Our Inclusive Religious Identity

St. Hildas & St. Hugh‘s Episcopal tradition is defined by the celebration and inclusion of the many traditions present in our diverse community, as well as sincere respect for the beliefs and practices of all. From its earliest days, the school‘s approach has been not to proselytize but rather to further our students’ spiritual growth as a critical aspect of their development.  We care not only about the spiritual development of each student but also to increase their understanding of the religiously diverse world we live in. 

I hope that an Episcopalian who attends our school becomes a better Episcopalian, a Jewish child a better Jew, and an agnostic a better agnostic.” The Rev. Mother Ruth, Founder

In Practice

  • Our chapel is the heart of our school, both physically and spiritually. “Chapel,” attended by first through eighth graders and weekly by senior kindergarteners, provides a time all together for daily values-based lessons, often incorporating storytelling or presentation by faculty and guest speakers. Hymn singing, accompanied by our majestic organ, is a chapel tradition. During chapel we also offer the opportunity to pray for people in need, both in our school community and those in our world who suffer. 
  • Religious Knowledge (RK) class is team-taught by faith practitioners of different religions—a Lutheran pastor and a Jewish-identified theology student—to reflect the inclusive vision of our community.The formation of kind, respectful, empathetic, and curious students is the most important aspect of RK. In addition, our RK curriculum provides students with tools that allow them to ask better, more informed questions and enable them to engage in interreligious dialogue.

    Students in grades 1-8 spend one trimester a year in RK class, exploring a new topic each year in age-appropriate ways, from first grade students learning the stories of the Bible and discussing the moral and ethical decisions each story reflects, to the seventh grade study of poverty and how different religious texts address the duty of their followers to help those in need. Throughout the grades, texts from major world religions, speeches from leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, art and artists’ engagement of religious and social justice topics, and current events are incorporated.
  • Community service is part of the RK curriculum at every grade, an outward expression of our commitment to loving our neighbors. Students serve people and organizations in our neighborhood and around the world. Our approach to service is not just about helping. In age-appropriate ways, we focus on building relationships with the organizations we partner with and with the people whom those organizations serve.
  • Religious and Cultural Celebrations: As a school, we celebrate the traditions of those present in our community, including Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali and Lunar New Year.  

 


 

 

The Rev. Kathleen Liles

Chair of the Board of Trustees

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  • BFA Kansas City Art Institute
  • M.Div. Yale Divinity School
  • S.T.M. Yale Institute of Sacred Music

Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, the Reverend L. Kathleen Liles worked in Graphic Design and Public Relations before moving to the East Coast to attend Yale Divinity School in New Haven.

In addition to her ministry at Christ & Saint Stephen’s, she is a former Trustee of the Diocese of New York and the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. She currently chairs the Congregational Support Plan of the Diocese and serves as Dean of the Manhattan Central Clericus. She is a Trustee of Saint Hilda’s and Saint Hugh’s School in New York City.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of Episcopal Charities as well as the American Friends of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

The Rev. Dr. Arden Strasser 

Chaplain, Religious Knowledge Teacher

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  • B.A. Eastman School of Music
  • B.Th. University of Natal, South Africa
  • D.Min. Drew University

 

Hope Fried

Religious Knowledge Teacher

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  • B.A. Smith College
  • M.A. of Divinity, Union Theological Seminary (in progress)