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Bishop Edward King Chapel

Bishop Edward King Chapel

Bishop Edward King Chapel

Rippon College Cuddesdon, Oxford (UK), is

a centre of excellence in theological training and research. We train men and women for ordination in the Church of England through a broad and deep range of creative and engaging courses. … We are a place of genuine community where generosity and hospitality is practised in the context of prayer and reflection.

Rev. Clare Barrie pointed me to information on their new chapel. The BBC has a lovely video which I highly recommend you have a four-minute look at. [What is it about the BBC that they don’t allow their clips to be embedded? Which millennium do they live in?! I think it just encourages downloading and independent displaying. End of kvetch.]

Bishop Edward King Chapel

Bishop Edward King ChapelAlongside the IMO-breathtaking chapel architecture, I am also taken by their decision to invite a community of sisters to be a contemplative presence in this seminary. I am convinced that along with the commitment to academic contemporary theological scholarship there needs to be a profound commitment to the contemplative life. IMO, the lack of the latter is part of the fear of being set adrift that encourages the tendency to flee towards the perceived security of literalism, fundamentalism, and bibliolatry – instead of being secure in one’s relationship with God.

The pattern of this chapel fits in excellently with recent discussions about an architectural layout that has two foci – altar and ambo. And how that might affect our proclamation of the scriptures in the community gathering.

I am less taken with the following clip than the BBC one, but since the BBC is so *&^%# about embedding [let it go, Bosco!], at least it provides here a moving version for those that way inclined…

Bishop Edward King Chapel

image source, first photo
image source, second photo
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12 thoughts on “Bishop Edward King Chapel”

  1. This is a VERY perceptive comment Bosco:

    “I am convinced that along with the commitment to academic contemporary theological scholarship there needs to be a profound commitment to the contemplative life. IMO, the lack of the latter is part of the fear of being set adrift that encourages the tendency to flee towards the perceived security of literalism, fundamentalism, and bibliolatry – instead of being secure in one’s relationship with God.”

    God Bless

  2. Brynn Elizabeth Wallace

    Giggling as usual after reading your side comments this chapel reminded me of a hospital chapel I discovered recently built on top of a former Methodist church (circa 1870’s-2000’s). The beauty and spiritual ambience was enough to make me step in and pray even though I was just there to visit the pharmacy. Before even walking through the chapel doors I found a hall entrance dedicated to the history of the former church and chapel which was torn down due to detioration. This made me think of your own cherished Christchurch cathedral where there was also has a long and established history in a hometown setting. Even though I never had a connection to the original church this in itself drew me inside the chapel and gave me a reason to use it for what it was intended. For contemplation and prayer by visitors, staff and patient’s families. The interior is smaller but filled with chairs and loveseats placed directly in front of a small altar with matching cream-colored kneeling stools. Two different blends of cherry and oak woods frame engraved stained- glass windows etched with fir trees made to look like the natural environment. The vaulted ceiling has a center steeple made out of multi-colored glass opening up into the sky to replicate the feeling of the old church. Hence, I now have gone back several times to kneel at the altar and pray in a quiet space that I cannot find anywhere, even at church.

  3. Bosco, your comment about the place of the sisters as a contemplative presence in this community reminds me in the New Zealand context, of the abiding impact of visits by St John’s College students to the Cistercian monastery at Kopua in the 1970s and 80s

    When I lived near the monastery and spent much time there for 14 years from the mid 1990s, I saw quite a number of Anglican priests visiting Kopua, some of whom had first visited while they were theological students at SJC. It seemed to me that among those who returned to Kopua, were a significant number who had earlier seen, heard and experienced something there that drew them back to the monastery when they were at crossroads or crises in their lives or ministries.

    It often occurred to me that rather than the gifts and insights of monastic spirituality being sought (only?) in times of such need, a more integrated exposure to the contemplative dimension from the very beginning of priestly formation and continuing throughout the course of ordained ministry, may have been more enduringly beneficial.

  4. Thank you for alerting me to this Bosco – it is stunning. The lightness and height creates a contemporary spiritual space unlike any I have seen. A building I loved in a modern idiom is the Chapel at Llanduff, Cardiff, built as part of the rebuild after wartime bombing

  5. Thank you very much Bosco for posting this. I may well be coming back to this from time to time as this is the College and Chapel where I am about to begin training for the priesthood. Life has been generous to me in terms of wonderful places of worship, magnificent, often famous spaces…. When I entered *this* chapel I found myself being caught for breath – such was the effect upon me.
    My spiritual years in formation will be spent in this literally breath taking space – what a thought.

  6. Just wanted to make a slight correction to the Youtube video: the first man to speak was not an architect, but former principal Martyn Percy…

    It is a lovely space and I feel very blessed to worship there everyday.

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