MAESA Matters May 2021


Greetings from MAESA.

This time of year brings with it celebrations for graduates of all ages from preschool to 12th grade across our MAESA community! Many schools are offering spring musicals, choral and musical concerts, athletic banquets, field day, grandparents and special friends' day and so much more as teachers, parents and students are being vaccinated. We hope that everyone is able to honor and give thanks for the amazing young people that attend our Episcopal schools, and pray for those working in schools to make these events possible.

One more week before the MAESA Stewardship Award nomination deadline. We are still accepting nominations for the 2021 MAESA Stewardship Award and want to hear from you about a faculty or staff member in your school that stood out this year! While this award is conferred at the start of our program year next fall during our annual meeting, we accept nominations in the spring. The candidate embodies the qualities that MAESA and our Episcopal schools hold closely: integrity in daily life and work, respect for all people, equity and justice in words and actions and love and hospitality toward neighbors. You can make a nomination using this link. MAESA is accepting nominations through Monday, May 10, 2021.

Summer renewal for your MAESA membership! In preparation for the upcoming school year, MAESA will be sending information to the heads of school to renew your school's membership by August 31, 2021 for the 2021-2022 school year. Please also take a look at the dates below for our annual events planned for the coming year. Note the Annual Members' Meeting is October 1st at Holy Trinity School. We welcome all heads of school, division directors, chaplains and other senior administrators. Share these dates with your colleagues and mark your school calendars early!

MAESA is pleased to feature a student this month reflecting on why he values attending an Episcopal school. William Zimmermann, a senior at St. James Episcopal School in Hagerstown, MD, describes how his participation in his school's daily chapel routine and singing in the choir has shaped him and prepared him for his future. MAESA honors all of the graduating students of 2021 and is delighted to share the reflections of one of them in our newsletter.
"Why I Attend An Episcopal School"

William Zimmermann
12th Grade Student
St. James Episcopal School, Hagerstown, MD

Four years of an Episcopal boarding school have done their worst; now I’m at my best. For without the environment that a spirit of religion and meditation bring, I doubt I would be now writing this article, or even able to.

But what do I mean?

I mean that the Protestant work ethic is alive and well around here. And, in this age of online learning, online submissions, and the accelerated college process, the Saint James student is well-equipped to work his or her tail off.

Looking out into the world, this is not how most schools are. Why? Look no further than our steeple.
An inspiring energy flows from the chapel. The spirit of a pew – the meditation, the sense of thoughtfulness – follows the crowd out through the red doors. Were it not for daily chapel services, I doubt whether things would get done around here with the same care. I am glad I go to an Episcopal school; for if you get used to sitting and listening to long chapel services, you get used to biting the bullet during long classes. That is only a half-joke; but half of maturity is getting used to doing things you do not want to do! But the substance and style of the services have enriched me, not just the sitting in a room and waiting while tired.

Our daily chapel services foster a mindfulness and patience that enhances academic life. While many are put off by the pomp of high church, to me, and to many, it is a source of stability throughout the day; whatever the day’s battle, it starts with quietly listening to the organ, the readings, and the homily; whatever we are inclined to do or say to friends, the prudence and properness of the chapel clings to us. Moreover, hearing the gospel and the stories about saints and good deeds first thing in the morning affects, I believe, even the most obstinate (and sleepy) mind.
And, so, the congregation goes out all ready with a heading and a spirit of mindfulness. When we take our seats in class, even if the words or meaning of the homily went through one ear and out the other, the feeling of chapel stays with us. As someone who grew up outside of the Episcopal church, where praise bands and sneakers defined the space, I am aware of the rigor of high church services, and it fits me well.

Well indeed – but what about the more active benefits of an Episcopal school, aside from the chapel’s charms and effects? It is one thing to benefit from the passive boon of old scripture, stiff pew, and moral lesson; but the most important opportunity – something to be seized, not to be washed over with incense – that an Episcopal church school can offer is the choir.

I have sung in the choir for four years and have been transformed. Singing in a choir mills, molds, and works you into a more patient and hard-working person and the opportunities for meeting students whom you otherwise would not be acquainted with are irreplaceable. Moreover, it serves the student well to travel – to D.C., another state, or even England – all while having to practice that chapel reverence and ethic.

And so we go: off to chapel, off to classes, off to choir – never an unbusied moment, a sacerdotal shove sending us off each day down a hill of tasks, all with the mindfulness and zeal that daily good examples inspire.

Interested hearing more about the experience at St. James School? Listen to the St. James School Choir's Maundy Thursday Ubi Caritas recording.
Next Year's MAESA Event Dates
2021 MAESA Fall Members' Meeting & Luncheon Friday, October 1, 2021, 10:00 a.m. hosted by Holy Trinity: An Episcopal School in Glendale, Maryland. This event is for school heads, leaders, administrators and chaplains in our MAESA schools.

2021 MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service in Washington, D.C.: Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Washington National Cathedral and hosted by Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School. This worship service is for MAESA schools' students. This year we are planning a service project following the worship service to extend our time together. More details to come on our project.

2021 MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service in Richmond, Va.: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 10:00 a.m. Location to be announced. This worship service is for MAESA schools' students. This year we are planning a service project following the worship service to extend our time together.

2021 MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference, Friday, November 5, 2021 at Washington Episcopal School in the Mid-Atlantic region and offers a preferred registration rate to MAESA Members. We are accepting workshop proposals from teachers and heads of school. Use this link to submit an idea.

2022 MAESA Choral Evensong at Washington National Cathedral Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. MAESA chorister rehearsals will begin at 1:00 p.m. The opportunity to sing with the MAESA combined choir is open to all upper school choirs who are members of MAESA.

2022 MAESA Scholars Fair MAESA is planning to hold our annual spring scholastic fair in April 2022 at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School. This event is open to students in 4th-8th grade in MAESA member schools. The date for this event will be announced soon.
Choral and Fine Arts Recordings to Share
So much beautiful work is continuing in our schools. We'd love to share a choral recording, chapel performance or fine arts production that your school has done during the pandemic. Please send items to maesaschools@gmail.com. Thank you.

Christchurch School, Christchurch, VA:
Service of Lessons and Carols Director, Mark Parsons

St. James School, Hagerstown, MD:
Service of Lessons and Carols, Director, Linda Stowe
MAESA Prayer Rota for 2021
MAESA shared our "We See You" video celebrating adults in our MAESA schools. We also created a MAESA prayer rota at this link, which assigns a week of prayer to each of our MAESA schools. You can pray for each of these MAESA schools during the designated week at your school's chapel service, and also in your daily prayers for the rest of this school year.
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director