Tag Archives: Bishop Edward King Chapel

Sacred Space

Bishop Edward King Chapel, Cuddesdon

Bishop Edward King Chapel, Cuddesdon

In my experience, there are often places that you come across that give you an inexplicable sense of holiness. Whether it is on a wind-swept hermit’s island off of Lindisfarne or a grandiose cathedral with its intricate arches and gilded altars. These are places that faithful people over many years have gathered and worshipped in. These are sacred spaces.

Often these places resonate with something deep within our souls. The Celtic people would have identified them as ‘thin places’ – where you could imagine the thinnest of veils between heaven and earth. Where connections could be felt most keenly between God and his people

During my recent ‘Worship Weekend’ at Cuddesdon, when we learnt amongst other things about worship, liturgy and church paraphernalia, our worship itself was held in the Bishop Edward King Chapel. This building is new. Its footfall so far light in numbers, its interior still pristine and its audacious appearance still startling on entry. Yet it feels immediately like a sacred place

The Chapel Interior, BEK Chapel,Cuddesdon

The Chapel Interior

The architect of this incredible building, Niall McLaughlin, talks about creating something from an image of a buoyant, tethered boat, with its elliptical shape resembling the nave of a boat with “Jesus asleep resting on a cushion in the prow… and the community gathering within mirroring the expectant disciples’ or of ‘ people collecting together around a hollow in ground [there is a natural hollow on the site of the chapel] ‘This hollow would represent the still place of origin. The tethered boat above would float above it, pulling up as if at sea…. you are drawn upwards yet your feet pull down to ground you. It is this dual motion of cleaving to the earth and being lifted that we want the building to communicate.”

Exterior View of the Chapel

Exterior View of the Chapel

And communicate it did… celebrating Communion, as rainbow patterns chase each other across the nave floor and flickering sunlight bounces off the walls, as the trees that surround the chapel move in rhythm of hymns and breeze, leaves you feeling that God is not only filling this space with his presence, but that the space the building occupies has become part of his creation

The Natural Lights of the Chapel

The Natural Lights of the Chapel

“As the priests were leaving the Temple, it was suddenly filled with a cloud shining with the dazzling light of the Lord’s presence” 2 Chronicles 5:13-14

Hopefully, the pictures give you some sense of the college and architect’s vision, but if you do every get a chance to visit maybe you will discover it for yourself

God cannot be contained in one place….. but containers can be a place to meet him!

The Chapel's Soaring Beams

The Chapel’s Soaring Beams

Follow this link to find out more about the Bishop Edward King Chapel and the vision behind it http://www.rcc.ac.uk/downloads/Edward%20King%20Chapel%20Description.pdf

Holy Hogwarts!… An Induction!

/View, Ripon College, Cuddesdon

Window View, Ripon College, Cuddesdon

Saturday, September the 14th 2013 dawned with a glorious sunrise in what would soon become the 34°C shimmering heat of Seville Airport. The evening would find me in a cooler 11°C, singing a beautiful service of Compline.

What happened inbetween involved a plane, a car, a traffic jam, a large group of strangers and a few reams of paper.

This was to be the official start of my training as an Ordinand and it was exciting – despite even the traffic jam!

The Induction Weekend had arrived….

When I consulted the dictionary it actually gave me five senses in which the verb ‘to induct’ could be used [Other dictionaries are available and may give more]. Did they all apply to this rite of passage?

1. To officially give someone a new job or position

I think we all arrived feeling a little aware that we would no longer be the ‘ordinary’ people who worshipped in our local churches, worked in our everyday jobs, were husbands, wives, mums, dads etc.  We were now to be officially know by the title ‘Ordinand’ – each one of us a candidate for ordination. Even so, I still felt quite ordinary because that future occasion, the Ceremony of Induction, when a new Parish Priest is formally presented to their parish was still just a hazy marker somewhere in the distance.

2. To accept people into an exclusive society or group

walls blogLooking around my surroundings there was a perception that here was a place that had produced and nurtured a great many worthy theologians, with its mellow brick walls and quaint passages and stairways. At the same time there was a real sense of modernity and purpose. It may very well be an academic institution but this was to be no vicar sausage factory. ‘Holy Hogwarts‘, as Ripon College, Cuddesdon is affectionately known, demonstrated almost immediately the inclusivity it prides itself on by welcoming such a diverse group of people who will each be individually transformed over the next few years to serve in the Anglican church.

3. To admit as a member; to officially accept someone into a group

Perhaps this was to be the most important part of the induction process. Having arrived late I was unsure how I would fit in – the introductions and icebreaker moments having passed. Plonking down my overnight bag and then being whisked to see one tutor, then straight into a seminar that had already started, I literally only had time to remember to keep breathing! However, the overwhelming friendship shown during our refreshment break and over the rest of the weekend, was enough to make me feel blessed that here were a group of strangers that over our time together would become good companions on the journey

4. To teach someone about something

This is the scary bit! I was never very good at school… either in temperament or academically. I was intelligent, but never really discovered any reason to demonstrate that intelligence in the form of exam results! Now I am about to undertake a Masters Degree in Ministry. The reams of handouts pointed me towards the different modules or topics I could choose. There were options to learn Greek and Hebrew and opportunities for attending additional lectures. I hope that I am mature enough now to apply myself to this form of learning; but I also believe that alongside all I will be learning about ministry, I will also be learning a lot about myself over the next two years. Our formation will come about not only through our capacity to learn but through our ability to be broken open and fulfil the potential God has set aside for us.

5. To produce an electric current by electrostatic or magnetic processes

The Edward King Chapel, Cuddesdon

The Bishop Edward King Chapel, Cuddesdon

This fifth and final sense then is the most exciting! I am saving the interior shots from inside the Bishop Edward King Chapel, a modern architectural miracle, for another blog; suffice to say our Sunday morning Eucharist was electrified by being in such an innovative and uplifting worship space.

Our small congregation, including family and supporters sang and it was as if they had become a multitude. There was a palpable sense of the Holy Spirit moving among us.

The next stage of the journey has begun…..Alleluia!

For more information about the Bishop Edward King Chapel and why it is up for the RIBA Stirling Prize follow this link