The 2018 Year 12 cohort are in a round of ‘finals’ and farewells to their school years. The Leadership group have just last week led their last Chapel time. Which could prompt a question, 'Why Chapel?'. Why is it an expectation of Westminster students that each week they make their way over to this dedicated space and sit and reflect?
Part of the answer is the School’s heritage as Methodist, now Uniting Church. It is tradition, who we are. A plaque in the foyer of the Chapel in memory of Sir Shirley Jeffries, after whom the building is named, notes that he was “convinced that the Christian faith is the basis of a true education”.
Faith and/or spirituality is a key life issue. Chapel as part of the learning experience invites our students to consider what is beyond us, the greater picture. Chapel is not just for those with a ‘settled’ religious faith, but for the seekers. Indeed, it is my belief as Chaplain that everyone has a ‘faith’, that which gives meaning to their lives; it just takes a different form for each of us. It is the quest, not the conclusion, the possibilities, not the belief. In the formation of young people and their characters and the shaping of our own lives these mysteries are deserving of consideration and exploration. Even without definite answers to conclude; it comes down to what we trust.
In the collected wisdom of ‘the Philosopher’ in the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, we find this encouragement: 'Pay attention to God, and keep God’s ways; for that is the whole duty of everyone', (the concluding verse of the book of Ecclesiastes). Chapel is our pathway to such contemplations.
As a side note, the Westminster Community will this year offer a Christmas Service – not a specific Carols service, but an opportunity to reflect on Christmas and its meanings for us. This will be in the Chapel on Sunday 23 December at 7.00 pm, and all Westminster families are invited.
Rev Phil Hoffmann