On Thursday 26 May, the Chapel at the School was consecrated in a service that had been postponed since March 2020. The congregation filled the John Colet Hall to capacity, and included Mercers, Governors, staff (past and present), OPs, parents, pupils and local clergy.
Two bishops led different parts of the service: the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, The Lord Bishop of London, presided and consecrated the Chapel, recognising the historic links since John Colet to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Diocese of London; the Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston, (with his clergy) represented the Bishop of Southwark, recognising that the school is now geographically in his diocese.
In addition, the Rt Revd. Michael Colclough, former Bishop of Kensington, who preached the sermon, is Chaplain to the Mercers’ Company and so embodied the School’s continued connection with the Company. The Rt Revd Richard Atkinson, the Bishop of Bedford, an Old Pauline (OP 1971-67), read the Gospel. The School Chaplain, Revd Matthew Knox, and the Chair of Governors, Richard Cassell (OP 1968-72), took important roles in the service, along with the High Master, Sally-Anne Huang, who read from the Great Bible of 1541.
The need for a space set apart for worship goes back to the school’s founder, John Colet, who put forward his purpose for this School in his Statutes: “My intent is by this school specially to increase knowledge and worshipping of God and our Lord Christ Jesu and good Christian life and manners.” To fulfil this aim, he set aside perpetual funds for a Chaplain to lead worship and to teach all students the Catechism; he ordained that students at this school say daily prayers, and provided liturgical resources; and he left his estate to the Mercers because he thought that they were God-fearing and God-loving, and that they loved this school.
The School is grateful for the contribution generously given by Alan Rind (OP 1954-59) to furnish the new Chapel. The furniture was designed and engineered by Luke Hughes (OP 1969-74).