On February 15, 2023, the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee and St. George’s Independent School (SGIS) entered a covenant agreement marking the latest step in the ongoing work of reconciliation and relationship building between the two organizations.
SGIS was founded in 1959 as a private day school on the former campus of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Germantown. In 2007 following a dispute between SGIS and the Church, St. George’s Episcopal Church relocated to its current location.
Although SGIS is neither a parochial school of the Church nor an institution of the Diocese, there are many connections between SGIS and the Diocese. Subcommittees of the SGIS School Board and Bishop and Council worked to formulate a covenant agreement given that two Episcopal clergy persons now serve at SGIS. SGIS’s head chaplain is the Rev. Deacon Jessica Abell. In this role, she has supervisory oversight of all SGIS chaplains and supervision over matters of religious education and worship during school events. The Rev. Hester Mathes is the Chaplain for the SGIS Memphis Campus in addition to being Vicar at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
SGIS is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES), many of whose members are independent schools. The covenant agreement stipulates that SGIS is committed to operating in the spirit of the values, policies and guidelines outlined by the NAES. Bishop Phoebe Roaf participates in SGIS’s commencement and in worship services at all three SGIS campuses. Her representative on the SGIS School Board, the Rev. Ollie Rencher, is an Ex-Officio trustee on the SGIS school board.
We look forward to the ways in which the relationship between the Diocese and SGIS will continue to evolve.