Queen Anne's Attend Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey

Friday 1st November 2013

The community of Queen Anne’s School in Caversham came together to celebrate the school’s biennial Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey. Parents, pupils, Governors and staff attended the service on Friday 25 October. Members of the QA Society (Alumni) were also present alongside invited guests including Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE. The preacher was The Revd Dr James Hawkey, Minor Canon and Sacrist, Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey Service - October 2013

The service began with a reading from Head Girl Nilofar Samadi, U6, from the Quire Screen, an area of the Abbey, which towers above the congregation. Following a welcome to the service, given by The Venerable Dr Jane Hedges, Sub-Dean, Canon in Residence and School Governor, the Foundation Chalice, a Victorian silver chalice gifted to Grey Coat, was carried to the High Altar by Queen Anne’s Deputy Head Girl Katrina Chorley, U6.

The school’s service helped mark the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Welsh poet R S Thomas (1913- 2000) and the death of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013).

Westminster Abbey Service - October 2013

During the service, Mrs Julia Harrington, Headmistress read the poem ‘Arrival’ by R S Thomas and Mrs Eileen Green, Teacher of English, read ‘A Drink of Water’, a poem dedicated to Queen Anne’s by Seamus Heaney himself.

As well as readings given by members of staff, pupils Emmeline Bolton, L4, and Connor Baldridge, L6, recited a passage from St Luke 24 and Head Girl Saskia Hamilton-Bowker, U6, and Deputy Head Girls Katrina Chorley, U6, and Annabelle Akintoye, U6, led the congregation in the prayers.

Westminster Abbey Service - October 2013

The Consort Choir and the Chamber Choir of Queen Anne’s School led the service and performed the world premiere of the anthem ‘The Twenty-Eight Times’,commissioned by British conductor and composer James Whitbourn. The work was commissioned by Queen Anne’s School and the United Westminster Schools and Grey Coat Hospital Foundations to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy.

Following the service, afternoon tea was held in the Jerusalem Chamber, one of the private rooms of the Deanery. The Jerusalem Chamber, which was added to the medieval house of the Abbots of Westminster by Nicholas Litlyngton (Abbot of Westminster 13-62-86), has witnessed a number of historic meetings, including the committees engaged on writing the Authorised version of the Bible in 1611.

Click here to view a slideshow of photographs from the service: