The Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi, S. Thomas' College at Gurutalawa
Dear Fellow Thomians,
The Headmaster at STC Gurutalawa has sent us the following Write Up on the Events Scheduled to take place at Gurutalawa in connection with The 65th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Chapel at Guru.
The Carol Service at the Guru Chapel will be on December 04, 2010 at 6.00p.m.
It is hoped that Old Boys & Well Wishers of Guru will express their solidarity by ensuring their presence for these Events at Guru.
No. 23, 1st Lane, Kirillapone,
Colombo – 05.
Tel: (Res) 011 2828272 / (Dir) 011 2818989 (Chambers) 011 285164 / 011 2828273
Mobile No. 0773 960823 / 0773 137727
Fax No. 011 2812959
THE CHAPEL OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
S. THOMAS' COLLEGE AT GURUTALAWA 1945 – 2010
The Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi, S. Thomas' College at Gurutalawa was consecrated by the Rt. Revd Cecil Douglas Horsley, 7th Bishop of Colombo on the 4th of December 1945 at the invitation of the Warden of the School, the Revd Canon R. S. de Saram in the presence of a gathering of distinguished old boys, clergy, boys and well wishers of the School.
Thomians from Mount Lavinia were still in exile despite the war in Asia having ended and it had been decided that a part of the School would remain at Gurutalawa from January 1946 together with Dr R. L. Hayman and Canon A. J. Foster and a few other members of staff. The consecration of a Chapel was thus a sign of the establishment and continuity of a Thomian community at Gurutalawa.
The fact that the Chapel was consecrated in the name of St. Francis of Assisi was no accident. It is said to have been a very definite choice by the Triumvirate - Canon R. S. de Saram, Dr R. L. Hayman and Canon A. J. Foster – who felt that given the location of the School amidst a beautiful natural setting, naming it for the 'Patron Saint of Nature' would be the most appropriate decision. Certainly its unique, simple design reflects the spirituality of the Patron Saint that is meant to be fostered.
As with the Chapel of the Transfiguration at STC Mount Lavinia, the Thomian Chapel at Gurutalawa has since the day of its consecration been central to the life of the entire School community, irrespective of religious persuasion. But unlike the Mount Lavinia Chapel, the Chapel at Gurutalawa was deliberately built for a small community and for the past 65 years has served its purpose. Even when the number of students were over a thousand in the late 1980s, the number of Christians is said
to have never exceeded the space provided for in and around the Chapel.
From the very beginning the Chapel has catered for the spiritual needs of all Christian students and staff of all denominations. Many non-Christian students and staff belonging to other living faiths have also sought spiritual succour within this sacred space. To this day a number of students of other living faiths join the various activities of the Chapel, of course with the consent of their parents and the School authorities. Many benefactors of the Chapel over the years have been non-Christian old boys and staff for whom the Chapel has held special significance. It has been for many 'a House of Prayer' and 'the Gate of Heaven'.
Since the beginning a number of Anglican clergy of the Diocese of Colombo, starting with Canon A. J. Foster, have served as Chaplains and contributed much to the spiritual lives of those who worshipped within the Chapel. Canon A. J. Foster gave of himself in more ways than one to the Chapel and the School until his sudden and untimely death. Many of the altar ornaments, pictures, images and vestments still in use were gifts to the Chapel by him. He also bequeathed a legacy of Anglo-Catholic or High Church spirituality and liturgical style that continues to be fostered together with more modern styles of worship. A plaque in his memory was placed in the Chapel soon after his death to remind future generations of his many acts of selfless service to the Chapel. A similar plaque to remember Dr and Mrs R. L. Hayman will be inserted into the opposite wall in February 2011 and another to remember Mr & Mrs Leslie de Saram, who donated the Gurutalawa Farm for the use of S. Thomas' College, in 1942, will be inserted later on in the year in time for the 65th Patronal Festival on 4th October 2011, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.
The 65th anniversary of the consecration of this unique little Chapel will be celebrated on SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2010 AT 9.00 A. M. IN THE CHAPEL with a special Festal Eucharist at which the Rt Revd Kenneth Fernando, Emeritus Bishop of Colombo, will be the preacher and chief celebrant. The Service will be followed by fellowship lunch. All old boys of the School, parents, well wishers and others are invited to be part of these celebrations.
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