Memorable Sermons

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

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Lorance_09
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by Lorance_09 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:14 am

nice post.

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CHAZ
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by CHAZ » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:46 pm

I remember Newsome's last sermon, must have been 1979? He was a big fan of A.A. Milne and delivered a wonderful sermon which I think was reproduced in an dition of The Blue. Lots of references to Christopher Robin and Pooh.
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by deebs » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:26 pm

There's two that stick in my mind, but I can't remember who gave them. They would have been in the early 80s:

The first was about how the atomic bomb had actually been a fantastic invention as it had saved millions of lives that would otherwise have been lost if Japan had continued to defend itself against the allies at the end of WW2. We were all very much in the CND 'anti nuke' camp at the time, so this was a valuable lesson that not everything in life is a simple right or wrong.

The second was very dramatic in that the speaker held up a mysterious briefcase and pondered about what the contents and their impact might be, before finally opening it and pulling out a gun!

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by rockfreak » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:30 pm

In the late 1950s a lad called Battersby opened a book to the rest of us in Col B as to how long the upcoming sermon in chapel would be. We all duly placed bets and laid down a few pence, with the proviso that Battersby would time it and have the final say. Of course several others were surreptitiously timing it on their watches as well. At the end of it Battersby duly pronounced on the length. Unfortunately it didn't tally anywhere near with other people's watches and he was accused of taking money by false pretences. But he refused to back down and since we'd already given him our money and the privilege of timing it, he scooped the pool to the tune of much mumbling and grumbling.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by postwarblue » Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:14 pm

Dr Van Praagh (allegedly, CH was full of urban myths) used to play 'cricket' against Charlie Hann's sermons, a wicket if Hann mentioned God, a run if Hann mentioned himself.
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by SARW » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:45 am

Here is something about a memorable sermon from the early part of the last century, given by the Rev. William R. Kelsey, who was CH’s principal physics teacher. He was very shortsighted and intelligent, had an original mind and was the author of two physics text books. Also he was one of the very few masters of the early twentieth century not an Oxbridge graduate. LH Gray (MB & BB 1918-24) wrote that he “was the worst disciplinarian of any master whose lessons I actually attended, and chaos reigned most of the time.” Most of his pupils repeatedly played practical jokes on him. Frequently Kelsey was mimicked, because of his strong cockney accent, high pitched, squeaky voice and unusual swerving walk. Dr WH Fyfe, then headmaster, described him as a “cleric rushing like a madman on a bike through the cloisters… On his bike with his permanent crick in the neck he looks exactly like a slightly damaged Byzantine Christ!” During the first service Kelsey conducted in Chapel, there was a loud imitation of his cockney pronunciation of “Ouwer farver” when leading the Lord’s Prayer. As recounted by BK Wallace (CA 1918-24) in his reminiscences, this resulted in a stern message from Dr Fyfe transmitted through the house captains and this mocking was never repeated.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by John Saunders » Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:10 am

Does anyone remember Bishop Bell's sermon around early fifties,on the Valley of Dry Bones! The Bones was delivered with a high pitched squeal. Brought the house down. JHGS

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by Katharine » Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:51 am

In Hertford I remember my father doing the Lenten addresses. He started off by saying something like "if this place is anything like Horsham, you lot won't have a clue what's going on during Matins and Evensong - so I'm going to tell you" I felt a frisson through the chapel as they realised he was an Old Blue, I may have been biased!

I was allowed to speak to him after the service and say goodbye but that was it, they weren't visiting days he had not come to visit me I was told!
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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J.R.
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by J.R. » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:56 pm

It must sound terrible to admit, but for someone both Christened then confirmed at CH, I can honestly say that I can't remember ONE sermon, though i vaguely recal CMES once delivering one that seemed to go on for ever !
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by alterblau » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:07 pm

Apart from any intrinsic humour in the story of the Valley of the Dry Bones, I suspect that the reason for the general hilarity, whether it was read in evening House Duty or in Chapel, was the fact that in the early 1950s there was an African-American pop song (using today’s parlance), Dem Dry Bones, with a chorus that included the memorable words,

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
Now hear ye de words of de Lord.


The verses contained a theme like,

De hip bone’s connected to de thigh bone,
de thigh bone’s connected to de knee bone,
de knee bone’s connected to … etc, etc

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by rockfreak » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:43 pm

Alas, all these sermons had no effect on me - and indeed, like JR, I can't remember a single one. Various members of my family were devoutly religious including my sponsor to CH so at about 14 I duly got confirmed (tutored by Corks who was probably pissed) and went to communion. But it must have gone in one ear and out the other because on the day that I left CH, Father, Son and Holy Ghost might as well have been a firm of solicitors as far as I was concerned. Or perhaps an advertising agency. And while I was agnostic for some years I've since developed into a confirmed atheist. This stuff has been explored on another thread where the estimable Dr Scuffil (always a useful source of rationality) has observed that the C of E is as much as anything a cultural thing, a celebration of who we are as a people and a focus for national occasions. David Starkey says that it bears the same relationship to the state as Shintoism does in Japan.
But thank the Lord it's the C of E. I had a friend who became a born-again Christian and they dragged me along to one of their services (held in a school). It was a bit like Paul Simon's lines: "These are the days of miracles and wonders..." Everyone had heard of someone who'd been miraculously healed of some nasty disease, although no-one could actually produce anyone. And the pastor (astonishingly a GP in his everyday life) informed us that a born-again Christian in a prison in Beijing had actually raised someone from the dead. One minute this guy was stiff as a board; the next he was sitting up, right as rain, sewing his mailbags. But that wasn't the worst of it. Unlike the C of E they didn't have stirring hymns, they had songs - all of which sounded like entries to Eurovision.

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by rockfreak » Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:43 pm

Remind me, was it Angela Woodford who said elsewhere that she had a formidable evangelical upbringing and was relieved to find that the C of E at CH was positively relaxed?

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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by Katharine » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:05 pm

Yes, that's right. I wonder whether it was the same level of 'churchmanship' at Hertford and Horsham. I think we were middle to low church, no vestments, certainly no incense during communion services.

The thing that struck me at the time was the absurdity of the hat rule, which would not have applied at Horsham. Whenever we females entered the chapel, we had to put a hat on, this applied just as much for going to dust, to practice or the organ or to go to a service. We even had to put one on if we were showing visitors around the school.
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by eucsgmrc » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:58 pm

eucsgmrc wrote:
Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:25 pm
... 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.
It fell to my lot to read this passage (Ezekiel 37 vv 1-14) as the first lesson in church yesterday. I managed it without corpsing. Only those few of us who remember Coleridge A in the 1950s will recognise what a feat of self-control this required. They may also wonder what on earth I was doing in a church, but that's another story ...
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Re: Memorable Sermons

Post by sejintenej » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:09 pm

eucsgmrc wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:58 pm
eucsgmrc wrote:
Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:25 pm
... 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
(/quote)
It fell to my lot to read this passage (Ezekiel 37 vv 1-14) as the first lesson in church yesterday. I managed it without corpsing. Only those few of us who remember Coleridge A in the 1950s will recognise what a feat of self-control this required. They may also wonder what on earth I was doing in a church, but that's another story ...
Remembering you the imagination boggleth (about giving the lesson in church at your age. ;-). )
Last edited by sejintenej on Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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