My name is Mrs Fran Walsh and I am thrilled to be your new Lay Chaplain, and for some of you, your new Religious Studies teacher. I come to Rye with 20 years of youth work and school chaplaincy experience and I am very excited about all the new adventures that are to come. I am an active member of St Anthony of Padua Parish, just down the road, and have lived in Oxford for many years, coming here to go to university and never leaving and making it my home.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have become familiar with the beautiful school grounds and you can imagine my delight when I stumbled across the woodland Chapel the school community is lucky enough to call theirs.
I have made myself quite comfortable creating a special room in the centre of the school for you to enjoy! I look forward to meeting the school community over the coming weeks and welcoming you to your new Chaplaincy Hub.
- A creative prayer space to explore
- A peaceful and safe space to be yourself
- A welcoming space to make friends
- An inspirational space to dream
- A meeting space to talk and share
The Chaplaincy Hub will be open every day, all break times, and most lunchtimes. Tutor groups will be invited to visit in tutor time. Sometimes there will be organised activities that you may be interested to come along to, such as creative prayer stations that reflect the liturgical season, lectio divina, discussions, and crafty making. We will hold our chaplaincy student council meetings in here and other meetings to plan the liturgical life of the school together. Other times it will be open for you to just drop in, to come and talk with whoever is here about whatever is on your mind.
Most importantly it is a place of welcome and friendship for us all to share faith and fellowship together.
The beautiful woodland Chapel of St Teresa of Avila will continue to be a sacred space open every day for staff and students to come and pray in God’s Holy presence. Throughout the year we will have many opportunities for liturgies and services and as soon as we are able we look forward to weekly lunchtime Mass for all those who wish to come. We are looking into the possibility of setting up live streaming in the chapel to ensure that whilst we may be limited by social distancing we can all still experience the peace it offers.
I hope these spaces of prayer and peace will ease the transition back to school for us all. I look forward very much to beginning the new year with you all.