Should Christ's Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

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sejintenej
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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by sejintenej » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:28 pm

Foureyes wrote:Concerning which version of the Bible, there is only one woth bothering about in the English language. When I was receiving lessons from a Jesuit priest he asked if I had a Bible and I told him I did, so he asked me to bring it in next time (I think it was some sort of a test). On my producing my Housie Bible he remarked, first, on the beauty of the book itself (one of the old thick-covered versions) and then on the text, which, he told, me was the version he always used himself.
:shock:
AIUI prior to Vatican II a) if the book didn't have a special seal in the back then RCs couldn't read it and
b) RCs didn't accept the inclusion of the Apocrypha (?sp).

Seeing that I don't swing that way, I don't understand all this stuff about mortal and venal sin. Of course they are almost C of E now so it's a matter of historical debate.

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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by Spoonbill » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:40 am

The reality is, of course, that most kids who end up at CH do so purely because their parents became aware of CH as a school where kids from lower-income homes can get a posh-style education for a pittance.

That’s why they try to get their kids into CH. It has sod all to do with parents wanting an Anglican or Christian education for their kids. They’re just after the good education, delivered in a lush environment.

Not one of my many friends at CH came from a practising Anglican home and I’m guessing that holds pretty good for most kids who get packed off there. Origin-wise, the school may be a Christian foundation, but I find it hard to imagine that that’s why certain (or, indeed, any) parents send their offspring there. In fact, I’m unaware of any public school in Britain which Anglican parents specifically send their kids to because it’s Anglican, in the way that well-heeled Catholic families make a point of sending their kids to specifically Catholic public schools. (At Ampleforth, the education of pupils is deemed by the school authorities to be of only secondary importance. Turning out devout Catholics is the principal purpose of the establishment.)

So I don’t buy the idea that kids at CH are there because of their parents’ religious wishes. And if the kids’ parents don’t give a monkey’s tit about the religious side of things, whose interests do the school authorities believe themselves to be serving by inflicting all that compulsory Christianity on the pupils?

In one of the previous posts on this thread, someone said that in their opinion Christianity wasn’t forced on us at CH, but I would disagree entirely. Compulsory chapel services twice a week for Juniors (plus Chapel Practice); compulsory Compline every week for seniors plus compulsory attendance at the first and last Sunday evening services of each term; highly theatrical Grace both before and after all meals; having a Bible shoved at you when you’re leaving the school; Religious Knowledge lessons provided by Anglican clergy rather than by reassuringly unambiguous teachers..... A strong whiff of agenda, to put it mildly. If there was ever a time when that kind of approach helped prepare young people for the greater world, it was certainly quite a while ago now.

I think CH pupils should be introduced to the Chapel in their first week so they know that it’s there if they want it. True, most pupils won’t want it. But that’s not because they don’t know what’s good for them. It’s because they, like their peers at non-Faith day schools, are just normal kids and should be given the option of being precisely that. Subjecting them to ritual tedium two or three times a week stands to achieve little except ennui, stifled giggling, farting and the passing of notes to break up the monotony. Besides, if Chapel weren’t compulsory, nobody would get punished for being late for it or for giggling and passing notes.

Former members of the choir who have fond memories of their warbling days may well resent the notion of the choir losing its captive audience (and, arguably, its raison d’être), but that really shouldn’t stand in the way of healthy change. By all means let’s preserve the strong tradition of music at Christ’s Hospital....but why does the school choir have to be all churchy? I’ve always loved singing, but apart from the annual House Singing Competition there was precious little on offer to non-music-readers such as myself except the Chapel choir and I was boggered if I was joining that. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the school choir to be mainstream, like the orchestra and the band? Wouldn’t it be great if there’d were a choir recital once a week, featuring a wide array of vocal music? And if some of the choir-members also wish to sing in a separate choir in the Chapel, let that be their choice.

Yes, the school is called Christ’s Hospital. But does that really have to mean pupils being obliged to wear a carefully-selected thistle in their underpants, ostensibly for their own good? The school isn’t meant to be either a punishment posting or a reformatory. If Christianity isn’t compulsory at Christ’s College, Cambridge, or Jesus College, Oxford, why should it be at Christ’s Hospital? The name is just a name, not an ultimatum. (Do the residents of Christchurch have to worship Christ and go to church? Not that I’m aware of.)

Could any person or organisation successfully take legal action against the school if it sought to relax its Anglican ethos with a view to emerging from the pre-First World War era at long last? I’d be interested to know.

I’d also be interested to know what the parents of today’s pupils would decide if asked to vote on the issue. But at the end of the day, the school’s meant to be there for the pupils, not for the parents, so really how fair is it for either the parents or indeed the school governors to settle the pupils’ hash with regard to religious instruction and religious coercion? Maybe it’s time that the state legislated with regard to what private schools can and can’t inflict on their pupils vis a vis religion.

