Chapel services at Holy Nativity Episcopal School have been a weekly morning tradition since the school opened in 1959. Currently, we have two services, First Chapel at 8:20 am for students in Jr. Pre-K through 3rd grade and Second Chapel at 9:00 am for students 4th through 8th grade. Fr. Steve Bates, Chaplain and Rector of Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, officiates the service which includes praise and worship music, the Pledge of Alliance, a recitation of the weekly Bible verse by the students, Fr. Steve’s discussion of the meaning of the Bible verse, and student and guest prayer requests along with school announcements. Each week, students who are celebrating their birthdays receive a Birthday Blessing from Fr. Steve and everyone celebrates with us. This is a wonderful tradition here at HNES that parents, grandparents, friends, and students look forward to each year when their birthday comes around. Chapel also allows our students to support the Back Pack Buddies food program hosted by Holy Nativity Episcopal Church which provides meals for students in the public school system. Special chapel services include a wide range of activities which include:
Blessing of the Backpacks is held the Sunday before the first day of school each year. Fr. Steve invites all the students along with their backpacks for this special blessing.
Rite 13 is a Episcopalian ceremony instituted during chapel by Fr. Steve and is now an anticipated tradition. This age-specific ceremony is planned for each HNES student turning 13 years of age, celebrating the time when he or she passes from childhood to manhood or womanhood. Families are invited and proudly stand behind their Rite 13 celebrant as he or she is blessed by the priest.
The Blessing of the Pets Chapel is celebrated on the Wednesday closest to the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Students and staff bring their pets to school to receive their blessing. Snakes, spiders, dogs, cats, birds and other animals have attended. The students love this tradition.
In December, during the annual Giving Tree Chapel, students bring in a monetary donation in a small bag decorated in their classrooms for the Salvation Army. Our students have generously donated from their own piggy banks over a thousand dollars each year. The first Wednesday of every month the full faculty of HNES leaves campus after school to meet at Holy Nativity Episcopal Church and share in a teachers’ chapel service officiated by Fr. Steve. Immediately following this time of shared worship, the teachers remain for a monthly meeting of the entire faculty.