Spiritual Life

The Chapel is not merely a building on campus, but rather is an important element in our commitment to promote the ideals of community, spiritual growth, service and moral development.
More than a building. As a nonsectarian school, St. Mark's seeks to develop an atmosphere of free and open inquiry into the various aspects of religious belief and spiritual practice. The School's goal is to assist students to clarify their principles, assess their values and learn to act responsibly based on their convictions as well as to develop lifelong habits of contemplation and reflection useful to them as mature adults and as conscientious members in our contemporary global civil society.
The mission of a nonsectarian chapel program is to provide spiritual and moral formation through the diversity of spiritual and ethical traditions reflected across our community. The Chaplain, an Episcopal priest, serves as a teacher in addition to leading Chapel services, guiding the student-driven Chapel Council program and providing pastoral care for boys, faculty and staff, families and alumni.

Chapel Services Program

Important topics. A Chapel service at St. Mark’s is one of the places where our students engage with important topics in life – that long list of really big questions in life that young people find endlessly intriguing as they seek to discover and create their existential identities. Young people today want to know why people are different and yet, how they are the same. Why do some people eat meat and others don’t? When people say that they pray, what do they actually do? Why do we celebrate different holidays? Are religions around the world really just the same at their cores or do they prioritize values differently and uniquely? The Chapel program is a safe place for the boys to ask these big questions in life. 
Embedded historically in the Episcopal tradition, these services handle these questions through a rich mixture of music, sacred literature, congregational prayers and Chapel talks. Chapel services are held weekly in all three divisions.
Chapel services typically feature a variety of themes; for example,
  • Religious observances such as All Saints' Day, Diwali, Easter, Eid al Fitr and Yom Kippur.
  • Cultural observances such as Lunar New Year, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Boy Scouts Day.
  • School observances such as all-school convocations and Matriculation and Step-Up Chapels.
Lower School services include some additional specialized celebrations such as Banner Chapel, monthly birthday chapels, Lower School Chapel Council-led services, Father-Son Chapel, Grandparents' Day Chapel and St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals.
    • Rev. Arbogast delivers his homily at Grandparents' Day Chapel, just before Thanksgiving.

Chapel Council Program

Dialogue. Upper School Chapel Council members serve as school leaders in interfaith dialogue through three primary initiatives:
  • Interfaith Visits — Members of the Chapel Council routinely visit a variety of religious and spiritual congregations in the greater DFW area to develop a greater appreciation for the many religious traditions that shape our world. 
  • Interfaith Guests — During Chapel Council meetings, spiritual and religious leaders from across the North Texas community are invited to the campus to share information and perspectives with students about their traditions. 
  • Interfaith Roundtables — During regular Chapel Council meetings, there are organized conversations about a variety of topics, such as: How do I practice my religious identity? What makes me most proud of my religious tradition? Where was I before I was born? Why do bad things happen to good people? 

Lower School Chapel Council members, guided by members of the Upper School Chapel Council, have their own unique programs. They give Chapel talks, write and perform skits in Chapel that promote positive values, serve as hosts to guest speakers to Lower School Chapel services and serve as leaders for the Lower School in special services such as Grandparents’ Day, Birthday Chapels, Father-Son Chapels and other events.

Chapel Talks

Community members, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, regularly speak during Chapel services, sharing personal experiences that touch on a wide range of topics.

Overheard in Chapel

"What you should retain is not any insight that I would offer but the invaluable lessons that your own experience offers to you."
— Winston Lee ’23

"Value your accomplishments and use any privilege you may have to make a positive impact on the world. Don't let others define you or limit your potential. And by doing so, you will leave a positive mark on the world around you."

— Lee S. Smith ’65

"Rosh Hashanah can be a really useful day to look back on the past year and look forward to how you can improve by showing kindness to other people."
— Myles Lowenburg ’23

Chaplaincy Program

Strength and support. The chaplaincy program provides students and their parents, alumni and employees with thoughtful and sensitive pastoral care and support when facing both challenging and also joyful experiences in life. As an Episcopal priest, the Chaplain accompanies those who are journeying through times of loss, of course, but also through the day-to-day, normal, ordinary celebrations of life such as births and weddings. In particular, hospitalizations, major illnesses, significant trials in life, especially death, are central occasions for support. 

