Stowe was established in a particular context of Christian Faith, as expressed through the Church of England. Protestant and Evangelical in its declared foundation, the 21st Century School now embraces pupils, their families and the whole staff community who comprise many Christian traditions, as well as contemporary World Faiths and philosophies.
In the centre of Stowe stands the magnificent Chapel, large enough for the School to gather, yet also able to offer intimate spaces for prayer, meditation and conversation.
The Chaplain offers and celebrates worship, and is also integral to pastoral care, alongside Senior, House, Medical and Counselling Staff. There is also visiting in Houses, Charitable initiative and support, and an intention for an overall approachable presence and availability.
On Sundays, the boarding community gathers for either Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer; on Mondays, the whole School gathers for the Head’s Assembly, which is not an act of worship; on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the School gathers for a short Service before classes. A short prayerful Communion is celebrated on the first Sunday and last Sunday of term, after the Morning Prayer service.
A new service called ‘Praise in the Nave’ – an informal service with contemporary worship songs - was introduced last year and is proving very popular and will be happening in chapel at least once every term. Confirmation is offered at the school within the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions. We regularly have 50 students who attend confirmation preparation classes.
All Stoics come to whole-School Chapel where inclusion, openness and prayerful encounter is clear. We actively encourage students to take part in leading House chapels, taking part in sketches and creative readings, readings and prayers. This year we have introduced ‘Chapel Sing’ on Friday mornings where students learn new hymns and contemporary songs in a fun way. The School Choir is of a very high standard and sings an anthem or song each Sunday that follows the theme of the service. The magnificent organ is played by our Chapel Organist and organ students, and is regularly joined by the Chapel Brass ensemble to lead the community in song.
All celebrations and commemorations are grounded in Christian Faith, whilst seeking both to be spiritually-encouraging and yet down-to-earth.
The Revd Tim Mullins, BA Durham, Cert Theology, Oxford