At Melbourne Grammar School, we aim to develop within our students the ‘whole person’ which includes the spiritual domain. Seeking to nurture our students’ spiritually, we honour the founder of our school, Anglican Bishop Charles Perry, who envisaged that Melbourne Grammar School would offer sound learning and religious instruction to students who would develop the then young and fragile colony.
Situated at the heart of Senior School is the magnificent neo-gothic Chapel of St Peter which was built in 1893. It is a sacred space dedicated entirely to the worship of God and to the nurture of the spiritual life of the Melbourne Grammar community. The Chapel of St Peter is literally an island of stillness in the midst of a very active community of teaching and learning. The Chapel is a reminder of our Anglican heritage which is itself rooted in the monastic tradition of scholarly learning and prayer.
Spirituality and faith are, of course, not only nurtured and practised in the Chapels across our three campuses. The Christian ethos of Melbourne Grammar permeates, at best, everything we do. However, the Chapels and the life of continuing prayer, worship, and mediation practised in our sacred spaces exist to draw us deeper towards our true selves and connect us with God who is, of course, everywhere. I often tell the students that, just as the sporting fields exist to nurture and train the body and the classroom exists to develop and expand the mind, so the Chapel exists to develop our spiritual dimension. Of course, this distinction is crude because the body, mind, and spirit are one but it can be helpful to think of different areas of the School educating certain parts of our being.
One of the most significant aspects of our spiritual life at Melbourne Grammar is the annual Confirmation and Baptism service. Every year we have approximately 20 students choosing to confirm their baptismal vows, usually said for them by their parents when they were babies. At the same service, we always have a number of students choosing to enter into the Christian faith through receiving the sacrament of Baptism. The students who freely choose to be confirmed and/or baptised do so after they have taken part in study of the Bible and the Christian tradition.
Obviously not all our students choose to confirm their faith and a number of students do not have a faith in God. However, the Chapels across our three campuses provide a safe place of contemplation and stillness for all our students, regardless of faith background. I am certain that allowing time in a busy school day for meditation and contemplation is vital for an education of the whole person.
Reverend Hans Christiansen Senior Chaplain