Chapel is where we start the day throughout the week. That’s not because we are unusually devout as a school but because this is our chance to be together, to think, to pray, to celebrate, and to share in the joys and sorrows of our shared life. We are lucky to have a place in the school which is large enough for everyone to come together. At the start of a busy day it’s uplifting for the whole community to gather before we head off into whatever the next twenty-four hours will bring.
Everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, has a voice in chapel – and that’s not just in the singing of hymns. Every girl has the opportunity to help lead chapel, either as part of her House or as part of her Company. That means we enjoy a rich variety of talks. They range from serious reflection on world events through to lighter moments celebrating sporting or musical heroes. Recent highlights have included chapels on the US presidential election, the science of perfume and the value of volunteering to work with disabled children. Staff members also take their turn and speak on subjects about which they are passionate. Chapel gives an airing to subjects that don’t often make it into lessons. We only have fifteen minutes but that short time is usually very well spent.
The chapel programme is overseen by our Chaplain, Father Jonathan. Father Jonathan also teaches RS and runs an archery club (pictured left) for the girls! He came to the school following 16 years as a Chaplain in the RAF. His military skills are not often required but he does have a wealth of life experience and a lot of good stories. He takes the lead on Sunday evenings when we have a longer act of Christian worship. This takes many different forms including a regular Eucharist, a contemplative Taize service, Choral Evensong and Contemporary Worship led by our musicians. Chapel may be compulsory but it is certainly never dull!
Father Jonathan also prepares girls for Confirmation (pictured left), usually when they are in the LV Form (Year 10). This is an important rite of passage and the school celebrates it with warmth and panache.