Floreat Glenalmond

Commemoration Day at Glenalmond College. My feelings change. This used to be one of the moments when I felt a long way from former life .. less so now. But strangely, it also reminds me of childhood and my time at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen – I could see my father measuring out the athletics track with chains. As a special treat, I would be allowed to push the little machine with the wheels and the whitewash.

First challenge is to decide where to park the faithful Passat [163000 in case you were asking]. Clearly not among the flashier 4 by 4’s – some of this is a bit ‘Glyndebourne meets Hogwarts’. So I found a quiet corner among the cars of those who buy cars on the same time sequence as they buy tweeds.

The Commemoration Service is unchanged since 1936 – some pieces of the BCP Funeral Service as we remember OG’s of past generations. Chaplain Giles reminded me of one former pupil who ‘received a vocation to sacred ministry while on the cricket pitch.’ Which of course sent me into chapel pondering. Unlikely to have been batting .. too busy to take the call as Wicket Keeper. Probably fielding at Long Stop. At least the camera for the fly-on-the-wall documentary can’t read minds.

Then it was prizes and the College Song:

Rivorum, ruris, montium, Silvarum Domina …

I’m sure you don’t need help with translation.

Mystery of Chaplaincy

We installed Giles Dove as Chaplain at Glenalmond College on Sunday – better picture to come shortly, I hope! I always enjoy being there, particularly in the beautiful chapel. It reminds me of childhood and the community at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, where my parents taught. I kept an eye on the ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentary makers who were filming and, I hope, not recording my sotto voce mutterings to myself.

Meanwhile, as the diocesan clergy and I joined the school community to celebrate the new ministry, I pondered the huge opportunities which Chaplains have. The Chaplain has access to the whole community of staff and pupils – he doesn’t have to run around trying to find people. And he has the Chaplain’s privilege – whether school or hospital or prison or service life – of being on the inside but not quite part of ‘the system.’