|Chapel is an important part of College life, both for worship and as a central meeting place for the whole community. Time in Chapel is time for reflection and consideration of the individual, the College community, and the world in which we live. The only building where the entire community regularly gathers together, the Chapel is at the literal and metaphorical heart of the College, and is regularly used for public and private, formal and more immediate worship.
The weekly Chapel programme consists of four deliberately different elements. The Tuesday service after lunch is a shorter service drawing on a range of resources from different religions and perspectives, humanist and social. Tuesday services in exeat weeks host the popular votive candle lighting service, with upwards of 400 candles being lit to the sound of volunteer musicians, bands and performers. On Thursdays, the Headmaster holds his assembly in Chapel, and on Fridays Chapel is the venue for Congregational Practice, or ‘Congo’, which is a more light-hearted opportunity to expand and explore the richness of church hymns throughout the ages. The main service of the week happens on Friday evening, in keeping with the vision of Woodard’s founder. The service always features a huge range of pupil involvement, from readers, acolytes, musicians, to IT and media specialists. The service also uses shared silence and congregational devotion, bringing together the traditional and the modern, the familiar and the challenging, and will always have the Eucharist at its heart. The Friday Eucharist services are led in turn by each of the houses and Moss Moor, and House parents and guests are always welcome to attend the service and the reception afterwards.
St Chad’s Chapel is a magnificent building and an inspiring setting for both the weekly worship and the general services that take place throughout the year. As well as the regular services, the highlights of the liturgical year include Remembrance Day, the Candlelit and other carol services at the end of the Michaelmas Term, the Easter Oratorio and the Leavers’ Service.
The pupils’ determination to put faith into practice means that every Michaelmas Term the pupils themselves nominate and promote the charities that benefit from their enthusiastic charity campaigns through the year.
As a Christian school within the Woodard family of schools, we recognise that our students are more than minds that need nurturing or bodies that need training. As Denstonians mature, we acknowledge their need to come to terms with their spirituality too – who they are before God. This is the basis of a genuinely all-round education. Our full time Chaplain offers such support for the pupils, but also to the whole community: pupils, families and staff.