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Dr Rowan Williams Leads Celebrations for the Bicentenary of the National Society

Friday, 14th October 2011

Dr Rowan Williams Leads Celebrations for the Bicentenary of the National Society

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams paid tribute to the work of the National Society at a Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Bicentenary of the National Society on Friday 14th October at 12 noon.

Dr Rowan Williams gave the Address at the service which was held to honour the legacy of Joshua Watson and other leading members of the Church of England who founded the National Society to establish a network of church schools. The first meeting took place on 16th October 1811.

Today nearly five thousand church schools and academies educate almost one million students, and over fifteen million people in the current population have attended a church school. The National Society still works to support church schools and retains its commitment to serve the poor in some of the most disadvantaged communities across England and Wales. It works in partnership with other faith communities, with local and central government, and with a range of other organisations.

In his Bidding, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:

Today we assemble to give thanks to God: for the National Society’s first two hundred years; for founders, both of the Society and of church schools, colleges, and universities; for trustees, governors, and teachers.
We pray that the light of the Gospel might shine: on the council and staff of the National Society; on diocesan colleagues and those in central and local government, parliament, and assembly; and on all who support and develop places of education and learning. We pray that young people of our institutions might know the love of God and grow in his service through Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflections were led by The Reverend Robert Wickham, Rector, St John-at-Hackney and The Reverend Jan Ainsworth, Chief Education Officer and General Secretary, the National Society.

The lesson was read by the Reverend Edwin Counsell, Deputy General Secretary (Wales), National Society (Proverbs 3: 13-22).

The Choir of St Aidan’s School, Harrogate, accompanied by dancers from Parish Church CE Junior School, Croydon sung King of Kings, Majesty by Jarrod Cooper.

Children from Manor CE School, York performed Sometimes and On Easter Day.

Prayers were led by Charlotte Sutton, governor, Rachel Connolly, pupil, Rhiane Thornton, headteacher, Graham Page, teacher and the Venerable Dr Jane Hedges, Canon Steward and Archdeacon of Westminster.

The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir, conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Robert Quinney, Sub-Organist.

See also:

The Order of Service (PDF, 122 KB)


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