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29th June 2020

Lockdown Chapel Remains at the Heart of Oakham Daily Life

Chapel has remained at the heart of Oakham’s daily life during lockdown, continuing to provide pastoral support to the School community. Oakham’s Chaplain, Father Tim Tregunno, said: “Keeping to a routine is an important way to cope with the unpredictability of life, even more so during a pandemic, so with the support of staff and pupils, we devised various ways to offer moments of quiet reflection and times to come together as a community within the School week.”

On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays there have been the ‘thought for the day’ messages from members of staff, broadcast at morning roll call in Houses. Themes have ranged from Courage to Friendship and Kindness to Laughter with a wide range of cultural references thrown in to illustrate the theme. “Twenty-two members of staff each gave us a 90-second blast of thought to kickstart the day,” add Father Tim. “They have certainly been eclectic – in the final week of term for example there were references to the Roman poet Horace, Eddie Izzard’s view on mice, Nannie McPhee and Michael Jordan’s mum!”

In the middle of the week we had the Wednesday morning hymn practice or ‘Congo’ as it is more familiarly known. Pupils and staff were able to put their practice into action in the Friday morning Chapel services. As Father Tim describes; “Mr Davis’s Morning Congo has been a chance for everyone to get those lungs moving. The chance to sing together, although apart, has been much appreciated throughout the school community.”

Father Tim’s creativity while the Chapel is physically closed has extended to performing the Sunday Eucharist on his coffee table, covering his walls with prayer cards that have been emailed through and lighting devotional candles on his mantelpiece. The virtual Chapel has also remained the focus for some of the big community moments of the year. At the end of the Spring Term we had a virtual Easter Service and on the final day of the school year the Leavers’ Service.  Father Tim’s highlight of the term was the poignant yet uplifting 75th Anniversary of VE Day Service – as he describes, given “the raison d’etre for the Chapel and we couldn’t be there. Even so, the music was epic, the names of the fallen OOs heartbreaking and Mr Roberts’ sermon on ‘the most remarkable generation’ was profoundly moving.”

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