Chapel Overview

Welcome to Jesus College Chapel! We have a fantastic chapel with plenty going on. Feel free to explore the links below, and do read the welcome message from our Chaplain, John.

 
 

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAPLAIN

Welcome to our Chapel page on the JCR website.

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My name is John Findon, and I have taken over this term as your Chaplain. I spent forty years, after nine in Oxford in the 60s and 70s, as a parish priest in the diocese of Manchester. Megan Daffern, my predecessor, wrote the following welcome message at the beginning of the year, and I am repeating it here because the life of the Chapel and its various activities was very much her creation, which I am taking over in mid-stream. No doubt, if I were writing it for myself, I should use different – and probably stuffier – words, but it seems more sensible, since I share much of her vision, to let her words stand.

So, I am your Chaplain.

Who’s Chapel for? Everyone. Simples.

What’s Chapel for? Doing Jesus for Jesus. Which means, for us, lots of things.

We’re an Anglican Christian foundation (the first Church of England chapel in Oxford, in fact). Being Church of England today means we make space for all things of faith and religion in our secular society.We provide services for everyone – absolutely everyone. Everyone in the country can claim the Church of England as their own. So everyone in College can make the very most of the Chapel. You have a claim on me and on your Chapel, and the College has a claim on the Church of England.

Chapel has a specific denomination, but that means rejoicing in fellowship with brothers and sisters in other Christian traditions.

Chapel may have a specific faith foundation, but that means a firm footing in our relationships with all faiths and different standpoints within those faiths.

So for us, Chapel is about having space for each of us to make our own faith journeys. To ask questions, to listen, to discuss, to think, to reflect, to learn, to engage, with things that are both central to, and tangential to, our faith and spirituality. This is a place to pray, to worship, to take time out, to daydream, to come close to the divine. In short, a place to value the other.

Chapel’s also a place to make music, to make friends, to be silent, to celebrate other traditions, cultures, and faiths, to do hearty group singing that’s not at the river or on the rugby pitch, to be quiet, to read, to rest, or even have a snooze (many in the JCR love to “napple” – or nap in Chapel). To make space in our intense College life.

So how’s this doing Jesus for Jesus? As a Christian, and your Chaplain, I want to live out Christ’s values of love, hospitality, humility in learning, joy, and coming close to God. I don’t go around “converting” people, or being “religious”, but I do speak my own truth, my own integrity. I walk with people in their journeys, and I try my best to live out the Gospel as I understand it. Our Christian community rejoices to serve our College community, and I love serving you all.

Don’t forget our fabulous choir which is based upon an ethos of fun (no auditions, jolly rehearsals, and a certain amount of free food and free singing lessons) and who sings for us every Sunday evening. If you’re not in it, I expect you’ve got a friend who is, so come along and support their music. Like the rest of what we do, it’s lovely, varied, and inclusive. We try and make sure there’s something for everyone.

This term in Chapel we’ve got visits from two recent alumnae of the College, both of them working in disadvantaged areas of the North of England – Molly Kemp (Bradford) and Zoё Down (Liverpool) – who will bring their experience to illuminate what they will share with us on 19 and 26 May. The Bishop of Kensington (also an alumnus!) will be with us on 2 June to baptize and confirm Minyi Yao, and we shall also welcome Loretta Minghella, the First Church Estates Commissioner, Anne Davey, CEO of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust, and Jeremy Tayler, Rector of one of the parishes in the College’s patronage, on 12 May 5 May and 9 June respectively. Then on 16 June there is the Leavers’ Evensong, nostalgic of course, but ending with the wonderful College hymn, which like a lot of Welsh hymns sounds a bit like a rugby song.

But there’s more to our Chapel life than even our wonderful music and speakers at Evensongs; our peaceful and prayerful Thursday evening Communion service with students preaching; our happening CU in their Text-a-Toastie evenings; or our sherry and social opportunities.

The Chapel Card gives full details of other activities – Oxford Mindfulness Groups on Wednesdays from 6.00 to 7.00, Interfaith Scripture Reasoning on Thursdays from 1.00 to 2.00, and our growing Arts profile, with Friday@1 concerts, two photographic exhibitions by undergraduates (Fifth Week and Seventh Week), a visiting Madrigal Choir from Scotland, and a College Play, not to mention madrigals by our own Choir, followed by strawberries and champagne, on 1 May, and a Sung Eucharist on Ascension Day (30 May at 6.15).

Enjoy it all!

With confident good wishes for a memorable Trinity Term,

John