(FOOTNOTE: I’m not a humanist or a secularist or whatever else you may care to call it. I just happen to think that young people should be enabled to make informed decisions on everything under the sun. Education should enable young people to make those informed decisions, but it shouldn’t attempt to make the decisions for them. By all means let young people know what religion is. But let them decide for themselves whether they want in or not. People should be allowed to arrive at being Christian as the end of a personal spiritual journey. Simply forcing young people to go through the motions of Christianity really doesn’t do anybody any credit, does it?)

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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by kerrensimmonds » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:58 am

I think that things may have changed a bit since Spoonbill's day :-

http://www.christs-hospital.org.uk/27-school-chapel.php
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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by J.R. » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:18 pm

jhopgood wrote:
NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote:Since we are on the subject of "Religious Intolerance" ------ Is "Spoonbill" attending Old Blues Day -----

Can we burn him at the stake ? :lol: :lol:
Rump Stake?
OY !!!!

I do the'funnies' !!
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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by J.R. » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:21 pm

sejintenej wrote: Art School with Miss Todd who was, without any doubt, the absolutely most awful boring uninspiring teacher it has been my fate to suffer)
I have to differ there.

I honestly think I'd have gone mad without her in my last couple of years at Horsham !
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:20 pm

We all got the CH Bible AND, of course, it contains the Apocrypha , with wonderful stories of Bel and the Dragon, the history of Susannah, and the Wisdom of Solomon --- part of which is to be read at my Funeral ---- "The Souls of the Righteous, are in the hand of God, and there shall no Torment touch them -- in the sight of the unwise, they seemed to die -- and their departure was taken for Misery ----- but they are with God !" --- I have always liked that -- and I got it from my CH Bible -- not from the NIV which I normally use
I have also threatened -- if anyome sings the 23rd Psalm to "Crimond" -- I'll 'AUNT 'em !
Our Organist has said he will try to work in little bits of it, during his Voluntary -- just to annoy my Spirit ! :lol:

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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by Jo » Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:30 pm

In response to Spoonbill (I'm not quoting his whole posting as it would make mine fill a whole page on its own!):

My experience of CH was that a substantial minority, if not 50%, of students came from practising CofE backgrounds. There were quite a lot of vicars’ daughters, including myself. However, my parents’ primary concern was certainly the quality of education rather than the Christian upbringing, which they were quite capable of giving me themselves.

I agree with you that probably a greater percentage these days are looking for the affordable education, and the CofE ethos is irrelevant for them. I also think your point about the choir is interesting. We certainly only had one choir for both chapel and concerts (aside from a junior choir which was started at some point during my time there). Whilst I don’t think it’s wrong to require a minimum level of chapel attendance, I do think it’s wrong to require those with good voices to spend a significantly longer time in chapel just to indulge their talent and enjoyment of singing. Perhaps separate chapel and school (concert) choirs, though some people would naturally want to be in both??

I think you are being flippant and disingenuous about the name. It’s not just a historical accident with no current relevance, such as Christchurch (though I’m not sure about the Oxbridge colleges). It indicates that there is a long tradition of Christian worship which survives to this day.

I think your underlying question about whose interests the Christian ethos serves is an interesting one, with no easy answer. I suppose one answer is that the Foundation (in the form of its members) still believe the school should be Christian (and specifically CofE), and those charged with the “ownership” (in its loosest form) are the people who can call the tune. I suppose – speaking hypothetically – if there was suddenly a huge uprising of Old Blues who threatened to withdraw funding unless things were changed, then maybe there might be some compromise on the Christian element. But I think that’s highly unlikely – the impression I get from this forum is that those of us who are no longer Christian are a fairly small minority. Although of course this is a self-selecting sample of Old Blues who still retain some affection and wish to remain in contact. There may be thousands out there who aren’t practising Christians.

As an aside, I happen to think that during my time at Hertford I was exposed to some of the worst possible role models of Christian living – SWMNBN being top of the list, but closely followed by a number of others. Which is ironic given the ideals of the place. However, I’m sure that’s something that’s changed over the years and that staff these days are much better role models.

I know Spoonbill has a reputation to maintain, :) :) but I don’t think the questions he asks in this thread are just trolling. I believe that as CH clearly presents itself to parents as a CofE school, then parents and pupils need to accept that there will be expectations about complying with chapel attendance, etc. However, I think the deeper question about who “owns” the traditions and heritage, and if or how this should be changed, is a thought-provoking one.
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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by sejintenej » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:11 pm

J.R. wrote:
sejintenej wrote: Art School with Miss Todd who was, without any doubt, the absolutely most awful boring uninspiring teacher it has been my fate to suffer)
I have to differ there.

I honestly think I'd have gone mad without her in my last couple of years at Horsham !
Does that make you much different; for me it was the earlier years until I learned how to break al the rules and not get punished.

