Chapel is the physical heart of the school, and also its emotional heart; the core of our identity and what we seek to become.
Physically, our chapel is a beautiful Victorian building with a striking 20th-century extension, set right at the centre of the main school. Every Uppinghamian walks past and through the chapel every day, making it an enduring symbol of the place for everyone.
Emotionally, it is the one place where the entire community gathers five times a week; where we sing together with unabashed heartiness, and where every pupil feels part of the family. Chapel provides a collective experience that creates a sense of shared identity, ethos and purpose. It offers a secure, caring foundation from which pupils feel emboldened to venture out, to explore the world and themselves
Most importantly, chapel is the spiritual heart of the school.
It is a building that embodies the Christian faith on which Uppingham was founded, and which continues to inspire us today. It is a place to sit and be still, to think and reflect; a place to ask questions and challenge ourselves.
While many Uppingham pupils (and staff) would not claim any kind of Christian faith, we believe that the stability and traditions represented by chapel remain as valuable and relevant as ever. Whether you are passionate about the value of humanity, awed by the mysteries of the universe, or puzzled by the moral complexities of modern life, chapel can help you to process your ideas, give you space to think, and offer comfort and hope.
Pupils forge a deep affection for chapel – for its glorious architecture, wonderful music and thoughtful preaching. Hymn-singing is a particularly distinctive feature – always enthusiastic and joyful. We sing hymns every time we get together. It’s so popular and uniquely Uppinghamian that even the Leavers’ Ball begins with hymn singing.
Weekly chapel events
|Monday||Headmaster's assembly, celebrating pupil successes and achievements|
|Tuesday||Holy Communion (voluntary)|
|Wednesday||Short talk by the chaplains|
|Thursday||Led by a member of staff or, frequently, pupils, addressing topical issues|
|Friday||'Congers', practising hymns for the forthcoming week, indulging a spirit of fierce competition between houses for the quality of their singing|
|Sunday||Sunday service, often with a visiting preacher|
Chapel also marks significant days in the school’s history. Remembrance Sunday allows us to remember hundreds from the school who lost their lives in war. Advent and Christmas Carol services are candle-lit, with stunning music from the choirs. The annual Confirmation Service sees large numbers of candidates marking a significant step in their awareness of faith. And the Borth Service remembers Uppingham’s evacuation to North Wales in 1876, to escape bad drains and an outbreak of typhoid (the service is more cheerful than it sounds!)
Pupils of other faiths and of none
The school is a Christian foundation in the Anglican tradition, but we welcome pupils from all faith backgrounds, and greatly value the perspectives they bring. While all pupils are expected to attend chapel, worship is conducted in an inclusive spirit which looks for the best in all traditions. We respect the rare instances in which a pupil may find himself or herself unable to participate in particular words or practices. It is the job of the chaplain to see that the spiritual needs of all pupils are met, and he is always happy to discuss any difficulties or concerns.