Southfields’ Sketches: Reflections from the Senior Chaplain

Thus far, the highlights of Summer Term in Chapel have been substantial.

On Sunday 27th April, the preacher at the 10.15am College Eucharist was The Rev. Ben Rundell-Evans – the youngest Clergyman in the Church of England at a baby-faced 24 years of age! Fascinatingly, he spoke of ‘The breath of Christ.’

Movingly, Mark Wilson (PR U6), offered a brief address near the end of the service about the terrible happenings in Sri Lanka – his home country to which he had returned over the Easter Break. Several members of his family were very nearly caught up in the bombings and he has established a Just Giving page to attempt to raise £3,000 towards relief. Pupils lit candles at the end of the service, in solidarity with Marc.

That evening the Sunday Night Speaker series in the Garnett Room featured our very own Lily Gray who spoke about the ‘Girls in Sport’ charity. She was very well received and her talk was impeccably delivered. Read more, here.

Roman Catholic Confirmation was offered in the College Chapel on Wednesday 1st May, with The Rt. Rev. Declan Lang, the Bishop of Clifton, presiding. 15 Confirmands received the Sacrament and heard the wise words of the Bishop who, during homily time, suggested that we should not be asking, ‘Who am I?’ but instead, ‘For whom am I?’ An interesting subtlety.

Congratulations to Henry Clark (C3 U6) and Jack Morris (CO Hu) who received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism from me at 9.00am on Sunday 5th May, before the Church of England Confirmation service. It was fantastic to meet their family and friends and sponsors, all of whom had a ‘double dose’ of Chapel that morning!

A whopping 60 Church of England Confirmands were confirmed on Sunday 5th May by the Bishop of Ramsbury, The Rt. Rev. Andrew Rumsey. People loved our new ‘Rock Star Bishop’ and he connected with pupils and the congregation very well indeed. A ‘holy host’ of effort from numerous quarters went in to making the service the tremendous success that it was, and I thanked absolutely everyone from the Eagle Lectern immediately before the service began – it took a while!

Special thanks to the amazing Sacristan Sam Elviss (B1 Re) who embraced the absolute honour of being ‘Bishop’s Chaplain’ at the Confirmation service – an essential liturgical role he fulfilled with confidence and natural talent. Thanks again Sam!

Three different Beaks have spoken in Chapel during recent midweek worship. Gregor McSkimming, Housemaster of Barton Hill, spoke of the spirituality of a ‘Tweed Jacket’. Debbie Harris, Deputy Head Co-Curriculum, shared her passion for the Chinese spiritual art of ‘Feng Shui’. Finally, on the Thursday, Ben Allen, Physics Beak, spoke of the magnificent Monarch Butterfly and how it succeeds in its enormous migration from top to bottom of North America by virtue of inter-generational cooperation. We have much to learn from this gorgeous and sadly endangered insect.

Plans for Chapel in the Michaelmas term are now finalised for the Almanac, and a host of interesting and engaging visiting preachers and speakers have been secured.

I wish everyone a restful half-term.

Reverend Tim Novis
Senior Chaplain
Twitter: @MCol_Chapel

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