Spiritual Life

Woodward Chapel
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.)

Opportunities Include:

  • Monthly Candlelight Vespers
  • Gospel Vespers ( periodic)
  • Morning Meeting
  • Jewish Student Organization
  • Monthly Shabbat Dinners
  • Buddhist Meditation Group
  • Weekly Sunday Worship Service
  • Monthly Communion
  • Yoga/Meditation
  • Bible Study
  • FOCUS (Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools)
  • Coffee Houses
  • Transportation to local places of worship

Worship Services (Closest to Taft):

Christian

Baptist

Christ the Redeemer Church
114 Roxbury Rd (Rte 67), Southbury
203-264-2407
info@christtheredeemerct.org
Worship Service (all ages) at 10:30 am
Sunday School at 9:30 am

Congregational

First Congregational Church
40 Deforest Street, Watertown
860-274-6737
fccwtn@snet.net
Worship Service at 10 am
Church School at 10 am

Episcopal

Christ Church Episcopal
Woodward Chapel
25 The Green, Watertown
203-509-7674
Sunday Services at 10 am
Sunday School at 10 am
Centering Prayer 1st and 3rd Sundays at 6 pm

Greek Orthodox

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
937 Chase Parkway, Waterbury
203-754-5189
secretary@holytrinitywaterbury.org
Sunday Orthros (Matins) at 8:50 am
Sunday Divine Liturgy at 10 am
Sunday School begins after Holy Communion

Lutheran

Our Savior Lutheran Church
505 South Main Street, Thomaston
860-283-8480
officeoursavior@optonline.net
Sunday Worship with Holy Communion at 10:15 am
Sunday Coffee and Conversation at 9 am

Methodist

United Methodist Church
305 Main Street, Watertown
860-274-3785
info@wumcct.org
Sunday Worship at 10:30 am
Sunday School at 9:15 am

Nondenominational

Calvary Chapel Southbury
134 Main Street South, Southbury
203-267-5441
calvary@calvarysouthbury.com
Thursday High School and Middle School Ministry 7 pm
Sunday Celebration at 9 am and 11 am

Orthodox

Christ the Savior Church 
1070 Roxbury Rd, Southbury
203-267-1330
fvaleandro@yahoo.com
Saturday Vespers, 5:00 pm
Sunday Liturgy, 9:30 am

Pentecostal

Pentecostal Assembly Church
39 Crown Street, Waterbury
203-753-8822
Sunday Service: 11 am; Taft Pick-up 9:15 am

Roman Catholic

St. John the Evangelist Church
574 Main Street, Watertown
860-274-8836
Saturday Vigil Mass at 5 pm
Sunday Masses 7:30, 9, and 11 am; 5 pm

Jewish

Orthodox

B'nai Shalom Synagogue
135 Roseland Avenue, Waterbury
203-754-4159
office@bnaishalomwaterbury.com
Sunday at 8 and 9 am
Monday-Friday at 7 am
Shabbos 8 am and 9 am

Conservative

Beth El Synagogue
124 South Pomperaug Avenue, Woodbury
204-264-4500
info@bethelwoodbury.org
Friday at 7:30 pm
Followed by an Oneg Shabbat
Saturday at 9:30 am
followed by a Kiddush Lunch

Reform

B’Nai Israel
444 Main St North, Southbury
203-267-3394
office@bnaiisraelsouthbury.org
Friday at 7:30 pm

Muslim

United Muslim Mosque
132 Prospect Street
Waterbury,
203-756-6365
Jumua Salat Friday at 1 p.m.

Meditation

Woodbury Meditation & Yoga Center
122 West Side Road, Woodbury
203-263-2254
wyogac@gmail.com
Sunday at 7 pm*
*Call for a full schedule of classes offered

**Transportation to places of worship outside of Watertown will be provided by the Chaplain’s Office upon request.

THE TAFT SCHOOL  | 110 Woodbury Road | Watertown, Connecticut 06795 | 860-945-7777 | Info@taftschool.org