Memorable Sermons

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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Martin
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Memorable Sermons

Post by Martin » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:14 pm

Although I can only remember one sermon from my years at CH, the thread’s plural title may encourage comments on other sermons (and this one too, of course).

Sometime in the mid 1950s there was a visiting preacher, Colonel Heck (or some such name). He was a US Army Chaplain, with a loud voice and commanding personality. Both were effective at the western end of Chapel, where my house was seated.

His opening words were riveting. “If I had the money and I had the time I would build a monument. It would be of solid granite and would be half a mile wide, half a mile deep and half a mile high. On it I would write in large letters, ‘SAMSON – A FAILURE’". The rest of the sermon, about Samson’s spiritual ups and downs, was much less memorable.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by Foureyes » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:24 pm

That ties in almost exactly with my memories of that sermon - memorial of granite, Sampson a Failure - spot on. He was certainly American; I thought he was a bishop, but could be mistaken. I also seem to remember that he banged on for about 50 minutes, which even with his stentorian voice, was a bit too long. One of the few preachers to take my mind off those ghastly Brangwn paintings, though!
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by DavidRawlins » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:16 am

It must have been the early fifties as I remember it as well. I think that he envisaged the whole school helping him to build that wall.
Another sermon of which I have a partial memory was that of a rather dry man who at the beginning read out his text, and said that he had 5 points to make. He droned on and on, and finally said ' in conclusion'; a sigh of relief went round chapel, and he summed up. He then said 'My second point is'.
The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Bell, had a high pitched voice, and in the sermon of which I have some memories kept saying What shall the righteous do when the ' - I can not remember the nature of the calamity.
Corks sermons were a completely different kettle of fish. They were amusing and short - much more suitable for a school. I can not remeber any!
Col A 1946-1953

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by phyllis » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:44 am

The chaplain many will remember from Hertford days was the Rev Walker but even more may remember a sermon preached by his elderly father, in which he thumped the pulpit and said 'It made my boil blood'. Naturally we laughed, or more probably, sniggered and ended up being upbraided in many school lesons afterwards for making fun of the old man.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by John Knight » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:01 pm

Martin wrote:Sometime in the mid 1950s there was a visiting preacher, Colonel Heck (or some such name)
Yes, I remember him... not because of his sermon but because he had an initial of "O"

The previous week the Headmaster (HLO Flecker) had announced that Col. 'O Heck' was to visit... much laughter in chapel ...
Prep B 49 / Barnes B 39 - 1946-1952

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by J.R. » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:40 pm

I can honestly say that I don't remember ANY sermons from my CH days.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:29 pm

I remember a number of preachers, but next to nothing of what they said. David Herbert's father, the Bishop of Norwich, preached once, as did David Sheppard the cricketing priest.

I do remember two things from sermons preached by resident clergy. Arthur Pullin started one sermon thus:

When I saw pictures of the Soviet leadership the other day, my first thought was: 'This lot are past praying for.' [laughter]. What a wicked thought, what a wicked, wicked thought. [dead silence] (None of God's creation was 'past praying for'.)

And Lloyd Whitfeld once preached a sermon which included thoughts on why we didn't applaud the choir when they sang an anthem. It was, he said, because we, as the congregation, were not the audience, but among the performers. God was the audience, and we might hope, said Whitfeld, that he would applaud our performance.
I think this was the most perspicacious thought I ever heard in a school sermon.

Seaman once preached a sermon on the text of Job 41:1 'Canst thou draw out leviathan with a fishhook?' (Was he trying to emulate Alan Bennett in 'Beyond the Fringe'?) In it he used the word 'ratiocination' which even I as a Grecian hadn't heard before.
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by Oliver » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:16 pm

The Reverend Tubby Clayton, a chaplain in the trenches of the First World War, is probably unknown to most readers. He was a co-founder of Toc H, an unusual very broad Christian Fellowship organisation, which arose from experiences in that war and provided a haven for all ranks behind the lines, with opportunities to meet other soldiers never otherwise encountered socially. Toc H spread in the decades after the war to provide comradeship and support for many in the poor areas of Britain and in other nations. Tubby Clayton was famous for this, for his work on behalf of West African lepers and for his efforts to aid poor Londoners, who had lost everything in the Blitz of the Second World War.