For information about weddings and funerals in the St. Mark’s Chapel, please contact the Chaplain, The Reverend Dr. Stephen Kirkpatrick Arbogast, at ArbogastS@smtexas.org or 214-346-8222.

The Chapel

A spiritual home. The Chapel sits in the center of campus and is foundational to the St. Mark's experience and the architecture of the campus. Dedicated in 1988, the St. Mark’s Chapel replaced the School's original Collegiate Chapel built in 1957. 

Several stained-glasses windows from the Collegiate Chapel were carefully restored and moved to the narthex of the St. Mark's Chapel, including panes commemorating the School's 50th anniversary, its Cum Laude Society chapter, the undefeated 1956 football team and the St. Mark’s Choir. 
Chapel history.  Anyone with a story to tell, information to share or a photograph or appropriate object to share related to the history of the Chapel should contact the Chaplain.

Choral Program

The Choir of St. Mark's. The Chapel is also home to the St. Mark's Choir, one of the world's pre-eminent boys’ choirs. The Choir sings for many beloved and long-standing traditions of the St. Mark’s community, including monthly services of Choral Evensong in the Anglican choral tradition, the annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, Baccalaureate and regular Chapel services during the academic term. 
The Choir has been affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music since 1951, allowing singers the opportunity to earn medals of distinction for their achievements. The Choir is regularly invited to perform in residence at some of the oldest and most famous cathedrals around the world, including St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral, Hereford Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in England, among many others. 
Additionally, the Choir has performed at major venues around Dallas and sung the national anthem before Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks games.

Watch: Ave Maria

    • St. Mark's Choir in residency at St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, Suffolk, England

A Joyful Noise

The Roosevelt Family Pipe Organ. Installed in 2015, the Organ has become a fixture of the St. Mark's Chapel experience. Modeled after great English pipe organs and built to accompany the St. Mark’s Choir, the organ adds a unique voice to the School's weekly chapel services and special traditions. 
Situated in the rear gallery of the chapel, the Roosevelt Family Pipe Organ is visually striking, with a case of solid oak and with wood accents to complement the Chapel surroundings. The instrument was custom-built for the St. Mark's Chapel at the renowned Orgues Létourneau workshop in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec. 
In October 2019, an EF-3 tornado struck campus, resulting in extensive water damage to the organ. The instrument was painstakingly disassembled, returned to its original workshop and rebuilt. The organ was reinstalled and rededicated in the fall of 2022.

The Roosevelt Family Carillon. Every quarter hour, the Chapel’s 24-bell carillon announces the time. A keyboard in the chapel tower also allows trained students to play the bronze bells on special occasions, like Commencement. The carillon was installed in 2005 as a gift from the Roosevelt Family.
    • The Roosevelt Family Pipe Organ accompanies the St. Mark's Choir.

The Verger and the Virge

A time-honored tradition. The School Verger, a student who is the chief liturgical officer of the School, leads the school’s ecclesiastical processions with the School’s virge. The virge, a staff that is the symbol of the authority of the verger, goes back to the ceremonial mace carried before academic and religious dignitaries.

The St. Mark’s virge, designed by the silversmith Michael Rybicki, was donated by Robert Parks ’72 in 2023 in honor of Steve Sebastian ’71 and Ann Heidt Sebastian.

The story of the virge was featured in the fall 2022 issue of The Pride magazine.

    • Bowden Slates ’23 leads the procession as the verger for the 2022 Baccalaureate service.

Meet the Chaplain

The Reverend Dr. Stephen Kirkpatrick Arbogast
School Chaplain

"Our boys and young men are at a formative time of their lives. Part of what we do as adults is help our students make informed decisions about who they want to be in a religious or spiritual context. In addition, beyond assisting them as they make those existential decisions, we are also preparing them to go out into the world and flourish. Regardless of their own personal spirituality, they will be living and working in a diverse world in which religion is a significant factor for billions of people. By teaching our students about a wide range of traditions and religions, they will be better prepared to engage respectfully with others as responsible leaders in our global civil society."

St. Mark’s School of Texas

10600 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75230

About Us

St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.

St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.