Breck is an Episcopal school. Unlike an Episcopal church, our congregation is multi-religious with a majority of Christians and a significant number of students and adults from other religions.
Our goal as an Episcopal school is to nurture the spiritual development of each person and to welcome everyone to our community.
We offer the following definition to illuminate rather than proselytize. We believe that, far from being an impediment, the Episcopal character of Breck makes our unique approach to all kinds of diversity possible.
What does "Episcopalian" mean?
The Episcopal church is incarnational. This means that while we hold that God was fully incarnate in Jesus, God is also within every human being. Further, we believe that God created life in this world as fundamentally good, despite any human choices to the contrary. Thus, Episcopalians are devoted to stewardship of the earth, social responsibility, and to "seeking out and serving Christ in all persons," as the Baptismal promise declares.
The Episcopal Church is liturgical. In sacraments, symbols, and prayers, we seek awareness of the presence of God in our lives. Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and invisible grace.
The Episcopal Church is scriptural. It encourages each person's critical study of the Scripture following one's own conscience and guided by the wisdom found in traditional and contemporary thinking and interpretation.
The Episcopal Church is inclusive, following the example of Jesus Christ, who preached loving inclusion, and against division. In that spirit, we invite all baptized persons to the Eucharist and share a profound dialogue with Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, American Indians, and others. As Bishop Jelinek has said, "we are called to be of one heart, if not necessarily one mind, because we come from one heart." This principle leads us to habits of open-mindedness, patience, and listening. We seek common prayer, not common doctrine.
The Episcopal Church is a community of service. Following the example of Jesus, we approach the path of life by coming "not to be served, but to serve." Social, political, and charitable actions reflect this spiritual imperative.
The Episcopal Church is aesthetic. We have a strong respect for the beauty of holiness and of virtue. In art and music, we seek quality because through them we express spiritual and ethical values.
The Episcopal Church is moderate, affirming balance as a high virtue. We hold personal freedom and communal responsibilities in constant tension. We are Catholic and Protestant. We seek a balance between social action and quiet, personal reflection.
What makes Breck an Episcopal school?
Breck was founded in 1886 by, and is still affiliated with, the Episcopal Church. The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota chairs the Board and presides at the most important events of the year, such as Baccalaureate and Commencement. Breck often hosts the most important Diocesan events, such as the election of a new Bishop. Neither Breck nor the Diocese supports the other financially in any way.
The Chaplains are Episcopal clergy and lay people, who lead twice-weekly Chapels in the Episcopal style, as well as celebrating other religious traditions as fully as possible. On occasion, we celebrate the Eucharist (attendance is optional) and such sacraments as baptisms, weddings, ordinations, and funerals. We follow the yearly Episcopal calendar of feasts, fasts, and saints' days. We use the Book of Common Prayer, the Hymnal 1982, and other Episcopal resources.
Following age-appropriate principles, we study religions rigorously and with respect, following the Anglican model of balancing Scripture, tradition, and reason in spiritual study. We move from learning Bible stories in Lower School, through a deeper understanding of belonging to a faith tradition in Middle School, to a thoughtful examination of many religions in Upper School. Our school's Mission includes developing each student's relationship with God.
We are committed to a strong program of service to the Twin Cities community, in keeping with the Prayer Book's Baptismal Promise to "strive for justice and peace among all peoples." Breck's Mission statement speaks of our commitment to instill in our students a deep sense of social responsibility and a desire to contribute to those in need.
What should a student's experience of this Episcopal school be?
By the time they graduate, Breck students will have experienced the regular rhythms of prayer, worship, reflection, and study that sustain one's spiritual life. They will have planned and participated in at least one Chapel service.
They will have had face-to-face relationships with people in need beyond the walls of the school, through several community service projects, and will have reflected on the spiritual benefits of being responsible to and for others.
They will have wrestled with the biggest questions of meaning and value in life, and come to some answers. They will have matured in their relationship with God, and will be able to write and talk about that relationship with precision. They will understand the place of religions and spirituality in human life.
Rt. Rev. Brian Prior
IX Bishop of Minnesota and Chair of the Board
Mr. Edward Kim
Head of School
Rev. John E. Bellaimey