The Chapel, which was completed in 1878, is central both physically and spiritually to the life of the School.
Shells arrive at the beginning of their School career to a service of welcome and Leavers are sent on their way at the end of their School career in a Leavers’ Service called ‘Ad Itinerarium’.
The Chaplaincy Team
This consists of the Revd Charlie Kerr (Chaplain), the Revd Katie Jones (Assistant Chaplain) and Ms Beth Steer (Lay Chaplain). Charlie Kerr oversees chaplaincy provision in all areas of the school, Katie Jones has joint responsibility in liturgical and pastoral matters and Beth Steer has oversight of the Christian Union and, in her capacity as head of Pupil Welfare and Head of PSHE, she also contributes to the pastoral care provision of the school by working with individuals and groups.
On a Sunday the majority of boarders attend a Chapel Service at 9.30am in the morning. This is usually Holy Communion, which has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and is accompanied by one of our excellent Chapel Choirs. We also hold evening services from time to time which are usually either Sung Evensong, or Candlelit Compline (Night Prayer). Each term we also feature an Evangelical Worship Service.
A secular alternative is also offered on a Sunday morning; this is called ‘Theme’ and is presented by a different member of staff each week. Its subject matter is determined by the wide range of interests and expertise that the individual staff bring to it, and no two weeks are ever the same.
During the week all pupils attend one service in the morning and one in the evening. These services are short and designed to be thought-provoking, but aim also to create space and time for reflection at the start or end of a busy day.
In addition, there are times when pupils also choose to attend a Candlelit Compline during which ancient plain chant is sung and personal prayer offered.
EDGE (Every Day God Encounters)
This is a Christian Union for those who want to explore their Christian faith. It meets each Monday evening to eat, play, think and pray. This is informal and welcoming in nature for people of mature faith or for the interested inquirer. It is often led by staff and outside speakers
Confirmation into The Church of England is offered to all pupils in all year groups at the School, and the take up is usually very positive. Two Confirmation Services happen each year, for which the candidates receive a set of lessons and prepare themselves spiritually by going on retreat.
Roman Catholic Confirmation is also organised each year in conjunction with a local Catholic Church. Classes are organised in School for the convenience of the pupils
Other Opportunities for Involvement:
Sacristan Training In the Sixth form pupils can choose to serve as Sacristans. This involves doing bible readings, leading prayers, bell ringing and much more. They undertake a training course in spiritual disciplines so they can nurture their own spirituality out of which they can serve the wider community.
The Alpha Course also runs most years. Each week up to 50 pupils enjoy a pleasant candlelit meal, while listening to a speaker expound on a subject related to the Christian faith.
TGIF (thank God it’s Friday) is an informal service for all year groups which meets at 7.35am on a Friday morning. It encourages pupil participation in praying, reading, sharing and singing together and always finishes with a tasty breakfast just in time for lessons.
Voluntary Retreats We hold annual retreats for just the Lower Sixth and the Upper Sixth to offer space for reflection, prayer and praise. We also hold a 24 hours of prayer within the school every other year to encourage and deepen the personal prayer of pupils.
Houses also have a Chapel Service each term either in House or in Chapel. These are much more informal in style and feel, and the Houses take a leading role in forming and shaping them.
If you are of another faith, we would be very happy to help arrange provision for attendance at Mosque, Synagogue, or Temple. Please just ask one of the Chaplains.
Parents, friends and visitors are, of course, welcome to join the School for worship on a Sunday at 9.30am and OSE are most welcome to contact the school with regard to Baptisms, Weddings and Services of Thanksgiving. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact the Chaplain.