Being a Cathedral school, King’s has an active chaplaincy across the Pre-Preparatory, Preparatory and Senior schools.
The Chaplain is an ordained priest in the Church of England and oversees the spiritual life of the school, co-ordinating daily acts of worship as well as the more significant celebrations that are held throughout the year. The close links with Rochester Cathedral mean that King’s pupils are privileged to be able to use the Cathedral as their chapel throughout the week, and on certain occasions at the weekend. The School traces its origins back to the original consecration of the Cathedral in 604AD before the present building was initiated by Bishop Gundulf in 1080. The re-foundation of the school that took place under Henry VIIIth in 1541 followed a turbulent time for the life of the Cathedral as Saint Andrew’s Priory was dissolved and the King’s School began. The rich history of both institutions is therefore very much linked, and pupils benefit from the close relationship of Cathedral and School on a daily basis. Services in the Cathedral encourage pupils and staff to take time out of the busy day to think, pray and worship in this awe-inspiring setting.
The Chaplaincy team involves the full-time Chaplain, the Rev’d Stephen Padfield, who teaches in the Senior school and is a Priest-Vicar of the Cathedral, and a Lay Assistant Chaplain, Mrs Emma Parren.
The weekly routine involves the Senior school meeting for a main service on a Monday morning, alternating Matins with the Eucharist, and the Preparatory school doing the same on Tuesday mornings. Thursday and Friday mornings the Senior school holds a shorter Morning Prayer where staff and students volunteer to offer a thought-for-the-day reflection. Services are supported by the Chapel Prefect, who helps organise services, and by the Head Server who co-ordinates the serving team.
In addition to the weekly service pattern, Scholars and Boarders attend six King’s Sundays a year when we join with the local Cathedral congregation. In addition, we hold our Commemoration service early in September, Remembrance services in November, Carol services in December, Ash Wednesday and Holy week services in the Lent term, and Easter and End of Year celebrations with Speech Days in the Mid-Summer term. Every other year we hold a Confirmation service, where members of the Senior and Preparatory schools can choose to be confirmed. This is taken by the Bishop of Rochester.
As a Christian foundation, the school takes seriously its historic traditions as well as acknowledging the importance of faith and spirituality in the twenty-first century. Pupils come from various faith and non-faith backgrounds, but all are encouraged to find their own spirituality and inner life through the Christian based services which bring the various schools together. The open religious tradition of School and Cathedral honours individual expressions of faith and reason and seeks to inspire and challenge pupils to think about important religious, ethical, moral and philosophical ideas. The ethos of the school is underpinned by its association to the Woodard Corporation of Schools.
The Chaplain is an important part of the pastoral network offered to pupils, staff and parents, and is available to help support pupils who may be facing particular difficulties.
You can contact the School Chaplain by emailing him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting Senior School Reception.