College Contemplations

It is with great delight that we continue to offer our weekly (term time) Sunday evening College Chapel Contemplations. It is our hope that these short contemplations from Christ's Chapel, Dulwich, based around spoken word reflections and the beauty of choral music sung by members of our Chapel Choir, will afford you opportunity for inspiration and encouragement.

Whilst most of last year’s Contemplations have been archived (and can be accessed upon request), you will find the final Contemplation of 2020-21, dated 27 June 2021, included on this page. The reflection in this particular Contemplation was shared by The Master and drew our attention to the centrality of music within our individual and collective experience. Dr John Carnelley plays Church Bells Beyond the Stars by our own Visiting Composer: Cecilia McDowall. We hope that you enjoy this very intricate piece of music, played with particular skill and poise.

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

Sunday 10 October, 6pm

Our minds are drawn to Adolescent Mental Health during this week's spoken reflection. Mrs Fiona Angel (Senior Deputy) and Zain Ismail (Senior Prefect, Wellbeing) share powerfully about this ever so important topic. Miss Lucy Morrell plays Johann Sebastian Bach’s Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, BWV 641 and Fugue in C, BWV 545 and Taylor Lai (Year 7) sings Franz Schubert's An Sylvia D 891, Op. 106, No. 4 (the English translation from the German follows).

Who is Silvia? What is she,
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admirèd be.

Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness,
And, being helped, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.

Sunday 3 October, 6pm

We are particularly excited to welcome Sito Udoaka and Andre Delshadian (both Year 13) to offer our spoken reflection during this Sunday’s College Contemplation. Sito and Andre share their stories as an introduction to our theme for Black History Month 2021: Ancestors and Descendants. Gilbert Edwards (Year 12) sings Robert Schumann’s Liederkreis, Op. 39: Mondnacht and Miss Lucy Morrell plays Alexandre Guilmant’s Two Anthems, Op 39 No 4: No 1, Andante and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639.

Sunday 26 September, 6pm

Our third Contemplation of this Michaelmas Term draws our attention to the blessings we enjoy – both material and spiritual: Jon Fox, a Religion and Theology teacher at the College (whilst training part-time for ordination within the Church of England), shares our spoken word, highlighting the central message of Harvest. William Lord sings Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Paride ed Elena: O del mio dolce ardour and Miss Lucy Morrell plays Alexandre Guilmant’s Strophe for the Hymn Iste Confessor, Op 46 No 3 and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Praeludium in C, BWV 545

Sunday 19 September, 6pm

It is with great pleasure that we welcome our current School Captain, Archie Wright, to offer the spoken word during our College Chapel Contemplation for Sunday, 19 September. In this, Archie’s second Contemplation, we hear how the vision of the Senior Prefect team is developing and how Archie’s understanding of service leadership has grown over the last months. Edmund Irving sings Herbert Howells’ King David, and Miss Lucy Morrell plays Alexandre Guilmant’s Four Versets, Op 49 Op 6: Alla breve and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Wir gläuben all an einen Gott, BWV 680.

Sunday 12 September, 6pm

Our first College Chapel Contemplation for the academic year 2021-22 welcomes the College Chaplain, Revd. Tim Buckler, who shares a thought about the blessed life, taking inspiration from Psalm 1. Our Chapel Choir sing the anthem: Ave Verum by Edward Elgar (words included below), Geremia Gover plays Meditation by Alan Bullard and Alex Hemple plays Paean by Philip Moore.

Sunday 27 June, 6pm

Our College Chapel Contemplation for Sunday 27 June is the final Contemplation of this academic year. The Master shares a thought on the centrality of music within our individual and collective experience. Our Chapel Choir sing the Anthem: Ave Verum by Edward Elgar (words included below), the Collects for Evensong and the hymn: Love divine, all loves excelling with words by Charles Wesley. Dr John Carnelley plays Trumpet Tune by Henry Purcell and Church bells beyond the stars by our own Visiting Composer: Cecilia McDowall.

We are thankful to everyone who has taken the time to engage with our Contemplations this year and we hope that you have found these to be informative, enjoyable and spiritually uplifting. How lovely that our final Contemplation includes a larger number of our boys singing together (albeit socially distanced). We will continue to produce these weekly Contemplations next term and will wait to see the format that these will be allowed to take.

A closing word: we are delighted to be able to express our thanks within this Contemplation to Dr John Carnelley who retires from the College after 29 wonderful years. John: you will be missed; thank you for your dedicated service and generosity of spirit.

Ave Verum by Edward Elgar
Ave verum Corpus,
Natum ex Maria Virgine,
Vere passum, immolatum
In cruce pro homine,
Cujus latus perforatum
Unda fluxit sanguine:
Esto nobis praegustatum
In mortis examine.
O dulcis, O pie!
O Jesu Fili Mariae. Amen.

Hail, real body,
born of the Virgin Mary,
who truly suffered, sacrificed
on the cross for mankind,
whose pierced side
flowed with water and blood;
be unto us the foretaste
in the trial of death.
O gentle, O holy one!
O Jesu, Son of Mary. Amen

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