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Our Faith and The Chapel

The beautiful 13th century building we use as our chapel was originally the guest house of the Priory of St Martin and was consecrated as the School Chapel when Dover College was founded in 1871.

Any member of the school – pupil, teacher or support staff, is welcome to spend time in this quiet space.

The building is open during normal school hours and music and candles make it a place of reflection and peace.

“Chapel is respected and you can go in whenever you want to light a candle to remember someone. It is very peaceful so if it is stressful you can go in there to get away. Not everyone likes the services but no one complains about it – because it is part of the School.” Year 10 International pupil.

The chaplain is always available to chat over any worries or problems that a pupil or member of staff may wish to share.

Dover College has a Christian foundation but pupils of all faiths are welcomed, as are those who profess no faith. Being together in Chapel encourages our sense of community and gives us a chance to reflect both on our own lives and those of our friends and families and the world.

Here is what a parent said about Chapel (verbatim): “I’m not at all religious but I love Chapel, I mean, my daughter is not a Chapel going girl at all, but when she was asked what she would actually miss the most, it was Chapel, not from a religious point of view, not from a Christian point of view, but from a community point of view… yes, a family unit and that’s for Remembrance Sunday and for Harvest Festival and for those kind of things. It is a community thing, which is perhaps, slightly hypocritical but, you know, I think that’s what the kids may not see it as now that they’re in year 7, 8, 9 or whatever, but I think when they look back retrospectively, it will have given them… even if they don’t take the religious part of it, it will have given them some kind of spiritual side.” Year 7 parent.

All pupils attend short services regularly through the week. There are services on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when pupils and members of Common Room often address the whole school. On Friday afternoons the school also comes together for a short evening service modelled on the office of evensong. At this service the choir sings an anthem before the school breaks up for the day.

The Infant and Junior School have their own chapel services on Wednesday and Friday mornings when members of the Junior School lead the time spent together. Friday morning sees many parents attending. Personal achievements are celebrated and special certificates are awarded.

The whole school attends a Sunday morning service at the beginning of each term and other special services are held throughout the term to which everyone is invited.

Remembrance Day and Prize Day find the Chapel full to overflowing and at the end of the Michaelmas Term the whole school with family and friends fills the parish church of St Mary’s in Dover for the traditional service of nine lessons and carols.

Each year pupils are prepared for Baptism and Confirmation into the Church of England. The Confirmation Service usually takes place early in the summer term, when a visiting bishop confirms candidates.

Our Chaplain’s vision

by the new Chaplain The Rev. Canon Toby Marchand.

SONY DSCI see my role at Dover College as being a visible presence for Christianity among the many people and activities that make up the College. I hope that I might play some small part in affirming all that is good about the College’s attitude to education, to the respecting of every individual, and to the building up of confidence in the young.

My role is to help relate those good things to the basic message of Jesus Christ and the religion that bears his name. So, bringing forward issues of justice, care for the planet, support for the weak, the conquest of evil, and the understanding of tragedies and how to cope with them would all be part of my brief.

I would try to do that through Assemblies, preaching at major occasions in the College’s life, being available for private talks and conversations and, more specifically, through the running of Confirmation groups for those seeking to make a commitment to Jesus Christ.