College Jubilee Chapel Service

Monday, 11 March 2013

A joyous weekend of celebration in glorious sunshine culminated with a Sunday morning chapel service to give thanks for 60 years of achievement at Saint Kentigern College.  The College Pipes and Drums played in the forecourt as sunlight streamed through the stained glass windows and the chapel filled with those with close ties to Saint Kentigern. 

The College Chaplain, Reverend David Smith welcomed the congregation and offered a special welcome to the ‘Four Heads of College’ – Mr Nigel Toy, Reverend David Williams, Mr Warren Peat, Mr Steve Cole and their wives. Mrs Betty MacFarlan, wife of Reverend Dr Adam MacFarlan, the first Headmaster, and her family were also present along with the first Deputy Principal, Mr Jack Paine and his wife, Beverley.

Reverend Smith offered thanks for our special weekend and asked that we, as a community, count our blessings.  Following the first hymn, the ‘Rev’ as he is affectionately known at College, gave a slightly cheeky recap of the last 60 years looking at the changing landscape, uniforms and people that have been part of our history. A recurring theme this weekend has been that whilst many things have changed, so have many things stayed the same and he quoted from Reverend Dr Adam MacFarlan’s report from 1954 - the end of the second year of the College.

‘Whatever the ultimate size of Saint Kentigern, the foundations are already laid – hard work, clean sport, good manners and reverence for the things of God. This is a Church School, a religious foundation, and in it our Christian heritage has to be preserved and enlarged. We owe much to those men of vision who started the School and those who have worked hard and given generously to build it up. They have faith in us, and that faith must be kept. That after all is our motto – ‘Fides servanda Est.’ Reverend Dr Adam MacFarlan

The first reading came from Isaiah Chapter 52 and was read by Reverend Barrie Keenan, student No.140 and the first Old Collegian of the College to be ordained as a Presbyterian minister.

Saint Kentigern has a long and enduring association with St Andrew’s Church in Symonds Street. It was back in 1946 that the minister, the Rev David Pryor and Mr N L Macky, an Auckland lawyer, shared the dream for a Presbyterian boys’ college in Auckland. In 1949, the Saint Kentigern Trust Board had its inaugural meeting. There have been many ongoing links between this First Presbyterian Church and the College and our Christian Education Awards to this day are known as the Saint Andrew’s Divinity Prizes. We welcomed Reverend Dr Murray Gow along with Church Elder and Old Collegian, Mr Ross Sutherland (student No.793) who made a presentation on behalf of Saint Andrew’s – a painting of St Andrew’s First Presbyterian Church commissioned in 1977. It was originally presented to Reverend John Cumming and returned to the church after his passing. Reverend Gow said, ‘In view of the long friendship between Reverend John Cumming and Reverend Dr Adam MacFarlan, and the historic links with Saint Kentigern College, the St Andrew’s session felt this to be a fitting presentation to the Chapel to mark the 60th Jubilee.’

The College Choir followed, singing a moving Hebrew Love Song by Eric Whittaker followed by a beautiful duet of ‘The Prayer’ by talented Year 13 choristers, Manase Latu and Grace Sturgess. Such was the depth of feeling this evoked that despite the setting, the congregation burst into spontaneous applause.

The second reading came from Hebrews Chapter 12 verses 1-3 & 12-13 and was read by our 2013 Head Girl, Sharnika Leleni.

It was our privilege to invite former Headmaster and College Chaplain, the Reverend David Williams to deliver the sermon. His words gave cause to think and give thanks that from such humble beginnings, one of the country’s finest secondary schools has grown.

‘From very humble beginnings incredible things can happen. From a lump of clay the Master potter shapes something of great beauty, or as our Bruce House prayer puts it ‘The Master Carpenter of Nazareth takes the rough-hewn wood and fashions it into something of beauty.'

He reflected on the sight that greeted the first Headmaster when he answered the call of ‘some dreamers’ to come to New Zealand to found a new school – a windswept sea of muddy farmland with a single building. There have been many pass through the College gates who, from humble beginnings, have gone on to achieve greatness – and there are also those, who may be perceived as ‘just ordinary people’ but who have been nurtured and encouraged in our place of learning to do the best with their lives.

‘This has never been a school of great privilege -this has never been a breeding ground for men, and now women, who have a sense of entitlement. The Scottish work ethic has always been part and parcel of the air we breathe at Saint Kentigern. 'Nothing worthwhile in this life, is ever achieved without hard work and dedication' ···thankfully these things are drummed into us here at Saint Kentigern –and long may it be so!’

Reverend David Williams

In his closing prayer, Reverend Smith said, ‘Gracious God, we thank you for our Jubilee weekend, for the celebration of the past and the present. And now, as we look to the future  with hope and expectation, we pray for all those who currently hold the baton, that they will continue to lead us with courage and wisdom. ‘

Following Chapel, a smiling congregation joined together for morning tea and fellowship in the new Year 13 Common Room in the MacFarlan Centre; a time to reflect back on what has been a remarkable weekend in the history of the College.

Read Reverend David Willams’ Sermon

Posted under: College, Our Community