Dear KES Family:
There is a small room by the entrance to the Chapel where we change and prepare for the service. Each morning when I enter to put on my robe I am invariably greeted by students like Mona Mohamed or James Atwood or Korolos Sawires, as they light the candles and gather the Crucifix for the morning service. Despite the fact that it stopped years ago, my eye is inevitably drawn to an old clock on the wall, frozen in time at 7:05.
I like the fact that there is a place at KES where time stands still.
In this age of rapid change and electronic stimulation, it is soothing to be in a place that stays the same. There are visual and auditory and olfactory touchstones. The smell of the old wood, the feel and creak of the pews, the old School Colours (254 flags), the muted light of the stain glass, the unique resonance of the organ: all these elements create a kind of sensory time capsule. This is both comforting and reassuring, like hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day.
The first hymn we sang this morning pre-dates the origin of the School by 6 years (1782), and the reading from Genesis may date back to Hebrew scripture in the 6th Century BC but it has a timelessness to it that is diminished by giving it a ‘date’. Singing and reading and thinking about things that countless generations have sung and read and pondered before is also comforting. When Reverend Curry asked us this week what it means to be human I could not imagine a more fundamental question, or one that has not been asked since time and human communication began.
Each day our School Prayer invites us to think about such traditional values as “truth, honour, and duty” and “purity of heart”. These are words and concepts that don’t surface in the course of a typical modern teenager’s daily life, and yet there is not a student here who would not recognize their value in themselves or in their friends.
We need anchoring spaces and places and ideas in our lives. No matter what happens during our day we need places of solace, places that are safe, places that allow us to reflect upon life. We need physical and emotional space to find and return to ourselves. We need anchoring connections to those who have gone before. For generations and generations of students the Hensley Memorial Chapel has been this kind of place.