On Tuesday, 18 June we officially opened our new Research Centre and dedicated the new Chapel of the Holy Spirit which forms part of the facility. His Grace, Dr Philip Freier,
Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia was the principal guest on the day and he was joined by a number of visiting clergy and invited guests.
The official opening ceremony held in the George Wood Performing Arts Centre and the Dedication in the Chapel were both great celebrations as the new facility provides our community with many more opportunities. The new John Pascoe Library, classrooms and small study spaces and the Chapel along with the rooftop terrace garden provide us with a new community hub here at the School.
The title Research Centre is deliberately chosen. Increasingly, education is about the student’s ability to develop the capacity for independent learning. Additionally, we teachers undertake ongoing learning as part of our work. The new facility provides a venue where students and teachers will at times work side by side and at times together to further our aim for this to be the learning centre of the school. I can announce too that we are in discussion with two universities here in Melbourne and other groups to provide a venue where researchers may be based temporarily to further their work.
Whilst the chapel forms part of a brand new facility it is already taking on a personality of its own. We have included legacy furniture such as the altar, pews and Bishop’s Chair from the old chapel to honour and connect us with memories of the past. Our new pipe organ was made possible by the generosity of the Brighton Baptist Church, two of whose leaders joined us for the service. It was rebuilt and set in place by the skill of Australian Pipe Organs and their two organ builders Robert Heatley and Daniel Bittner were there to witness the reconditioned organ played in its new home for the first time.
James Simpson (YOG 2005) generously donated the clavinova played by William Gu in the Great Hall in the morning as guests entered the new building. These two instruments will accompany our new Chapel Choir to be based in this space. The Foundation and the Old Grammarians have both financially supported this new project as too have the Ogden Family whose generosity will allow us to acquire a new baptismal font for the chapel. The new lectern was designed and built by Dezy Fai, Captain of Art Design and Technology in 2018. He completed the lectern for his VCE Product Design (Wood) project. Dezi was an international student from Harbin in China and is now studying Design at RMIT University.
I acknowledge and thank our choristers and musicians whose skill in sacred music has been evidenced once again during both services. I acknowledge the work of the school chaplains, the Reverend Paul Joy and the Reverend Dianne Sharrock who minister to a diverse School community and engage its members in matters of religious education and faith. I thank too our students who approached both services with reverence and a sense of positive anticipation to begin using the new spaces.
Dr Mark Merry