On Friday 28 June the three Foundation Schools met together at Christ's Chapel of God's Gift in Dulwich Village for our annual Service of Commemoration. This years’ service was extra special owing to our celebration of 400 years.
The service started with the laying of three cornflower wreaths at the resting place of Edward Alleyn. From a Dulwich College perspective, we were extremely proud that Gabriel Rahman, School Captain, could represent our boys – and the College as a whole – in such a way.
The Chapel was as good as full and this was reflected in the wonderful singing of hymns, not least our first:
‘Except the house is built, Lord, by your hand, our work is in vain,
our labours shall not stand.’
Our minds were drawn to Alleyn’s founding vision: that we might graciously receive a rich deposit of faith and reason, and with this faith, gift that to the next generation in intelligent and imaginative ways.
Dr Spence read from Galatians chapter 1, where the Apostle Paul reflects on his own history and the work of God in his life. The anthem, ‘And I saw heaven’ by Edgar Bainton, was sung powerfully by the choir. The words for this anthem were taken from Revelation 21 and reminded us again of the idea that from small things come large, from frailty develops beauty.
The Venerable Dr Jane Steen, Dean of Southwark, preached a sermon that took its inspiration from Paul’s conversion to Christianity and drew analogies with the path taken by Edward Alleyn from being an actor and entrepreneur to someone who wanted to leave a powerful legacy in honour of 'God’s Gift' in the form of a Chapel, alms-houses and a school.
The idea of recreation and the development of beauty marked this service from start to end. The joining together of the three schools within the Foundation, all founded on a shared hope and vision, was a powerful, visual statement: all that Alleyn dreamt of and invested in is an inheritance that we now seek to develop for the betterment of our pupils to the ultimate glory of God.
Detur soli Deo Gloria.