Spiritual and Character Development

Spiritual and character development at St. John’s Northwestern is built on our Christian roots and extends to respect every student’s faith tradition. We help students articulate what they believe and why they believe it, because that knowledge empowers them to lead a life of purpose and service.

Student in chapel

Creating Ethical and Moral Leaders

Spiritual and character development is one of the four pillars at the foundation of St. John’s Northwestern education. Along with academics, leadership growth, and athletics and wellness, it promotes wholeness in all areas of life. Our spiritual program forms our students, regardless of faith, into real leaders for the real world. Drawing upon the foundations of classical orthodox Anglicanism, we emphasize the biblical principles of love for God and love for others, servant leadership, ethical behavior, and the intrinsic value of all persons.

Through our values, we develop young people to practice ethical principles every day, treat others with dignity and respect, and value differences and strengths. As a school, our faculty members aim to educate students to develop to their full potential and fulfill their unique dreams. Our students develop leadership that motivates others to achieve various goals, exploit opportunities, and value selfless service.  Committing our institution and all members of our Academies to our mission and these core values over time transforms what we espouse into values of action that we see daily through the actions and behaviors of our students.

Opportunities to Grow and Learn in Faith

Students can explore issues of faith through weekly worship services, one-on-one pastoral care and optional spiritual life groups. They can also attend services of their faith tradition off campus. Spiritual formation is an integral part of the formation of our students. Our students attend mandatory Chapel services twice each week, where they participate in Morning and Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, 2019. In these services they are also taught from the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and learn how ancient truths are not only relevant, but essential for today.  In addition to mandatory Chapel services, our students are invited to attend a weekly optional Holy Eucharist service on Sunday morning.

Spiritual formation extends beyond the walls of our Chapel. The Chaplain is integrated into the life of the community of students, faculty, and staff, and is just as visible and available at mealtimes, at sports practices and games, and in the barracks as he is during services.  Our Chaplain offers weekly Bible studies for students and faculty, Anglican catechesis, pastoral counseling services, sacramental confession, Spiritually relevant field trips, and an open door for all students, staff and faculty, and their families. Our Chaplain also works closely with our Academies Counselor to ensure the well-being and health of the entire St. John’s Northwestern community.

While our foundations are within classical orthodox Anglican Christianity, our students come from a variety of religious backgrounds. As such, our Chaplain is available to coordinate with other clergy for the religious support of students and families of other traditions. Through spiritual formation, our students learn the true leader is the servant of all, and that humility and selflessness lead to exaltation.

Connecting Character with Leadership

St. John’s Northwestern values good character, because it’s essential to good leadership. The true goal of character education is for students to internalize moral values and act ethically. Our ultimate goal is to have our core values of moral imperatives, educational philosophy, leadership attributes, inclusiveness, and independence, to become virtues for each of our students to embody, live by, and gradually become holistic characteristics that they will naturally act on. By laying the foundation and strategy for achieving these goals, we foster intrinsic motivation so that our students become citizens who constantly do the right things without any external motivation, societal pressure, or reward.

Our goals, values, mission, and vision are reiterated continuously through all of their daily activities (academics, athletics, leadership opportunities, and spirituality) and provide students with a service-oriented mindset. As an institution, we encourage students to engage in service opportunities for moral action through community service and service-learning, both in and outside of the classroom, which we model for them. We believe that the most powerful tool for influencing a student’s behavior is our own character.

Character issues are explored in academic courses, discussed in small group meetings, taught through leadership curriculum and activities, and formed through our extensive community service program.