Spirituality, Contemplation Unite Faculty at Opening Chapel
Groton’s faculty kicked off the new school year with the traditional faculty chapel, a warm gathering featuring words of welcome and inspiration from the headmaster and school chaplain.
The opening faculty chapel service—an annual tradition held several days before students arrive—allows for contemplation and gratitude before classes and activities begin and the pace quickens.
Headmaster Temba Maqubela delivered a chapel talk that presented Groton as “an oasis of hope" and discussed some of the changes that make Groton more relevant in the twenty-first century. Among them: a planned solar array that will reduce the school’s carbon footprint; the leap in the percentage of students on financial aid and the significant subset who are international students; progress toward adding diversity to the iconic busts in the Schoolroom; and the fact that Groton’s tuition is second to lowest among forty peer schools, despite being the most expensive before the GRoton Affordability and INclusion (GRAIN) initiative froze tuition for three years.
“Groton is an oasis of hope," said Headmaster Maqubela, "in a world that is sometimes desperate and thirsty for progress and empathy.”
The service was led by Groton’s new chaplain, Gil Birney, who is returning to the ministry after many years coaching rowing at Bowdoin College. He served two mission congregations in Maine for fourteen years and was a school chaplain at several independent schools earlier in his career. Before readings and prayer, the Reverend Birney introduced himself and acknowledged the diversity of religious beliefs (and non-beliefs) at Groton, expressing his commitment to serve the whole community.