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Church thrives at Bryanston

Church attendance at Bryanston has been voluntary since the 1970s and under the caring watch of the School Chaplain, the Revd Canon Andrew Haviland, pupil participation in church has continued to grow. The school community celebrated two Confirmation Services in the summer term, a packed service of Holy Communion on Ascension Day as well as our regular well attended Sunday Eucharist services. 

On Sunday 6 May over 400 people gathered in the school church of St Martin for our Church of England service of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. The Right Reverend Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne officiated.

Families, godparents and friends arrived at the church from all over the world on what was a beautifully sunny day. They were welcomed by members of Purbeck House, who gave each visitor an order of service at the entrance of the marquee – a temporary and much needed extension to the church building.   The Bryanston bell ringers rang a remarkable peel to welcome everyone.

Before the service, the Bishop met the candidates in the Portman Chapel and talked to them about the significance of the day. She said that this day was a marker on their journey of faith – one to celebrate where they have come from, what they are today and looking to the future in hope. This year the Bishop baptised four and confirmed 40 members of the Bryanston community. 

Those who were confirmed had met with the Chaplain of Bryanston, Canon Andrew Haviland, for 40 minutes each week in preparation for the service. In the Order of Service he wrote:

“This service is one of celebration. The pupils here today have decided that now is the time to stand up for themselves and say, “Yes” to the message of Jesus. Over the last term the candidates have been meeting with me in small supportive groups to discuss what it means to be Christian in the 21st century. In its simplest form we are asked to love God and love our neighbour … One of the main aims of the course has been to empower the pupils to question and not be satisfied with easy or trite answers. It has been wonderfully fun too!”

After the service a reception was held in Cowley in the main school and a retiring collection raised over £1,000 for Bishop of Salisbury’s fund which supports the people of the Sudan.

Later that same month, on Friday 18 May, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Plymouth, the Right Reverend Mark O’Toole, came to Bryanston Church and confirmed 12 pupils, 10 from Bryanston School and two from Milton Abbey School.

The candidates, their families, godparents and friends were joined by the Revd Jo Davies, Chaplain of Milton Abbey and Canon Andrew Haviland on a stunning early summer evening.

The pupils had been prepared for confirmation by Monsignor Francis Jamieson, the new Roman Catholic priest in Blandford. Father Francis had been coming to each school every week to meet the young people from the end of the autumn term.

It was the Father Francis’ suggestion to hold the service in the school church as the pupils are part of the Bryanston community and it is where they worship most of the time when at school. Canon Haviland readily agreed.  In previous years Roman Catholic confirmation has taken place in the Blandford Catholic Church and this year it was a joy that the service took place in St Martin’s.

A reception in the church was held after the service. The Revd Jo Davis said it felt very much like an ecumenical celebration of denominations coming together in praise and thanksgiving.

Canon Haviland said: “These two services are a statement that our young people continue to discern the spiritual side of life in a safe and supportive environment, where questions are welcomed and possible answers discussed.” 

See photos of the two Confirmation Services here.