He had been invited by the headmaster, Dr WH Fyfe, to preach in Chapel at one Sunday Evensong and his sermon was apparently memorable. However its opening was even more so. In the words of BK Wallace (Col A, 1919-26, previously quoted in the ‘Pranks in Chapel’ thread),

“Tubby, in spite of marked myopia had ridden down from London on his motor-cycle on a rainy Sunday afternoon, arriving at Housey in soaking wet trousers. Hamilton Fyfe lent him a pair, so Tubby prefaced his talk by saying, “Standing as I am in the trousers of a better man than I …” He stirred us”.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by John Saunders » Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:46 pm

I remember Colonel O Heck. I thought his name most apt! In addition the mention of Bishop Bell reminds me of the time he preached a sermon which included "the valley of dry BONES".His voice must have ascended a further two octaves. Most comic.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by eucsgmrc » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:25 pm

John Saunders wrote:... Bishop Bell ... preached a sermon which included "the valley of dry BONES" ... Most comic.
I never knew that! Could it have been the origin of the Coleridge A tradition that reading the valley of dry bones passage at evening duty was hysterically funny? Of course, it was absolutely taboo for any member of the house actually to laugh (or even smirk), otherwise the mighty wrath of Kit Aitken would descend. Consequently it was impossible not to laugh, even though the bible verses are in no way intrinsically funny.
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by BroadieMan » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:25 pm

I only remember one. Mr Aldridge, the RS teacher decided the best topic for a sermon was the allegorical nature of Star Trek. Surprisingly it went down quite well, not least because his shaggy hair, beard and glasses made it seem perfectly natural for him to be preaching on the subject.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by Eruresto » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:21 pm

BroadieMan wrote:I only remember one. Mr Aldridge, the RS teacher decided the best topic for a sermon was the allegorical nature of Star Trek. Surprisingly it went down quite well, not least because his shaggy hair, beard and glasses made it seem perfectly natural for him to be preaching on the subject.
My most memorable sermons have to be those by current Assistant Chaplain and soon-to-be deacon, Mr. Ian Howard. One of the few people I have seen manage to command the entire school as he variously played the guitar, dressed as Francis of Assisi (complete with bare feet - on the stone chapel floor! and Italian accent).
Joshua Bell: PeA 2002-2008, GrW 2008-9

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by BroadieMan » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:17 pm

Eruresto wrote:
BroadieMan wrote:I only remember one. Mr Aldridge, the RS teacher decided the best topic for a sermon was the allegorical nature of Star Trek. Surprisingly it went down quite well, not least because his shaggy hair, beard and glasses made it seem perfectly natural for him to be preaching on the subject.
My most memorable sermons have to be those by current Assistant Chaplain and soon-to-be deacon, Mr. Ian Howard. One of the few people I have seen manage to command the entire school as he variously played the guitar, dressed as Francis of Assisi (complete with bare feet - on the stone chapel floor! and Italian accent).
Oh yeah! I can't believe I forgot his performances! They were amazing! St Francis was one of his best, but there were loads of others.
I believe there was also that performance of some sort by Gene Simmons I saw on Rock School, but you'd know about it better than I would, eh? I'm a few years too young for that.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by dsmg » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:04 am

Don't remember many sermons but I do remember Newsome tearing us off a strip in assembly, ranting on about spitting. He started: Globules, gentlemen.
Play up Pompey!

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:18 am

That is Newsome all over.

Clarence by contrast would always begin his messages in assembly with the words 'It has come to my notice...'
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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