Kent News

Op-Ed: Spiritual Life at Kent

Morgan Collins, Campus News Reporter

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Kent School was founded by an Episcopalian monk, Father Herbert Sill, in 1906. He established the school with the approval of the Episcopalian church, with the principle that the school would remain affiliated with the church. The school’s religious identity, one hundred and eleven years later, still remains strong.

Years have passed and the school has grown significantly more diverse than in its formative years. Students from myriad cultural backgrounds and religions now attend Kent, and many students may not know how religiously diverse Kent truly is.

For students who are Catholic, Buddhist, Jewish, and Hindu the school offers groups and the option to worship their respective faith in place of Sunday services in the chapel. Many students and even teachers come to Kent not knowing that the school is affiliated with the Episcopal church, and that the school has services three times a week.

Many students arrive at Kent and quickly slide into disillusionment with chapel. Students simply do not want to wake up at 10:30 AM on a Sunday morning to get ready for chapel. I was once in that group of students, finding chapel to be a burden. Some students may even feel that the school is pushing students towards the Episcopal faith. This is not the case.

Religious life at Kent strives to open student’s minds about their own spiritualism. Kent is affiliated with the National Association of Episcopal Schools, an organization that connects Episcopal schools across the country together and strives to advance the Episcopal education. The organization at its core does not believe in openly pursuing the converting students, but rather focuses on the exploration of spirituality and acceptance of other faiths. Kent pursues this mission and upholds it.

My experience at Kent has changed the way I think about spirituality and religion as a whole. I was never a religious or spiritual person before I came to Kent. Over time my whole conception about being spiritual has changed and I have become open to it. Last year, my brother started his first year at the Princeton Friends School– a Quaker school. Over the course of a few months I learned about Quakers and what they believe in. The faith encompasses one’s own personal connection with the holy spirit (God). Meetings (services) are modest and simple;  members sit in the Meeting House (chapel) and someone will offer something to think about while the group meditates. The Meeting then sits in silence until someone is moved by the spirit, and they then stand up and talk aloud in front of the Meeting, often about something pertaining to the topic mentioned before Worship. Quakers believe that everyone has God inside them, an inner light and spirit to be shown during Worship. After learning about the Quaker faith, I immediately took to it. Now every time I have chapel, I sit quietly and try to meditate and connect with the Spirit.

I think that it is important for students to explore their own faith or spiritualism at Kent. I was never a spiritual person, in fact most of my life I have been Agnostic. However, I decided to make the jump and I am glad that I did. It has dramatically shaped the way I think about religion and spirituality, especially at Kent.  Take a leap of faith–you never know what you may find.


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Op-Ed: Spiritual Life at Kent