Spiritual Life

Following the mission statement, Westgate strives to integrate its Mennonite foundation into the life of its program. Our school is grounded in our Anabaptist tradition and focuses on developing Biblical literacy and spiritual reflection. At the same time, we welcome and recognize the different Christian traditions and other faith traditions of our students. In fact, we believe that our foundation as a Mennonite school gives us the obligation to be a welcoming and loving place for all of our students whatever their tradition may be. We often say that we become richer as new students with new
traditions become part of our community.

Our schedule includes daily devotions and a weekly chapel. In these activities, students will be invited to sing, pray, and listen to various speakers speak about their faith. Once a year we hold a Spiritual Emphasis Week in which we hold extra chapels, invite guest speakers, and meet in small groups to delve deeper into a topic.

Furthermore, students will take one Christian Studies course in each grade. These courses invite our students to explore their beliefs within the context of a Mennonite school. The courses progress throughout their time at the school. In grades 6-8, students will explore Old and New Testament stories and themes. In grade 9, the focus is on Jesus and the early church. Grade 10 focuses on other religious
traditions such as Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Indigenous Spirituality. In grade 11, students will enter into the arena of Christian ethics. Finally, in grade 12, the focus is on Mennonite history and theology. Our hope is that through the progression of these courses and through participation in
devotions and chapel, students will gain a deeper and richer understanding of their own beliefs and the beliefs of others.

Chapel Theme 2023-2024

One Body, Many Parts

In the letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes how the members of the church in Corinth should relate to each other like many parts of one body; each person has a different role but all work together in the life of following Christ. The metaphor of one body with many parts is comforting: we are deeply connected to one another and we don’t have to do everything ourselves. This metaphor is also challenging: it pushes us to see the value in each person, and it means that when one person in our community is hurting, the whole body suffers. We are individuals, and yet we are interdependent.

Being one body with many members means we are all fed by the same heart. The Mennonite World Conference describes their work through the metaphor of a heart with four chambers, and as one body with many members, our collective and individual work is fed by the work of these four chambers:

● Peace Work: building reconciled relationship across differences
● Deacon Work: walking with people in times of need
● Faith & Life Work: figuring out together what we believe, how we express our shared belief and how we can celebrate difference
● Mission Work: developing a sense of purpose for your life within the global community

This year in chapel we will explore how we are united with the worldwide Church as members of one body, and how we can apply this Biblical wisdom to our lives in a variety of communities. We are going to use Lectionary Bible texts used by churches around the world, and we will try to tell stories of people and churches around the world, making use of some of the resources available from Mennonite World Conference.

We each work in a different way, for we are individuals with our own gifts and vocations. Yet our differences cannot divide us; we are radically interdependent as a species and as a community of Christ followers. We are one body with many members.

You can read more about the MWC’s theological foundation (described as a heart with 4 chambers) here: A heart with four chambers: A theological foundation for the work of MWC’s four commissions You can find stories from each of the 4 commissions of the MWC here:

● Peace Commission Stories
● Deacon’s Commission Stories
● Faith & Life Commission Stories
● Mission Commission Stories

1 Corinthians 12:12-26
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.