This Issue

Fall 2008

Resourceful & Ever Reaching: There is no such thing as a sleepy summer at ‘Iolani School. At least there was none for the approximately 2,862 students from Hawaii and around the world who enrolled in various classes this recent summer.
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Fall 2008 - Department | St. Alban’s Minute

St. Alban’s Minute With The Rev. Daniel L. Leatherman

This essay concludes a series that focuses on the issue of ‘Iolani School’s history as an Episcopal School and its affiliation with the Episcopal Church.

The Chaplaincy - pastor, moral compass, and defender of the faith.

In past columns, we focused on a brief orientation to the Episcopal Church and the educational philosophy of ‘Iolani as a Christian school.  It is an education philosophy that is informed by and rooted in the Episcopal expression of Christianity.

The term “chaplain” comes from the word for the garment or “chapela”worn by the priest who accompanied troops to war modeling themselves after St. Martin of Tours. Soon the garment itself was displayed and held high for all to see - despite the turmoil of battle. It was a symbol of God's presence.  

Bringing this imagery into our context then the chaplain, lay or ordained, “becomes a visible reminder of the holy” and serves God and the community as pastor, a word which itself means “shepherd.” The chaplain, then, serves not only as a visible reminder of God’s presence in the life of the community, but also as the one who helps shape and guide the spiritual and moral direction of an institution.

As ‘Iolani chaplains, Rev. Diane Martinson-Koyama and I minister to the entire school population regardless of their individual religious tradition.  This does not mean we ask them to believe as we do.   Though Christians ourselves, we recognize that conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit and of the wider church, and perhaps it is enough that we encourage our students to attend “church.”

For some, their only exposure to religion and the Church is through weekly chapel services.  Even still, the role of the school is one of education and not evangelism.  If a student, by God’s grace, is moved to conversion within the school setting that is a different matter and should be handled accordingly.  No one can deny the opportunity for mission and evangelism in the school setting.  What better and more powerful tool for evangelism than to show to all who come into the presence of God through this school community the love, forgiveness, and acceptance of who they are.  The Gospel message of compassion and tolerance need not only to be heard but also lived out day after day.  

A third aspect of chaplaincy is that it is not enough at times to be a “visible” reminder of the holy,  the prophetic voice of what is right, and true, and just must come to bear.  It is easy to forget who we are and to whom we belong, and the chaplain as prophetic voice is sometimes called upon to remind the Church or the institution of when it has lost its way.  We hold high the “chapela” and live by word and example the life God calls us to live.  

It means being the keeper of the religious traditions of the school as well as looking in new directions that benefit the worship life of her students and staff.  We should not forget that God works through all things and that the Holy Spirit is with us in this endeavor.  

Thanks be to God.

The Rev. Daniel L. Leatherman