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Spiritual Life

Students sing in the Chapel of the Holy Cross

Holderness School was founded in 1879 as an Episcopal school, and it remains deeply connected to those roots. At the same time, we seek to be an inclusive school that supports, encourages, and nurtures a variety of religious beliefs and levels of commitment. Regardless of where students may begin or end up on their spiritual journeys, Holderness - anchored by the weekly Chapel program - guides them through an ongoing process of inquiry and understanding. Over the course of four years, students come to realize the connections that bind us, and the responsibility we all have to support and care for one another. 

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Chapel of the Holy Cross in Spring

All students attend two chapel services each week. The Monday morning service is a formal celebration in the Episcopal tradition that seeks to cultivate an open and universal sense of community spirituality. The Thursday evening services are dedicated to topics of a broader spiritual, ethical, and moral nature and often feature student, faculty, and guest speakers.

Outdoor Chapel

Outdoor Chapel in Autumn

On Mondays in the spring and fall, when the weather is fair, the community gathers in the Outdoor Chapel, a beautiful amphitheater situated within the school’s extensive trail network. It’s a quiet place where we reflect on the peace of nature, and our responsibility for protecting the natural world around us. 

The Vestry

Member of the Vestry gather in Weld Dining Hall

The Holderness Vestry program emphasizes service and spiritual growth through fellowship and action. Members volunteer at Holderness Central School, make care packages for service members on active duty, organize blood drives and fundraisers, and assist faith-based groups who share campus facilities. Weekly meetings in the home of the chaplain provide a chance for fellowship and discussion.

Pastoral Care

Chaplain Abby VanderBrug in front of the Chapel of the Holy Cross

The chaplain at Holderness offers pastoral care to the students and adults of the community, sometimes working in partnership with the Counseling office to listen, provide guidance, and assist wherever possible. For some members of the alumni community, Holderness School is their home parish, and our chaplain regularly presides over marriages, baptisms, and funerals, celebrating the chance to reconnect alumni with each other and with the beloved sacred spaces on campus. The doors of the Chapel of the Holy Cross are always open.

Additional Worship Opportunities

The Book of Common Prayer

Transportation to Catholic services is provided on Sunday mornings, and opportunities to observe the Jewish high holy days are provided in partnership with local Jewish congregations.

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