Why does Westminster have a Chapel, when many schools don’t?
And why does Westminster have a Chaplain?
These have been questions considered by our new Year 7 group during class visits to the Chapel during this first week of term. Some of these students have entered the Chapel for the first time. Immediately, their eyes have been drawn upward by the astoundingly high inner roof of the building, which, I have said in introduction is the architecture serving the Chapel’s function; to be drawn upwards.
The answer to these questions, I have said to students, is dependent upon an inferred preceding question: What is the purpose of an education? More than the transmission of a body of knowledge, the goal of education is the full development of the person, which must include character, values and spirituality. Certainly, that was in the mind of Westminster’s founders who gave the school the heritage and ethos that we still enjoy today.
Perhaps there is for all of us an even more sizeable ‘background’ question on which such considerations rely: What is a life for? We have discussed this in these preliminary classes. Answers have included: to be who I am as myself, to grasp life’s opportunities and to make a contribution.
I think in another place at another time Jesus gave an answer when he spoke what is called ‘the Great Commandment’, “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And love your neighbour as yourself”. For such as this, our thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams, need occasionally be drawn upwards.
Rev Phil Hoffmann