Blog: Southfields’ Sketches

Warmest Greetings to everyone in the Marlborough College community.

This marks the first of my weekly reflections about our remarkable school, and my observations as I fulfil the roving remit role of ‘Journalist Chaplain’.

I am so excited at the beginning of this new year, and from my visits around Campus I sense an absolute ‘buzz’ of enthusiasm, hope and solid purpose.

It’s a pleasure to speak to the new Beaks and to get to know them on a social and professional level.

And, in places like Cotton where there are 20 new boarders, it is so encouraging to hear such pride already in being at the College and an awe from them at the breadth and diversity of what is on offer to study and to do! Cotton was absolutely buzzing before the House Assembly on Tuesday night, where I opened the gathering with prayer, as old friends re-connected.

In my Form class I am thrilled at the International flavour of the pupils with China, Thailand and Turkey all being represented brilliantly by three of my pupils. I have so much to learn from them.

Two new Lower Sixth girls in Dancy gave me an excellent tour of their new amazing boarding house and we spent time chatting about their hopes and ambitious plans for the next two years. Thank you Emily Pont and Izzy Hart (DA L6). You will go far! And it was fun joking with Merlin Plant (C1 L6) from Miami about whether he would admit to being a Dolphins fan – or at least to admit it to me – a diehard Buffalo Bills supporter.

It was amazing to be on stage in the newly renovated Memorial Hall for the opening of term assemblies, followed by Chapel services where the singing of ‘Morning Has Broken’ was really uplifting.

This Sunday morning I will be away at Highclere Castle where Lord and Lady Carnarvon have asked me to officiate a special WW1 inter-faith centenary service. The Master offers the address at the 10.15am service. At 5.30 pm, in Chapel before their barbecue, the Shell will hear a special address about the importance of Remembrance from our own David DuCroz.
I would also like to extend my deep appreciation to our new College Organist, Christopher Burrows who, among a host of other musical commitments, will now be providing music at our 8.30 am service on Sundays. It will be lovely!

Finally, the College has warmly welcomed and embraced our new Master, Mrs. Louise Moelwyn-Hughes, and I would like to personally thank her for already emphasising and making clear to me the absolute continuing importance of the Chapel in the life of the school.

In Chapel on Wednesday, in an address to both the Lower and Upper School, I underscored the importance of being strong. ‘Don’t grow a wishbone where your backbone should be’! Echoing the Master’s words in her opening address in Assembly, ‘hard work, works’!

Some have asked me for the words of the poem read expertly by Harriet Place (NC U6) and Toby Hargrove (LI U6) in Chapel on Wednesday. As follows:

Don’t Quit
By Alice Enzie Zimmerman
Written in 1948

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is odd with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When we might have won had we stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed and then more you’ll grow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the winner’s cup.
And he learned too late when the night slipped down
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver lining of the clouds of doubt
And you can never tell how close you are –
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

For we know that God above looks down,
He sees our struggles and holds the crown.
He knows the way though it’s rough and drear,
He will give strength so we need not fear.
He offers to you the refreshing cup
Of the water of life; then in faith look up.
Continue on ‘til the crown is won
Which he will give when our work is done!

Never hesitate to be in touch if there is ever anything I can offer. My office space is in Southfields, next to the Gym. But I am happy to meet up wherever you wish. I will always have time for you.

Best,

Reverend Tim Novis
Senior Chaplain
Twitter: @MCol_Chapel

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