Chaplains and Spiritual Life
A well-balanced individual needs a sense of spiritual awareness along with academic achievement and physical ability. The experience of holiness, an understanding of right and wrong, and respect for the worth of each human being; these things are the invisible glue holding our community together. These values are learned in every part of our lives, but the School Chapel and the activities connected with it are a particular focus for our spiritual development.
The Chaplains do their best to get to know the boys and girls by sharing meals, visiting the houses and involving themselves with all the school's activities. They also share the teaching of the younger pupils, giving them regular contacts with the entire E and F Blocks.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the school day begins with a ten-minute service in chapel for all - usually a hymn, a prayer and a short talk, sometimes given by members of the school.
The Chaplains regularly visit the boarding houses to chat to the boys and girls in their common rooms and studies. 99% of these conversations are purely social, but occasionally the conversation leads to more serious or personal matters. We, the Chaplains, are also convinced of the importance of food (and of the family home in which it is eaten) to teenagers. It is our aim to feed doughnuts to the entire F Block and Chinese Takeaway to the entire LXX during each year, not to mention countless incidental pizzas, jaffa cakes, jelly babies and the like.
The Chaplains offer short services in the boarding houses, usually at the end of the day. Some houses organise prayers themselves. - Christian Forum and Bible Study groups Some pupils want to explore the Christian faith more deeply at a personal level. There are Senior and Junior Bible Study groups. Christian Forum meets after prep on Fridays, often with a visiting speaker.
Every Sunday there is a chapel service for the whole school, usually in the morning. The aim is to provide an act of Christian worship which allows those attending to move between the roles of observer and participant. Visiting speakers are often invited, having been thoroughly briefed in our requirements for brevity and relevance. Parents are very welcome to come to Sunday services and to join us for coffee afterwards. Special occasions such as the Service of Remembrance and the Carol Services provide life-long memories for some.
There is a weekly optional service of Holy Communion in the beautiful Memorial Chapel. Twenty or thirty pupils and teachers usually attend.
We do not see Confirmation as a conveyor belt onto which pupils should be pushed. Boys and girls wishing to be confirmed must affirm that it is their own decision, and must be prepared to take part in a lengthy process of preparation. The result of this is that the 30 or so who are confirmed each year find it a genuine and deeply significant step.
We enjoy friendly relationships with St Marie's parish, whose church is adjacent to the school. Roman Catholics may choose to attend Sunday mass instead of the school service, and a few are prepared for confirmation each year. Each term Fr Furlong, the parish priest of St Marie's celebrates mass in the School.
Members of faiths other than Christian are encouraged to attend worship and instruction within their own faith. This can be arranged for those who require it.