Christ’s Hospital was founded in 1552 partly in response to a sermon preached by Nicholas Ridley, the Bishop of London, before King Edward VI in which he drew the young King’s attention to the plight of homeless children in the City of London. Since then the Christian character of the Foundation and School has remained a constant in the life of Christ’s Hospital for over four and a half centuries.
The Christ’s Hospital Collect reminds us of our history:
We praise thee, O God, for thy servants, who at our Foundation, saw thee in the hungry, naked and cold who had lain too long abroad in the streets of London, and provided refreshment and lodging in this Hospital; help us so to be encouraged by their example that we in our time may be such good, faithful and hearty friends of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The School’s Mission Statement speaks of the aspiration “to present to its pupils the Christian faith in all its mystery and splendour.” Our emphasis is on the love of God for each person and we make every effort to be as inclusive as possible whilst also remaining true to our history and tradition.
The Chaplaincy Team is always available to listen to and support pupils and staff across the whole school community.
The Chapel, with its powerful Organ and colourful Brangwyn murals, is at the heart of the school and provides an inspiring space for our regular Sunday and weekly services. The year is punctuated by special occasions with Remembrance Sunday, Carols and the Leaving Service creating particular high points. There are voluntary opportunities during each week including Holy Communion, Candlelit Night Prayer and Chapel Quiet Time. Confirmation Preparation takes place annually and the Bishop of Horsham presides over the Confirmation Service. The Christian Union meets weekly to encourage each other and for bible study and discussion.
In Chapel we think together about issues that are important for us all:
What kind of character do I want to develop?
What difference for good could I make in the world?
Is God real and can God be known and loved?
Visiting speakers, such as John Lennox, Baroness Cox and Christina Noble, help us to reflect on these issues.
Gathering together in Chapel enables us to feel part of the school community as we share in silence, offer our prayers, sing heartily and listen to our impressive Choir.
Our Chapel Charities challenge us to look beyond ourselves and to engage in compassionate action both in the UK and abroad. Lifting our sights to eternal realities helps us all to broaden our horizons and to see life in perspective. A hymn that is sung with great passion at our Leaving Service encapsulates this expanded vision:
How shall I sing that Majesty which angels do admire?
Let dust in dust and silence lie; sing, sing, ye heavenly choir.
Thousands of thousands stand around thy throne, O God most high;
ten thousand times ten thousand sound thy praise; but who am I?
On leaving, Grecians (Year 13 students) are presented with a bible to remind them of their school’s continuing commitment to the message found within its pages: a message that encourages us to explore all that it means to live fully and well.