King's Worcester

14 May

School Chaplain Celebrates 25 Year Anniversary

Bank Holiday Monday marked an honourable milestone by Dr Mark Dorsett, our Foundation Chaplain who celebrated the 25th anniversary of his installation as a minor canon of the cathedral and KSW Chaplain. 

Dr Mark Dorsett reflects on his time in this role.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve as the King’s School Chaplain for 25 years. When I set out on this journey I was given a wide remit by the Headmaster, Dr Moore, who said “the job is what you make it”. I have always been deeply grateful for that freedom and consistently taken the view the whole school is my parish. That’s why some of my most challenging pastoral encounters have been with members of the support staff, who rightly think the Chaplain belongs to them as much as anyone. It is obviously very special when members of the school community invite you to preside at baptisms, weddings and funerals as these are turning points in people’s stories, laden with emotional significance.

There have been many joyous weddings in the cathedral but sorrow too. Some moments you simply can’t forget, as when I led Peter Iddon’s (English Teacher, Head of Bright House and cricket coach) coffin into a packed cathedral and we said a heart-wrenching farewell to such a kind and good man. As well as the memorable individual occasions I have deeply valued the regular ongoing pattern of cathedral worship from the Carol Services to the Fourth Form Eucharists in the crypt on Wednesday mornings.

School Chaplain

Chaplaincy also means playing a full part in teaching, and I have been blessed with wonderful colleagues. Julia Kinnish was a wise and patient guide when she was confronted with a rookie Head of Department who clearly knew nothing! Her successors, Owen Sucksmith and Daniel Jones were equally warm, creative and hardworking colleagues. Ronan (McLaverty-Head) and Catriona (Rees) are a delight to work with and constantly seek new ways to make the study of Religion and Philosophy at King’s challenging and intellectually engaging. Of course, Chaplains should be versatile, so at various times I have also taught English, History, Class Civ. Critical Thinking, and Psychology.

Above all in this work, you need a sense of humour as things rarely go exactly as expected. My licence from the Bishop is dated May 3rd 1996 and I was installed into my cathedral stall on that very date. Before the service Bishop Philip said that he had left the actual licence back at Hartlebury Castle but, not to worry, he had thought of something. Having duly made all the required declarations I was thus solemnly presented with a rolled-up copy of an RGS carol service booklet tied with a ribbon. John Moore, hugely amused, wanted to secure it for the school archive, though I think the Bishop was keen for it to disappear. Its current whereabouts are unknown, but I am in secure possession of the real thing.

With a dynamic new Head in post, these are exciting times to be at King’s and I am eagerly awaiting the chance to make the cathedral a daily part of school life again.

Rev Dr M Dorsett