As for so called "Art Classes" never ever were we shown a painting and had explained to us why it was good / bad / indifferent. Never ever were we shown the possible media - gouache, oil, etc. My first memory was being given a large sheet of paper, some water and colour and being told to paint "something". That went on for a long time.

I see so many scenes that I would absolutely love to get down on paper but Miss Todd failed me.

My last term doing so-called art was with a pen and black ink making a drawing each time of my left hand! How many drawings? - as many as there were lessons in the term. I had no instruction - everything went in the bin unseen but when I started engraving glass it came back to me.

I have no doubt that
http://www.retrosixty.co.uk/photos/0417-01.JPG
is "good art" but for the life of me it doesn't do anything for me - and this painting is the result of Miss Todd's teaching! As for
http://www.gac.culture.gov.uk/search/Ob ... _key=19817 (also from her same student) .........
I leave it to the reader's imagination.

Lest anyone get me wrong, I do have quite a few original watercolours for each of which I paid more than BR's paintings seem to cost (somewhere £60 is mentioned) - simply because I like the medium and subject. Whether they are competently painted I have no idea.

JR - the woman did nothing for me apart from the fact that she was one of the two women I had any speaking contact with in my youth (the other also worked at CH) but if it worked for you, OK.
It is hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by Ajarn Philip » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:04 pm

J.R. wrote: OY !!!!
I do the'funnies' !!
Who told you that? :lol:
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by J.R. » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:56 pm

My Grand-Kids ! :drinkers:
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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:42 pm

In my day, religion at CH was fairly hidebound, to start with we still marched to Chapel, which just about symbolizes its status then. There were strange things called "Voluntary Services" in Lent, conducted by a Franciscan, which I never attended. This only began to change after my time when John Robson started camping things up, and the High Church tendency seized hold of the machine.

Then there was talk of something called "Confirmation", which I'd never heard of, and appeared to be some middle-class thing, so I gave it a miss, and no one seemed to mind.

However I had divinity lessons for my first four years with the chaplain Ronald Pullin ("the Chain") and uninspiring though they were, I find I can out-argue almost all the Christians I know on any biblical matter, which was doubtless due to him.
I also got to know Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer before the CofE in its idiocy decided to ditch it.
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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:33 pm

Yes JR -- Grandchildren laugh at one's jokes ---- until, like mine, they are in their 30s ---- they then tend to smile politely and humour the old fool !

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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by Chrissie Boy » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:53 am

With hindsight, the concept of punishing pupils for being late for chapel or for missing chapel strikes me as abhorrent.

It's like something out of the Cromwellian Commonwealth period, isn't it? People having to suffer statutary punishment for not going to church....presumably for the good of their souls. Not a good advertisement for Christianity.

Another thing I felt distinctly uncomfortable with was having to turn out and stand in the Quad on Remembrance Sunday. The whole Poppy Appeal/Remembrance Sunday thing is decidedly questionable at the best of times, I think. Mind you, I for one also feel pretty prickly about this contemporary business of regiments parading through town centres on their return from Afghanistan and Iraq, especially if the local clergy allow themselves to get dragged into the equation. And how anyone can be a chaplain in the Armed Forces is beyond me. Shouldn't such persons devote themselves to encouraging servicemen to quit the services?

There's still a strong whiff of this same old-guard attitude to Christianity at Christ's Hospital, ie if you're a sensible, responsible member of society then you must also be serious about the armed forces, Christianity etc., even though such things are minority pursuits in today's society and with good reason. A hangover from the days of Empire, I think, and not one to be encouraged.

Ditching compulsory Christian practice doesn't equate with undermining society. Trying to hang onto it is rather like refusing to recognise that yesteryear's big heroes, distinguished military men of the British Empire, were actually bully-boys playing an enthusiastic part in oppressing a large part of the world so that it could be exploited financially purely for the benefit of the British government. And the Church of England was definitely part of that show, as were the public schools that kept the Empire supplied with bullies, missionaries and cannon-fodder.

Isn't it time that British public schools took a decision to distance themselves from all that peppery Bloodnok nonsense?

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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by michael scuffil » Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:43 am

Chrissie Boy

Religion is like a spouse, it has to fulfil a variety of functions that are barely compatible.

In the case of a spouse, these were set out neatly by Cranmer: parenting, sex and mutual support.

In the case of religion, I can think of at least:
1. public ritual
2. metaphysical world view
3. ethics
4. private devotion

Even atheist societies seem to need (1); in England the C of E fulfils this function, but it is as you say barely compatible with (3). One might say the same about the Mothers Union stuff you see in churches. Jesus, who was rabidly anti-family, would have been surprised (or perhaps not).

Perhaps we should be like the Far East, where people seem to have different religions at the same time, each fulfilling a certain function in their lives.
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Re: Should Christ’s Hospital Stop Being a Faith School?

Post by Fjgrogan » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:04 pm

How do you justify the claim that Jesus was rabidly anti-family?
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