Senior Chaplain: Fr. Paul Thompson. Email: S-Chaplain@epsomcollege.org.uk. Telephone: 01372 821288.
What is the Chaplaincy?
Chaplaincy is an important part of Pastoral Care at Epsom College. The Chaplain(s) are trained in this specialist area and appointed by the Bishop and Headmaster. The Chaplain may be a priest, religious brother/sister or a lay person. A lay person is someone who is baptised into the Christian community and actively tries to live out and share their faith.
At Epsom College, we have a wide diversity of skills and religious traditions within the Chaplaincy team. Fr. Paul Thompson is the Senior Chaplain and is assisted by Canon Adrian Esdaile. Together they care for the whole school and also the liturgical occasions for the Christians who attend Chapel. Two other colleagues assist in our multi-faith educational approach within the school community -a Muslim Imam and a Hindu priest.
What do the Chaplains do?
They are here to listen. The Chaplains spend much of their day meeting with people, often on a one-to-one basis. Another important part of their work is to coordinate the liturgical life of the school within Chapel with its many and varied services through the year. Pupils and staff are prepared for the variety of sacraments of the Church. Many become involved in the Prayer Groups that exist. A short service of Morning Prayer is held in Chapel each day. The Chaplains are also involved in teaching and learning in the school, and in the co-curricular programme.
What is meant by Pastoral Care?
Pastoral Care is about looking after each other. The word Pastoral originally referred to the way shepherds tenderly cared for their sheep. In the same way, Pastoral Care is this love in action. School is a place of teaching and learning. Included in this is an education for life. Therefore, at Epsom College, we understand Pastoral Care as an approach to education, which endeavours to value and develop each member of the school community. It promotes learning at every level of our pupils' lives. We believe in the key principle that education is about nourishing the academic, social, emotional, personal and spiritual aspects of the whole person.
What can be discussed with the Chaplain?
Any issue that is causing distress or worry that would benefit from a discussion in confidence. Here are some of the issues that pupils have come to talk about:
- peer pressure
- self harming
- substance abuse
- facts of life
- sleeping and eating disorders
- sexual orientation
- exam pressures
Is what I talk about to the Chaplain private?
Yes. What you tell the Chaplains is private & confidential. However, you should be aware that if there is any danger to your life or the life of someone you know, other people may have to be informed and become involved. The aim here is always to protect your life and not betray your trust. This will be explained in more detail by the Chaplain.
The most important thing to remember is that you are always welcome to share your feeling and concerns.
How do I set up a meeting with one of the Chaplains?
Just ask! You can call into Fr Paul's office or meet any of the Chaplains as they move around the school. We are available to all members of school. Email or telephoning is also a good way of communicating.
Our beautiful Chapel of St Luke, Physician and Evangelist, stands at the heart of the Epsom College community. It is important to us for a whole variety of reasons, not least that it resides in the physical heart of the school campus. It serves as a constant reminder that Chapel is central to everything we do in the school. It underlines our Christian heritage, ethos and values. The building bears witness to all who have gone before us and honours their memory.
The Chapel is open every day and accessible to every member of the school community. A variety of services are offered throughout the working week and reflect the diversity of liturgy to be found in the Christian year. Morning prayers are offered for the school on a daily basis.
Many Old Epsomians often return to the Chapel. Sometimes this is just to sit where they once sat as pupils, but for many the return can be for the celebration of their marriage.
For those who live within the school during term time, Chapel is often seen a place of quiet sanctuary - a space that offers the opportunity for drawing breath and reflection in a busy school. For all of us here, Chapel is more than just the building, as it reflects the sense of love at the heart of what it means to be a community.
Confirmation at Epsom College
The Sacrament of Confirmation is available to all pupils and staff at Epsom College, irrespective of age or year. Preparation classes take place during the Lent Term. Pupils are encouraged to sign up for the Confirmation activity slot, which operates during the working day. The Senior Chaplain leads in the preparation and delivery of these classes.
Parent Prayer Group
The aim of the prayer group is to provide a forum for prayer, contemplation, Christian fellowship and support to both teachers and Epsom College parents. The group aims to meet early in the morning on a twice or three times per term basis.