The Chapel Of Saint Kentigern Formally Re-Opened

November 19, 2020 at 4:32 PM

During the latter part of 2019, the Chapel of Saint Kentigern was closed to allow for structural improvements and refurbishments to take place, including removing a wall to open up the foyer, the laying of new carpet and installation of new audio visual equipment to allow the Chapel to continue its vital role in the special character of a Saint Kentigern education.

During the latter part of 2020, a further period of construction took place, adding an extension to the righthand side of the building, changing the profile of the Chapel, to add much-needed toilets.

The Saint Kentigern Trust Board is extremely grateful for the donation of a very substantial grant from the Trustees of the Robert Allan Bell Charitable Trust, in memory of Mr Robert Allan (Dufty) Bell, a former Saint Kentigern Trustee and generous Howick/Pakuranga benefactor. This kind donation has enabled the work to take place.

When the Chapel re-opened for services at the start of this year, the planned ‘formal re-opening,’ to acknowledge the gift, was sadly thwarted when New Zealand was placed in Covid-19 Lockdown. A plaque to commemorate this gift in memory of Mr Bell had been installed inside the entrance to the refurbished Chapel and finally today, we were able to offer our thanks in a service dedicated to the Robert Allan Bell Charitable Trust.

The Robert Allan Bell Charitable Trust commenced in 1967 with funding bequeathed by Robert Bell. It was established to support religious, educational and charitable purposes within New Zealand, a reflection of the importance of education and philanthropy to Mr Bell. His siblings, Elsie Bell and David Thomson Bell, had earlier made substantial bequests of their own to Saint Kentigern College for bursaries and fee assistance for students in the event of hardship.

Today, we welcomed Jim Chamley, who has been a Trustee since the inception of the Trust, along with fellow Trustees Anne Chamley and Grahame Thorne. Founder Trustees of Saint Kentigern, Graham Redding, Alan Burton and David McCulloch, were also in attendance, along with the former Chair and Vice-Chair of the Trust Board, Dr John Kernohan and Mrs Rosemary Harris, and other invited guests.

Leading the service, College Chaplain, Reverend David Smith addressed the Robert Allan Bell Trustees saying, ‘On behalf of Saint Kentigern College, may I say how delighted we are to finally have you with us to celebrate the-opening of this beautifully renovated and refurbished place and space - the Chapel of Saint Kentigern. As Chaplain, I am particularly grateful. Our Saint Kentigern College story is a good story, and through your generosity as Trustees of the Robert Allan Bell Charitable Trust, you are now very much part of this story.’

Reverend Smith recounted the early beginnings when the College opened in 1953 on what was then farmland. The neighbouring farmer was Dufty Bell, and so began his connection. In 1956, Dufty was appointed to the Saint Kentigern Trust Board and served until 1973. Initially only a small portion of the College land was used for education and Dufty was particularly involved with oversight of the College farm – and the development of the playing fields.

It was during the tenure of the first Headmaster, Rev Dr Adam MacFarlan, that the Christian ethos of the College was firmly established and his dream to build a Chapel was fulfilled. Whilst much has changed in the ensuing 67 years since the College opened, some things have remained unchanged. Our motto, ‘Fides servanda est – Keep the Faith’ – and our Mission Statement, ‘To provide education which inspires students to strive for excellence in all areas of life for the glory of God and the service of others' remain at the heart of all we do. The Chapel holds services throughout the week for our College students, and students and families from all our schools enjoy dedicated weekend services. It is at Chapel that our students and their families are encouraged to think about life, love, faith and relationships, and it is where our core values of Respect, Integrity, Service Excellence and Love are inculcated.

In giving final thanks, Reverend Smith said, ‘To you, the Trustees of the Robert Allan Bell Charitable Trust, we express our utmost gratitude for your very meaningful contribution to our ongoing story.’

At the conclusion of the service, Mr Chamley was called on to unveil the plaque, saying what a privilege it was to have this honour in the memory of Dufty Bell.

We now look ahead to July 2022 when the Chapel will celebrate its 50th Anniversary as part of Saint Kentigern’s ongoing story.

To learn more about the gift to the Chapel by the Robert Allan Bell Charitable Trust, click here to read the article published in the June 2020 copy of Saint Kentigern’s Piper magazine.

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