It was a real honour to preach at the King Edward VI College Charter Day at St Mary’s Church Oldswinford near Stourbridge. This service commemorates the Granting of the Charter to the school, from which the College derives, by King Edward VI on 17 June 1552 and celebrates the good work of benefactors, governors, trustees, staff and students since that time and especially the achievements of current members of the College.
The attitude of the students at King Edward VI College is that of expectation, expectation to do well and expectation to do well in the world afterwards too, so what a thrill to speak to such a number of future world changers. As I sat beside the choir I suggested to the young man beside me that he preach and I sing. True to the sixth form’s reputation he said yes… until he heard me sing! So I preached.
When preaching to some five to six hundred students and faculty, every one of them better educated than you, the reinforced wooden pulpit is reassuring as no matter how hard they throw the hymn books you’ll survive if you keep your head down. Alternatively of course, you could try to preach a good sermon! To communicate to young people it’s important you do your homework and make sure you have a well thought through talk. Contrary to most people’s fears youths are very forgiving and intelligent students will make an effort to listen to someone who has made an effort to speak to them. Even if you are not the best speaker in the world work hard at your notes as they will see your efforts and stick with you, as long as you aren’t too long of course! If you are a good speaker, or even pretty good, dynamic young students like those in King Edward VI College will bring the best out in you and you might even hear a clap of appreciation at the end. Not everyone considers such a response appropriate in church, but those of us on the receiving end of an applause certainly don’t mind!