MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAPLAIN
The church is a physical place and a space where we go to, to gather and express our thanksgiving to God through our worship. It gives us an opportunity to gather corporately to celebrate in divine fellowship in the presence of God.
REVEREND THABANG BENGANI
THE FUNCTION OF A CHAPEL IN A BOY’S SCHOOL IN THE 21ST CENTURY
From very humble beginnings and starting off as just a mere cowshed many years ago, our chapel has been at the heart of our school for more than 58 years now and has been a place where many Albanians have found salvation, hope and restoration. One may ask the question, “how can the Christian faith and way of life begun over 2000 years ago help a young man to deal with today’s issues?” You could go even further to ask a second question: What is the point of having a full-time chaplain in an Anglican school?
In years gone by when Anglican schools were full of Anglican students the answers to these two questions were obvious. Today our schools reflect a much wider society of the world we live in. As a Christian Community, we embrace and fully welcome all people from various faiths into our community and we respect these faiths. We strive to create a place of being and belonging for all so that each person can thrive in all they do. St Albans College is a very special school where we are all about relationships that form part of our DNA.
I personally truly believe that even though the times have changed, the problems of the world haven’t. Yes, we live in the modern world where we are constantly learning new ways in order to improve and adapt to becoming an effective school of the future. However, the real lives issues such as temptation, peer pressure, acceptance, poverty, discrimination, increased responsibilities, abuse, gender-based violence and inequality still remain with us. This is the sad reality we are faced with and this is the world in which our children grow up in. There are also other real issues that we are faced with daily, such as boys getting along with their parents, friends and girls. Currently, we are faced with the covid-19 pandemic and by now everyone in our community has been affected by it, our schools are not immune from tragic situations.
I am very privileged to follow in the footsteps of great people of faith and leaders such as the Reverend Adrian Parry who was the 4th chaplain to our college from 1985 -1989. He once said that “our function is to prepare young men for life”. He went on to say that “the role of a chapel in any school must attempt to give as much shape, form and purpose to its subjects, namely God with whom we all have to do.” I agree fully with this, our chapel here at the college represents something great. It is a very special place for each one of us, past and present. It reminds us of our very humble beginnings at the same time it points us to the future to who and what we are destined to be.
As the spiritual leader to the Albanian community, I strive to expose people to the responsibility of God, particularly as He is revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour. Our chapel services on Monday and Wednesday are very important to us here at the College. Our school is a very busy place and it is easy for boys and staff to get caught up in their daily concerns. These regular worship services allow us to guide all our boys and staff toward making the right choices that will equip them to think critically about their decisions, assuring a more fulfilling and successful life.
We are fully committed to nurturing the spiritual life of all members of our Albanian community and encouraging those who are not Christian to discover within their own faith the path to becoming the people we strive to be. We are mutually enriched as we grow to understand one another’s beliefs, recognising and valuing what we have in common.
As an Anglican Church school, we strive to follow the Christian way in all we do by aiming to live and learn the values of Jesus Christ. Our Motto Custos Veritatis meaning “Guardians of The Truth” is very much in our DNA. In all that we do we strive to hold fast to that which is right just like St Alban did in 305 AD. Who, although not himself a Christian, showed compassion by sheltering a Christian priest in his house during the persecution of Diocletian. Later Alban became a Christian and was prepared to stand up for what he believed in.
THE REVEREND THABANG BENGANI
8TH CHAPLAIN TO THE COLLEGE