Jubilee Chapel Service

March 19, 2018 at 11:24 AM

A joyous weekend of celebration culminated with a Sunday morning chapel service to give thanks for 65 years of achievement at Saint Kentigern College.  Sunlight streamed through the stained glass windows as the Chapel filled with those with close ties to Saint Kentigern.  

College Chaplain, Reverend David Smith offered a special welcome to all on behalf of our two College Principals, Senior College Principal, Mrs Suzanne Winthrop and Middle College Principal, Mr Duncan McQueen. In particular, we were pleased to be joined by former Executive Head, Mr Warren Peat (2001 – 2008) and his wife, Gwyneth; former Head of College, Mr Steve Cole (2009-2016); former long-serving Deputy Head, Mr Jack Paine (1954-1992)and his family;along with Chair and Deputy Chair of the Trust Board, Mr John Kernohan and Mrs Rosemary Harris. 

The service opened with Year 12 soloist, Christina Middelbeek-Harrison giving a confident delivery of a Bob Dylan number made popular by Adele, ‘Make You Feel My Love.’ This was followed by the congregation rising to sing ‘Be Thou My Vision’ and ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ – two hymns that are frequently sung and enjoyed by students at College chapels throughout the year. 

Reverend Smith’s chapels are renowned for being student-centred with universal appeal. The Jubilee Service was no different as Jacob Borland-Lye, Matthew Farnell, Harrison Griffiths and Vincent Judson-Leitch came forward in a take-off of a well-loved Monty Python skit with each ‘gentleman’ recalling just how tough his childhood was, each trying to outdo the other with more and more far-fetched assertions. Reverend Smith summed it up saying, ‘It’s interesting how we sometimes remember the past.’ 

The first reading came from Deuteronomy 26.1-10and was read by Reverend Barrie Keenan, student No.140 and the first Old Collegian of the College to be ordained as a Presbyterian minister. Rev Keenan was followed by our Premier Choir, Kentoris. Our choristers have developed immeasurably in recent years under the tutelage of former student, now Director of Choirs, Mr Lachlan Craig. They performed a new work by American composer Thomas LaVoy, ‘Neither the Moon by Night’ based on Psalm 121.  This was especially commissioned for the College and the students performed the piece so beautifully it drew spontaneous applause. 

Chapel Prefect, Selena Chen took the second reading from Job 28.12-28. This was the reading given by the first Headmaster, Rev Adam MacFarlan at the very first assembly on the day the College opened in 1953. ‘But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?’   

Reverend Smith offered thanks for our special weekend and asked that we, as a community, count our blessings.  The ‘Rev’ as he is affectionately known at College, gave a slightly cheeky recap of the last 65 years looking at the changing landscape and people who have been part of our history. A recurring theme of the weekend was that whilst many things have changed, so have many things stayed the same and he quoted from Reverend Dr Adam MacFarlan’s report from 1954 - the end of the second year of the College. 

‘Whatever the ultimate size of Saint Kentigern, the foundations are already laid – hard work, clean sport, good manners and reverence for the things of God. This is a Church School, a religious foundation, and in it our Christian heritage has to be preserved and enlarged. We owe much to those men of vision who started the School and those who have worked hard and given generously to build it up. They have faith in us, and that faith must be kept. That after all is our motto – ‘Fides servanda Est.’

Reverend Dr Adam MacFarlan 

There is a well-known story at College about the Rev’s ‘dabble with chemistry’ when preparing for one of his Chapels – the subsequent need to replace the Chapel carpet will be ‘one of those stories’ that will go down in history! Rev Smith used a chemistry analogy to review advancements at the College in recent years, saying that our success has not been up to chance but rather due to ‘turning up the heat,’ an intentional, committed and dedicated effort keep ‘heating, reheating and heating again’ the values and ideals that are so important to us as one of Australasia’s leading church schools. As we look to the future he said, ‘With God’s amazing grace, what can stop us?’ 

Another talented vocalist, Year 12 student, Venice Qin sang a powerful rendition of ‘Amazing Grace,’ before the congregation joined voices one final time with ‘Guide me O thou Great Jehovah’ – one of Adam MacFarlan’s favourite hyms. 

In his closing prayer, Reverend Smith said, ‘Gracious God, we thank you for the weekend, for the celebration of the past and the present. And now, as we look to the future with hope and expectation, we pray for all those who currently hold the baton that they will continue to lead us with courage and wisdom. 

Following Chapel, a smiling congregation joined together for morning tea and fellowship in the Goodfellow Centre; a time to reflect back on a milestone in the history of the College.


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