services are rooted in the Book of Common Prayer and include songs, prayers, reading and teaching. Students are encouraged to take leadership roles in chapel by serving as acolytes and chapel leaders. As students mature, they are given more responsibility in planning chapel services and participating in greater ways. We mark significant liturgical events and seasons such as All Saints, Advent, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter with special services. Eucharist is celebrated three times a year as a school.

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