It is an exciting time to be a Chaplain. In a year when the NHS has appointed its first lead humanist chaplain alongside more traditional faith groups, Chaplaincy in schools, prisons, hospitals, football clubs and even airports is increasingly becoming more valued. Chaplains come from many faith traditions, are not specifically affiliated with one religion and draw inspiration from their own beliefs and traditions to serve multi-faith communities without prejudice or judgement.
At Latymer, as with many other independent schools, I follow in a long line of Chaplains at the School. Within the Chaplaincy we seek to honour and value the religious traditions and history of the school whilst embracing its present community of all different faith positions and pluralist views. One root of the word Chaplain comes from the Latin ‘capella’, meaning little cloak, which Martin of Tours gave to a person in need. This story reflects the aim of the Chaplain today, to offer support and a listening ear to anyone, regardless of background, without agenda or programme. The Chaplain can also act as a mentor to students to offer further assistance to supplement and bolster the important work of pastoral and academic staff.
As a school community, we celebrate the history of Latymer and its hopes for the future together on Foundation Day, Remembrance and Christmas Carol services. The breadth of cultures in the School means we also enjoy discovering the significant festivals and holy days of the many faiths practised by our student and staff body. Our beautiful Chapel at the top of the E block provides a sanctuary to be silent, meditate, pray or simply be, away from the busyness of school life - the Chapel is home to our increasingly popular Mindfulness courses. Indeed, as William Wordsworth reminds us in ‘The Tables Turned’, we all need a place to learn to:
‘Come forth, and bring with you a heart that watches and receives’.
Whether pupil or parent, alumnus or staff, I look forward to meeting you in time - do get in touch if I can be of any support.
Greg Cook, firstname.lastname@example.org