We caught up with Revd. Tim Hall, St David's School Chaplain to find out how School Chapel services have evolved to suit the COVID climate and how to we have extended the pastoral care that the Chaplaincy offers.
"Since the return to live school, the Chaplaincy has altered the Sunday evening Chapel services. As an initial solution to operating in bubbles and taking advantage of the lighter evenings, the new ‘Chapel Walk’ plan has created so many opportunities for pupils within the school boarding community to reconnect with one another, their teachers, Housemasters, and the Chaplaincy team. Quiet chats, lively interactions, and laughter have all been key to this new approach.
Our emphasis this term, as a school, was to use the outdoors as much as we could and in many different ways. Taking Chapel outside seemed such a natural way to fit in with our overall thinking. Creating bubble walks at different times and made appropriate for the pupil ages, has been made possible by our Chaplaincy Team.
One of my goals during lockdown was to make the Chaplaincy visible – to make prayer visible. We’ve had to work quite hard with that in our online assemblies and Chapel services and one of the ways that I wanted to make prayer visible was by walking the bounds of the school. When it came to thinking of the best way to organise outdoor Chapel, I thought that walking the bounds and sharing the experience that I had had with the pupils would be a really good way to do it. And then one of the prayer routines that I got involved in during Lockdown has been Lectio 365. This is a pattern for prayer which is P for pause, R for reflect, A for ask, and Y for yield. In trying to learn about prayer, if we use that mnemonic and pattern each week then perhaps how to pray might become embedded in us and something we can recall easily when we feel we want to pray. Wherever you are, you pause and think. You can reflect upon something positive, ask God to be involved, and get to the point where you can yield and ask God for help and support.
While we walk as a group on the Chapel walks, people naturally pair off or separate into small groups. To begin to walk alongside a pair or small group has meant I have conversations I would not otherwise have had – it has been a real privilege. While you are walking, it’s not as intense as chatting in a room but the conversations can go deeper – walking and talking just works! You are free and you don’t have to look someone in the eye. It’s a very relaxed and easy process. That’s what happened in the Emmaus Road story that I shared with the staff. The two men walking were so engrossed and when the third person joined them, they were all three so involved in their conversation that the two men didn’t recognise the third was Jesus until they stopped to eat. Perhaps all deep conversations should happen while walking? Perhaps deeper conversations can happen while walking?"