Friday, 12th May 2017
This week, with a snip of the scissors, Fr Edmund, the Sub Dean, opened the new playground. The ribbon had been stretched tightly and so, when the sharp blades of the scissors closed over the ribbon, it flew apart as if there had been an explosion, an appropriate way to celebrate the triumphant moment which had just occurred. This followed some prayers which were said asking the Almighty’s blessing upon the space – all precautions had been taken! With this the playground was now opened and the boys were therefore able to play on it - officially! I was very impressed to see, minutes later, how elegantly the Sub Dean was able to pounce onto the most elevated bars revealing, in so doing, his inner child. From his position astride the bars (known officially as “The Spider’s Web”) he was able to see the full panorama of the new play area in all its glory. I cannot thank the Parents’ Association enough for their extremely generous gift in donating a very considerable sum of money. Rarely has the relationship between money spent and pleasure gained been so close!
This week has been “bookended” by choral events of the most tremendous character. Last Saturday we had the Three Choirs Evensong in which the three choirs of the Ancient Foundations sang together in the Cathedral – an event involving about 100 of the country’s top choral singers. The Cathedral was full and we should be in no doubt as to the popularity of outstanding choral music. There are very few places in the world which can boast three world famous choirs and we are so lucky to live in one of them. Meanwhile tomorrow we will be holding the first ever Worcester Choir Old Boys Reunion. More than 40 members of the Worcester Choir community, both past and present, are coming to enjoy the gathering which will start in the School and then move to Worcester College. It will end with an evensong at 5pm sung by the present Choir supported by any Old Boys who wish to keep their hand (or indeed vocal chords) in! I hope that some of you might be able to attend – Worcester in May is a truly heavenly place.
This morning, seven pupils were baptised in front of the whole school in the Cathedral using the glorious new font. The concept of baptism is that it is the moment in which an individual joins the family of the Church. It is almost always done, therefore, while the rest of a church’s congregation are present. As such it reminds us about the familial nature of a congregation. It won’t surprise you, therefore, that I thought again about the nature of the School as we were gathered together as one body. It is how we act that really determines our true nature and so what makes a successful family is the way in which the people in the family behave towards one another on a daily basis. I think, though, that it is important we express our deepest hopes about life in stories and art and, it could be argued, religious services often express our deepest hopes about who we might be and what we might achieve and I was very struck by the way in which the actions carried out by the Chaplain this morning at the baptism pointed towards some of our deepest wishes. The covering of the candidates’ heads in water, the making of the sign of the cross upon their heads with oil and of course the support given to the candidates by their godparents and the congregation say a great deal about our desire to wash away weakness, about our hopes of following Christ’s example of generosity and kindness and about our need for the support of those around us. Symbolic (or sacramental) actions remind us of how things should be and if we bear in mind how things should be, then it is much more likely that we at least get some of the way towards living up to our ideals. Actions of this nature are particularly striking and memorable and it is so important in my opinion that our pupils experience such things because their effect is very powerful and almost always beneficial. Gathering together as a school to witness the baptism of the boys and girls this morning reminds us of the importance of every member of an institution including its very youngest. I hope passionately that everyone connected with CCCS feels that they are part of a family which does care for all of its members. Many congratulations to all those baptised this morning.
Finally, to another important ritualistic activity, Cricket! How wonderful to see our First XI take on St Hugh’s 1st XI, the first time they have sent their top team to CCCS in 15 years. They had a good number of County Players in their team and, in the allotted overs made 184. We replied with a total of 102 - a really fine response. There is no question that in all areas our sport has improved dramatically recently and I was so proud of our boys. From my perspective there can be few experiences as perfect as watching cricket on a stunning May afternoon on Christ Church Meadows; may I encourage all of you to come and support your boys if they have a match. Not only will you see your sons in action but somewhat like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner (though hopefully without taking quite so much out of you) you will leave a happier and a wiser person!