The Holderness theology department is focused on developing, listening to, and assisting with the spiritual inclinations of the student body. All coursework contains a substantial self-reflective written component designed to cultivate thinking on spiritual themes. Questions center on personal experiences of God, creativity, freedom, ethics, joy, despair, suffering and other concepts and emotions related to a young person’s spiritual journey, offering students a chance to develop their spiritual selves in the context of religious history and culture.
Class discussions are often student-led and in many cases students are able to choose their own sources to complement the official texts for the coursework.
The World Religions course, recommended for sophomores, is a semester course providing an overview of the five major religions—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism—and is based on weekly written reflections, teachings on core practice themes, and experiential learning. Written work encourages personal reflections based on diverse religious practices and teachings, and students also practice meditation and yoga.
The Theology and Ethics course, recommended to juniors and seniors, is a semester course based on a weekly written reflection, discussions on current events that are designed to connect students to a wider, global framework, and formal debate. Topics range from traditional religious concerns to issues stemming from environmental concerns, the creative order, world culture and more. To foster an engaged, experiential environment, the students choose, together, the resolutions behind which the class will stand after evaluating the constructive arguments and rebuttals on the chosen topics.
“Any student can purposefully experience a Holderness education through a spiritual lens. By participating in chapel, studying theology, ethics, and world religions in the classroom, serving in the job program, serving in the community, participating in vestry—even through the grace we say at dinner—a young person can cultivate a meaning-oriented and thoughtful spiritual journey.”
–Richard Weymouth, Holderness Chaplain