The Rev. Brian Fidler draws inspiration from the students he counsels


The Rev. Brian Fidler joined The Bishop’s School as Interim Chaplain in 2011, bringing a passion for the spiritual nurture of academic communities spanning more than 30 years. An East Coast native, he has spent all but three years of his ministry as a chaplain, teacher, and coach. He has taught in the fields of religion, ethics, service-learning, and history, and has coached soccer and baseball, served as an advisor and class sponsor, supervised dormitories, and served the spiritual needs of the several boarding and day schools in which he has worked.

At Bishop’s, Rev. Fidler teaches the eighth-grade class, World Religions, and the upper school elective, History of the Holocaust. In his role as chaplain he also supports diversity initiatives and leads Chapel services.

What brought you to The Bishop’s School in La Jolla?

The Bishop’s School was looking for a Chaplain and I fell in love with the school; the location of La Jolla was icing on the cake. Alright, a whole lot of icing!

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

Of the several schools I’ve served most of them have been located in idyllic countryside settings. Moving to a major metropolitan area has reminded me of the plight of the homeless and those who struggle at or below the poverty level. These are complex problems with complex solutions, but if I could snap my fingers and have it done, these are the conditions I would want to improve.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by the thousands of young people I have taught over the last 33 years. They are filled with so much energy, so much hope, and so many dreams, that no matter what else I may be feeling, they energize and inspire me!

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I can imagine a lot of noteworthy people with whom I’d enjoy having a meal and an evening’s conversation – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mohandas Gandhi, Jesus of Nazareth, Muhammad among them – but since my wife and I became empty-nesters, I miss those family dinner-time conversations catching up on each other’s day. So I’m going to beg the question ever so slightly and say, a family dinner for four with my wife and our two sons sounds pretty ideal.

What are you currently reading?

“Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy,” by Eric Metaxas

What is your most-prized possession?

It would have to be my maternal grandfather’s porcelain-faced pocket watch, engraved with his initials, and given to him by my grandmother when he returned safely from fighting in France in 1917. It was given to me because my middle name (Ernest) was named after him.

What do you do for fun?

Fun is always about friends and family, but my particular interests include playing tennis, leisurely bike rides, and Monday night football!

What is your most-marked characteristic?

I hope others would say some combination of kindness and compassion.

What would be your dream vacation?

Exploring the islands of Hawaii; now that we’ve moved from the East Coast to the West Coast, the dream has come a little bit closer.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

To live “… by the grace of daily obligation.” (From “Father Melancholy’s Daughter” by Gail Godwin).