The school acquired Woodward Chapel in 2010.
At Taft you will find a wide range of religions and philosophical views represented among the student population. Our goal is help students from a variety of traditions find spiritual strength and community support in the religious and spiritual programs that are being offered.
We view education as both an intellectual and a spiritual endeavor. All expressions of faith are celebrated and respected as we look for common moral, ethical, and spiritual ground in the world’s treasure house of great religions.
In the Taft community, we believe that a sound, broad-based liberal arts education has at its core the quest for meaning and purpose. Our understanding is that no one spiritual group or religious tradition is in sole possession of the Truth. With this in mind, we covenant with one another to pursue Truth through religion, science, art, music, athletics, and in every other human inquiry.
Today’s world is replete with rich opportunities for all of us to evolve as global citizens so that we can live mindfully in this world with consideration and concern for others. We believe that educating the whole person encourages and challenges us to take seriously the values and moral codes that we have inherited through our many diverse cultural and religious traditions.
—Chaplain Robert Ganung
The School Chaplain brings to the community an understanding and celebration of the world’s various religious faiths. Each year two graduate students from Yale Divinity School work closely with the chaplain in the classroom and with various religious clubs. Rabbi Eric Polokoff, from B’Nai Israel in Southbury is the associate chaplain at Taft assisting the Jewish Student Organization. The chaplain also takes Muslim students to the United Muslim Mosque in Waterbury bi-monthly. During the fall and winter months interested students gather for meditation in the Taft Living Room before relaxing with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. This warm setting invites students from all religious and nonreligious backgrounds to come together in a mindful way to exchange spiritual ideas and values in a friendly and inclusive atmosphere.
The offerings of the Global Service and Scholarship Department promote spiritual, moral, and ethical discourse among students. On Tuesday and Thursday of each week, the entire school gathers for Morning Meeting in Bingham Auditorium—a time for reflection by students, faculty, the headmaster, chaplain, or outside speakers. The Paduano Lecture Series invites distinguished speakers to offer lectures in the field of philosophy and ethics. Grounded in Taft’s mission to educate the whole person, the school provides many opportunities on campus—both formal and informal—to nurture spiritual life.
In 2003 Taft purchased a Torah with the assistance of Rabbi Eric Polokoff and the generous support of Mr. Edgar Bronfman. The nearly 200-year-old scroll was believed to have been brought to the Sephardic community of Tashkent, now Uzbekistan, by European Jews fleeing the Nazis. This acquisition marked the beginning of Taft’s Sacred Text Collection. The next gift to the school was an original King James Bible printed in the early sixteen hundreds. In the fall of this 2007, two Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang monastery in the southern Indian state of Karnataka presented the school with a replica of one of the earliest mandalas in the Buddhist tradition. Taft’s most recent addition to this remarkable collection is an exquisitely calligraphed pocket-sized copy of the Qur’an from Saudi Arabia which dates back to the late 19th century. This well-preserve sacred text more than likely made several pilgrimages to Mecca inspiring the faithful with Allah’s words as they traveled to the holy city. We are grateful to U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ford Fraker, for this remarkable gift.
This is only the beginning. In the future we plan to collect and display at Taft sacred texts from other world religious traditions as we celebrate the wisdom bequeathed to us from the many great cultures and civilizations in history. (If you would like to offer a sacred gift to The Taft School that represents deep meaning and value in your religious/cultural tradition please speak to the chaplain.)
- Monthly Candlelight Vespers
- Gospel Vespers ( periodic)
- Morning Meeting
- Jewish Student Organization
- Monthly Shabbat Dinners
- Buddhist Meditation Group
- Weekly Sunday Worship Service
- Monthly Communion
- Bible Study
- FOCUS (Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools)
- Coffee Houses
- Transportation to local places of worship
Worship Services (Closest to Taft):
**Transportation to places of worship outside of Watertown will be provided by the Chaplain’s Office upon request.