Care and Services
Required Chapel Services
Two mornings a week, the whole community meets together in the chapel to hear VIIformers, faculty, and outside speakers reflect on our lives together as well as on the greater world of which we are a part. We draw from many religious, spiritual and ethical traditions in our choice of readings, performances, prayers and meditations. Once a month, this service is held in the evening and includes a full choir, acolytes, and a more traditional structure and content, and is followed by an all-community seated dinner in the dining hall.
Chapel TalksChapel Talks, offered primarily by VI formers and adults in the community, are given at our all-school chapel services twice a week. They can be informative, personal, and even constructively critical, but they are always designed for the benefit of the whole community and are fundamentally community-building in nature. Chapel presentations can include music, drama, dance, and other forms of performance, and sometimes get very creative! They offer a "time out" from the rest of our busy, achieving lives here at St. Mark's: a chance to reflect, to learn something new about a person or a problem in our community, to enjoy someone else's talent or interest--in general, to live a fuller, more reflective and appreciative life in this school full of blessings
Voluntary Chapel Services
St.Mark’s also offers voluntary services several times a week. The Holy Eucharist is celebrated on Sunday evenings in the school’s chapel, and within walking distance of the St. Mark’s campus are several other churches, including a Roman Catholic Church. Our Jewish student group frequently offers Friday evening Shabbat services and services for the High Holy Days, and community meditation sessions are offered on a regular basis in our meditation room underneath the chapel. Other services, such as Muslim Friday prayers, come and go as dictated by student and faculty need and interest. We value the life of the spirit highly at St. Mark’s, and are eager to make it accessible to our students in whatever form is most meaningful to them.
As part of the Health Committee, the head chaplain meets with other professionals and administrators to give heed to and advise on a range of issues affecting student life and wellbeing at the school. Formally trained school counselors are on staff to give professional advice and the chaplains are also trained to assist students in processing a variety of life issues such as change, loss, grief, uncertainty, being away from home, and other issues frequently encountered by adolescents, often for the first time during their years at St. Mark's.
Baptism and Confirmation
Students who are considering making a faith commitment, as is customary in many traditions during adolescence, can look to the chaplaincy for support. Preparation classes are offered annually on campus culminating in Episcopal baptism and/or confirmation in Belmont Chapel; and local churches and other houses of worship offer preparation to our students in other faith traditions. Parents are encouraged to notify the Chaplain’s Office of possible interest although the decision to proceed or not to proceed remains with the student.
St. Mark’s offers Confirmation preparation beginning after exams in January and ending with a service of Confirmation and Baptism at Belmont Chapel in the spring. Weekly meetings are held on Sunday late afternoons at the Chaplain’s residence on campus. All students are welcome to these gatherings, whether or not they intend to be confirmed—it is an opportunity to talk about the Christian faith, about the Church, and about our own doubts and hopes as we consider the role of spirituality as well as organized religion in our lives. The only requirement for Confirmation is Baptism in any Christian denomination; if your child has not yet been baptized, he or she can be baptized at the same service.
If you or your child would prefer Catholic preparation, St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church here in Southborough also offers classes beginning in January, and will prepare your son or daughter for confirmation either there or at your home parish. The church is just a short walk from campus. Very occasionally, a Catholic parish will approve the preparation offered at St. Mark’s, augmenting it with an extra class or two specific to the Catholic faith, but you would have to check with your parish priest to make sure this was acceptable to him.
Please contact (or have your child contact) the Rev. Barbara Talcott, St. Mark’s School Chaplain, to indicate your interest in either program; she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-786-6186.