Boys and Girls : 13 - 18 : Boarding
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We often tell visitors that the Chapel is ‘the heart of the School’. This is not just a way to sell Uppingham to them; we genuinely believe the statement is true. Most obviously, Chapel is physically the heart of the School: an imposing and beautiful Victorian space with a clever twentieth-century extension, set right in the middle of the Main School site. Every Uppinghamian walks past and through the Chapel every day, and in many ways it is the emblem of the place.
Secondly, Chapel is emotionally the heart of the School: the place in which the entire community gathers five times a week and forges a sense of itself as ‘Uppingham’. Singing together with unashamed heartiness of which we are proud, Chapel is the place where the newest pupil becomes part of the family.
Lastly - but most importantly - Chapel is spiritually the heart of the School: a building which embodies the Christian faith on which Uppingham was founded and aspires to live today. It is a place to sit and be still; a place to reflect critically and ask questions; and a place to challenge ourselves about the part we have been given to play.
Some people might question the appropriateness of teenagers today being obliged to attend Chapel. It is true that many Uppingham pupils (and staff) would not claim any kind of Christian faith. Nonetheless, we believe that the tradition celebrated here offers a deep resource which everyone can tap. Whether you are passionate about the value of humanity, in awe at the mysteries of the universe, or puzzling the moral complexity of modern life, we think you will find something in Chapel to make you think and give you hope. Chapel remains the heart of what Uppingham is, and seeks to become.
Chapel is taken seriously at Uppingham, but is not pompous or without humour. We try very hard to ensure it is not boring either! Glorious architecture, wonderful music and intelligent preaching all help make the experience a positive one. While not every teenager thrills to an 8.30 start in the morning, Uppinghamians are, in general, very positive about the experience and prone to fits of ‘Chapel nostalgia’ when they leave.
Within this pattern, Commendation Assembly, at the end of each half term, celebrates pupils’ varied successes and achievements. Chapel also marks various significant days in the School’s life and history. New Pupils’ & Parents’ Evensong introduces the next generation of Uppinghamians to the School. Remembrance Sunday allows us to remember hundreds from the School who, with so many others, lost their lives in war. The Advent and Christmas Carol Services are candle-lit, with stunning music from the choirs and a real ‘tingle-factor’. The annual School Confirmation Service always sees large numbers of candidates marking a significant step in their awareness of faith. And The Borth Service, in May, remembers Uppingham’s evacuation to North Wales in 1876, to escape bad drains and an outbreak of typhoid. It’s more cheerful than it sounds!
The School is a Christian foundation in the Anglican tradition, but we welcome pupils from backgrounds of all faiths, and greatly value the perspectives they bring. While Chapel attendance is expected of all pupils, worship in the Chapel is conducted in an inclusive spirit, which looks for the best in all traditions. In rare instances in which a pupil may find himself or herself unable to participate in particular words or practices, this will be respected. It is the job of the Chaplain to see that the spiritual needs of all pupils are met, so far as is practical, and any difficulties or concerns can be sympathetically discussed with him.
© 2012 Uppingham School
Registered Charity No: 1147280