The Foundations of CEB

The Foundations of Community Engagement and Belonging

An environment that welcomes and nurtures

The Reverend Doctor Anthony Toomer Porter, as he knelt at the grave of his son in Magnolia Cemetery, committed to “educate other people’s children” by building a school in October 1867. Within six weeks, he opened the Orphan Home and School Association of the Church of the Holy Communion, which later became Porter Military Academy. Reverend Porter's personal sacrifice and vision inspired others to give, thus, setting in motion a philanthropic ethic that has continued throughout our history.

Reflecting God’s Love

As an embodiment of the Christian faith, Porter-Gaud seeks to celebrate and worship God as the center of life and to honor the dignity of every human being as beloved persons made in the image of God. We affirm the sovereignty of God and seek to be a community where the immeasurable and irreplaceable worth of each person is recognized and unconditional love - a love that doesn’t have to be earned - is offered to all.

Our traditions and community life flow from this identity and aim to create an environment that welcomes and nurtures the unique capacity of every member of our community to reflect God’s love, goodness, beauty, and creativity and to pursue lives of meaning, purpose, and service.

In addition to the presence of our chaplains, one of the clearest expressions of this commitment is the Office of Community Engagement and Belonging, which is anchored by and is an extension of our Episcopal identity.


Community Engagement and Belonging Terminology

Community Engagement
Community engagement is the process of identifying and addressing issues affecting the well-being of all members of the community, as well as celebrating the joy of coming together as one.
(Romans 12:3-5)
Belonging is an outcome. It means different things to different people and implies the feeling of security, appreciation, support, fair treatment, and acceptance as a beloved member of the community.
(Ephesians 2:13-22)
The intentional development of school communities where people of different backgrounds, identities, and points of view come together as a body. Diversity is both a source of strength and a primary means of enhancing the intellectual, social, spiritual, and moral life of the school.
(Rev. 7:9-10)
Beyond the sheer presence of a diverse group of people, inclusion is the process by which members of the community honor one another’s inherent dignity, welcome many voices (especially those from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities), and work toward the ongoing broadening of the community’s horizons.
(Romans 15: 5-7)
Equity is the condition where fairness and faithfulness thrive, and all members of the community are respected for their inherent dignity as human beings and capacity to contribute to the building up of the life of the school. Toward that end, we at Porter-Gaud intentionally seek to identify barriers to creating a more equitable community.
(Psalm 33:5)
The courageous and continual attention to and advocacy on behalf of those most vulnerable in the community.
(Proverbs 31:8; Isaiah 1:17a)
Dignity speaks to the inherent and unconditional worth of all human beings and the primary lens through which we view each community member.
(Gal. 3:28)
Social Justice
The integration of the ideals and concepts of equity, justice, and a fair society throughout the life of the school; the embracing and honoring of diversity; and the integral inclusion of community service and service-learning.
(Isaiah 1:17; I Corinthians 12:26; Philippians 2:3-4)

Porter-Gaud teacher playing guitar

This terminology was prepared by Reverend Palmer Kennedy, Porter-Gaud School Head Chaplain, and Dr. Yerko Sepúlveda, Director of Community Engagement and Belonging. The definitions for Community Engagement and Belonging were drafted by the aforementioned Porter-Gaud leaders. The definitions for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, Dignity, and Social Justice were adapted from NAES Statement on Inclusion and Episcopal Identity. The Porter-Gaud Board of Trustees adopted this terminology on January 10, 2023.