College Contemplations

It is with great delight that we are able to share our College Chapel Contemplations every Sunday evening during term at 6pm.

Whilst restrictions have paused our congregational gatherings, it is our hope that these short contemplations from Christ's Chapel, based around spoken word reflections and the beauty of solo singing, from a number of our choristers, will afford you opportunity for inspiration and encouragement.

We will continue to record and post a new Contemplation to be released every Sunday evening (term time) throughout the summer term. 

All thoughts and comments would be warmly received; do email the College Chaplain, Revd. Tim Buckler at

Sunday 9 May 6pm

Sunday 9 May is our third College Contemplation of the Summer term. Our Chaplain, Revd. Tim Buckler, reflects on the life and work of the celebrated English Poet and Jesuit Priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Oliver Butterworth (Year 7) sings Pie Jesu from Requiem Op 48 by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) and Dr John Carnelley plays Andante tranquillo in A Major from Organ Sonata No. 3 and Allegro assai vivace in F major from Organ Sonata No. 1, both by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847).

The poem that Revd. Buckler makes reference to is included here in full:

By Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Sunday 2 May 6pm

We are delighted to welcome two of our Senior School Muslim pupils to share a thought at our Contemplation on Sunday 2 May. Mikyle Ossman (Year 13) and Sufiyan Siddique (Year 7) will be reflecting on the importance of and lessons learnt from Ramadan. William Lord (Year 12) sings Au bord de l’eau, Op 8 No 1 by Gabriel Fauré and Dr John Carnelley plays a voluntary by Benjamin Cosyn (Fellow Organist of Dulwich College 1622-1625) and a voluntary in G major, by Theophilus Cole (d1736) from the Dulwich College Archive (John Reading manuscripts).

Apologies in advance for the occasional poor visual quality during this Contemplation.

Sunday 25 April 6pm

Sunday 25 April is our first College Contemplation of the Summer term. Dr Joe Spence reflects on Stephen Lawrence Day in conjunction with the reading of three short poems. Henry Armstrong (Year 9) sings Vouchsafe, O Lord from Dettingen Te Deum by G. F. Handel and Dr John Carnelley plays 'Pastorella', BWV 590 and the Chorale Prelude: 'Valet will ich der geben' BWV 735 both by J. S. Bach.

Sunday 21 March 6pm

Sunday 21 March is our final College Contemplation of the term. Revd. Buckler shares an Easter thought, offering encouragement from Spring with reference to Victor Frankl and the colour of new life. Luke Jensen-Jones (Year 13) sings John Rutter's The Lord Bless You and Keep You and Dr John Carnelley plays extracts from the Offertoire (Messe pour les Couvents) by François Couperin. We hope that you have enjoyed these Contemplations and we look forward to continuing into the Summer Term. 

Sunday 14 March 6pm

Sunday 14 March's spoken word will be offered by Dr Joe Spence who, with visual reference to paintings by Rembrandt and Jan Victors, highlights the life of Queen Esther as an example of a woman who 'Chose to Challenge'. Taylor Lai (Year 6) sings César Franck's Panis Angelicus and Dr John Carnelley plays an extract from the Offertoire (Messe pour les Couvents) by François Couperin.

Sunday 7 March 6pm

A key focus for Sunday 7 March will be International Women’s Day and so it is fitting that Mrs Nathalie Whittington, our Head of Wellbeing, offers our third contemplation which focuses on this vital theme. Gilbert Edwards sings Gustav Holst The Heart Worship and James Storey plays J.S. Bach’s Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier BWV 731.

Sunday 28 February 6pm

Sunday 28 February's contemplation is a timely message delivered by Dr Cameron Pyke who reminds us of the value of 'looking out' and having eyes beyond ourselves. Our music is courtesy of Year 11 pupils James Storey and Alex Hemple.

Sunday 7 February 6pm

It is fitting that the Master, Dr Joe Spence, offered our first contemplation on 7 February 2021, based around the poetic version of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s post-war confessional prose ‘First they came…’. Nicholas Richardson-Waldin, the Head of Chapel Choir, sings Thus when the sun from watery bed from Handel’s Samson.

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