Young’s Chapel Baptist Church, is pictured on the left, alongside The Rev. J.F. Fletcher Chapel, on the right.
I often receive questions regarding Oak Hill Academy’s religious life and the spiritual opportunities provided here. Many parents want to know what that looks like. Today, I’d like to take some time to more fully address this important facet of Oak Hill Academy‘s mission and the educational experience we provide our students.
First, some background: Many of this blog’s readers may know that I attended Oak Hill Academy – I’m a proud member of the class of ’87! I did not grow up in a traditional Sunday service attending household, so in many ways, Young’s Chapel Baptist will always hold a place in my heart as my first “home” Church. From it’s founding, Oak Hill Academy students have been welcomed to worship service each Sunday morning by the Young’s Chapel congregation and it is our gateway to the broader community around us. Little did I know the seeds that were being planted as I attended mandatory Church Service with my classmates way back then.
The fact is, our student body comes from many different faith traditions and backgrounds, including no background at all. So for our students, this is a great opportunity to explore spiritual growth in a “real world” setting. Our mandatory Church attendance on Sunday morning brings our students together in respectful attendance. Doctrine is not forced upon our students, as this would likely build walls. Our approach is not “heavy handed.” Instead, through a demonstration and acknowledgement of God’s love, we grow as a community. Along the way, many students naturally begin or continue a personal journey of faith, fully supported by those around them. Our campus minister, also the pastor of Young’s Chapel Baptist, and a faculty member (gosh we wear a lot of hats!) is a great resource for those who reach out seeking spiritual guidance or clarification. Our Youth Group, open to all interested students, is another source of spiritual growth and community involvement – it also provides a venue for leadership development. It’s not mandatory, and that probably explains some of its popularity!
The Fletcher Chapel is the site of our daily homeroom and offers another opportunity to remind students of God’s love for them and is a reminder of a life of faith. We open the day in short prayer, followed by a short devotion. This positive thought or word brings us together on a topic of character development and the feeling of community is reinforced. Typically delivered by our campus minister, faculty member or administrator, the devotion allows the students to see the personal side of us. On Fridays, members of the senior class take turns delivering the devotion and, let me tell you, some of the most profound and relatable messages come directly from the students!
I’m now 46 years old, having raised a family (really, are you ever “done”?) and my faith has played an incredible role in my adult life. Of course, I was not anticipating this when, as a 17-year old student of Oak Hill Academy, I first experienced Church in Young’s Chapel Baptist.