Saturday, 1st December was a rather damp and dreary winter’s day but that made no difference to the warmth with which Confirmation was celebrated.
For the 27 Confirmation candidates the day began with a special breakfast with the Bishop of Bedford, The Right Reverend Richard Atkinson. It was good for the Bishop to have a chance to talk with the girls informally before the service itself and reflect with them about their experiences of the Preparation Weekend at Lee Abbey that most had attended the week before. Bishop Richard had kindly agreed to take the service since the new Bishop of Ramsbury, who would normally officiate, does not take up his appointment until the end of January. Bishop Richard’s link with St Mary’s is that his sister is our Head of Classics, Mrs Rothwell, so it did feel like he was already part of the wider school family.
The service was held in the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in Calne. The Chamber Choir led the worship using the David Bednall mass setting (a piece that was composed especially for the school some years ago). It was a service that was rich in liturgy and music and yet had a real warmth and informality about it. One parent remarked, 'The service was just beautiful, the choir absolutely amazing and the girls all looked gorgeous and happy'. Bishop Richard spoke powerfully, focusing his sermon on the love of God and how we must take that love out into the world to make a positive difference.
For the girls, it marked the culmination of a term of preparation and a significant milestone on their journey of faith. After the service everyone returned to school for the Confirmation Reception and to collect the beautiful, individual cakes that had been so skilfully created by the school catering team.
The Revd Jonathan Beach, School Chaplain