The Lessons of Service

What is it about summer service learning trips that make them so special? What could encapsulate the richness of these experiences?

Maybe it’s that moment when the headmaster of our school is helping a student grill burgers for former inmates trying to make a new life.

Or maybe it’s the moment where a student throws the football with a man of a completely different socio-economic and racial background.

Maybe it’s the time during our evening liturgy and reflections when a student says that all of his stereotypes of rural West Virginians were wrong, and that you can’t judge people by first appearances.

Perhaps it’s watching a students learn how to use a Skil-saw or hang a tin roof for the first time, as he helps build a house for a family in need.

Maybe it’s teachers and students playing Euchre together and learning that who they truly are is more than what they see in the classroom.

Maybe it’s the time when everyone goes to sleep exhausted after a long day of work, knowing they did something to make the world just a little bit brighter.

There are a thousand moments such as these on summer service trips. Each one is a precious gift. Each one offers a glimpse of why we serve. 

Nathan Sell

Nathan Sell

Chaplain Sell is the Upper School Chaplain for St. Paul’s. Chaplain Sell has followed his calling into school ministry after finishing his bachelor’s at Sewanee and earning his Master’s of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He can be reached at

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