Campus Life

Spiritual Life

It is our deepest hope that Woodberry Forest School will instill in every student a reverence for things sacred.  This means addressing the principal questions of our existence: “Why am I here, what is the purpose of my life, and where am I going?”  It also means exposing our boys to an authentic and vibrant faith tradition within our community. We are a boys only boarding school that is founded on Christian principles.

The spiritual diversity of our community is as great as the number of members who are a part of it. No matter where any boy understands himself to be in his life of faith, we hope to meet that boy where he is.  We believe in the infinite worth and dignity of every boy in our care, and we endeavor to know, challenge, and love each boy accordingly. Everyone is welcome to grow with us in our collective life of faith.

Spiritual Life

Chapel Program

Students and faculty attend a Chapel service on Monday evening in St. Andrew’s Chapel.  The service normally consists of two lessons and a psalm from scripture, a homily from the Chaplain or an invited speaker, prayers, two hymns, and an anthem sung by the choir.  Boys participate in this service as musicians, readers, acolytes, prayer leaders, and ushers. It is our hope that the Chapel unifies the student body. We do not embrace one specific doctrine, and our student body and faculty come from a wide range of faith backgrounds.  Whether or not a boy understands himself to be a Christian, we hope that our chapel program and an exposure to the life of Jesus Christ will enrich his spiritual life. On occasion, the Chaplain will invite leaders from other faith traditions to participate in our community’s worship life, understanding that we are made better as a community when our Christian principles are engaging with the world.

Woodberry Christian Fellowship

Woodberry Christian Fellowship (WCF) meets on Tuesday evenings in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Fred Jordan.  Dr. Jordan is the head of the History Department at Woodberry, and he and his wife Karen have been hosting WCF for over a decade. The weekly meetings consist of food (pizza), fellowship (usually a game or two and some singing), and faith (usually a bible study).  Regional staff from FOCUS in Richmond and Washington DC help to coordinate and facilitate these meetings, and they help to provide spiritual guidance and support for our students. School funds are also available for students to participate in summer programs at the FOCUS Study Center in Massachusetts. Every student at Woodberry is welcome at WCF. 

Reverence for Things Sacred Fellowship Group meets on Sunday evenings for food and fellowship. The group discusses its understanding of spirituality and things sacred in ways that extend beyond Christianity. The group is organized by physics teacher Greg Jacobs and is open to all faculty and students.


Sacramental Life

The Chaplain hosts weekly services of Holy Communion on Wednesday and Sunday evenings in St. Andrew’s Chapel before study hall. These services are conducted according to the Book of Common Prayer within the Anglican tradition. All students are welcome to participate in this service, and all baptized students are welcome to receive communion.  Students seeking baptism or confirmation are encouraged to inform the Chaplain. Christian formation classes in preparation for baptism/confirmation are held each year following the Christmas holiday. Boys seeking confirmation will have that opportunity in the spring trimester, pending the availability of a Bishop’s visit. Sunday services are offered by many local denominations and a variety of faiths. Boys who are interested in attending a Sunday service should inform Mrs. Tracey Stakem to coordinate transportation.

Biblical Studies Course

All students complete a ten-week Introduction to the Bible course. The course is pass/fail, and a boy’s effort and engagement with the material is more important than his ability to master the content of the Bible. The course is intended to introduce boys to the central questions, stories, and themes of the biblical canon.  The course is required because Woodberry Forest is founded under Christian principles and expects its students to have some understanding of what that means. Furthermore, the Bible is one of the most significant collection of works in human history, and our students’ familiarity with it is central to understanding who they are in relation to Western Civilization and United States history.  The Bible, as such, centers on the person of Jesus Christ, and students will consider him as the biblical writers intended him to be considered; however, they are not expected or required to confess any particular faith claim about him. That being said, they will be asked to consider and engage with the implications of the truth claims that the biblical writers make about him. The boys are expected to read the text on its own terms and not use their personal faith as a bulwark to resist engaging classroom discussion or work.


Woodberry Forest admits students of any race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, and national or ethnic origin to all of the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs. The school is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students.