Spiritual Life

The Chaplaincy and the Chapel support the entire Brentwood School community – pupils, teaching staff, support staff, and their families alike. Although we are a Christian School, pupils and staff from all faiths, or none, are welcome.

The Chaplaincy and the Chapel are situated at the very heart of the School and provide a space where we can take time in the midst of a busy week to reflect upon our lives.

Each week, our regular Chapel services provide an opportunity for such reflection and during these important times together we seek to deepen our understanding of the nature of what it means to be human and allow space for us to recognise the spiritual dimension of life.

Meet the Chaplain

Brentwood School’s Chaplain is an integral part of the School community, where a strong, caring Christian ethos is threaded throughout. The Chaplain of Brentwood School is the Revd Dr Adrian McConnaughie.

"I took up the post of Chaplain at Brentwood in September 2013 having previously been Chaplain at Monmouth School and, prior to that, Assistant Curate at Bath Abbey. Before training for ordained ministry, I studied Chemistry at Oxford and, after completing a PhD at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, worked as a Research Scientist in the USA and Cambridge. This was followed by ten years as a teacher in two schools. I trained for ministry at Trinity College in Bristol from 2006-2008, and served my title at Bath Abbey. It is a privilege to be the Chaplain of a busy community and to play a part in helping each of us grow as individuals in the image of God."

Chapel Worship

Each year group in the Senior School attends Chapel on a fortnightly basis. We gather for a weekly Chapel in the Prep school every Thursday.

Worship Provision for Other Faiths within School

Brentwood School is a diverse and inclusive community and whilst the Chapel remains a central part of School life, we seek to ensure that suitable opportunities for worship are available to people of other faiths.

At present, we have a designated Prayer Space for our Muslim staff and students. If you would like to find out more about this, then please contact the Chaplain via email: [email protected].

Worship for the Wider Community

There is an emerging community, Called2B, that meets regularly for a service on Sundays at 10am. Throughout the months of the pandemic, we have met remotely via Zoom and gathered, where possible for the most significant festivals of the Christian year.

As we move out of the pandemic, we are moving to a regular, monthly service in Chapel. These services are open to the wider Brentwood School community and are suitable for all ages as well. Our services are generally less formal in style where a blend of music, scripture, poetry, and art, is used to help to listen to God’s call on our lives and create a safe space where we can support one another on our journey of faith.

If you are interested in being part of this community, then please contact the Chaplain via email: [email protected].

The Sunday Services for 2023-2024 can be found in our Chapel Diary below:

Throughout the year there are regular services of Choral Evensong together with services to celebrate key festivals in the Christian year such as Harvest, Advent, Christmas, and Mothering Sunday. All members of the wider Brentwood School community are welcome.

Baptisms and weddings for those who have a particular connection with the school are also possible. Contact the Chaplain for a discussion.


History of the Chapel

The School Statutes of 1622 made it clear that scholars should be seated together and Monitors would take the ‘names of the absents and the misdemeanors of the presents.’ Today’s students are no doubt relieved that those times are long gone and Chapel is something to be enjoyed.

For the first 300 years of its life, the School used the local South Weald Church for worship. In the 19th century, Headmaster Dr West was keen to have a dedicated School Chapel built in order to house the expanding number of students.

It was in 1868 that the Brentwood School Chapel was completed to serve its pupils, and it still sits at the very heart of the School site.

In 1910, the west window of the Chapel was commissioned in memory of Headmaster William Quennell. In the period after the First World War, the School increased again in numbers. The Chapel could not house the whole of the School in any one sitting, so half of the boys attended Chapel and the other half had assembly each day.

In 1925, expansion work was undertaken to include two aisles as memorials to the Great War of 1914-1918.

The beautiful stained-glass east window, above the altar, is an illustration of the ancient Christian hymn Te Deum. Of the other two stained-glass windows which look in on this tranquil setting, one – Faith, Hope and Charity - was given to the School by St Mary’s, Great Warley, a nearby church, and the other features striking depictions of the prophets Moses and Elijah.

Today, even though it can accommodate 320 worshippers, the Chapel cannot house the entire School so the six Year Groups of the Senior School take turns to attend a short Chapel assembly once a fortnight.

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